Album Review: Jack White – “Lazaretto”

So I was hoping to have this up before Bonnaroo, but that obviously didn’t happen. I however, did get to see Jack at Bonnaroo, and it did kick ass. He played material spanning his entire career, including quite a few cuts from his second solo album, Lazaretto. Here are some words about that album. Enjoy.

“his most angst-ridden album to date.”

Jack White III has typically been a man of mystery. Throughout his career, he has avoided reporters, refused to discuss his work, and at one time, avoided drama by claimed that him and ex-wife Meg White were siblings. Recently however, the garage god has given the press a field day. In 2013, Karen Elson, White’s second ex-wife, filed a restraining order against him, one that was eventually called off. Later that same year, emails surfaced where White voiced grievances towards The Black Keys, claiming that they had “ripped off” his sound. He even refused to let his son attend the same school where Black Key’s frontman Dan Auerbach’s son was enrolled.

This year has been no better for White. Just last month in an interview with Rolling Stone, White proceeded to air his complaints towards Auerbach, Adele, Lana Del Ray, technology, and even Meg White. Since then, he has had to retract his statements and apologize.


This turmoil spills out over Lazaretto. It’s possible that White, at the age of 38, has made his most angst-ridden album to date.  In “I Think I Found The Culprit,” he plays the victim, misappropriated and wrongfully blamed. “I think I found the culprit. It looks like you, must be you.” White’s inflection sounds bitter and scornful. “Alone In My Home” is White in his usual recluse state, hiding from the world, where he can’t be persecuted. It’s one of his finest country ballads to date. The descending vocal melody during the verses (see: “through my door,”) is phenomenally addicting.

But Lazaretto isn’t all guarding. In “Entitlement” and “That Black Bat Licorice,” White shakes his fists at collective humanity, declaring in “That Black Bat Licorice,” “Don’t you want to lose the part of the brain that has opinions? To not even know what you are doing, or care about yourself or your species in the billions.” Not since “Icky Thump” has he vocally attacked the human condition with such force.


The music on Lazaretto is just as aggressive. The bass and organ on “Would You Fight For My Love” are as menacing as the vocals. “High Ball Stepper” doesn’t even need vocals. The violin, reversed piano, and banshee guitars rip through ear drums like they’re toilet paper. Refrains on “Three Women” and “Lazaretto” bring the songs back with a vengeance. Just when you thought White’s onslaught was over, he comes back with cheap shot to jaw just for good measure.

Overall, I thought Lazaretto is leaps better than Blunderbuss. White is aggressive and refuses to pull punches, both lyrically and instrumentally. Like on the album cover, White sits in his throne of rock, alone, not even looking in the direction of his audience. In the future, I’d like to see White pull something out of left field, release an album that takes everyone by surprise. But until then, his usual blues rock bliss leaves me satisfied.

Music in 2013: Third Man Records

With numerous releases and reissues this year, the hardworking heroes at Third Man Records have become leaders in the independent music scene and saviors of the vinyl record. Today, we’re going to take an in-depth look at Third Man Records: who they are, how they work and all that they’ve contributed to music in 2013. Enjoy.

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Your Turntable’s Not Dead

Third Man Records was founded in 2001 by Jack White, Ben Blackwell and Ben Swank in Detroit. Blackwell has said that Third Man was originally founded to “reissue White Stripes’ records, and maybe […] put out one or two new records.” However, the record label quickly took off, with the release of the debut album for White’s side project, The Dead Weather. Other releases soon followed, and in 2009, a physical location was established in Nashville, Tenn. Since it’s inception, Third Man has released more than 200 recordings by more than 40 different musical acts, of numerous genres.

In January, Third Man announced its Document Records reissues, featuring the work of Charlie Paton, Blind Willie McTell and The Mississippi Sheiks, with new cover art by Grammy-winning designer Rob Jones. This was the first time in decades that these artists were available on vinyl. White’s thoughts on the reissues: “This new joint venture is meant to expose this legendary music to a whole new generation of music lovers. These works occupy an important place in the bedrock of  American music history, and Third Man and Document Records are doing their part to make sure that tradition continues.” The first, second and third volumes were released this year, with the fourth planned for distribution in 2014.

Third Man’s next major release was their limited edition 10th anniversary pressing of The White Stripes’ fourth LP, “Elephant,” released on Record Store Day 2013. Featuring the masterings from the original analog recordings, the release was pressed on red, black and white multi-colored vinyl. The same day, Third Man Records unveiled a Record Booth at their Nashville headquarters, where fans could record their own song onto a 7″ vinyl record.  For his dedication to the ideals driving the celebration, Jack White was crowned the Ambassador of Record Store Day.


