Philly’s Bleeding Rainbow make the music of survival. I mean that in a few ways, the first being a sheer reflection of their sound. The torrent of interlocking guitars – founding member Rob Garcia chugging away in your one speaker alongside feedback-wrangler Al Creedon in your other – driven forth by the propulsive drums of Ashley Arnwine and the aggressive bass of Sarah Everton. The music is a shield, a defensive noise-punk barrier build to guard not only the vocal ruminations of Everton and Garcia, but to protect the hard-working hard-touring Philly four-piece in general.
It’s also about survival from the perspective of struggling artists, frustrated wage-earners, deeply thoughtful creatives who are endlessly pigeonholed – as fellow Philly writer Elliott Sharp observed, it must be frustrating to have Pitchfork determine your band’s narrative. It’s the survival of the women in the band who face marginalization and sexist dismissiveness in day-to-day life, and unfortunately in their music lives as well – people, Arnwine is simply an asskicking drummer, and to qualify it any other way (“actually” “surprisingly”) is the most heinous of backhanded compliments.
This is a band that gets buzzed up and knocked down by the music intelligentsia and perseveres; it’s a band which, when I saw it perform at Golden Tea House in January, flipped a hellish series of technical / PA / microphone mishaps into a transcendent and cathartic set of meditative, Glenn Branca-ish drone. It’s taken the band years of growth to get to this point, pushing through roadblocks that may have derailed others. You hear it in its ever-expanding sound – compare the raging and powerful “White Nose” as they play it below for this week’s Key Studio Session to the first time they played it for us in 2010, when they were a two-piece and still called Reading Rainbow.
Bleeding Rainbow plays Golden Tea again this Saturday to celebrate the release of the new Interrupt, its new album out this week on Kanine Records. It’s not their easiest to listen to – at turns it can be raw, biting, forlorn, enraged and rarely poppy – but it’s undoubtedly the truest to where the band is at artistically, what they’ve experienced as musicians and as people, and what it’s taken for them to get through the time, noise to combat the noise, a catharsis for emotions and situations that are at once deeply personal and specific and yet oddly universal. Stream and download the Key Studio Session the band recorded for us below, and get more information on the album release show here.