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Boomkat Product Review:
Mixed by Tortoise's John McEntire, Rose City Band's 'Garden Party' is a country-fried, psychedelic celebration of summer. Where's the Pimms?
Rose City Band is the brainchild of guitarist and vocalist Ripley Johnson, who's put together pedal steel guitarist Barry Walker, keyboardist Paul Hasenberg and Moon Duo's John Jeffrey and Sanae Yamada on drums and synths respectively. Johnson wrote much of the material in solo, but brought out its character with the additional musicians, attempting to reach the kind of heights Grateful Dead did at their peak.
The music is an attempt to capture some of the energy of an American summer, with is country fairs, breathtaking nature and wide open spaces. Johnson realizes this by writing jangly alt-country that borders psychedelia without putting two feet into the pool. 'Slow Burn' seems straightforward at first, driven by Walker's expert pedal steel playing, but before it fizzles out, Yamada's synths push the whole thing leftwards. 'Mariposa' is our favorite moment, a lengthy soft rock whisper that's buoyed by mellotron synths, organ blasts and electric piano twinkles. Is it summer yet?