Good news: The Stooges are coming. The legendary Detroit act is bookending the icons-of-punk portion of Bumbershoot's Labor Day lineup, with the New York Dolls on the Mainstage Friday, September 2 and Iggy Pop and company headlining (with Mudhoney opening) Monday, September 5. I interviewed Pop a few months back, and he said the Stooges were busy recording a new record together (Mike Watt plays bass in place of the late Dave Alexander) at Pop's Miami home. "We get together in a little room that's about 10 by 12 and we have a little 10-watt guitar amp, a 12-watt vocal amp, and a toy drum kit and [we] write that way," Pop explained. "It sounds fucking kickin', too. Sometimes you really don't need the noise enhancers; ideas are really good in miniature."
On a smaller—but no less attention-worthy—scale, the War Room has been booking some solid Thursday shows for its weekly live-music night, usually featuring just one to two bands. Last week I had the great fortune to stumble upon a fantastic under-the-radar local act there called Whalebones. The band's frontman, Justin Deary, says the War Room show was only their fourth performance (and only their second non-house party appearance). Their sound should thrill Black Mountain fans, as the band pulls from Neil Young and other assorted dirty groove-oriented acts, formulating a soulful, pastoral sound all their own—a spell they help bind with some especially lysergic guitar and keyboard parts and extended improvisations. "I like a classic feel... like you like to put on some jeans that are old and worn in," Deary explains. "Sometimes I'm self-conscious, like fuck, [our] stuff sounds like Black Mountain, but the music we're doing is from a sincere place. And socially we are connected. We've probably passed around the same records—a good friend of mine lives with [Black Mountain's] Stephen [McBean], so I stay at their house when I'm in Vancouver and I hear certain records there; and they stay with me when they're in town and listen to records at my house." The young band—they've only been around since March—are touring down the West Coast with Nick DeWitt's (Pretty Girls) side band, Dutch Dub, a connection forged during a fortuitous camping trip. Until their next local show, check out Whalebones' radiant, diamond-in-the-rough gems on the band's Myspace page.
Men in Black: I ran into the White Stripes randomly at the Chevron in Snoqualmie over the weekend, where the band and their entourage were decked out in classy black suits (except Meg, who was sporting jeans and some serious zebra-striped stilettos, and Jack's new wife, model Karen Elson) as they made a quick pit stop before their August 6 show at the Gorge. Jack White was ever the class act, even at the gas station, declining a photo op, but shaking his fans' hands and sporting a handsome bowler hat, per his more recent Johnny Depp–like creepy-cool style.