Jack White is a genius, at least in the musical sense. There are few people who would claim otherwise, I think, and while his work with The White Stripes could be considered his most prolific, his talent remains fully on display in side projects like The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, but also his latest solo efforts. Beyond being an incredible guitarist and (less so) songwriter, White runs his own record label and is a key figure in the revival and innovation of vinyl records as of late. His accomplishments aren’t really up for debate. Where things start getting sketchy are when you begin to take a closer look at the man behind them. I don’t want to dive into this too much, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that music things aside, he’s kind of an asshole and maybe just a bit of a sexist. “That’s not even remotely true!” you may claim, but this isn’t just some unsubstantiated claim. Let’s go back 11 years to Detroit, where White beat up Von Bondies frontman Jason Stollsteimer. At the time, he plead guilty to assault and battery, paid a fine and went to anger management classes. You could say they did the trick, since he hasn’t beaten anyone up in the last decade (that we know of).

Yet that also hasn’t stopped him from picking verbal fights with people. While his marriage and divorce from Meg White didn’t affect their working relationship in the least (they made music for 7 years afterward with no apparent issues), the same can’t be said for his marriage and divorce from Karen Elson. At first, all seemed well, as the two held a “divorce party” together, celebrating the end of their six year union. But a couple years after that, Elson took out a restraining order against White, barring him from contacting her unless it related to parenting time with their kids. White issued a counter-claim to clarify that the restraining order does not mean he was violent towards his wife and children. As things turned nasty with that divorce and custody battle, emails leaked out that featured White raging against The Black Keys – specifically Dan Auerbach. Apparently their kids go to the same school, and White was none too pleased about having to deal with Auerbach on a regular basis. His main issue seems to be thinking that The Black Keys are riding his coattails and imitating his style in order to gain fame and press. To their credit, The Black Keys held off on giving a real response until earlier this week, when Auerbach said, “I don’t know him” and Patrick Carney said, “(he) obviously sounds like an asshole.”

Then circling back around to Meg, earlier today White talked to Rolling Stone about her, and claimed she’s a “hermit” and extremely emotionally reserved. “She’s one of those people who won’t high-five me when I get the touchdown,” he said. Yet he also compliments her drumming and how well they worked together. Does he have a “women problem,” as a 2012 article in The Atlantic claims? He actually talks about that very issue in the same new Rolling Stone interview, and somehow manages to make a case both for and against that idea.

Personally, it’s probably best to simply judge any artist by the quality of the work he or she makes and nothing else. If we’re able to separate the actual art from the artist behind it, life gets a lot easier. I mean, just look at Kanye West, who is an extreme case if there ever was one. The man behaves like he’s the be-all, end-all of superstars, and gets angry at anyone who doesn’t worship at his feet. It would be a whole lot easier to dismiss him if the music he made wasn’t so incredible. Maybe if you’re brilliant, you have the right to and can get away with being an asshole and/or a sexist. Just because you can get away with it doesn’t mean you should go for it though. So I wish Jack white the best of luck, and hope that his upcoming album Lazaretto is another great piece of music. It’d just be nice if he lightened up from time to time. Okay, let’s dive into today’s Pick Your Poison. There’s some good tracks in this set from Ace Reporter (covering St. Vincent), Circulatory System, Hailer, Joanna Weaver, The Lovely Eggs and Vire. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Army Navy, Ben Khan, Black City Lights, The Coathangers and Melted Toys.

The 1975 – Robbers (Shadow Child Remix)

Ace Reporter – Year of the Tiger (St. Vincent cover)

Circulatory System – Stars and Molecules

Estate & Liquid Pegasus – Tendency

Hailer – Crucify the Commodore

Jamie Hancock – Drunk

Joanna Weaver – Golden Earrings

Katalina Kicks – Kings of America

The Lovely Eggs – Allergies

Madeaux – Body Collision (ft. Shelley Harland)

Soonbe – & Squeeze

Vire – Human Contact


Army Navy – The Mistakes

Ben Khan – Youth

Black City Lights – Not Enough (For Us)

The Coathangers – Springfield Cannonball

Diamond Version – Were You There (Carter Tutti Remix)

Melted Toys – Observations