White Hinterland

Freedom often begins from terror, and White Hinterland's third album, Baby, addresses the fear that comes along with breaking out of established rituals, or leaving a comfortable place, and striking out into the unknown. Four years after her profile-raising release, Kairos (2010), Casey Dienel aka White Hinterland has taken the gloves off and knuckled down to produce a deep, dark, heady mix of songs. After two and a half years of writing and recording material in Montreal and Portland, OR, Dienel moved back in to her family home in Scituate, MA. There she forged a new aesthetic, spending five months building her own studio, The Glades, in her parents' basement - the same space where she practiced piano and vocal lessons as a child. Determined to helm her new album, Dienel spent months studying production, poring over YouTube tutorials about Protools, mic'ing techniques and other minutiae. Armed with this self-taught skill and her new studio, Dienel set forth to subvert the existing power structure of male producer as svengali and female artist as figurehead (see: Billy Corgan/Courtney Love, Timbaland/Aaliyah, Phil Spector/The Ronettes). She created her own, new path on Baby, which showcases her as a singer/songwriter/producer who has only become bolder and more resolute over the past three-plus years. Calling in her friends as pinch hitters, Dienel worked acclaimed musicians Sean Carey (Bon Iver, S. Carey), Neal Morgan (Joanna Newsom, Bill Callahan), and Cole Kamen-Green (Beyonc). On her first four records, Dienel projected her fears and fantasies onto imaginary characters, role play, and lush atmospherics. If Kairos was a work of atmosphere, a forty-minute-long reverie without any narrative, then Baby sits at the opposite end of that spectrum. Baby is about song craft. It is forceful, rooted in the physicality of the voice, percussion and piano, and it is about getting straight to the point, which Dienel does on the very first song. Lead-off track "Wait Until Dark" begins a capella, just Dienel's voice in a reverberant room. That voice is capable of carrying a significant melodic and emotional load, and on Baby's title track it swoops dramatically from an edge-of-cliff howl to her crystalline upper-range, then back down to a soulful growl. By the end of the song, sounding exhausted but ready to push forward, Dienel again drops away the arrangement, leaving just her voice, stripped bare and pushed to the very edges of its significant range, "Say I'll take a sip, but I can't leave a drop," she repeats over and over: "Is this my weakness?" These audacious choices were intentional, she says, "As producer I made the call to scale back the reverb, saw off the synths and seat my voice front and center for the first time. It was not accidental." The themes explored on Baby are universal but it is Dienel's singular reaction to what life has thrown in front of her that makes the record unique. "I would say the themes of this record to me are personal agency, strength, growth, determination," she posits. "And to get those things is usually fucking terrifying and comes with casualties and loss." Call it Millennial Anxiety, if you like. "White Noise" erupts over alcoholism and abandonment while "Wait Until Dark" and "Sickle No Sword" are paeans to violence and breaches of security. On the unsparing "Dry Mind" mention is made of "No Plan B, no B.A., No Exit." "Live WIth U" and "Baby" take aim at both the narrator and object of desire. "David" describes the dangerous lotus-eater effect of nostalgia, both a eulogy to the past and a celebration of life even at its most brutal. "No Devotion" asks the question of nature vs. nurture. Do we inherit these behaviors or are they learned over the time? And can we unlearn them? Baby's production is marked by extremes, and it continually returns to the piano, Dienel's first love. Where her earlier work occasionally showcased a strong Joni Mitchell influence, on new songs like "David" she finds herself in Fiona Apple territory. "Whatever you say, don't say we we're lucky. Whatever you do, don't call it chance," she croons with a mixture of regret and relief. "That's like saying it was an accident when I was running at you with my sharpest knife." Her lifelong love of R&B and gospel also comes to the fore, these resonant styles complement and contrast the sharp dynamic shifts, booming drums, and blasts of brass. Consider "Ring the Bell": her confident vocals buoy the song as it grows larger and more forthright, winding itself up into a maelstrom that feels like the seasick experience of falling head over heels in love. On "Metronome," Baby's centerpiece and most assertive track, she declares, "All day long I'm a boss." She's not asking for someone to serve as a steadying influence, but instead requiring that it's necessary to keep up with her. Dienel's Baby is both the pop clich of "Oooh, Baby Baby" and Dienel telling herself to stop being such a baby. It is a word of both endearment and dismissal, repurposed to serve her needs. It's a cathartic embrace of hardship, the crucible which can forge the strongest steel. It is the past three years of her life distilled into song: joy, heartbreak, frustration, longing, disappointment, anger, and loss accumulated, poured out and reborn in this new, unflinching release.