Third Man kept busy during the summer, pressing the soundtrack for “The Great Gatsby” on both black and limited gold and platinum vinyl. “The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film” featured music by Jack White, Jay Z and Lana Del Ray.  They also released albums by Third Man artists Kelly Stoltz and Seasick Steve. However, Third Man’s biggest release of the year would not come until November.

“The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records 1917-1932” was a collaboration with Paramount Records. It featured more than 800 songs, six 180 gram vinyl LPs pressed on burled chestnut colored vinyl, all bundled together in a handcrafted quarter-sewn oak cabinet. “Paramount Records was founded on a modest proposition: produce records as cheaply as possible, recording whatever talent was available. ” Paramount’s vision is more alive today than ever; it lives in independent record labels all across the country. Third Man is no exception, and their hope is that by making this music easily available to the public, they can preserve it.

In an article with “Rolling Stone” about the box-set, White said, “It’s every idea you can imagine – a forgotten artist no one cares about, mixed with a failing business, then the Great Depression, the materials people used to build things. Paramount was struggling to break even, cranking out tons of product… You get to learn from their experience, but look at it from a positive viewpoint – which they wouldn’t have been able to do. I doubt they cared that they were documenting anything about culture at all.”  His words parallel the achievements of Third Man. In 2013, they made their mark on culture, challenging the norm and coming up with new creative ideas while also sticking to their roots. Only the geniuses at Third Man Records know what is in store for the future, but whatever they have planned is sure to shake things up even more.

Matt’s Monday Playlist, Third Man Candy Co.

Even though it’s overcast here in Orlando, I’m feeling happy. Usually, I hate the beach, but today I’m feeling some good surf jamz (that’s jams with a “z”). Also, Mondays suck. So here’s a playlist of surf music, along with other songs that I like. Maybe even a few surprises. Enjoy.

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Yay music!

Read my review of ARTPOP!

Third Man Records is making candy?

Yeah, it didn’t make since to me either, but look how tasty it looks?

The different candies available include: a variety of Holiday Libations Marshmallows, Electrified Peppermint Bark, and Smoked Spice Orange Syrup. Along with the recently announced The Great Third Man Turkey Drive, it seems Third Man Records is really getting into the holiday season. What’s next? Jack White releasing a Christmas LP would be pretty crazy, or maybe an in-house Santa Clause?

Vinyl Junkie: Third Man reissues Paramount

It’s a good day for vinyl lovers. Like everything else that comes out of Jack White’s Third Man Records, their latest project is genius on wax. Today I’m talking about, “The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records 1917-1932”, a two-volume set of songs that would otherwise have been forgotten. Enjoy.

Be sure to follow The Vinyl Warhol on Facebook and Twitter for more music updates.

Jack White: The Musical Historian

Jack White is a man of many faces. Songwriter. Singer. Guitar God. Drummer. Pianist. Record label head. And now he’s helping preserve Paramount Record’s musical history, with the help of the good folks down at Third Man Records. If you’re not familiar with Paramount, they were founded in 1917, and released musics from legends such as: Louis Armstrong, Charley Patton, Son House, Alberta Hunter, and Papa Charlie Jackson. “Paramount Records was founded on a modest proposition: produce records as cheaply as possible, recording whatever talent was available. ” It’s plain to see, that Paramount’s vision is more alive today than ever, it strives in independent record labels all over the country. Third Man is no exception, and their hope is that by making this music easily available to the public, they can preserve it.

Volume one of “The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records” is set to be released on November 19.

The set includes:

  • 800 newly-remastered digital tracks, representing 172 artists
  • 200+ fully-restored original 1920s ads and images
  • 6x 180g vinyl LPs pressed on burled chestnut colored vinyl w/ hand-engraved, blind-embossed gold-leaf labels, housed in a laser-etched white birch LP folio
  • 250 page deluxe large-format clothbound hardcover art book
  • 360 page encyclopedia-style softcover field guide containing artist portraits and full Paramount discography
  • Handcrafted quarter-sawn oak cabinet with lush sage velvet upholstery and custom-forged metal hardware
  • First-of-its-kind music and image player app, allowing user mgmt of all tracks and ads, housed on custom-designed USB drive

I am so excited for this release, Third Man Records is breaking new ground everyday, and is helping keep music and vinyl alive.

Find out more about the release at Third Man Records.