Concert preview: White Lung’s fiery songs the product of a DIY community

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From the April 18, 2013 edition

Besides fronting the soaring, swaggering Vancouver punk band White Lung — a thrilling live act that’s playing Kobo this Wednesday — Mish Way writes for publications like Vice and its music-centric spinoff Noisey.

“The internet is the reason I’m able to pay my rent,” Way said by phone from what she described as a “rock ’n’ roll McDonald’s,” where music blared loudly and Elvis portraits adorned the walls.

It’s hard enough to hustle for assignments and come up with something compelling to say, but keeping it going on tour while fending off carsickness and desperately seeking Wi-Fi complicates things.

“It’s tougher because at home I sit there in my apartment for eight hours a day, and I just write,” Way said. “I just bought a new MacBook Air, and I’ve been writing in the car... The van drives are so long and boring, it would be a waste for me not to write.”

Way’s words have been all over the internet lately. She chastised DIIV’s Zachary Cole Smith for his stereotypical “Kurt Cobain attitude” about South by Southwest. She sung the praises of Waxahatchee. Soon, she’ll publish a piece about the figure skating career she quit at age 16.

“You know what? Since the day I quit I have not stepped back on the ice, like not even for fun,” Way said. “I probably couldn’t do any jumps. My muscles have probably transformed from tight teen muscles into alcohol muscles.”

White Lung’s music has been even more heavily circulated. Last year’s sophomore LP, Sorry, became a slow-burn success story, but its songs are fiery and immediate, the product of a rough-and-tumble itinerant DIY community.

“The thing about Vancouver is, like, anything worthwhile that’s happening is happening illegally,” Way said. “The best spaces are the ones that have an expiry date, a shelf life, and we all understand that going in.”

Sorry is brutal, fleet, melodic music — feminist but not riot grrrl, inspired by Courtney Love but far from grungy. It’s the kind of record that puts a band on the map and incites a clamor for more.

“After this tour, we go home and we’ve already booked studio time. We’re going straight to recording. We’re going to write a new record, and it will be out in the fall,” Way said. “This record, it’s had its day in the sun. Good job, Sorry, but now it’s time to move on the next one.”