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White Hills releases its new album at the Bell House

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Friends with benefits: W’burg duo White Hills attracts famous fans

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Fame is fleeting, but an experimental rock album is forever.

Williamsburg psychedelic rock band White Hills has spent the better part of the last decade gaining cult status on the strength of its spaced-out anthems and spirited live performances. But recently, the duo has caught the attention of some big-name fans.

Director Jim Jarmusch cast the act as vampire rockers in his most recent film “Only Lovers Left Alive,” and the two-piece toured as the handpicked support act for beloved British rockers the Cult last year.

“I have been taken by Jim Jarmusch as a filmmaker for years,” said White Hills’ singer and guitarist, known only as Dave W. “That he’s a fan of an art that I made is something that never crossed my mind. It’s nice to say the least.”

But W. and bandmate Ego Sensation didn’t allow themselves much time to bask in the glow of the acclaim. Soon after touring with the Cult, the notoriously prolific performers, who have released around 40 different albums and singles over the past decade, set to work on their latest studio album “Walks For Motorists,” which they will launch at the Bell House in Gowanus on April 3.

The pair said they didn’t try to simply replicate the hallucinogenic guitar-based sound that earned them those famous fans. In fact, they often left W.’s trusty six-stringer completely out of the songs, instead building new material using bass, keyboards, and percussion, creating a sound reminiscent of the repetitive swirl of ’70s Krautrock bands such as Neu! and Can.

“I felt like we had started to lose the sense of groove,” said W. “I wanted that to be really present.”

And now the album is done, the hard-touring hard-rockers don’t plan on putting their feet up any time soon. Following the release show, White Hills will hit the road for two solid months of touring around Europe.

“The idea that if you write some good songs then all of the sudden you’ll achieve fame and fortune doesn’t exist,” said W. “If you’re going to survive in doing this, you have to have a strong work ethic.”

White Hills plays the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643–6510, www.thebellhouseny.com]. April 3 at 9 pm, $15 ($12 advance).

Updated 1:28 pm, March 30, 2015
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