White Lung
Gig Seeker Pro

White Lung


Band Rock Punk




"White Lung: Sorry | Album Reviews | Pitchfork"

If you're familiar with the Vancouver four-piece White Lung, it's fair to assume you're a punk in the traditional sense. And that's because over the past six years White Lung have functioned in a distinctly underground and subversive mode. They've trekked Canada and the States on DIY tours through venues so small I inadvertently knocked into a mic stand when I saw them last month, in the stage-less, graffiti-strewn backroom of a dingy Brooklyn tavern. And their fast and frightening 19-minute sophomore record, Sorry, was out earlier this year on the small, hardcore-oriented Canadian label Deranged, which also released some of the first material from a similarly pummeling group, Fucked Up.
But despite White Lung's threatening devotion to the more venomous corners of rapid-fire punk, Sorry is compulsively listenable due in no small part to singer Mish Way's successful pinning of a sweet spot between snarled yells, curled syllables, and melodic but equally intimidating, tobacco-tattered verse. The band's template recalls the earliest recordings by Hole, Babes in Toyland, or L7-- Way is not shy about her affinity for Courtney Love-- but compressed and sped-up to mimic the motions of classic 1980s hardcore. The latter is rooted mostly in the thoroughly relentless, rocket-speed drumming of Anne-Marie Vassiliou through the record's every track, which seems to know only one method of shifting tempo ("faster"). If those aforementioned riot grrrl references sound superficial, consider Way's own description of her band's sound: "like the feeling you get when you pee on the prego stick and it shows you a plus sign."
Way's most compelling moments on Sorry are those in which she's particularly hellish, strong, and lyrically bold. "Wipe that look from your face/ I'll drop you back from where you came," she screams within the first 40 seconds of opener "Take the Mirror", over guitarist Kenneth Williams' subtle but noise-laden post-punk riffage. That fury returns on the hooky "Glue", where Way declares "You're a dead horse riding/ I'm out for you." These moments seem designed for thrashing pit-level shout-alongs, as does the cautionary chorus on "Bag". Elsewhere Way muses bloody and visceral lines that hone on the body, like "Bunny", where she ferociously sings "I'll scrub your liver clean until I die," or "Bad Way", in which she melodically describes a collapsing face and snapping veins over some of the record's most scratched, anxious fretwork.
Sorry has hardly got a distracted moment, but "Thick Lip" stands out as the band's most abrasive, collective assault. It functions like a sonic declaration of war, one that comes into focus as Way's lyrics acknowledge "a pretty young girl" in the back of your mind: "We don't have real heads/ Instead we got legs," she shouts, setting off a tirade of lines that seem to hint at topical criticisms of backwards beauty standards. "I know your big secret/ It's caked on your face," Way wages, and then the killer: "I know that you're better/ Than most of this world/ But your thick dumb lips/ Tell a real dumb truth." Interpret that one as you wish. Way pierces the song with a clear, perpetual shriek-- "WHAT DID HE SAY?"-- that feels like one of her definitive moments. Not every girl is a riot grrrl, but here Way quite undeniably carries a torch for feminist punk heroes of decades past while sounding entirely present.
And so add White Lung to the ever-widening pool of contemporary bands drawing from punk and hardcore but staking their own territory: Iceage, the Men, and Cloud Nothings, for example. They might work off old reference points, but White Lung are architects of a raw sound that feels novel and ideal in 2012: inventive, precise guitar textures, palatable pop hooks, and terrifying speed. Recently, Way, who is also a writer, mused on her place in the underground punk scene: "The common understanding [is] that being in a band is not a viable career option," she wrote. "We'll celebrate breaking even after every [self-booked] tour... and that's totally okay with me." Time will tell if that will remain the case for White Lung. For now Sorry is their loudest statement yet. - Pitchfork Media

"SPIN: Listen to White Lung's Hot-to-the-Touch 'Take The Mirror'"

Good morning! Below, please find White Lung's "Take the Mirror," a hunk of hot-to-the-touch, hardcore-informed noise that packs 20 years of punk moves into two very ferocious minutes. The track will feature prominently on the Vancouver foursome's forthcoming (and by the sound of things, not-to-be-missed) full-length, Sorry, due out May 29 via Deranged Records. - Spin

"White Lung Do Their Homework"

White Lung had one goal when it came time to make their sophomore album: no filler.

