Georgia’s Whigs shoot for urgency on latest album

Patrick Dunn
Special to The Detroit News

On their latest album, Georgia rock trio the Whigs took an approach that’s almost unheard of in today’s mainstream music industry: recording all tracks live in the studio in just two weeks.

The Whigs, who play the Blind Pig Thursday, booked the short studio session and tracked the album together in an intentional effort to emulate some of the older rock, country and punk records they love.

“You just look on the back of those albums and it’ll say it was tracked in these three or four days, or a really short window of time,” says vocalist and guitarist Parker Gispert. “There’s just something to the urgency of that process that I think you hear on the records, and we just wanted to try our hand at it.”

The resulting record, “Modern Creation,” is surprisingly the most pared-back record yet for a band that’s frequently been described as having a minimalistic, throwback approach. Gispert notes that the Whigs’ Wikipedia page lists the band’s genre as “garage rock revival,” and he suspects it’s resulted in the group getting typecast as such. While he says he and his bandmates love garage rock, the band’s writing and recording process has been more meticulous than it’s gotten credit for.

“Our first record was a lo-fi project out of necessity, but other than that we’ve recorded in very sonically adept recording studios with very experienced engineers who were using professional, tried-and-true techniques that to me aren’t reminiscent of garage-rock records I’m familiar with,” Gispert says. “But maybe the spirit of garage rock is in there somewhere.”

In fact, the band’s big break was due at least in part to one of classic rock’s foremost standard-bearers. In 2006, Rolling Stone named the Whigs one of ten “Artists To Watch.” Gispert says the magazine’s recognition brought his band its first record deal and increased national exposure, leading to headlining national tours as well as opening gigs for blockbuster acts like Kings of Leon.

“At the time, we were in college and we hadn’t been recognized on a national level before, so it just felt really good to have somebody call you out,” Gispert says. “A lot of people took notice of us because of that article. We didn’t feel any pressure. We felt like we were being given an opportunity.”

The Whigs’ profile fell somewhat a few busy years after Rolling Stone’s feature, but the band is still going strong. They recently wrapped up a tour supporting Social Distortion, and are planning to road-test several new songs on a winter headlining tour.

Patrick Dunn is an Ann Arbor-based freelance writer.

The Whigs

with Jimmy’s Phone

9 p.m. Thursday

The Blind Pig

208 S. First St.

Ann Arbor

Tickets $10 in advance, $12 day of show

(734) 996-8555