Posts Tagged ‘Russian Blood’

Russian Blood out today.

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

If you are a member of the press, go here.

From the RIBS alerts email list:

There are a lot of things bands say in moments like this: We’re ‘super excited’ for our new record. This really represents a new direction for us. We’d love it if you share it with your friends.

We could say all of those things now–they’re all true. But there’s a bigger story behind Russian Blood than four guys trying to make a bedroom sound like a stadium. And the truth is, that story hasn’t been fully written yet.

For now, just know that this EP was self-produced (as with all of our records), and we have no PR team, no label, no manager. What we do have is you guys. But while the sharing and record sales allow us to continue to make music and tour, right now all we really ask is that you listen to this EP and decide for yourself what you want to do about it.

Listen and get it from:

The band
Amazon MP3
(And if you’re in New England, head to your local Newbury Comics to pick up a copy.)

Praise for Russian Blood:

“Thoroughly DIY … but it carries itself like a really big deal. There are cement-grinding atmospherics out of Trent Reznor’s playbook and canyon banshee wails echoed from long-lost U2 anthems.” – The Boston Globe

“Alarms might be the best song to come out of Boston in 2012.” – Michael Marotta, WFNX

“Primed for explosion … the entire record is a potent post-modern mix of layered riffs, space-shot hooks, and dizzying atmospheric sounds.” – The Boston Phoenix

“OMFG THE NEW @RIBStheband ALBUM COMES OUT IN A FEW DAYS :DD” – some person on the internet
We’ll see you on the road soon.

Keith, Chris, Blake, and Justin

Boston Metro: Russian Blood Album Release Show Review

Monday, May 28th, 2012

On the spectrum of rock music, guitar-laden hard rock is underrepresented in the Boston — and, honestly, national — rock scene. Boston-based RIBS took action to change that on Friday night at their album release party at T.T. the Bear’s.

The energetic power pop pumped up the fairly full rock venue in Cambridge, a good showing for the holiday weekend. With cuts from their latest take, “Russian Blood” on full display, the punchy guitars of tracks like “Destructo” and the single “Kiss” called to mind alt. rock acts from the ’90s.

Other songs were simply straight-forward rockers with simple chord progressions… regardless, with a minimal, but effective, light display, a solid stage presence and an emphasis on the reverb, RIBS lock in their spot as one Boston’s top local rock acts.


Russian Blood Boston Record Release Show 5/25

Friday, May 18th, 2012

BOSTON, MA: Friday 5/25/12 @ TT The Bear’s Place w/ Suicide Dolls & Yoga Girls

New Song “Kiss” from Russian Blood

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Russian Blood, the follow up EP to British Brains, is coming May 29th. Lyrics in video description.

Boston Globe 5/4/12 Russian Blood Release Show

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

The Boston Globe has some nice things to say about our upcoming EP and record release show.

Read it here:

Chris Oquist and Keith Freund, the guitar/vocals and drums half of local four-piece RIBS, are coming from somewhere a bit more researched than the average new band.

On a recent night out over drinks in Allston, Freund thinks back on an industry conference panelist’s idea of top-down bands versus bottom-up bands.

“A top-down example was like Destiny’s Child,” says Freund. “They were picked out by a label and forced down to the masses through a huge infrastructure of radio and money. Whereas there was this rapper named Bone Crusher who came up out of Atlanta selling mix tapes out of the back of his car, building it for himself.”

Freund stops to ponder the utility of both models, but Oquist doesn’t need much time to decide.

“I’m pretty sure I’d rather be Destiny’s Child than Bone Crusher,” he says with a shrug.

RIBS, a band with a music business sense incubated at Berklee, has deployed its searingly loud music in small doses so far — a single here and there, basically, since 2010 — and Freund sees each song playing off different sides of that dynamic. He notes that songs like last winter’s “Please Don’t Go” worked like regular publicity angles and garnered great local press, while others like “Queen of Hearts” have taken on viral lives of their own on fan-created YouTube videos and Reddit. It’s a solid analytical approach that they’ve adopted toward their work; but time as a band has also taught them the benefits of loosening up and simply rocking out.

Freund woke up at 2 p.m. on this day, caught in the middle of a mix-down binge of “Russian Blood,” the EP they’re set to release with a show at T.T. the Bear’s on May 25. It’s an epic mix of high octane stuff — post-rock/metal scorchers poured into vaguely pop molds with Billy Corgan levels of immodesty. The band puts on a serious light show onstage — over 55 cables need connecting before every set — and this music was built for it.

