Week in Pop: Night Shapes, Roz & the Rice Cakes, Self Care

Sjimon Gompers

Providence, Rhode Island's radicals Roz and the Rice Cakes; press photo courtesy of Jorge Vieira Photography.

Roz and the Rice Cakes

Catching up with Roz & the Rice Cakes; press photo courtesy of the artists.

From Providence, Rhode Island; Roz Raskin from Roz & the Rice Cakes described their new album Devotion as being; “Indeed a labor of love thus it’s name.” A group that has had the art rock title applied liberally breaks even the art school lens sets of principles by making musical artifices that smash the norms with a sound that rises up above most other referential outlets of artistry that could be named in the comparative studies dribble. Today, Roz and the Rice Cakes present the world premiere of the single “Protoype” featured off the upcoming album Devotion available October 13 Team Love, an album that Roz introduced with the following preface:

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[Devotion] covers a wide range of subject matter in the human cosmos connection and is very much present in the current state of the world. “Do You” unpacks the recent political climate and the complicit nature of silence and the long and painful history of marginalized peoples. Somebody explores loneliness, a need for physical affection in the wake of heartbreak in the digital age. “NOVA” discusses alcoholism and the need for escape. “East Coast” examines the history of the world from the view of women, and watches civilization make the same mistakes again and again. “Revolving” unravels the affects of mass media production and absorption.

Devotion was very different. We spent months working out the material, through multiple recording sessions at Big Nice Studio in Rhode Island with our good friend and engineer, and co-producer Bradford Krieger. This new writing process found us diving into a conceptual framework that explored the connections between humanity and the universe.

Roz also explained how the connection between humankind & the world allowed the sound to be expanded to cinematic levels of mediums that extend beyond the science fiction parallax:

Sonically we experimented with synthesizers and electronic drums, sounds that reflected a bigger story reminiscent of music that connected with our youth, music we grew up with. I have been a huge fan of sci-fi since I saw The Thing at age 5. The aesthetic of the supernatural and unknowns of science fiction and horror definitely have been absorbed in to this album.

“Prototype” exemplifies the avatar state of our weird current era of existence where projected & manufactured tulpas are manifested as personality fronts to obfuscate the raw identity of the self. Roz Raskin, Casey Belisle & Justin Foster investigate the assembly line of conjured reality & masquerade makings that create the multiplicity of prototypical behaviors that many of us as a collective people create as mercurial identities that change with the rhythms of each passing day like a former AOL Instant Messenger (RIP) login profile moniker. Roz and the Rice Cakes take it even beyond the digital pale where the facades of posturing, gesturing & the like dissolve for a deeper dialogue.

The Providence trio of Roz, Casey & Justin arranges the song in the most strangest of shapes that move all metric precision points from the the mathematical schemes of rhythm to effective descents into sweets of the surreal & routes of damn near pop perfection. The reverberations of life is not a highway….take a detour today could the escapist mantra of the billions caught in the spin of failing systems that generate the short term/short changed desires of cheap deceits & old receipts that Roz and the Rice Cakes cast into a whirling vortex of visceral energy executed with fist clenched purpose. Strutting rhythm guitars simulate falling pillars of crumbling concrete castles the make for reveals of the inner areas of realness that folks really let show. The Rice Cakes create a cataclysmic sound to shatter the pretensions that prohibit real dialogue, expression & overall being.

Roz & Casey from the Rice Cakes were ever so kind as to discuss the new record Devotion, Rhode Island & a whole lot more in the following interview transcription:

Take us to what’s happening in Providence, Rhode Island right now that we might not be aware of, scenes, politics, movements, and the like.

Roz: Providence has a lot happening in general for such a small place. The local music scene is pretty large considering the amount of people that live in the city and there is a fair amount of diversity of sound. Generally, there are some really great people, bands, and venues that have been putting a lot of effort into making the music scene here safer, more welcoming, and generally more inclusive. I’m a board member at Girls Rock RI!, a rad non-profit thats been fostering a community of empowerment for young woman and non gender conforming youth through music for the past 8 years. I’m also proud to say we are a sanctuary city.

Roz and the Rice Cakes’ cover for Devotion.

In what ways currently has your local environments impacted your sound both personally & creatively?

Roz: We are all born and raised in Providence, RI and grew up with music being a big part of our families, all of our dads play instruments—actually they played with us once, it was awesome. And generally Providence has always had a kickass music scene and community since early days of jazz, the noise scene in the 90s, and so much more, that have definitely sonically affected the music we make. I also think there is something weirdly special about living in the smallest state that happens to have a kickass coast, there really isn’t anything like being 20 minutes from a beach no matter where you live in the state.

Describe for us the devotionals that would become the templates, sketches & emotive adaptations for Devotion.

Roz: A lot of the ideas from this record have sprung out of my obsession with the human cosmos connection. A lot of my lyrics came from stream of conscious love notes to myself that I wrote on napkins.

Casey: I am always fascinated at the amount of diverse things humans devote themselves to, whether it’s work, religion, passion, a project, a relationship, etc. and the extent to which they go to stay devoted. Reflecting on those types of devotions in this current chaotic world made me write scribble stuff down that ended up coinciding with the sound textures the band had been messing around with over the past couple years.

Providence, Rhode Island’s radicals Roz and the Rice Cakes; press photo courtesy of Jorge Vieira Photography.

We also want to know the whole prototypical behind the scenes that informed “Prototype”.

Casey: [percussionist & songwriter of lyrics featured in “Prototype”]: We live in a world that is constantly harder and harder to bring together on some grander connection, whether it’s socially, spiritually, or anything. But it’s so weird because of like, the internet and stuff, you think it would be easier. Maybe it is? Things are changing so rapidly that it feels as though the world constantly forgets the phase it just went through. It feels as though humans keep dishing out new prototypes of themselves everyday, without learning anything from the previous version. And then the surrounding persons have to sit there and digest the ever-changing surroundings.

Other artists, authors, activists, etc, that you all are excited about right now?

Casey: Totally stoked locally on Night Nurses and Tapestries. Outside of my local bubble I am really digging the new Mount Kimbie. And Madame Gandhi is killing the percussion/activism game right now!

2018 mediations & mantras?

Roz: Listen more. Love myself more.

Casey: Turn up but don’t tune out.

Roz and the Rice Cakes’ album Devotion will be available October 13 from Team Love Records.

Catch Roz and the Rice Cakes via their following tour dates:

12 – Providence, RI @ AS220
13 – New London, CT @ Oasis Pub
14 – Cambridge, MA @ Lilypad
19 – Kingston, NY @ BSP
20 – Rochester, NY @ The Bug Jar
21 – Syracuse, NY @ Space Camp

02 – Washington, DC @ Paperhaus
03 – Richmond, VA @ Gallery 5
04 – Greensboro, NC @ Sabine
05 – Greenville, SC @ Radio Room
06 – Athens, GA @ Michaels House
07 – Nashville, TN @ Drk Mttr
08 – Blacksburg, VA @ House Show
09 – Harrisonburg, VA @ Crayola House

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