Hey everybody! My name is James Burns. I know, I know.
I want to talk to you about The Ruby Doe. Remember them? Maybe your older brother used to like them, or you used to be into them when you were in your 20s, before you got a mortgage. Perhaps you remember when KEXP and The End used to play "Red Letters," on an endless loop.
The band just self-released their fourth album, Getting Ahead In The Music Business on 12" vinyl and digital download this month, and will be appearing at Neumo's tonight with NoMeansNo.
While the band never went away, they've endured a five-year-plus gap since their last album, Always With Wings. In the interim, it seems like they've slipped off the radar for many of Seattle's music fans. Many times, when I've told friends and acquaintances that I would be going to see them at the Sunset or the Funhouse, the response was often: "Holy shit, they're still around?"
I dunno. But I'll say this: Getting Ahead is a far cry (in a good way) from the Doe's previous release. In fact, I'd wager that the majority of local radio listeners wouldn't be able to recognize it as the same band. On the phone, guitarist/vocalist Aaron Ellh laughed that off "I've been hearing that a lot, even from a lot of my friends... to me I'd say that 'Red Letters' was a different thing. That was a departure for us. Everyone at Loveless was great, but some people who were involved in [Always With Wings] were a bad influence. We were in on it too. Sometimes if you sleep with dogs, you'll get fleas."
"Powerpoint" is 3:17 of hoarse screams, and a strained guitar lead that sounds like it was lifted from AmRep's Dope, Guns And Fucking In The Streets Vol. 4. "Papermate" comes off like High On Fire covering Shellac. "Cell Phone Tower Cross" is a slow burn that briefly erupts into a choogle, like you accidentally taped 15 seconds of ZZ Top over your Mogwai tape.
Perhaps it's a bit strange to refer to a band that had a sizable local radio hit as "under-appreciated," but I'm going to go there. While it's pretty safe to say that they won't be courted by the majors again this time around ("Hearing your band's name in the same sentence as Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, is fuckin' weird," says Aaron about a brief encounter with Jive records around the time of Wings,) this band is definitely worth a second look by Seattle's crankier fans of heavy stuff.
The Ruby Doe are still a band, no really. Yes. I am going to go see them at Neumo's. Yeah, they're still around.