RIBS is Freund’s first band, assembled during his last semester in school through band-wanted ads that name-checked stylistic touchstones like Muse and Smashing Pumpkins. He ended up with childhood friend Blake Fusilier, a second guitarist in shredding prodigy Justin Tolan (featured in Guitar Player magazine at age 18), and Oquist, who had been drumming in a black metal band.

Oquist came from the school’s music business department and went about things from that mind-set in the beginning — working out a pro-looking Web presence, booking tours, fiddling with schedules for YouTube teasers. Still, a few years on the circuit helped reveal some new truths. Oquist found himself at Boston’s trend-setting Rethink Music conference last week and started to notice the unfortunate focus of lots of upcoming bands.

“Everyone is looking for a silver bullet,” he said. “What can Foursquare do for me? What does Instragram do? Can I be a Pinterest band?” It all seemed pointless, he decided, if everyone stopped paying attention to their own music. But RIBS comes off like a new-fangled hybrid — taking advantage of a well-resourced background and launching a perfectly haywire creative adventure from there.

“Russian Blood” is thoroughly DIY — mixed at Freund’s apartment, recorded in their practice space — but it carries itself like a really big deal. There are cement-grinding atmospherics out of Trent Reznor’s playbook and canyon banshee wails echoed from long-lost U2 anthems. It’s full of the visceral joys of music — the growl in the bass, the gleefully dissonant guitars; concerns that seem far removed from counting online friends and Twitter followers. There are epileptic moments that threaten to rattle apart at every bolted-down connection, bringing to mind ’90s electro-noisers like Braniac. The song designated as the lead single, “Kiss,” is a totally unruly pummeling from off-centered, fuzzed-out bass, and gut-check drums.

Freund says he’s learned to let go a little bit — after two years and a couple mini-tours and even a concussion suffered during one show’s overexcited guitar swapping. But he’s still a fiend for lists — he can pull them up on his iPhone in seconds: lists for three days before the show (make sure the club has a tech rider), lists for a day before the show (make sure Oquist has drum mallets), lists for sound check (put phone in airplane mode). He has lists for lists, and he isn’t giving them up soon.

“Hey, the lists help me worry less,” he says. “It means I can just go out and play when it’s time.”

Interview: What Is Music? (UK)

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Alex Lynham writes for UK magazine High Voltage and his blog What Is Music?:

Aha! It all comes together, as you see. I had the chance to put some questions to one of the best bands I’ve come across in the last few months, Boston’s RIBS. Over the weekend, vocalist/guitarist Keith and lead guitarist Justin got together and took them on- the results are in, so have a look:

1. What is the band up to now? What are your plans for the future, and is there an album on the horizon?

Keith: Right now we’re coming to grips with the fact that we have too many song ideas and not enough hours in the day. We’re about to release two electronic-y singles, “Cosmos” and “Please Don’t Go”, and we’re also writing our second EP Russian Blood which should be done by early next year.

2. What was the recording process for the EP like?

Keith: Fragmented.

Justin: All the parts for British Brains were recorded separately and at different times over the course of 2009. We tracked guitars, bass, and vocals in bedrooms and rehearsal spaces, then saved up enough money to spend a day doing drums at a nice studio.

3. Why ‘British Brains’?

Keith: It’s a WW2 quote from Stalin during the Teheran Conference with Winston Churchill and Teddy Roosevelt. He said the war was being fought with “British brains, American brawn and Russian blood.” [I guess that explains EP2’s name then…]

4. What would you say your main influences are, musical or otherwise? Were there are any bands that have had a particular influence on your sound or your attitude towards your music?

Keith: The influences behind British Brains are fairly straightforward. Mostly rock bands. Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, Our Lady Peace. As a band, though, we’ve got a lot of influences that have yet to show up like David Bowie, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac, Sneaker Pimps, Elliot Smith, M83, Arcade Fire, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. And more recently Grizzly Bear and Liars.

Outside of music, we take inspiration from anything that makes us feel more alive or draws us in. Christian Bale’s character in American Psycho. [Bassist] Blake [Fusilier] had us read Patti Smith’s new book Just Friends, which is about bohemian culture and her life in NYC during the late 60s and early 70s. And to those who are depressed about the state of music over the last few years… I think we are in the golden age of television. Mad Men, The Wire, Dexter… Amazing things are being done in the TV world. So anyway, the four of us are always analyzing pop culture and art to help us figure out how to implement our ideas–how we can make people feel a certain way with a song, our live set, album artwork, etc.

