Of all the young bands making Providence their home with the hopes of playing the big shows someday, it’s Roz Raskin and the Rice Cakes, whose instantly accessible indie jams can already be heard daily on the radio, that seems to have the best chance. While this may be irksome to hipster-purists whose tastes run more towards this city’s primary love of metal and country (and who may find the Rice Cakes’ youthful eclectic exuberance a touch too adorable), well, then it’s those folks’ fault for being so old.
Irrelevant jaded oldsters aside, there’s every indication that the Rice Cakes just might make it – and it’s not really their fault for being so young, talented and hungry. Even a passing listen to their previous long player, 2009’s The Friend Ship, reveals a band that’s brimming with boundless energy. You get the sense that the band is just getting all this really good music out of the way in preparation for the really really good stuff that all bands hope lie within their grasp. The Rice Cakes firmly believe that this greatness is within them. They must, because they’ve been at this for a grip of years now, having released a full-length record and two EPs: They’ve toured the country, earned radio play and amassed a fervent local following.
That youthful energy of theirs is condensed and compressed into sometimes raging, sometimes overlyspastic (but always endearing) teenage symphonies whose heart and reach may just remind listeners of the heart and reach they themselves once had. Take the track “Magma” from their latest and most progressively experimental EP Monster Man and you will hear a young band moving firmly and confidently from your basic Yeah Yeah Yeahs sound into Yeasayer territory, well before anyone gave them permission to do so. The swirling and kaleidoscopic multi vocal sing-alongs, plink plonk organ, monstrous bass and complete disregard for genre and convention are the stuff that can make older bands weep for their lost and wasted youth. Plus it sounds like they’re, you know, having fun, which sort of makes intellectual critique of their art feel like - to paraphrase Dave Eggers - assaulting an ice cream cone while wearing a suit of armor.
The band is currently recording a new record and according to singer Roz Raskin, they are taking the process into their own hands this time around. “We are recording at Salvation Recording Company,” Raskin says, “a super awesome independent label and studio out of New Paltz, NY. In the past few years, we’ve been self-recording and releasing music at our bassist’s hand-built studio in Central Falls. Both Feel Like Human and Monster Man were recorded there. It was a great learning experience for all of us; mixing and organizing our sound, especially on Monster Man, which we recorded, mixed and mastered ourselves.”
Roz and her Rice Cakes are enjoying their ascent into local popularity: “We’ve been touring for the past few years – definitely some of the most fun experiences we’ve had,” she says. “We have been lucky to meet a ton of amazing, awesome and generous people on the road. The hardest part of touring is finding something to tour in; we are going to be saving up for a van so we can do some a bunch of touring in the fall.”
Raskin continues, “We also recently won the WBRU Rock Hunt and will be playing their Summer Concert Series on July 20 in Waterplace Park. We’re stoked to work with them… being played on their radio station four times a day is kinda blowing our minds right now.” Catch Roz Raskin and The Rice Cakes at Waterplace Park on July 20.