Release Date: Jan 29, 2013
Record label: Kanine Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Noise Pop
Philadelphia couple Rob Garcia and Sarah Everton made two bedroom-rock low-fi records in 2010 as Reading Rainbow. They've since adopted an evocative new name (apparently Carrie Brownstein didn't like the old one), added a real rhythm section and blown up their sound into a shoegaze wail that braces against their songs' prim poppiness. There's a horror-movie tension as Everton's pale-beauty vocals get subsumed in hell-stoked noise.
Bleeding RainbowYeah Right[Kanine Records; 2013]By Ryan Stanley; February 6, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGWhen we talked with Bleeding Rainbow’s Rob Garcia earlier this month, he asserted that he and his bandmates don’t consider themselves revivalists. After all, you can usually spot pretty clearly the influences and reference points for most indie bands these days. So what if those reference points are more associated with the sounds of 80s and 90s indie rock than the next group crowding your average music blog? I’d say that’s a fair point to make, and an important one to note when thinking about how we label music--if all of indie rock is borrowing and building on past ideas, is it fair to dismiss an artist as a “throwback” for using one we haven’t heard in a while? But while it’s a point that pretty successfully deflects accusations of being a nostalgia act, it does, in a way, make these artists “revivalists” in their own way.
A slight alteration in band name from Reading Rainbow to Bleeding Rainbow isn't the only change enacted by the fuzzy Philadelphians on what is either their third or first album, depending on how you're looking at it. Formerly composed of married duo Sarah Everton and Rob Garcia bashing out dual vocals, growly guitar lines, and simple timekeeping drums, with the name change the band expanded to include second guitarist Al Creedon and drummer Greg Frantz. Yeah Right also does away with the softer-edged pop and lighthearted mirth of their earlier songs, opting for a darker sound, heavy on feedback and moody atmospheres.
Over the course of three full-length albums, Reading Rainbow has been three distinctly different bands. On 2009's Mystical Participation, founding members (and spouses) Rob Garcia and Sarah Everton ran bubblegum melodies through a grime-filled trench of hiss and reverb; it hardly seemed like a band at all at this point, but rather an extended flirtation conducted over a lo-fi recording deck. On 2010's Prism Eyes, Reading Rainbow suddenly embraced clarity and rock 'n roll assertiveness, pushing against their limitations as a two-piece to make the loudest, poppiest noise possible.
One of my favorite headlines to come out of the music world over the past few years was news of a legal debacle between PBS and the low-fi rockers Reading Rainbow over the name of their band. Their response in November of 2011 was to announce, "We are now BLEEDING RAINBOW!" Punctuated with an enthusiastic exclamation point. The band's 2010 release, Prism Eyes, was a great garage-pop record, so the prospect of a new release, with a pure-bred pedigree of top quality influences, two new band members, and an absurd new name, seemed to spell certain success.
Sarah Everton and Rob Garcia, founding members of Philadelphia-based, lo-fi pop duo Reading Rainbow, recently changed their handle to Bleeding Rainbow at the rumored urging of Wild Flag’s Carrie Brownstein. And while the collective being of human curiosity eagerly awaits LeVar Burton’s true thoughts on this contentious matter, fans can, in the meanwhile, enjoy the additional brick and mortar this former twosome added to their wall of sound. Yeah Right is a charming record, showcasing an act willing to broaden the range of its musical output.
To be a band with an unimaginative name and a decent sound, or a band with a decent name and an unimaginative sound? Such is the conundrum of Bleeding Rainbow, formerly known as Reading Rainbow. In this such case, the name change brought about a sound change as well. As Reading Rainbow, the band released the garage-poppy Prism Eyes, an easily digestible album that was still messy enough to be interesting.