Posts Tagged ‘Russian Baths’

Rising from the ashes of Brooklyn’s Grooms, Activity tread a similar dark, unsettling groove with krautrock rhythms, slashing guitars and creepy, surreal atmosphere. “Unmask Whoever” is doppelganger music for a parallel universe. This supergroup featuring members of Grooms, Field Mouse, and Russian Baths. Produced by Jeff Berner of Psychic TV. Mastered by Heba Kadry, known for her work with Bjork, Slowdive, Deerhunter, Japanese Breakfast, Cass McCombs, et al. Activity are an avant four-piece featuring Travis Johnson, and drummer Steve Levine, both from the band Grooms, bassist Zoë Browne from Field Mouse, and guitarist Jess Rees from Russian Baths. Their debut forms a casually menacing framework for lyrical themes of paranoia, exposed character flaws, and the broader human capacity for growth when an ugly truth is laid bare. Lead single Calls Your Name, establishes the record’s spectral aura with nauseated electronic bells, and a relentless Geoff Barrow-esque drum beat beneath a half-sung, half-spoken lyrics inspired by C.S. Lewis’s 1945 novel The Great Divorce.

In the novel, characters stuck in a grey, joyless conception of hell repeatedly deny opportunities to be taken into heaven, instead making excuses as to why they should remain in their embittered purgatory states. Allegorically, this speaks to the kind of opportunity for metamorphosis and positive change that’s possible when the depths of disillusionment are reached, an idea which permeates much of the album. Despite recurrent aches of discontentment, each track glows with radiant waves of catharsis while elegantly evoking jubilation and anguish within the same breadth, showing that the two are always around the corner from one another. For fans of Blonde Redhead, Clinic, Deerhunter and Broadcast.

“Earth Angel” is both sinister and sensuous and when singer Travis Johnson sings “I wanna fuck around” barely above a whisper, danger lurks.

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Brooklyn band Activity (which includes members of Grooms, Russian Baths and Field Mouse) released their terrific debut album, Unmask Whoever, back in March and have made a new video for one of its standout cuts, “Violent and Vivisect.” The video was shot in all four members’ homes during this time of coronavirus isolation and was put together mimicking the artwork for the album. “Our record coming out in the early stages of this quarantine put our release show and tour on hold,” says guitarist Jess Reese. “We had a lot of extra musical energy with nowhere to go. We can video chat to stay in touch, but playing tunes together over the web has technological limitations – the slightest time delay makes it impossible in real time. We play off each other, listening and responding as we go. It’s really illuminating how communicative and interactive we can be as musicians, even without using a single word. Anyway, we made this video. Each of us alone, in our apartments in New York and Philadelphia. Selfie mode engaged. Looking forward to a time when this is in our past and we can reconvene.” That video premieres in this post and you can watch that, and listen to the album,

Find yourself exhausted by the brand of vibe-y instrumentals and confessional song writing that permeates much of today’s popular music? You should check out the spooky avant-garde quartet Activity. Their eerie, minimal guitar-based orchestrations will drop you into an unearthly dwelling place, but their lyrics, often softly spoken or sung, are underscored by biting human truth. Activity features members of Grooms, Field Mouse and Russian Baths, and their debut album, Unmask Whoever, came out on March 27th via Western Vinyl.

Jess Zoë and Steve Travis  Debut album ‘Unmask Whoever’ out now on Western Vinyl released March 27th, 2020 ,

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The debut album from Russian Baths has been a long time coming, and for anyone who’s kept tabs on this Brooklyn duo, there weren’t many surprises when the record was released last month. “Ambulance” and “Ghost” were shared as singles all the way back in 2016, while “Parasite” and “Tracks” began floating around the web this summer. Of the six new tracks, though, “Tremble” is the standout, positioning Jess Rees’ castrato vocals against the band’s sludgy instrumentation to provide the perfect hypothetical grunge horror movie soundtrack composed by a metal band. Stepping out of the shadow of producer Ben Greenberg’s career in noise rock, and checking their evident reverence for A Place to Bury Strangers at the door, “Tremble” is a uniquely chilling outro (not considering the even-more-chilling, nearly ambient proper closer, “Guts”) to their introductory LP

Sometimes a rock band exudes such swirly, Goth-tinged intensity, you’d swear you can actually hear the smoke machines and foreboding light.” ~ NPR Music
an ambient wash of artfully loud rock music, pushed and pulled by lulling vocals and echoing yet powerful riffs.” ~ Stereogum

Russian Baths is Jess Rees (guitar, vocals) and Luke Koz (guitar, vocals), joined live by Kyle Garvey (bass) and Steven Levine (drums) from Brooklyn, NY. They have shared stages with Black Midi, Drahla, Uniform, Horrors, We Are Scientists, Bambara, and others.

Good Eye Records Released on: 2019-11-08