Justin: Definitely a huge fan of Dexter, but for me a lot of inspiration comes from movies. It’s the culmination of a lot of different things being delivered over different mediums all at once. The aesthetic of the film itself, the film score, acting, story, dialogue, etc. Movies allow me to totally lose myself and exist in a suspended state of reality, even if it’s only for a couple of hours.

5. You successfully managed to self-generate a lot of buzz through Reddit for your self-released EP; as a result, do you see a record label as still being relevant given that DIY appears to have worked so well for you?

Justin: We’re not waiting on anyone, but we’re keeping our options open.

Keith: Exactly. Artists today don’t need a label to survive, but on the other hand we want to do more than just survive. We’ve got big plans and there’s no way we’re going to be able to pull them off without putting together a great team. So it’s really a question of, do they pay us or do we pay them?

6. What’s your view on downloading? Does it help or hinder bands?

Keith: We have a neutral stance on piracy. We won’t judge you if you download our music. But I don’t know that we could afford to keep going if it weren’t for the incredible support we got from the Reddit users who came out in droves, paying for our EP and sharing it with their friends. It was a humbling experience and we’re incredibly grateful for it.

I think there’s an expectation now that new acts have to give away their music in exchange for the exposure, and eventually that exposure will pay off. A lot of bands think that’s the best way to get their music heard by as many people as possible. But we made a very conscious decision not to release the EP for free, because we don’t want to give people the impression that we don’t want their money, or that we won’t put it to good use. Because we will. And I think in the long run, more people will hear our music and more RIBS material will be released because of all the people that decided to support us early on.

Plus the EP is free to stream on our Bandcamp page (, so everyone can hear it and share it with their friends that way too. [I’ve included this at the bottom for you, my lovely readers; it’s also on the review page for British Brains- don’t I make this easy?]

7. What do you prefer: playing live, or on the record?

Justin: Both are very different from one another. While I love recording and exploring what can be done to a song in the recording process, those 40 minutes on stage, when time stops and all you’re doing is just playing, is the most fun I can have. That’s the happiest I could possibly be.

8. Your sound is pretty tech heavy; what’s your favourite bit of kit?

Keith: I have to give a shout out to SoundToys for their Echoboy plugin, which helped create the vocal sound for “Even” and the guitars on “Silencer”. I don’t think either of those songs would’ve been possible without it. I also love my Zvex Box of Rock distortion pedal. Blows me away every time.

Justin: I used my Diezel VH4s amp for the leads on British Brains.

9. How did the band get started in the first place?

Keith: Blake and I grew up together in Atlanta. We started writing together in 2001 and became best friends. Then we had a falling out, stopped talking for a while, and I went to Boston for college. We started talking again, then Blake got stir crazy in Atlanta and transferred to Boston University.

When I first got to music school, I was hearing about some guy named Justin Tolan who was this shred guitar prodigy. Then a few years later we started hanging out in the same circles and I found out he’s actually into a lot of the stuff I’m into. And it turned out he was from Atlanta too.

Then maybe a year later my dad ran into him at a used guitar shop in Atlanta on break from school. Still, nothing came of it. Some time after that, I responded to a ‘band-wanted’ ad he put up around town listing Aphex Twin, Radiohead, and Muse, not knowing who posted it. The moral is, all roads lead to Justin Tolan.

When we first met [drummer] Chris [Oquist], he told us he was playing in a metal band and his favorite artists were The Beatles and Paul Simon. That pretty much sealed the deal.

10. Can you remember the best show you’ve ever played?

Keith: My personal favorite was at this church in Pennsylvania that looked like an empty airplane hangar. It was huge, and we took full advantage of the space. I knocked over the mic stand with my guitar, Justin slammed into me, Blake was throwing stuff… It felt great.

11. What do you love about music?

Justin: The people you meet and the experiences you can have are new every day. No matter how much you learn about music there’s always something new to learn. Based on all the people you meet and the things there are to learn, the possibilities are endless. And there’s no age limit. I’m sure I’ll be 70 years old playing a piano somewhere until I die or go deaf.

Well, there you have it. Lovely chaps, great music, and we wish them all the success they deserve. Now to start planning the UK tour…. (wishful thinking never hurt anybody.)

Live shots (c) LunahZon Photography ( / Exploding in Sound

Group shot (c) RIBS the band.