This week, we're excited to feature Rubies, a band led by Simone Rubi and Terri Lowenthal, both formerly of Call and Response. If you're familiar with that Bay Area indie pop band, who released some great California-feeling albums in the early-to-mid 2000s, it won't surprise you that catchy melodies and warm harmonies are some of the new band's strengths as well. At the same time, the group's sonic toolkit is considerably tougher to pin down, with a blend of folk, pop, disco, and electronica that's catchy and danceable. The melange has a distinctively cosmopolitan, modern feel to it, and it seems quite understandable that Rubies are already an international hit even as they introduce themselves to stateside audiences with their debut full length, Explode from the Center.
The band's global reach extends to the origins of their debut album, out worldwide last month on Telle Records. Explode emerged out of Simone's travels in Scandinavia, where she reconnected with old friends like the Kings of Convenience and met new collaborators like album co-producer Karl-Jonas Winqvist. The variety of contributors is appropriate given the band's expansive sounds, but, rather than become bogged down by the various hands involved, the songs exhibit a welcome "less is more" leanness befitting their airy grooves. With melodies and voices as compelling as these, it's no surprise that the band's been remixed multiple times to great effect and their versatility will come in handy on the Rubies' upcoming domestic tours.
We sat down with Simone and Terri recently to discuss how Rubies emerged from Simone's solo songwriting, their experiences touring Russia and more. We've also included four songs in the episode, including a couple from Explode from the Center, another new one, and a remix.