Ann Arbor band The White Ravens have developed a decent following over the years, with two self-released albums and a third set to be released soon. They are very dedicated to water conservation, which inspired much of their upcoming album, “Saddle Up the Whales.” The band will be appearing at Woodruff’s in Ypsilanti Saturday, Sept. 29 for a CD release party, along with three other artists.
The White Ravens, made up of brother-sister songwriting duo Amy and Will Bennett, was first formed on Christmas Day 2004, when Amy was 12 and Will was 11. Will took on the job of writing music, along with playing guitar and piano while Amy wrote lyrics, sang and played bass.
Three years later, their first album, “The White Ravens,” was released. Impressively, Will and Amy were both under sixteen years old when the album came out. It was recorded with drummer Muruga Booker, who has played for performers such as George Clinton, Al Kooper and Weather Report.
The White Ravens’ first album had a very cabaret-inspired sound, mixed with some indie touches and pop melodies. Their second album, “Gargoyles and Weather Vanes” from 2010, expanded on this sound and also featured drumming from Liberty DeVitto, who was Billy Joel’s drummer for 30 years.
In 2010, The White Ravens made a huge achievement when after a few months of touring across Canada, they won a Toronto Independent Music award for Best Foreign/Out of Province Band. Another notable achievement for the band is “One Thing,” a collaborative song they did with U.K. artist Andy Johnson. The song received airplay on BBC 6 Music.
The band’s new album, “Saddle Up the Whales,” is due to be released soon. With songs like “Spaaace,” “Rube Goldberg” and “Conspiracy” it looks to be an interesting step forward for the White Ravens, with themes related to their eco-friendly views. For their album release party, three other local bands, The Boys Themselves, The Greatest Hits and Violin Monster, have been asked to join them.
The Boys Themselves describe themselves as a fuzzpop trio, made up of Christian Anderson on “fuzz” (guitar), Caleb Dillon on “even more fuzz” (bass) and John Fossum on drums. The band’s backstory is an interesting one, involving a blizzard and acute mononucleosis.
It climaxes with, “These two boys sat in John’s car while the snow fell. They listened to some songs and Christian said ‘GEE I wish I had a fuzzpop power trio.’ He really said this. Then John said ‘We can do it and I’ll play drums.’ And Christian said, ‘But who will play the bass?’ And John said ‘Caleb will.’”
The Greatest Hits, meanwhile, are a five-piece folk-rock group. Their influences include The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Electric Light Orchestra, Hank Williams Jr., The Kinks and Josh Ritter.
Violin Monster isn’t just a hipster band name. He’s actually a guy who dresses up like a monster and plays the violin. Seriously. His Facebook biography states, “I am the Violin Monster. I am a monster. I play the violin.” He describes his mission as, “To spread smiles, happiness, and tears of laughter across the lands I traverse.” He is influenced by artists as diverse as the Ramones, Yaz, Thelonious Monk and Modest Mouse.
If the awesomeness of a violin-playing monster isn’t enough, profits from the party will be donated to Michigan water conservation groups, thus supporting the causes that inspired much of The White Ravens’ latest record. The party is being held at Woodruff’s on Saturday, at 9 p.m.