Jack White jus' dropped “Battle Cry" for the weekend. White’s new track debuted without fanfare on digital music services overnight. Clocking in at just over two and a half minutes, the largely instrumental song fades in with some ambient noise before shifting into a stomping beat, vocal chants, and a thick tangle of snarling guitar; you can check out the whole thing via the streaming embed below.
It’s all part of a promotional campaign for Warstic, the baseball bat manufacturing company that White joined as co-owner last year. The company has tied the track in with a new promotional film titled Warcry: The Battle of the Hawk and the Raven, which you can watch above. The clip, which stars veteran Detroit Tigers second baseman (and White’s fellow Warstic co-owner) Ian Kinsler alongside White and photographer Anthony “Thosh” Collins, features narration from Kinsler’s father Howard.
The film — and the song, which is being made available on special limited-edition one-sided gold vinyl as part of Record Store Day at the Nashville and Detroit storefronts for White’s Third Man Records on April 22 — are meant to help raise awareness and funds for the Well for Culture initiative spearheaded by the Native Wellness Institute, a group dedicated to providing training and technical assistance to Indian tribes and organizations throughout the United States. (Collins is on the board of directors.)
Aside from some recent cameos on records from Beyoncé and A Tribe Called Quest, he’s kept a low musical profile over the last couple of years; last fall’s Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016 compilation served as his first solo release since 2014’s Lazaretto.
However “Battle Cry” might fit into his future release plans aesthetically, White has said he’s working on a new album. During an interview conducted for a recent New Yorker profile piece, White brought readers into the small Nashville apartment where he’s been writing songs for his next set, saying he’d been tracking demos using an old reel-to-reel machine he bought as a teenager with lawnmowing money.
“I’m going to try to write songs where I can’t be heard by the next-door neighbor,” said White. “And I want to write like Michael Jackson would write — instead of writing parts on the instruments or humming melodies, you think of them. To do everything in my head and to do it in silence and use only one room.”