Rose City Band


Over the course of three albums Rose City Band has moved from a tributary one-off to some of the most affecting music in Ripley Johnson’s catalog. The band sprung onto the scene as the first issue on Rip’s own Jean Sandwich imprint, emulating the private press psych-country bands that had slipped into his own listening. When time came for a follow-up, Summerlong opened up the aesthetic, pushed the jam element that was lingering below the surface and let Johnson pull his sound into crisp relief while still tapping into the cosmic country axis. On Earth Trip he seeks to fade the edges once more, while retaining the affecting songwriting of its predecessor. There’s a bleary, sun-drunk feeling to the record, bathed in a warm haze that’s balancing the cosmic sensibilities with something a bit more terrestrial, and certainly more sublime.

As the title might imply, there’s something earthen in the record’s core. The sound spreads out under a canopy of green, mixing a reverence for opening the doors of perception with a beacon of good will that stretches far beyond the ionosphere he’s scraped in the past. Johnson’s attempt to capture the moments when psychedelics take hold gives the album an inherent vibration, but one that’s never a shock to the system. Instead, Earth Trip dips the consciousness slow, building to a warmth that seeps through the nerves in subtle waves. With mixing help from Cooper Crain, the record sets the mind off axis, pulling from FJ McMahon’s lost album and Mazzy Star’s She Hangs Brightly in equal doses.

The album might act as a companion piece to Sarah Louise’s recent Earth Bow, another 2021 album about the connectedness to the Earth brought to life through psychedelic guitar. Both find the silver thread of the cosmic buried deep beneath the strata under our feet. Sometimes in looking for the shimmer we keep out head cocked to the sky, forgetting that the ground has been bombarded by extra-terrestrial elements for millennia before we walked its paths. Earth Trip digs deep and finds Rose City Band establishing itself as one of the most potent forces in the current crop of Cosmic Americana going. If somehow you’ve let RCB slip by before, now’s your moment get in the glow.

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