“I think people have a hard time describing the band’s sound because everyone is inclined to compare,” said The Whigs’ drummer Julian Dorio. “I hope people sometimes bring up The Replacements or Guided by Voices. We definitely focus on songwriting.”
Dorio, Parker Gispert (vocals, guitar) and Tim Deaux (bass) make up The Whigs, an indie-rock power trio from Athens, Ga., that just might be the buzz band of 2008. You won’t find their photos on magazine covers and iTunes probably isn’t going to recommend their just-released sophomore album, Mission Control, with every other purchase. But The Whigs seem bound for big stages and bright lights — and for all the right reasons.
“We were recording in this Southern mansion in Athens that wasn’t meant to be recorded in,” recalls Dorio in discussing the modest recording of The Whigs’ first album, Give ’Em All a Big Fat Lip. “We had to buy a little bit of equipment off the Internet just to make [the recording] happen, and then ended up selling it on eBay once we were done because, you know, we needed that money back.”
That was nearly three years ago, when the band was attending the University of Georgia and taking their economical garage rock wherever they could on the weekends.
Faith in their songcraft in tow, the trio soon left the full-time student lifestyle behind, simultaneously graduating and signing with ATO Records — a college band’s dream come true.
Already being hailed as 2008’s first great release, Mission Control was recorded in LA’s legendary Sunset Sound Studios by flannel-friendly producer Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck, Islands). For their first professionally recorded batch of songs, The Whigs aimed to find the producer who could best translate their live sound to tape.
“It’s been a lot of fun playing since the record came out, knowing that people know the songs or can go home and listen to them,” Dorio said. “Now we’re just going to keep touring and going as much as we can through the year.”
The band’s stage-show features big hooks, gravelly-but-sweet vocals (think Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz), bigger drums and on-stage freak-outs.
The Whigs will take the Birdy’s stage following openers Wax Fang and Tulsa, minor buzz bands in their own right. Head over to www.thewhigs.com for audio samples, visuals, bells and whistles.