Sometimes things seem to happen for a reason. Call it a higher power. Call it serendipity. Atlanta's the White Lights came together in 1999 almost by accident. "We would just meet someone new and say come play with us," says singer/guitarist Buffi Aguero. "All these weird people kept coming in and it just kinda happened."
Aguero eventually enlisted the help of her friends and former bandmates in the garage-rock acts Subsonics and Vendettas. The sound they created defied genre. It was both unpolished and grandiose without subscribing to any one style. The group released its self-titled debut in 2001, and started recording a follow-up. But the sessions were cut short as some members grew disinterested and later relocated. "It was one of those things where everyone moved to new places," Aguero says. Three years passed with no new music from the band.
But now, unexpectedly, the group is back. Aguero revisited the old tapes for the second album and compiled them into the eerily pretty Gifts From Strangers. Listening to the album, it's surprising how current it sounds with its moody minimalism and sexy assertiveness bound by Aguero's inexplicably attractive, off-key vocals. The music seems to occupy a space somewhere between the quirky stylings of Nancy Sinatra, who is enjoying renewed popularity with a new album and a song featured in Kill Bill, and the attitude of sexually edgy groups like Metric that are now rocking the indie scene.
"Before, there was no real niche for what we were playing," says Aguero, "but that kind of music seems so much more popular today." The White Lights' CD release party is at the Earl, Sat., Nov. 20, 9:30 p.m. The Black Lips and the Cogburns open.