Here’s A Perplexing Pothole Press Release Pundown

At the end of last week, the communications team for the Chicago Department of Transportation was tasked with making citizens aware of the campaign to report potholes in need of repair. Getting people to care about and be proactive potholes is not always easy, and although it is important to make those who can fix the potholes aware of the problem, it’s not always the most fun or engaging topic to write about. So the PR person for CDOT did what any normal communications professional needing to spice up a topic would do: ride the heels of a more popular Chicago event (Lollapalooza, whose lineup had just been announced) and lay on the band name puns as thick as possible. The result? The most ridiculous press release we’ve seen in a while.

"Tired of Drivin ‘N Cryin’ in Traffic over the Minor Threat of potholes in the Pavement?  Ready to see nothing but The White Stripes on the roadway and not worry about The Cars swerving to avoid potholes?

This weekend, if you are motorist or a Motörhead, participate in the first-ever “Potholepalooza,”  the Chicago Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) call to Chicagoans to report as many street potholes as possible.  Then watch the show next week as CDOT has The Cure for your Moody Blues and fills all of the potholes reported from Friday, April 5 through Sunday April 6 so that your car doesn’t do the Harlem Shake and give you Divine Fits."

Wow. As a lover of bad wordplay, this is a goldmine. But I feel like by working with mostly only band names, even if there are some truly masterful stretches ("Men At Work gave Blood, Sweat and Tears"), the writer really missed out on some quality references. Like, you’re really going to do a music reference-packed press release about potholes and not include a nod to De La Soul’s classic, "Potholes In My Lawn?" Or maybe the writer knew that’s what people who pay too much attention to things like this were expecting and decided to deviate.

Maybe this could become a series for CDOT. Maybe the next one will be all covert references to the raunchiest tracks in the writer’s iTunes catalog. "When you’re on the road and feel a little ‘Bump ‘n’ Grind’ in your tires, be sure to let us know." "Be careful with potholes, or whiplash may have you screaming ‘My Neck, My Back!’" It would certainly get people talking about the important issue of local infrastructure. 

Hear a Ripping New Jack White Song, ‘Sixteen Saltines’

Some rock n’ roll fans would love nothing more than to hear Jack White shred his guitar all night long, pumping out the type of riffs that made The White Stripes such a bluesy revivalist wonder in the aughts. They’ll be happy to hear "Sixteen Saltines" off White’s upcoming debut solo album, which leads a stomping, sprawling guitar lick over oddly sexual lyrics like "I’m hungry and the hunger will linger / I eat sixteen saltine crackers then I lick my fingers." Maybe it’s about doing it? Take a listen after the click, via Pitchfork.

To quote Youtube user "Lyrix8931," "Holly Shit !!!!! Jack keep the rock alive, make some fucking noise !!!!!!!" (exclamation points approximated) Blunderbluss, White’s solo album, is out on April 24.

Jack White Has a Solo Album, Single

Jack White has stayed very active since breaking up the White Stripes in 2011, working with his Third Man Records label, playing with his sometimes side project The Raconteurs, and fending off think piece journalists about whether or not the end of the Stripes represented the death of rock n’ roll in a post-9/11 world. Apparently, he’s also found some time to make music for himself: on April 23 he’ll release a solo album titled Blunderbuss, via Third Man/Columbia. You can listen to the first single, "Love Interruption," after the click.

He’s really embracing that aging bluesman persona, isn’t he? Up next, a collaborative album where he plays guitar for Miley Cyrus, Willow Smith, and one of the Mumford Sons. (Working title: Supernatural 2.) A digital version of "Love Interruption" goes on sale today; you can order it at White’s website.

A List of Bands Who Should Break Up Instead of the White Stripes

So The White Stripes are dunzo. The’ve played their last appropriated blues riff. The dynamic duo have became two lonely unos. It sucks. But what sucks even more are all the bands out there who should call it quits, yet continue to persevere in the face of their own un-awesomeness. Below, a list of bands I’m really hoping will break up soon.

Guns ‘N’ Roses: The problem here is that they already broke up, but no one told Axl Rose. So I’m telling him now: Axl, you’re nothing without Slash. In fact, even with Slash, you still can’t sing anymore, and your cornrows make you look like a prehistoric douche. Retire!

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Didn’t this whole band die in a plane crash or something? How are they still touring? Also, their logo is the confederate flag. That is not appropriate. Even their namesake is dead by this point. Let’s never hear “Sweet Home Alabama” live again.