White Hinterland To Join S. Carey On December Tour!

scareywhite2

This December, take a break from your hibernating and holiday shopping and come out to see White Hinterland! They will be joining S. Carey on a string of dates in the Midwest, Canada and East Coast, as well as two headlining shows in Chicago and Bloomington, Indiana. Check them out below!

12/05/10- Bloomington, IN- The Bishop

12/07/10- Chicago, IL- The Empty Bottle

12/08/10- Minneapolis, MN- First Avenue

W/ S. Carey

12/10/10 Iowa City, IA- The Mill

12/13/10 New York, NY – Highline Ballroom
12/14/10 Washington, DC – Rock and Roll Hotel
12/15/10 Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Chapel
12/16/10 Boston, MA – Paramount Center Black Box
12/17/10 Portland, ME – The Space
12/18/10 Montreal QC – Casa del Popolo
12/19/10 Toronto ON – Horseshoe Tavern
12/21/10 Pontiac, MI – Pike Room

“It’s Kind Of A Funny Story” Soundtrack To Feature White Hinterland!

Its-Kind-Of-A-Funny-Story-Poster-header-1

White Hinterland’s “Icarus” will be featured on the upcoming soundtrack for “It’s Kind Of A Funny Story.” The film follows a teenage boy in a psychiatric ward who finds love and Zach Galifanakis! It also stars Zoe Kravitz, Emma Roberts and Lauren Graham.

The OST will be available for purchase on September 28, and the film is out in theaters Oct. 8.

Check out the movie trailer and OST tracklist after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

White Hinterland track featured on Fey 7″ series to benefit music programs in Haitian schools

White Hinterland will feature their collaboration track with Alexis Gideon, “Golden Child” on the second installation of Common Cloud Records’ Fey 7″ series. The profits will go to Holy Trinity School of Music in Port Au Prince to purchase new musical instruments for its young students and to support the faculty and staff. Proceeds will also be given to the Dessaix Baptiste School of Music in Jacmel.

productimage_2Each of the  300 copies of the Fey 7″ will also  include a hand screened numbered art print.

The other track is a joint effort by Thao Nguyen & Merrill Garbus of tUnEyArDs titled “Tuvalu.”

You can pre-order the limited edition 7″ here. And its only $10!

Watch New White Hinterland Video for “No Logic”

NoLogic

This weekend, Gorilla VS. Bear premiered the new White Hinterland video for “No Logic,” directed by Solomon Chase. It was filmed on a Spring evening in the woods of North Carolina. Shot in infrared, the video is a stunning black and white interplay that reveals Casey Dienel and Shawn Creeden amidst wandering forest creatures of the night. Its eerie, enigmatic and electrifying! But you really just gotta see for yourself.


White Hinterland are playing at Holocene for Portland’s MusicfestNW on September 10th. You can buy your tickets right here!

Booking Agent Contact

NORTH AMERICA
Zachary Cepin
High Road Touring
zachary@highroadtouring.com
415-332-9292

Wilson Zheng
High Road Touring
wilson@highroadtouring.com
415.332.9292

UK/EU:
Earth Agency
Claire Courtney
clairecourtney@earth-agency.com

tour dates

There are no shows at this time.

See all upcoming shows »

free downloads

Ring the Bell by White Hinterland
No Logic by White Hinterland
Icarus by White Hinterland
Chant de Grillon by White Hinterland

video

No Devotion
by White Hinterland
Baby
by White Hinterland
Ring The Bell
by White Hinterland
Amsterdam
by White Hinterland
No Logic
by White Hinterland

Find Dead Oceans On:

& please subscribe to our RSS Feed