Their debut, 2010's It's The Evil, was itself a quick hit, coming in at just over 20 minutes of the same high-stakes post-punk chaos that defined their previous singles and pushed them towards breaking out of Vancouver's long-gestating "weird" scene. But singer Mish Way says that whatever force it packed in its brevity was lost on her over time.

"There are certain songs on It's The Evil that I listen to and they actually make me sick," she says from her home in Vancouver. Without sacrificing the intensity, Way wanted to focus on melody this time, but figuring it out required some homework.

"All last summer on tour, I was listening to a lot of different stuff, everything from Janitor Joe to the first Strokes album to Boss Hog to Helene Smith. Every time I'd come across a song I really liked and I thought the melody was really strong, I'd be making notes, like, 'Why do I like this so much? What about it isn't working?' Just trying to figure out how to write better melodies. And I also didn't want to scream as much, because my throat gets sore."

The research paid off ? Sorry clocks in at a lean 19 minutes, and the proper pop-song choruses of tracks like "Bag," "Glue," and "Bad Way" tag-team with the album's other highlight, guitarist Kenneth McCorkell's relentless, squealing textures.

The band ? rounded out by drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou and bassist Grady Mackintosh ? employed a similar last-minute writing approach as last time, often finishing a song the night before a scheduled recording session. But unlike the last album, this time, they've had a little more time to gel, giving them a tighter grip.

"When we wrote the first record, Kenny was relatively new, and now we're like a real band and know each other so intimately from touring and being together all the time. We're just tighter. It's very focused."
- Exclaim!

"White Lung Sorry Review"

Rating: 8.2
Deranged Records
White Lung

High expectations are a hell of a thing. Take, for example, Vancouver’s (B.C.) White Lung, who took the punk-o-sphere by storm with a series of exquisite 7-inches and a full LP. One would understand if the band – consisting of drummer Anne-Marie Vassilou, bassist Grady Mackintosh, guitarist Kenneth McCorkell and vocalist Mish Way – felt a little pressure as a result. Thankfully, Sorry, the group’s new release, delivers on the promise of their old material while charting new sonic territory as well.

Fans of the group’s previous material will find themselves in familiar territory. “St. Dad” is all lean guitar and relentless momentum, while “Thick Lip” is a blur of back-alley violence with Mackintosh and Vassilou setting up a punishing rhythmic foundation right from the start. McCorkell plays off of this perfectly, adding his own complementary punch to the rhythm section, then transitioning to flanged stabs of guitar that flit about like bats. By the time Way howls, “We’ll turn you/Just like the rest,” her vision has already come to pass: you can taste the blood in your mouth, and you like it.

There are plenty of moments like this throughout the 19-minute running time of Sorry, and they should be no surprise. White Lung’s discography is one giant spate of controlled violence. Taken as a whole however, Sorry marks a definite shift in sound. White Lung still snarl and sneer, but their bared teeth seem just a shade cleaner. Some of the grime from their last release, It’s The Evil, has been wiped away in favor of higher production values and the group explores higher frequencies, attempting to prove that treble and melody can rip just as hard.

Nowhere is this experimentation more apparent than in Way’s vocals. While she’s displayed startlingly diverse panoply of sounds in previous releases, they’ve tended to be grounded in a lower range of growls, bellows and monotone utterances. Apparently, this was by choice not by limitation. On “Those Girls”, Way launches her pipes into the stratosphere, surveying the landscape of the song from on high. Along with McCorkell’s lightning-quick guitar-work, the song sounds like a lost Marnie Stern track. It’s a new reference point for the band, and unique in its timeliness – White Lung is inevitably swamped with references to punk and hardcore of decades past, and “Those Girls” manages to retain those elements while sounding like none of them.

A similar situation arises in “Bag”. Backed by the band’s most melodic playing yet, Way sings (yes, sings) culminating with the wailing chorus, “I want to/Warn you/I want to/Warn you.” The sense of urgency is nothing new. White Lung has always insisted on setting the pace for listeners. However, the addition of melody adds an undercurrent of anguish. It gives Way’s voice something that no one expects to hear: a sense of vulnerability.

