As the old adage goes, “You have a lifetime to make your first record.” But that freedom of time is coupled with increased pressure. So often, debut albums are saddled with the weight of expectation.
The members of Austin, Texas-based White Label Analog—vocalist Chris Didear, drummer/vocalist Heath Macintosh, and bassist Aaron Herbster—have been through that pressure before, and they know how to rise to the challenge with their electrifying album, In Case You Just Tuned In.
“In Case You Just Tuned In is a veritable snap shot of our lives since releasing (their 2015 EP) A Little More Time,” says Macintosh. “A reflection of our ideas, feelings, and the experiences we’ve all shared.” It was released in September 2016 and ignited a 7,000 mile fall tour from Austin to the Pacific Northwest and down the West Coast. “White Label Analog have created a sound that echoes some of the greats in the Indie and Alternative genres (The Strokes, Bloc Party, The Hold Steady and Two Door Cinema Club), while remaining uniquely their own.” – Paul Driscoll (RadioBDC: Director of Operations and Program Development).
Lead single “Echoes” epitomizes this idea of taking in and appreciating each snapshot moment. It received spins on KROQ (LA), WRFF (Philly), KTCL (Denver), WLKK (Buffalo), WWCD (Columbus), KFMA (Tucson), KRXP (Colorado Springs), KLBJ (Austin), with official adds on KACV (Amarillo) and RadioBDC (Boston).
“I play over 40 new tracks weekly, and “Echoes” has been one of my strongest reaction songs of the year.” -Bruce Rave (host of syndicated show Go Deep heard on KXRN, Indie1031.com, WSUM, and WVMO).
The “echoes” of the title “are the reverberations of our experience on earth that continue after we are no longer here,” says Didear. It’s a song with a universal, understandable message: Life is short, experiences are fleeting, so we should make as many memories as we can in the time we’ve been given.
It’s a theme that envelops much of In Case You Just Tuned In. Even at its most personal moments, where failed relationships are analyzed and personal loss is quantified, the album is truly focused on crawling your way out of the dark and into the light. Musically, the album is bursting with the vitality of this mantra, with energetic synths and vivacious drum beats that recall the most joyous moments in the listener.
While White Label Analog self-produced the record, allowing them the autonomy to create without outside influence, they turned to a number of mixing engineers to deliver the fully realized sound they were seeking. That collaborative effort, highlighted by 11-time Grammy nominated mixing engineer Mark Needham (The Killers, Saint Motel, Imagine Dragons), as well as Dwight Baker (Kelly Clarkson, Missio, Blue October), Mark Dufour (Ghostland Observatory, Vertical Horizon) and Chris “Frenchie” Smith (Gary Clark Jr., Built to Spill, Jet), allowed the band to achieve the most fully realized iteration of each of the 11 tracks on the album.
The result is an eclectic group of songs that seems to pull as much from pop rock traditions like The Killers as they do from indie bands like Two Door Cinema Club and Modest Mouse. Songs like “Rainmaker” retain infectious melodies while simmering with big rock bombast. In an era of convergence between indie rock and pop music, White Label Analog is the daring alliance between the two. Call it indie rock for the poptimist generation.
White Label Analog is not worried about trying to fit in to any genre labels or follow any trends in music. “Trying to copy or chase what’s already happening is like chasing a moving target,” Didear says.
“We just want to create honest music that is fun, engaging, but still has a little attitude.”
That effort, and the band’s trademark defying of expectation, is best exemplified by the closing track on In Case You Just Tuned In. “Hard Road,” the Black Sabbath cut previously known solely as the last single released during Ozzy Osbourne’s first tenure in the band, is given a new lease on life at the end of In Case You Just Tuned In, transforming the rollicking track into a climactic singalong to conclude the album. The song’s refrain is a fitting one to describe the journey of White Label Analog: “Oh, it’s a hard road…Forget all your sorrow, don’t live in the past. And look to the future, `cause life goes too fast.”
The individuals in the band went through a great deal of personal exploration to get to their debut full-length release. But White Label Analog wasn’t looking back. They continued to advance, invigorated by their collaboration and 2017 proved to be an exciting year with new milestones. White Label Analog performed at the RadioBDC+1 event in Boston, MA, followed by an official SXSW 2017 showcase. “My 2 favorite shows at SXSW – The Dandy Warhols and THESE guys – White Label Analog! Great songs! Loved their sound. We added “Echoes” immediately.” -Mike Fuller (Program Director-KACV FM90). WLA was named as one of Austin Monthly’s “10 Bands to Watch” in the March 2017 issue and traveled internationally to perform two official showcases at Canadian Music Week in Toronto, CA in April 2017. Most recently, their tracks “Al Capone” and “Awakened By The Fire” were featured in 2 episodes of MTV’s “Teen Mom 2” in August and September 2017, and the track “Where Have You Been” was licensed for the feature film “My Ranger” which premiered at the Austin Revolution Film Festival in September of 2017 where it won the award for Best Soundtrack.