White Lung's Second Coming
"It's fine, it's just a small fracture and a little bit of internal bleeding." White Lung's Mish Way is describing her broken cheekbone, the result of a drunk fan tripping her into the drums the night before. "It's not a big deal, they gave me some nice pain killers."
In a matter of hours, Way will board a flight to embark on White Lung's first East coast tour, and she's not going to let a swollen face hold her back. After four years of internal struggles and postponed plans, the Vancouver based post-punk quartet are finally getting things done, touring for the first time and releasing their debut album It's the Evil.
Written in one month, the album expands White Lung's aggressive mandate by diversifying without slowing down. New recruit Kenny McCorkell has added the necessary diversity to spread the band over a full album. His guitar riffs build on the band's bare-knuckled attack with technical prowess and noisy skronk while Anne Marie Vassiliou and Grady MacIntosh continue to build a snappy backbone for Way's throaty vocals.
It's the Evil showcases the group in their prime, but it didn't arrive without a wealth of inter-band adversity. Forming in 2006, White Lung quietly dropped the Local Garbage seven-inch in 2007. The record, a deadly mix of riot grrrl snarl, visceral post-punk and energetic hardcore, caught the attention of critics across the globe, landing them a cover story on the venerable DIY rag Maximum Rocknroll and a contract with Canadian punk mainstay Deranged Records.
Recording time was booked and tours were planned, but White Lung only released the Magazine seven-inch before calling it quits due to a strained relationship with original guitarist Natasha Reich. "There was something about the combination of the four of us that was keeping us from working," Way recalls. "We were just dancing around the idea that things were going to be okay when they weren't. We didn't play shows or write songs for a long time, and then Natasha finally decided to go."
With their future in jeopardy, the remaining members of White Lung found solace in McCorkell. The first person to audition for the empty slot, Way describes him as "the second coming of White Lung," and regularly refers to him as "Ken doll." "The momentum is just so different," she explains. "Kenny came into the band, we put out a seven-inch [Atlanta], we went on tour, we recorded our LP, now we have this tour, another one down the West coast and we're playing [Calgary festival] Sled Island."
At this pace, not even financial strains can hold them back. "We were trying to figure out how to get some money for this tour, and we were going to become a wedding band and learn some cover songs," she says between cigarette puffs. "Then we thought we could sell our underwear on the internet, but that never happened so we just saved our money." Way is half joking, but her message rings loud and clear: White Lung will stop at nothing.
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