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.

Blush Face

Introducing a candid interview with Richmond, VA’s Blush Face; press photo courtesy of the band.

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In more Richmond, VA pop culture news; we had the chance to catch up with Blush Face in an interview about their debut full-length What Do You Want? that exhibits the litany & impulse pulls of needs & wants in a cycle of organically spun songs. Comrpised of Allie Smith, Drew Barnocky, Evan Hoffman & Christopher Carreon/Billy Bacci; the group showcases an illustrious exhbition of enlightened inquiries that allude toward even greater questions & mysteries of life, love & more.

Recorded at the Virginia Moonwalker Studio with engineers Russel Lacy & Tim Falen, Blush Face begins their album What Do You Want? with expressions of blooming realizations from “Magnolia”, to the galloping “Eat My Blues”, or the paranormal tied affinities heard on the balladry of “Love for a Ghost”. Bold branding in depictions of decadent fairy tale fantasias are heard on “Citronella Cinderella”, or battling & modling buzzing instrumentation to conform to artistic shapes on “Home Electric”, to the metaphysical phases of sport on “Divine Games”. The worlds between the physical & the infinite are indulged in on the imaginative arrangements on “Purgatory”, right before swinging & swaying on “Rock Star Drama Queen”, that arrives to the magical conclusion “Clicking Heels” which is a marker that is designed for the listener to restart the album from the opener “Magnolia” to gain the full intended experience. Read our exclusive interview with Blush Face’s leader Allie Smith featured after the following listen:

Describe the culmination of desires & confidence that informed the Blush Face debut What Do You Want?

Not only is Blush Face the first full band I’ve been in after doing solo stuff for so long but it’s also the first album I’ve recorded and been able to share physically and digitally. I feel like the title is perfect for our debut record because over the course of forming the band, adapting my already written songs, writing new ones, and adding new members we had to discover what styles we liked and what we wanted the Blush Face sound to be. It all felt natural and easy though because we were all just figuring it out together. Most of the songs on the album share a theme of trying to find something you actually want and being confident enough to go for it and that goes hand in hand with starting a band for the first time and making it your own. You gotta know for sure it’s what you want though, you know? Nothing superficial or half-baked. Like in the opening track “Magnolia” it doesn’t matter what you want to be your truth but whatever it is, just believe in it.

And now that the debut is done & out in the world; what does Blush Face want right now?

We already have some new songs and it’s sounding a bit different now that we know what we’re doing a bit more. Really we just want to keep writing songs and keep playing shows—especially house shows because they’re free and way more fun.

Describe the alpha/omega connective concept album loop that connects “Magnolia” to the closing “Clicking Heels”.

We wanted to open the album with “Magnolia” and have the intro be quiet but inviting with the chimes and telephone rings. It asks you to find something and hold on to it even though it may seem fleeting. “Clicking Heels” is a Wizard of Oz kind of realization when you realize you had that thing, that feeling, all along and you wonder why you’ve been so blind to it. You come to terms with what you’ve had and what you can’t have. It’s the end to a new beginning kind of thing, and goes nicely into the start of the album if you leave it on repeat [laughs].

What sorts of creative/personal discoveries did you all find through the album drafting/recording processes?

Well for me I really enjoyed taking skeletons of my songs that I would play softly on my acoustic in the privacy of my living room and turning them into full band songs. I plugged in the electric guitar and played with drums for the first time and the songs completely changed. I still cherish those original versions but in making them louder and with more layers I was able to find a different style for my vocals. Something we discovered as a band was that the absence of sound in certain parts of a song is very dynamic and we wanted to adopt that style and make it a recurring theme. Songs that have space and depth are my favorite kind of songs. We recorded most of it at a studio in the middle of the woods during the winter so that kinda made it easy for us to just focus on the tracks and have a good time with friends.

Local artists & activists you all would like to recognize?

We really love that the band Clair Morgan puts on monthly benefit shows for different local and non-local organizations including Planned Parenthood and Girls Rock. Girls Rock helps girls learn music and build the self esteem for performing. It took me a while to realize I could be louder and just as good as a female musician playing rock if I wanted to so I think that’s really fantastic.

Other awesome folks & things happening right now in Richmond, VA that we all should know about?

Just wanna plug that Doll Baby is one of our favorite bands and they’re coming out with a new album soon. Everyone seems to be stepping up their game in the music and arts scene right now and I really think the Richmond community is really supportive for it. There are a lot of protests and a huge dialogue right now about the confederate monuments and that’s why it’s so important for the arts culture to keep creating as much as possible. Richmond makes that easy.

Winter & 2018 plans for Blush Face?

Hopefully coming soon to a gig near you!

Blush Face’s debut album What Do You Want is available now.

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