Photography: Sandy Kim
The Midwest, though often perceived as a region devoid of significant cultural markers, is one of the rare environments where genuine escape can be realized in the northern woods—a sprawling landscape free of WiFi (if done properly) and full of cabins. This lifestyle, beautifully banal and offline, is echoed in Chicago-based outfit Whitney’s new track and video, “No Woman,” where lead singer Julien Ehrlich’s naked vocals are framed by simplicities, like a warm bonfire, plenty of PBR and Tomahawk throwing.
“I left drinking on the city train, to spend some time on the road,” Ehrlich sings with a subtle air of melancholia in his voice, this wistful feeling fueled by the hazy vocal effect also heard on “Southern Nights” and “No Matter Where We Go.” The Unknown Mortal Orchestra alumnus joined forces with former Smith Western Max Kakacek for this country-soul project, piecing together an impressive array of musicians: Will Miller (horns), Malcolm Brown (keys), Ziyad Asrar (rhythm guitar), Josiah Marshall (bass), and Charles Glanders (sound).
“‘No Woman’ started to take shape when I woke up on a friend’s floor one morning,” Ehrlich explained. “He was taking a shower and the chorus popped into my head while I was grabbing my stuff to go home. Later on Max and I sat down and wrote the chords and song structure in our apartment. It’s about losing the love of your life and being thrown into an aimless journey because of it.” Watch, below, for one of 2016’s most promising newcomers: