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“Whirring” and The Foo Fighters

4 May

By: Jeff_mcl

My favorite tweet of late is this one from the official Foo Fighters’ twitter account (@foofighters) on April 27, 2011:
“I would like to personally thank The Joy Formidable for writing the song of the year “Whirring”. xxx Dave”

I loved the tweet for many reasons, but mostly because Dave is right. SO right. This song is a powerhouse. I also learned it’s got a bit of history to it as well, having first appeared on their 2009 mini-LP, A Balloon Called Moaning, and is now the highlight of their full length debut, The Big Roar. Here are just a few versions of the song that I’ve found:

“Whirring” Original Video (2:50), mini-LP version (3:35):

The original mini-LP version is a full three minutes shorter than the new album version, and the original video is even shorter (dropping a long, 30 second fade-out). Viewing it in hindsight, the video reveals the dream/power pop that is the basis of this truly great song.

“Whirring” Album Version (6:47) (click through to listen)
The new album’s version now gives the song the space to fully deliver on its promise. The song is nearly identical to its predecessor for the first 2 minutes and 45 seconds. While the original builds quickly (and somewhat subtly in comparison) to its ending from that point, the new version goes on a two-minute frenzied, but controlled build. It’s at the 4:38 mark that all hell breaks loose, and from there on out the song builds up and deconstructs in equal measure.

“Whirring” Live at 7th Street Entry, April 6th, 2011:

And, how does the song hold up live? Exceptionally well. Rare is the studio recording that captures the intensity this song delivers, and their live performance surpassed even that. They closed their main set last month at the 7th St Entry with “Whirring”, and you’ll see why they didn’t even bother with an encore. (I still think they should have played “The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie” at some point during the night, but I digress.) Here’s Cake in 15’s video of the song:

“Whirring” Live at The Sarm Sessions:

Another great live performance showing just how explosive this band can be, even in a studio setting. Also, great visuals as the song winds up relentlessly to its unhinged ending.

But back to the Foo Fighters. I think it’s really cool that Dave Grohl went out of his way to comment on the song. That simple act could have real-world positive impact for The Joy Formidable. @foofighters have about 250,000 followers on Twitter and The Joy Formidable currently has 5,000. One hopes that would expose them to thousands of potential new fans.

Furthermore, I’m really excited about what Dave and the Foo Fighters have done during the recording of their newly-released album, Wasting Light. Here’s a list of all the great things going on lately with the Foo Fighters:
(1) Brought Pat Smear back as a full-time member of the band; (2) Brought in Butch Vig to produce the album (Dave has not worked with him since Nirvana); (3) Recording took place at Dave’s home, including his garage; 4) They’re warming up for tour by doing private garage shows around the country. Like, actually playing a show in your garage. Videos of this are already showing up online:

(5) They recorded the record on analog (24-track) tape, and posted videos during the recording showing how it was done – including a ‘how-to’ on splicing audio tape(!); (6) They brought in Bob Mould as a guest vocalist on one track, “Rosemary”.

Here’s a nice video about Bob’s contribution… I love the rock star/Dad vibe! If you listen closely at the end, I’m pretty sure Bob says, “It’s Copper Blue.” Wow! (But, really Bob… I wouldn’t go that far!)
Recording With Bob Mould

In the end, I just like the positivity shown by Grohl in throwing that initial tweet out there. Even @joyformidable’s response was perfect: “Thanks Dave. Means a lot.“

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