The Grateful Dead: Okay, so they’ve dropped the “Grateful” and just go by “The Dead.” Still, Jerry Garcia is no longer alive, and the other ones are old. I love the Grateful Dead’s music, but this isn’t it.

Creed: This band hasn’t run its course — they never had a course. Or maybe their course was: Be the worst band in America. In which case, they’ve won already. Time to give someone else a chance.

Nickelback: So the next generation can be saved from developing poor taste.

Wilco: Jeff Tweedy, what have you done for me lately? Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was arguable the album of the decade. The follow-up, A Ghost is Born, was quietly great. But now Tweedy is sober and a good father, and they are a dad band who play dad rock.

Phish: Phish are like the Brett Favre of jam bands. They retire, then return. Retire, then return. And they’re only getting older. Their fans are now all thirty year-old bankers in hemp necklaces. Lame.

Korn: Enough with the noise already.

Lil’ Wayne: Weezy is my favorite, and I would never want him to quit. But he does need to break up with certain parts of himself. Like the part that plays guitar.

The White Stripes Call It Quits

Four years without releasing an album can signify several things: A much-needed break from the spotlight, troubling label issues, or maybe just a sign that you’re over it. Today, indie rock duo the White Stripes have confirmed the latter, officially calling it quits as a band.

Once married couple and former band mates Jack White and Meg White issued a statement announcing the end of their 15-year run. For the past few years, Jack White has been openly occupied with his other bands, the Dead Weather and the Raconteurs, in addition to producing Wanda Jackson’s recent album and keeping up with his record label, Third Man. According to the statement posted on their website, the breakup does not stem from “artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues.” It’s simply time to throw in the towel.

But fear not, fans. As with most disbanded (or deceased) artists, Jack White’s Third Man Records will continue to roll out live and studio recordings from the group’s vault. They also want to leave you with this inspirational message at such a difficult time:

“The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.” The group’s last studio album was 2007’s Icky Thump.

White Stripes vs. U.S. Air Force Reserve

If you watched the Super Bowl on Sunday, you might have seen a spot for the U.S. Air Force Reserve. It was the one that made it look like being in the reserves mostly involved flying the big birds and, somewhat unaccountably, surfing. Playing underneath this frenetic, gee-whiz imagery was a song that sounded an awful lot like The White Stripes’ “Fell in Love With a Girl” if it’d been recorded by a much shittier band. Guess who’s pissed off about this?

In a statement issued via the website of their label, Third Man Records, the band had this to say:

“We believe our song was re-recorded and used without permission of the White Stripes, our publishers, label or management. The White Stripes take strong insult and objection to the Air Force Reserve presenting this advertisement with the implication that we licensed one of our songs to encourage recruitment during a war that we do not support. The White Stripes support this nation’s military, at home and during times when our country needs and depends on them. We simply don’t want to be a cog in the wheel of the current conflict, and hope for a safe and speedy return home for our troops. We have not licensed this song to the Air Force Reserve and plan to take strong action to stop the ad containing this music.”

Accompanying this very public version of a cease-and-desist letter are links to both the band’s song and the Reserves commercial, inviting one and all to judge the similarity for themselves. There’s really no debating it; the Stripes have a very strong case. I hate to say it, but despite all the complaining over the restrictive nature of copyright laws that’s been in vogue for the past several years (especially with respect to music), instances like this underscore their value. The use of the Stripes’ song is not a parody, nor is it fair use. It’s theft at the service of a military ad campaign.

White Stripes Set to Premier Documentary

Jezzzeee, does Jack White ever stop working? The man seems to always have something up his sleeve. Last week, it was a new album release with The Dead Weather along with a pop-up record store and surprise show in New York. This week, he and counterpart Meg White from The White Stripes announced the premier for their documentary film The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights. The film documents the Stripes’ tour across Canada during the summer of 2007. It’s directed by Emmett Malloy — he previously worked with the band — who had complete and unrestricted access to Jack and Meg’s lives on the road. The Toronto International Film Festival will host the premier on September 18, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Jack and Meg decided to do a surprise performance.

Definitely check out the documentary’s trailer. A statement from the band said, “the film captures a very unique look-in into the on and off stage lives of Jack and Meg White through a series of shows which included not only traditional venues, but also matinee gigs at unusual performance venues such as a bowling alley, on a boat and even on a city bus – culminating in a momentous 10th anniversary show at the legendary Savoy Theater in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia.” As always with Jack White, more to come.