These days, most every introduction to Carrboro’s Dex Romweber (including this one) invokes Jack White. Yes, White has spoken of the influence Romweber had on him. And yes, both are known for garage-rocking duos—for Romweber, the Flat Duo Jets in the ’90s and the Dex Romweber Duo in the new millenium.
But even if you just focus on Flat Duo Jets and The White Stripes, the contrasts between Romweber and White are striking, with the former blistering through ’50s-indebted rave-ups long before the latter backed amp-searing guitar with big, simple beats. White and Romweber both provide a commanding presence, but the two have long chased different ends. As White has become more maximal, Dex has presented himself with increasing intimacy, as on the 2016 solo LP Carrboro. Many of its haunting odes rely on lonely guitar and piano, guided by Romweber’s striking voice—at times luxurious and booming, at others battered and cracking. Even when the arrangements expand, that wonderfully wounded instrument remains Romweber’s defining strength.