Given the cyclical nature of DIY music, that grunge is back in vogue shouldn't be a surprise. Like a stash of crushed aluminum, all neatly bagged and sitting in someone's garage, '90s rock was just waiting for an indie band such as Bleeding Rainbow to throw it in their tour van and cash in on the recycling.
The Philadelphia quartet, led by the husband-and-wife team of Rob Garcia (guitar/vocals) and Sarah Everton (bass/vocals), will tentatively release their fourth record, Interrupt, on Brooklyn-based label Kanine Records in February 2014. In advance of that, they've been racking up serious van mileage this year, playing close to 100 dates across the country, “trying to make it pay,” as famously sung by Neil Young on his anthem to road-warrior touring acts, “Out On the Weekend.”
“It's taken quite a while for things to catch up, but I feel like we're in the realm of self-sustaining right now,” says Garcia. This is Bleeding Rainbow's first time on the road as a headliner, and Garcia has high hopes it will establish them as a bona fide national act.
“We've been pushing really hard,” he says. “We get anxious when we're at home with nothing to do, so touring kind of makes us feel proactive.”
Garcia and Everton launched Bleeding Rainbow as a two-piece in 2010; Everton played the drums then, and the duo's sound was enveloped in grimy analog experimentation, as evidenced on their debut, Mystical Participation. The follow-up, Prism Eyes, drew a neat comparison to an uptempo Dum Dum Girls–bubblegummy hooks awash in reverb, a style that represented a more straight-ahead approach to songcraft. For their Kanine debut, Yeah Right, released this past January, Everton switched to bass, and they added lead guitarist Al Creedon (who finds a cool middle ground between Adrian Belew and Kurt Cobain) and drummer Greg Frantz. With its dark, loud and sludgy feel, Yeah Right tapped directly into the band's oft-cited influences, My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth.
"We've always liked that psychedelic noise-trippy stuff,” Garcia says. "We were still figuring out how everything worked as a four-piece, so we explored a lot of avenues to see how far we could push it.”
If Yeah Right were the tell predicting the band's shift toward full-on grunge revival, Interrupt lays the cards right down on the table. "We were listening to a lot of aggressive music, like Hüsker Dü, Nirvana, Black Flag, Green Day–stuff from the early '90s,” Garcia says.
For Interrupt, the band brought in a new drummer, Robi Gonzalez of the hard-hitting NYC noise-rock outfit A Place to Bury Strangers, to help to define their latest vector toward the punk side of grunge.
Garcia acknowledges that a lot of indie bands have begun to gravitate toward this kind of raw power. "I feel like it's a reaction to music that was popular a couple of years ago–like, that kind of prissy, watered-down, no-emotion, indie-pop thing was super-popular. Kids now are just sick of that and are liking the more aggressive, guitar-based music.”
This shift to what Garcia calls "grimy” should be fortuitous for many East Coast DIY bands. "There's a real working-class vibe,” he says, "and I feel like that's pretty pervasive throughout.
"People know they gotta work really hard,” Garcia adds. "There are a lot of people really going for it.”
Bleeding Rainbow play tonight at the Constellation Room at 8p.m.. For full details, click here.