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Rose City Band – Rose City Band

January 19, 2020

I saw this album in the AllMusic new release email and listened to it purely based on the cover art (congratulations Darryl Norsen – mission accomplished).

My first reaction was that this was country shoegaze. Here is what it evoked:

  • J.J. Cale’s hypnotic vibe
  • The mellower side of Neil Young, e.g. “Four Strong Winds” from Comes A Time
  • The Rolling Stones’ country schtick on Quaaludes, e.g. “Dead Flowers”
  • Rattlesnakes by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions (one of my favorite LPs from the 80s)
  • Nick Drake
  • Murmur era R.E.M.
  • The Velvet Underground

I absolutely love it – enough so to rush out post-snowstorm and pick it up on vinyl.

Producer Ripley Johnson (Wooden Shjips / Moon Duo) describes the album:

“The band was aiming to capture a timeless, natural sound, not quite of the present, past, or future, but phasing in between the consciousness of now and the stoned dream-state of the eternal. Sort of a back porch jam just as the shrooms are starting to kick in. Handmade and human, but also cosmic and transcendental. The goal is to let the music speak for itself and hopefully find a weird and wonderful audience somewhere out there.”

I have no idea if this is a real band or the studio creation of Ripley Johnson. I could not find anything useful on line or on the LPs liner notes regarding the band. I assume this is a Johnson side project. The band has Twitter and Instagram accounts, but those are not very revealing .

The album came out last summer on Johnson’s label (Jean Sandwich Records) and this is a reissue now that the band is signed to Thrill Jockey.

This is the perfect blend of cosmic Americana twang and chill vibes. Braided guitar riffs, easy going beats, and plaintive murky vocals. The vocals are as indecipherable as early R.E.M. and I am OK with that – I am here for a vibe not a lecture.

I will be spinning this one a lot. I think I am exactly the weird and wonderful audience the band is aiming for.

P.S. Rose City is Portland Oregon.


From → Music Reviews

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