Friends, White Reaper named their turbocharged debut album White Reaper Does It Again and then called their follow up The World's Best American Band. If that doesn't scream confidence and knowing what the hell you're doing, then we're not quite sure what else the Louisville rockers could do. The riff heavy record full of no-frills rock 'n' roll is already one of our favorite records of 2017, and the band is still riding high after the release.
"Oh man, we've been so excited to put out this record and start playing these songs. We've had this done like a year. We finished it back in April of last year and we were kind of just sitting on it. With these songs having been in our back pocket it's so good to finally be playing them," keyboardist Ryan Hater says. Since April, Hater and his bandmates have been relentlessly touring, most recently culminating in a slot at the X Games in Minneapolis and a surprise hometown appearance at Forecastle Festival, and are now enjoying a much-needed break.
When I reach Hater over the phone to talk about the video for "Judy French," which Noisey is premiering today, he's running errands getting ready for the upcoming string of Reaper tour dates. "We're just all focusing on ourselves and decompressing for this next long run," he says.
There's a ferocity that oozes out of the breezy, power-chord driven songs on The World's Best American Band. But Hater and his bandmates chose arrangements more varied than the unrelentingly energetic offerings from their debut. "It's just been the most fun because sonically the two records are wholly different and it's just been a new experience to get to play like these full kind of rock songs that like have all these different kinds of instrumentation and totally different keyboard vibes. It's been a blast to branch out and be more technical," Hater says.
No song better encapsulates that approach than "Judy French," which is also the record's lead single. The track combines Thin Lizzy-inspired guitar theatrics and power-pop hooks with frontman Tony Esposito's swaggering howl. It's one of the most effortlessly cool-sounding songs of the year. "We had the song already done when we went in to the studio. That riff is so golden it kind of wrote it kind of wrote itself," says Hater.
The video was shot in Los Angeles while the group took a day off tour in Los Angeles. "We owe everything to Brandon Dermer, the director of the video, and he's just been the best, most-awesome dude to work with," Hater says. "Dermer just had this idea from the jump of just wanting to do a kind of a clean looking studio video. He said he was going to reach out to his contacts and see if he could get someone cool to star in it." That cool someone ended up being Baywatch and True Detective star Alexandra Daddario, who in the slick-looking clip becomes the members of White Reaper. "She was such a pleasure to work with and it was so, so awesome to get to do something on that level," Hater says.
The best American band in the world, indeed.
Director Brandon Dermer is the co-creator and director of What Would Diplo Do? starring James Van Der Beek, a TV show on VICELAND, which is a part of Noisey's parent company, VICE. More importantly, you should watch that show, which is coming on August 3 to Viceland.
Josh Terry is not a star of the film Baywatch but he is on Twitter.