Canada’s White Lung coalesce the influences of riot grrrl, post-punk, and hardcore punk into their own dynamic, take-no-prisoners sound. They first grabbed audiences while part of the Vancouver Emergency Room art space scene of the 2000s and albums like 2010′s It’s the Evil and 2012′s Sorry. While the raw intensity of punk remains a core aesthetic, they’ve honed their approach, tackling issues of feminism, body dysmorphia, and sexual assault, issues that drove 2014′s Deep Fantasy and 2016′s Paradise. In 2022, they also took on themes of birth and parenthood with Premonition.
Hailing from Vancouver, White Lung was formed in 2006 by singer Mish Barber-Way, drummer Anne Marie Vassiliou, guitarist Natasha Reich, and bassist Grady MacIntosh. Coming together over their shared love of iconic ’90s bands like Hole, Bikini Kill, and Nirvana, they quickly established themselves as one of the leading lights of the local D.I.Y. scene. In 2007, they made their recorded debut with the “Local Garbage” 7″.
It was after they were featured in a Maximum Rocknroll cover story that wider audiences took notice. They nabbed a contract with Canadian hardcore label Deranged Records, and in true punk fashion released more 7″s. By 2008, Reich had left the group and Kenneth William joined as guitarist. He was on board for the group’s first full-length album, 2010s It’s the Evil.
In May of 2012 they delivered their follow-up LP, Sorry, which found them bringing more melodicism into their abrasive sound. On the heels of the album’s release, they embarked on a tour with Ceremony and Wax Idols.
In 2013, just as they were getting underway with recording their third album, MacIntosh parted ways with the band. More changes followed soon after, with Barber-Way’s move to Los Angeles and William’s move to Montreal. Despite the line-up issues and the challenges of living in separate city’s, the group forged ahead, deciding to remain a trio. Around the same time, they signed with the Domino Recording Company and in 2014 released the full-length Deep Fantasy.
In 2016, White Lung returned with the Lars Stalfors-produced Paradise, an album that found them having further honed their sound, balancing punishing, metal-infused riffs with hooky choruses. Initially planned for a 2019 release, their fourth album, Premonition, was pushed back — first to accommodate the birth of Barber-Way’s first child and then because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Produced by Jesse Gander, Premonition arrived in December 2022 and found Barber-Way (who also gave birth to a second child in the interim) ruminating on motherhood and the changes becoming a parent brings. Prior to the album’s release, the band revealed they were breaking up and that it would be their final album. ~ Matt Collar