Way’s foray into emotionalism is one of the most memorable moments of the album, but it isn’t the best – that honor goes to the more familiar sonic assault of “Thick Lip”. This is new ground for the band, and while they haven’t mastered it yet they already show a formidable degree of skill when wielding it. This new approach may alienate some long-time listeners; they might see it as a concession to the melodic, rather than an integration of it. Quite frankly, those people are wrong. Sorry is an attempt to reach a new sound while retaining the bite of the original. The result isn’t perfect but it’s a definite and highly enjoyable step in the right direction. White Lung can rest easy that their experiments are resulting in an expansion of their sonic palette, not a dilution. - SSG Music

"VICE Premieres: "Glue" by White Lung"

White Lung is a band from Canada that we all love and talk about as much as possible. Their new album, Sorry, comes out on Deranged Records on May 29th and it's violent and threatening and smart. Everything you'd want in an album, or a date!

We couldn't be happier to premiere a new track from these ram-rods. This song is called "Glue" and it will make you want to kick your own self in the head. - Vice Magazine

"Punk: Year in Review 2010"

White Lung only released their debut It's the Evil this summer, but those with an ear tipped toward the Vancouver underground have been watching since 2006, when a couple of burning-hot vinyl singles threw the visceral punk quartet into critics' and fans arms, as well as deeper into a series of personal hindrances. Vocalist Mish Way says stopping wasn't an option and that the stop/start momentum stoked them further. "We [including drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou and bassist Grady Mackintosh] made a decision after Natasha [Reich, guitarist] left that we were going to keep this band together. We've all worked hard, fuck it. So we kept planning all the time. Always thinking." They soon found guitarist Kenny McCorkell, recorded another stellar seven-inch, toured, and finally readied their debut.

"Kenny did an amazing job. He came in and we were like, 'well, shit. We have to write. Let's do this.' It was crazy, but it worked. Every single day we were practicing, and writing and scrambling. I'm pretty proud of how it went." That drive lurches off of It's the Evil. It's easy to throw labels at the stark, messy ferocity, but none of them really stick: post-punk, riot-grrrl, garage. What the taut mania boils down to is sensation ? heart and guts, transcending musical trends and politics. "It isn't a female energy, it isn't a masculine energy. It's something else that isn't gendered," says Way, the group's true nucleus, herself a modern, transfixing Iggy Pop/Patti Smith hybrid.

It's the Evil is a watershed that might even cement White Lung as ambassadors for a Canadian scene that's still writing its history. "In Vancouver, right now, there are so many great bands putting out incredible records. You get inspired. That's how music scenes have always been. It's a community."
Nicole Villeneuve - Exclaim

"Magazines 7" review"

Thanks to Deranged Records I finally got my hands on a copy of the new White Lung 7", and I'll be damned if it doesn't surpass their debut on Hockey Dad released earlier this year. Natasha Reich's guitar playing is crazy good, and I especially like the back-and-forth jabs between her and now ex-bassist Grady MacIntosh on "Therapy" while Mish Way shrieks like a banshee about a mystery man of inspiration named Chad. "Magazines" rides a speedy surf guitar lick with the rest of the band holding on for dear life, but thanks to Anne-Marie's steady and sure backbeat, the wheels of this wild ride stay on just long enough to ensure the jilted ex being slagged gets kicked to the curb with a vengeance. "Backhouse" is a live favourite of mine, and on record it's still just as volatile. Here's hoping this incendiary mix of post-punk aggression channels its way into more homesteads by way of this awesome release.
- Bryce Dunn - Discorder Magazine

"White Lung breathes punk-rock fire"

Broken-down vans, crazy neighbours, and ketamine all leave their mark on upstarts with a bad rep.

Much like Joan Jett, White Lung doesn’t give a damn about its bad reputation. Though praised for lavishing East Van’s underground music scene with filthy, feral shards of gutter punk, the quartet was pegged early on by its peers as equipment-mooching divas. Rather than fight the trash talk, the combo chose to embrace its lazy image because, well, it wasn’t that far from the truth. Sitting outside a Commercial Drive Starbucks, vocalist Mish Way and guitarist Natasha Reich explain that sometimes it’s just easier to use someone else’s gear.

“We’ve always had it,” Way says of the group’s gear. “We just didn’t want to carry it anywhere.”

“We didn’t have a van or anything,” Reich rationalizes between sips of coffee. “It was the biggest pain in the ass. The first day we had a van, it broke down in front of Mish’s house.”

