Rose City Band
Label: Thrill Jockey
Genre: Rock / Pop
- LP €30.99 In Stock
At its inception Rose City Band focused on what songwriter Johnson calls “porch music”. Recorded largely at Center for Sound, Light, and Color Therapy in Portland and mixed by John McEntire, Garden Party features guest appearances by Moon Duo bandmates John Jeffrey on drums and Sanae Yamada on synths, as well as Rose City Band live performers Hasenberg on keyboards and Walker on pedal steel. With the musicians in his life in mind, Ripley’s porch has opened up for each player to step into. Despite being tracked primarily as a solo endeavor the recordings capture the twists and bends of a fully realized ensemble, and in a nod to bands such as the Grateful Dead it doesn’t stop there. “The songs won’t really be finished until we play them on the road,” says Johnson.
Garden Party’s carefree attitude is layered with subtle turns and melodic gems which push the easygoing spirit towards transcendence. The interplay of Johnson and Walker’s guitars is nothing short of radiant. Opening track “Chasing Rainbows” finds the two casting out lines back and forth, carefully weaving around and through one another before basking into a wash of texture and twang. “Slow Burn” drives Johnson’s signature cosmic sound into the roots of the earth, twisting more grounded phrases and homespun bends around the rollicking rhythm section. Walker’s range as a pedal steel player is on full display throughout with classic licks dancing in tandem with Johnson’s voice. Album centerpiece “Porch Boogie” was written with the live ensemble in mind while Johnson was out on one of his regular walks, with only rhythmic ideas setting the pace for an extended groove that the group could stretch and relax into. The shifts in tone and feel on “Mariposa” and “Moonlight Highway”’s transition into “El Rio” are indicative of the expansive and unexpected directions Rose City Band are able to roam as the players follow one another from tender ballads to folk rambles to loping riffs. The sizzle of “Moonlight Highway” translates the unpredictable and invigorating energy of the band’s road gigs into a song tailor made for dancing, speckled with the gleaming starlight of night drives across the country.
Like all great music, Garden Party taps into the listener's emotional center and takes them to their happy place – their sunny spot. The album is an invitation to recalibrate, a joyous ride where the band’s sounds surround and embrace you. Ripley says it best: “I always like when an album starts in one place, and ends in another.” What a beautiful journey it is.
“Ripley Johnson has been responsible for some of the past decade’s most mesmeric and beguiling albums...” -The Guardian
“...the room comes alive, the hefty hit of pedal steel rising to the fore in these songs along with an irresistible groove that forces your foot to tap along.” -Narc Magazine
“[Rose City Band] transforms the fuzz-drenched thrust of Johnson’s music into a beatific choogle, a potent means of escape” -MOJO