Founded on 4/20 and named after an Airheads flavor, White Mystery are a band that sold me from the start. Miss Alex White shreds guitar with a raw ferocity as her younger brother Francis slams away on the drums, or whatever he’s got nearby. They may also just be the heir apparent to the White Stripes throne.
I tried to avoid the White Stripes comparisons, but it’s impossible. White Mystery is the band the Stripes purported to be: a brother and sister garage rock duo. Except, Alex and Francis are actually brother and sister — them ginger locks don’t lie. They even have the name; let’s not forget Jack’s actual surname is Gillis.
Beyond those obvious surface level similarities, White Mystery is a beast all its own. Rather than draw on blues for their influence as many of their contemporaries have done, their sound is steeped much more in punk. Their self-titled debut presents a cohesive journey across an exploding, ethereal soundscape.
Here on their second album, Blood & Venom these Whites have sharpened their sound like an ax through a meat grinder. Forged in a steel factory during the unforgiving Chicago winter, with heavy beats and groovy riffs, White Mystery captured something even more illusive: authenticity.
Between Alex’s howls and Francis’ shouts, you can tell these kids grew up banging whatever they could find, like pots and pans, to make music. At this year’s SXSW, they sat poolside, Francis without his drum kit clapping away, and Alex ripping away at an unamplified electric guitar like a doctor willing a patient back to life, almost like saying “I’m not gonna lose you, you’re going to rock, damn it!” No difference, they were just there to party anyway.
To celebrate the release of Blood & Venom and their third anniversary, White Mystery plays a doubleheader late night set at Pancho’s (yes, a Mexican cafeteria) in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood on 4/20 (that’s TODAY). Tickets for both shows are available here.
Also, check out this White Mystery sketch by Dmitry Samarov. You can see more of his work, including more live concert sketches, on his website.