Despite the inconveniences White Lung has faced since getting together in 2006, from the lack of a proper vehicle to enduring a band sabbatical late last year, the outfit has become one of the standout acts of the red-hot Emergency Room scene. From acclaim in Wire and Exclaim to a feature in legendary punk rag Maximum RocknRoll, the foursome’s Ramones–meets–riot grrrl vibe has struck a chord with listeners. Magazines, White Lung’s latest vicious vinyl EP, will only add to the group’s growing fan base.

Working off the blueprints laid on Local Garbage, its 2007 debut, the group—Way, Reich, bassist Grady MacIntosh, and drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou—continues to pulverize with pounding beats and busy bass lines, but the new record finds Reich exploring different sonic realms. The six-stringer abandons the harsh, distorted power chords of her earlier work for a haunting collage of skeletal surf licks that would give Dead Kennedys’ guitarist East Bay Ray the willies. The musician credits making the record in a professional studio for her change of direction.

Cutting the three-song EP at the Hive studios in Burnaby left the band with more time to flesh out its sound, unlike the truncated recording of Local Garbage, which took place in an East Van shed.

“This crazy neighbour came over from next door after we had done one or two takes of each song,” Way recalls. “He was shouting, ‘Shut the fuck up!’ and got all mad. We had to stop. We literally recorded for 45 minutes and had to take from that.”

Following in the footsteps of drug-referencing punk tunes like the Ramones’ “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue”, Magazines’ title cut kicks off the disc by looking at the human consumption of ketamine, a hallucinogenic substance used primarily as an animal tranquilizer.

“I briefly dated a guy who did a lot of ketamine,” Way says with a contemptuous laugh. “It’s disgusting—revolting, really. It’s something you really shouldn’t be putting in your body.”

The frantic, two-and-a-half-minute shot of pure adrenaline finds Reich’s freaky guitar squeals spiralling around Way’s sinister sneers at a city full of burnouts on their way to the grave. Oddly, the front woman caps the tune with the puzzling shriek of “Your magazines don’t mean shit to me.”

“My ex-boyfriend ended up modelling,” the singer says of the lyric. “It was a rip on him that way.”

The vocalist admits that her verses are often penned with particular people in mind, though not all of Magazines’ tracks are sung with sour grapes. “Therapy (Song for Chad)” is dedicated to a talented writer friend. “I know it won’t take too long before your genius rips open the world,” Way croons atop a mishmash of jittery, carnival-ride riffing.

“Usually my songs are about one person—it’s either an insult or a tribute,” she says. “If it’s good, I’ll tell them. Sometimes [if it’s bad] they’ll figure it out, and I’m like, ‘Yeah, fuck—sorry.’ But I like doing that. It’s funny.”

With more and more people taking notice of White Lung, the band is finally prepared to take things a little more seriously. They’re even carrying around their own gear these days.

“We’ve been really good with bringing our own stuff,” Way says with a smile. “We’re realizing that’s what you have to do.” - Georgia Straight

"Ready To Fight"

Hardcore is just about the gayest form of music around. Electroclash? At least those guys had the balls to come out with it and dress like women. Italo-disco? Those guys can all take ten times the drugs you could. Hardcore, on the other hand, is full of rippling, topless, sweaty, repressed guys groping each other to bands with names that sound like they were made up by an insecure four-year-old with a tough-guy complex.

All of a sudden, though, a group of four mouthy girls from Vancouver have turned up to save the day and show all the dickless boy-wonders how it’s done. White Lung combine the feral energy of the Germs with the taut, wiry dynamics of the Wipers and have released a string of singles that keep improving in a bewilderingly exponential fashion. In fact, they are this repressed hardcore kid’s favourite new punk band as of right now.

Vice: What is a “white lung”? It sounds like a black lung gone nuclear.

Natasha Reich (guitar): An eight-legged ball of fury.

Grady Mackintosh (bass): Isn’t it a degenerative disease associated with long-term asbestos exposure?

Mish Way (vocals): No! A “white lung” is the slang term for a disease that bakers get from inhaling flour. Our friend Steven worked at a bakery and suggested we call the band White Lung. We had a show coming up and we were still nameless but they needed to make posters and White Lung worked. It sounded pure but intrinsically disgusting. I liked it immediately.

You list “fighting with taxi drivers” as an influence. How often do you find yourselves trading blows with cabbies?

