Tag Archives: the ruby suns

BTR @ SXSW

Greetings from Texas!  BTR is enjoying the warm weather in Austin right now, but more importantly the great music at the festival. Myself, DJ Latola and DJ Emily were exhausted by the time we got here- all of us started our mornings at 4am or earlier. Yikes! That didn’t stop us from enjoying day 1 of the festival-

My day started out by catching Washington, DC trio Jukebox The Ghost. I’d never seen them live before, but had heard great things. Their catchy melodies were wonderful- I especially enjoyed “Hold It In.” I doubt I’ve seen the last of this band at the festival- I plan on catching at least one more set from  these boys.

Then I headed to a panel about artist management. It was only day 1 of the panels so few were there, but I’m hoping the energy picks up because I’m VERY excited about some of the panelists this year (Talor Hanson, anyone?) After that, it was time for Latola and I to hit up the Fader fort and watch The Ruby Suns. Wow! We couldn’t believe there were only three people onstage creating all of those amazing sounds. The best part, in my opinion, was the instrument trade-offs. All three drummed, played bass, and sang- not to mention  the tamborine and flute thrown in for good measure. It was my favorite performance of Day 1 and it was easy to see that this New Zealand band had talent.

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After that, it was time to catch one of my favorites- Ra Ra Riot. I had just seen them last week, but I had to show Latola what I’d been gushing about, so we watched a short set by the band that impressed the convention-goers, many of whom had never seen Ra Ra Riot before. Their new song, “Ghost Under Rocks,” is pretty darn close to perfection.  After that it was time to re-fuel and head back to the Fader Fort. We were exhausted, so we had decided to make it an early-ish night to better preserve ourselves for the rest of the festival- there are many more bands to see, so we’re excited!

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Album: The Ruby Suns’ Sea Lion

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Sea Lion is the second effort from New Zealand indie-poppers The Ruby Suns, and it’s really, really good. Really. It’s no surprise that the band has recently been signed to Sub Pop, no doubt directly related to their successful Australian tour in support of The Shins. With its title inspired by a sea lion colony in San Francisco, the album is full of surprises, world influences, and fun. While frontman Ryan McPhun may be most closely associated with his current residence in New Zealand (and the location of The Ruby Suns’ NZ label Lil’ Chief), he is originally from Ventura, California. To be sure, the various places McPhun has called home is evident in the diverse and exotic sounds on this record.

BTR has been spinning The Ruby Suns ever since we discovered that wonderful little record label called Lil’ Chief, so we were highly anticipating this release, and I’m happy to say we were not disappointed. African influences are abundant (they’ve got a track titled “Kenya Dig It”, need we say more?), as are hints of Brian Wilson, Polynesian sounds (we’re loving the abundant use of ukulele), and even a little lo-fi distortion. In fact, finding a track you don’t connect with on this album would be almost impossible.

Not surprisingly, the album features an impressive array of instruments, from the aforementioned ukulele to synths and glockenspiels. “Diverse” has been the buzzword when describing this New Zealand band, but make no mistake – this band has the talent to back up their experimental tendencies. We can’t wait to see what’s next from this talented outfit. They’re touring the U.S. shortly, including several dates at SXSW, so keep your eyes and ears tuned to BTR for updated show info, and of course, to hear the great tracks on the album!

-Annie

Live dates:

Mar 13 Waterloo Records, Austin, TX (in-store performance @ 3 p.m.)
Mar 14 Bourbon Rocks, Austin, TX (Sub Pop SXSW showcase)
Mar 18 The Earl, Atlanta, GA
Mar 19 Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC
Mar 20 Barbery, Philadelphia, PA
Mar 21 Black Cat, Washington, DC
Mar 23 Mercury Lounge, New York City, NY
Mar 24 Union Hall, Brooklyn, NY
Mar 25 T.T.The Bears, Cambridge, MA
Mar 27 Waldron Arts Center, Bloomington, IN
Mar 28 Schubas, Chicago, IL
Mar 29 7th St Entry, Minneapolis, MN
Apr 01 Chop Suey, Seattle, WA
Apr 02 Holocene, Portland, OR
Apr 04 Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, CA
Apr 05 Echo, Los Angeles, CA (early show)
Apr 06 Casbah, San Diego, CA
Apr 07 Modified, Phoenix, AZ
Apr 09 Lola’s (Fort Worth), Fort Worth, TX
Apr 11 Yauhaus, Charlotte, NC