Rose City Band
There’s been no lack of love for the new Rose City Band (or any other RCB release) around here, but I’ll keep the torch lit for them one more time. The new album refines and renews the band’s spirit on past albums. There’s no better band built for the warm, langerous days, and as much as local meteorologists and the ol’ almanac would disagree with me, the summer truly starts right here with the release of Garden Party. The band started as a solo endeavor for Ripley Johnson (Wooden Shijps, Moon Duo), and to some extent it remains so in the studio. Though, this time around Johnson is true to the album’s title, inviting more and more of his live circle into the process with congenial results. Barry Walker (North Americans, Mouth Painter) runs the pedal steel while Paul Hasenberg adds a dose of keys. His bandmates from Moon Duo both crop up — Sanae Yamada on synths and John Jeffrey behind the kit. True to form, Ripley notes that the album’s only half finished until they take it out in the live setting, all but promising that these songs get wider and woozier once they hit the stage.
At its core, Garden Party embraces the choogle-charged, sun-baked flow of Cosmic Americana. It’s a record practically positioned to elicit a smoke-ring smile, but amid the ramble of mid-set burners like “Porch boogie” and “Slow Burn” there’s also a melancholy streak this time around. Rip’s heart sighs and the tones turn to lavender and purple as “Saturday’s Gone” drapes its cold spring comedown around the speakers. He continues the tempo turndown on “Mariposa,” a highlight that sees the band facing into the breeze, embracing a ‘70s jazz-rock ripple that finds flute and chimes sprinkled throughout the slippery riffs. There’s never been a miss in the RCB catalog, but its been great to see it evolve from private press home sessions into a modern-day New Riders. Johnson’s right, though, you’re only hearing half the album until this opens up under the stagelights, so don’t skip if they’re on a stage nearby.
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.