iTunes Catch of the Day: The Raconteurs

I first became aware of Jack White when his band The White Stripes were garnering praise for their 2001 album White Blood Cells. Back in those carefree and innocent days, the White Stripes were grouped by lazy critics with a then-emerging bunch of white-guys-playing-electric-guitars bands that I liked to call “The Silent-E Bands” because they all, mysteriously, had names ending in a silent E: The White Stripes, the Hives, the Vines, the Strokes. I bought all the records by all those bands because, well, I like to hear music by white guys playing electric guitars and that thing was at the time becoming an increasingly rare commodity.

(A big spark for my interest in the White Stripes in particular was this video for “Fell in Love with a Girl.”)

Here it is seven years later and I’ve sold all those CDs by all those bands back to the used-CD store, except for the White Stripes. The Vines? I couldn’t even tell you what they sounded like, and they made it to the cover of Rolling Stone. But the White Stripes? As far as I can tell they just get better and better, with no upper limit in sight that I can detect.

Jack White, I have found, is what I like to call “the real thing,” a serious, long-term artist exploding with a kind of talent that I think still hasn’t been adequately measured yet. As a songwriter he has a comprehensive understanding of popular music forms to stand beside that of Bob Dylan or Elvis Costello (two anchors of my collection), plus he can play guitar like nobody’s business and sing better than either of those two guys. That, in my book, is quite a formidable package.

A couple of years ago he announced a side project, The Raconteurs, a band with him a bunch of other guys I’ve never heard of but who I am sure are all talented musicians. Their first record I bought and enjoyed but there was something a little pale about it, like the elements weren’t quite gelling somehow. It was a side project and it sounded like a side project. This is not the case with their new album, Consolers of the Lonely which appeared out of nowhere a few days ago (it had no advance publicity) and has not left my attention since. It is dense, loud, poppy, bluesy, rootsy and irresistible. They sound like a real band, mixing together more influences than I can accurately name. It is not a side project, or it doesn’t sound like one at any rate. It sounds like a major release from a major band and I unreservedly recommend this record to the musically inclined.

UPDATE: I thought the Beatles references on this record might have been accidental or unintentional, but check out the vest Jack White wears in this video and compare it to the one worn by McCartney in Magical Mystery Tour. I knew Jack was the cute one.hitcounter


19 Responses to “iTunes Catch of the Day: The Raconteurs”
  1. nom_de_grr says:

    Thanks for the rec. I feel the same way about The White Stripes; they are one of those rare bands that really do live up to the hype. Have you got any other recommendations?

  2. rxgreene says:

    The Vines are to Rock & Roll as the Rolling Stones are to R&B: Distilled down and seen from an angle.

  3. Anonymous says:


    Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
    Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
    Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080

    Hi Todd,

    On behalf of XL Recordings and Warner Bros Records, many thanks for plugging “Consolers Of The Lonely” … .. thanks also, on behalf of the labels and The Raconteurs, for not posting any pirate links although, if your readers would like a good quality, non-pirated, preview clip, a widget of the promo video for “Salute Your Solution” is available for fans and bloggers to embed at



    • Todd says:


      Um, okay.

    • pirateman says:


      See, you and I disagree.

      I thought that the Raconteurs first album was probably the best rock record of the last five years. I didn’t feel like it sounded like a “side project” at all; I felt like it sounded like a supergroup – because that’s what it was. Fellow Detroitian songwriter Brendan Benson was a fave of mine before hooking up with Jack White, and I feel like all of White’s weak areas (bridges, for instance) were Brendan’s strengths… In a very Lennon/McCartney-esqe way. Jack White, IMO, tends to write very aggressive, harsh songs. Even slow songs that should be tender… Say, “It’s True That We Love One Another” or whatever it’s called, comes off a little harsh on the ears. Although it’s just voice and guitar it still cuts through to the stirrup bone like an icepick to the head. Benson, on the other hand, is very much the mellow catapiller on the mushroom. Whatever. This comment is way too long. You get my meanins’.

      POINT: Their new album is SUPER DOPE, and I cannot wait to see them on tour!!!

      • Todd says:

        Re: RACONTEURS

        I bow to your superior knowledge.

        • pirateman says:

          Re: RACONTEURS

          There’s no bowing here, friend! I was merely suggesting (albeit in an extremely roundabout and condescending way, now that I’m rereading my comment) that you should check out Brendan Benson! You might like the ol’ chap if you give him a chance!

        • yetra says:

          Re: RACONTEURS

          If you have an opportunity to see them live, I highly recommend it. I’ve seen them twice now (I lovelovelove their first cd), and in my opinion, their live shows are the closest I’ll ever come to seeing Led Zeppelin perform. The chemistry between Brendan Benson and Jack White is electrifying. And while neither one of them are really my type, when they are on stage doing their thing, woooosh, what I wouldn’t give to be their love groupie.

          And thanks for your post, it reminded me I had to pick up the new cd. So far it’s fantastic!

  4. curt_holman says:

    You might like the mash-up ‘Sweet Dreams Are Made of Seven Nation Army.’

    Of all the Silent E Bands, The Hives are probably my favorite.

  5. As long as Mister Web Sheriff doesn’t mind, I believe the album is available on Napster 2.0’s free website (three free plays of much of their catalog),

  6. Anonymous says:


    Nice blog you’ve got ‘ere, Alcott. Be a shame if anyfing ‘appened to it…

  7. I bought all the records by all those bands because, well, I like to hear music by white guys playing electric guitars and that thing was becoming an increasingly rare commodity.

    Do you know about the John Butler Trio, the Living End, or Powderfinger (in increasing order of dissimilarity to the Raconteurs)?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Brendan Benson recommendation seconded

    I agree with pirateman that Brendan Benson is worth checking out. He’s poppier and mellower than Jack Black. Try his second album, Lapalco.

    You should also listen to the Raconteurs live. I saw them in London in 2006 and they were excellent – pretty much every song from the first album sounds better live. All the shows from that UK tour were released as “official bootlegs” – in fact, you could hang around after the show and take the CD of that night’s gig home with you.

    I don’t know if they ship to the States but some of the shows are still available here: