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The White Stripes



Detroit-based guitar and drums duo The White Stripes proves the old design adage "less is more" by making huge, powerful, eclectic rock music with a minimum of instrumentation. Meg White handles the rhythms, while her brother (or is it her husband? Rumor has it that these supposed siblings are actually...married) Jack White handles the vocal, guitar, and occasional piano duties. And that's it. But it's more than enough: Meg's beats are huge, spare, and echoing, providing ample foundation for Jack's arena rock power chords and terrific blues riffing and his terrific tortured rock and roll whine. What's most impressive about the The White Stripes is how much they can do with so little: taking an aggressive garage rock style as their starting point, they add in some traditional blues, punk-inflected soul, some pounding arena rock. Somehow it all fits together perfectly.

On their '99 self-titled 17-song debut LP, they do sex-mad punk-gospel howlers that would make the Make Up's Ian Svenonious blush and stripped-down arena rock Kiss could be proud of, and interpolate them with credible blues numbers, including a version of Robert Johnson's "Stop Breaking Down," not to mention a cover of Bob Dylan's "One More Cup of Coffee." Their second album, 2000's appropriately titled De Stijl (a Dutch design movement that emphasized simplicity and minimalism; Mondrian was one of its chief exponents), extended their range even further to encompass goofy bubblegum pop and classic rock balladry. Album Number Three, White Blood Cells, arrived in the middle of 2001.

The monumental, anthemic "Jimmy the Exploder" comes from the band's first album.