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Death by White Lung 

Not a bad way to go, considering. White Lung bring fast, melodic punk with adrenaline to spare from Vancouver to your doorstep this week.

click to enlarge White Lung bring pure white heat on stage
  • White Lung bring pure white heat on stage

If you breathe in enough ammonia and asbestos, your lungs will stiffen and crackle like an old record. The soft honeycomb tissues will form obstructive nodes, you will cough (hard), and eventually your blood won't carry oxygen to your brain. Delirious and suffocating, you'll realize you have white lung. After festering from exposure, it can take you down fast. You'll almost die trying to catch your breath. You'll think you were seeing one of Vancouver's best hardcore punk bands.

On tour with a second album, Sorry (Deranged Records), White Lung will send you to the ICU. Playing its first Halifax show with Dyscontrol, Bloodhouse and Mean Mug at The Bus Stop Theatre on Monday, White Lung is known for loud high-energy mosh-fests characteristic of The Emergency Room, an alternative venue of experimental underground music and art on Vancouver's east side.

With a slightly different lineup, White Lung started playing at The ER in 2006, but the venue's popularity spread so large that the city shut it down in 2009 because of crowds, ironically in the name of the standards it was meant to challenge. But it kick-started careers, and White Lung only got stronger.

"The ER happened, now it's gone. We are thankful it existed. There's a documentary about it, No Fun City. Look it up," says vocalist (and rock editorialist/editor) Mish Way. "But the band really started when Kenny [McCorkell] joined [that year], after our old guitarist left. We became a real band with him."

His style of playing, says Way, was "loud, fast and smart," and just what the band was looking for. After putting out some DIY recordings, White Lung signed on with hardcore punk label Deranged Records and released its debut full-length, It's The Evil, in 2010. Only a few months later, Exclaim! called it the best punk record of the year. Then, in 2011, White Lung was nominated for a Canadian Music Week Indie Award in the Punk/Hardcore category, building up a following outside of BC. Such high honours put some internal pressure on White Lung's expectations for its second album.

"I'm a competitive person and the person I compete most with is myself," says Way, "Obviously we wanted to make a better record than It's The Evil. That's natural. I think we did." The band went into the studio with an intense approach. "We recorded it in three sessions. We wrote things frantically, as usual. We cut a lot. We didn't want any bullshit filler songs. We wanted only really strong material."

Sorry comes in at just under twenty minutes with ten tracks of adrenaline-induced punk songs that are as much a throwback to '80s hardcore/speed metal as they are amped-up contemporary pop-sludge. Operating organically, the three women and Kenny "could not be more different in many ways," says Way, "but we also write good songs together. It just works. We all want fast, melodic songs. It's not a thing we think about, it just happens." Like breathing, like infection, like death, it just happens.

"We have been dying to come out to Halifax," says Way. "We hear it's good." Yeah, it sure is. The front woman adds that interaction with the crowd makes the best show, so be prepared to participate with her, cough up a lung and spit blood. White Lung will get you---it's a band so tight you will scream.

White Lung w/Bloodhouse, Mean Mug, Dyscontrol, Monday, July 2 at The Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen Street, $8, 9pm


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