Natasha: It’s pretty hard to find a cab driver that will pick up four people equipped with amps and guitars. Usually we end up having to get one person to stand up the road a bit and flag one down then while they’re distracting the driver we all run up with the equipment and throw it in.

Mish: I wish you’d asked how “hot teenagers” influenced our music instead.

You guys might just be the first punk band ever to have a song about ketamine. Over here it’s mainly a drug that squat kids who listen to psy-trance take.

Mish: That’s hilarious that you associate ketamine with psy-trance kids. One of my ex-boyfriends befriended another ex-boyfriend of mine when they both lived in Berlin. It broke my jealous little heart. They partied a lot together and one used to feed the other ketamine. The song is just an excuse for me to be a resentful hag through shitty symbolism.

Do you ever get shit being a band of laydees in the sweaty, macho, male world of punk?

Natasha: Once a guy walked up to me while we were playing and broke my guitar in half, chucked it at some innocent girl, and told us to get punk or get out. So I killed him with my bare hands.

White Lung’s “Magazine” seven-inch is available now on Deranged Records. myspace.com/whitelungwhitelung - Vice Magazine

"Magazines 7" review"

Neo post punk with a U.K.influence and some strains of no wave seeping in at points, though never entirely taking over. The drums have a big sound and primal beat with the guitars dark and slightly creepy. Three solid songs of this stuff. They sound minimal at points then layered at others. A good mix of all that makes this music interesting. –Matt Average (Deranged) - Razorcake


Sorry LP - 2012 Deranged Records
It's the Evil LP - 2010 Deranged Records

Atlanta EP - 2010 Deranged Records
Magazines EP - 2008 Deranged Records
Local Garbage EP - 2007 Hockey Dad Records



High-energy manic punks, White Lung, are back with their sophomore release, Sorry, out on Deranged. Their 2010 debut It’s the Evil earned them the title as the primary ambassadors for Canada’s emergent punk scene receiving critical acclaim from CHARTAttack to Maximum Rock n’ Roll to Terminal Boredom and their follow-up does not disappoint. According to vocalist, Mish Way, "[The title] Sorry just worked with what it's about -- I apologize too much, it made sense," she says before adding, "Plus Kenny [William, guitarist] wouldn't let me call it Boys and Drugs."

No apologies necessary, William's signature driving, off-kilter riffage paired with Way’s snarling and aggressive yet melodic vocals and the hard-hitting rhythmic duo of Grady Mackintosh on bass and Anne-Marie Vassilou on drums amp up White Lung’s position from ambassadors to the queens (and king) of Canandian noise rock.

Spawned from East Vancouver’s dirty DIY Emergency Room scene, White Lung formed in 2006 with guitarist Kenneth joining in 2009. From the beginning they were road warriors, touring regularly, even contemplating selling their underwear just to get on the road (they eventually opted for the more practical route of saving up funds.) White Lung broke out of their incestuous local scene and brought their music across Canada and the US. They continue to tour fanatically, their live shows have been called, “effortlessly engaging and enigmatic, harnessing a controlled violence that managed to be passionate without going the least bit over-the-top” by Exclaim! Magazine.

The band’s disparate influences have resulted in a wealth of comparisons. Stylistically White Lung’s music has been called everything from noise rock to skate punk to post-riot grrl. According to Way, “When you like playing music you just want to learn, and that comes with playing as much as you can. White Lung is a really odd combination of four people who have pretty different influences.”

Bowing to the inevitable need for comparison, according to Vice Magazine, “White Lung combine the feral energy of the Germs with the taut, wiry dynamics of the Wipers and have released a string of singles that keep improving in a bewilderingly exponential fashion.” Also present in their sound are golden era Kurt and Courtney, The Bags, and Rocket from the Crypt. This wealth of influences doesn’t mean the band’s sound is hard to pin-down. Written and recorded nearly simultaneously, Sorry manages to be both raw and complex, thanks to White Lung’s focus on cohesive writing. According to Way, “We write as a unit now no matter how torturous that is. I worked really hard on melody on this record. It's unforgiving but it's melodic. I wanted that. At some points we were finishing songs the night before going to the studio. It was so immediate and really stressed."

Sorry may have been stressful to record, but it’s a joy to listen to. It signals a new era for White Lung, featuring denser more melodic songs that maintain the rough edge of their punk pedigree.