10 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Whigs are a band who in 2014 are labeled “traditionalists” for playing the type of guitar-based rock ’n’ roll that from the '60s to the '90s was simply the way many bands did business. Marketing professionals called it classic rock; overnight, guitar-based rock that wasn’t punk, indie, or metal was in danger of being seen as retro. But there’s nothing old about the members of The Whigs. The Athens, Ga.–based trio merely play the music that comes naturally to them. Nowhere is that more obvious than on Modern Creation, where they recorded all 10 tracks live with limited takes at PLYRZ studios in Valencia, Calif., and completed the album in two weeks. Producer Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Wilco) gives the group a crisp sound where Tim Deaux’s bass pulses with Julian Dorio’s drums so fluently that they appear to be making more music than is possible between two people. Singer/guitarist Parker Gispert uses the remaining room to sing and play deliberately thin, shimmering lines. “The Hit” crafts a bit of dance groove, while “Friday Night” goes for lean, tight rock. A solid album with two notable sides. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Whigs are a band who in 2014 are labeled “traditionalists” for playing the type of guitar-based rock ’n’ roll that from the '60s to the '90s was simply the way many bands did business. Marketing professionals called it classic rock; overnight, guitar-based rock that wasn’t punk, indie, or metal was in danger of being seen as retro. But there’s nothing old about the members of The Whigs. The Athens, Ga.–based trio merely play the music that comes naturally to them. Nowhere is that more obvious than on Modern Creation, where they recorded all 10 tracks live with limited takes at PLYRZ studios in Valencia, Calif., and completed the album in two weeks. Producer Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Wilco) gives the group a crisp sound where Tim Deaux’s bass pulses with Julian Dorio’s drums so fluently that they appear to be making more music than is possible between two people. Singer/guitarist Parker Gispert uses the remaining room to sing and play deliberately thin, shimmering lines. “The Hit” crafts a bit of dance groove, while “Friday Night” goes for lean, tight rock. A solid album with two notable sides. 

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About The Whigs

Frontman Parker Gispert, drummer Julian Dorio, and bassist Hank Sullivant formed the Whigs in 2002 while the three Athens-based musicians were attending college at the University of Georgia. With a jaunty mix of Westerberg-like swagger, alt-rock songwriting, and a heartfelt country disposition, the Whigs played their first shows around campus and soon graduated to higher-profile performances, including opening slots for the likes of the Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and the Futureheads. Recording sessions for the band's debut album, Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip, took place in an empty frat house several years later, and the disc was independently released in 2005. By the following year, the Whigs' audience had widened considerably, prompting Rolling Stone to hail the trio as one of "10 Artists to Watch." The bandmates graduated from college that spring, and ATO Records signed them to its roster before the year was up.

Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip was released again in 2005, this time with ATO's help. Despite the surge of good luck, Sullivant soon exited the group to pursue a solo career as Kuroma -- a project he eventually put on hold in order to join MGMT's backup band -- and Tim Deaux climbed aboard as his replacement. With a revised lineup in place, the Whigs traveled to Los Angeles in 2007 to begin work on their sophomore album, eventually announcing its completion that October. Mission Control was issued in January 2008, and the band supported its release with a series of late-night TV performances and tour dates alongside the Drive-By Truckers, the Kooks, and Kings of Leon. They returned to the road with Kings of Leon in early 2009, and spent much of the remainder of the year writing songs for a third album. Recorded in Athens with producer Ben Allen (who had spent the previous year recording Animal Collective's highly acclaimed Merriweather Post Pavilion), In the Dark was completed in late 2009 and released the following March.

The Whigs supported In the Dark with an extensive tour that ran into 2011, and then began working on a new album, their first for New West Records. That album, titled Enjoy the Company, appeared in the fall of 2012. Two years later, the group delivered Modern Creation and in 2016 they released Live in Little Five, which was only available on vinyl and as a digital download. ~ MacKenzie Wilson & Andrew Leahey

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