7/26/2011 - Opening for double debut record release show by Debbie Neigher and Tidelands with guest performance by JOHN VANDERSLICE!! xo
5/30/2011 - 944 SF Magazine photoshoot for our interview in local music article coming out!
5/29/2011 - Porto Franco Records will be filming a live performance of Horse and Bird - BR's forthcoming single.
Blue Rabbit is a mostly female modern baroque indie-pop octet exploding onto the scene in San Francisco.
Fronted by a close-harmony singing trio, and grounded by intricate drum and cello grooves, Blue Rabbit adorns their haunting vocals with the syncopated pulsing of a Celtic harp, and has been described as "The Andrews Sisters playing with Portishead," or "Nick Cave songs with a touch of The Supremes." Blue Rabbit's lyrical imagery and haunting, minor-key melodies evoke a sense of magical melancholy akin to that of UK contemporaries, Florence and the Machine, and Bat for Lashes. However, their penchant for counter-melodies, atypical time signatures, and Kurt Weill-like chord progressions, set them apart. They have been likened to both Mother Mother and Arcade Fire.
After debuting at festivals in Toronto, LA, Nashville, and Austin, Blue Rabbit is performing around the SF Bay Area this Summer, while finishing up their second self-produced EP for a Fall 2011 release.
Springing from the imagination of singer-songwriter, Heather Anderson, Blue Rabbit existed first in 2005 as an experimental drums and vocal duo. Since auditioning the rest of the crew and debuting live in 2006, Blue Rabbit has gigged relentlessly around the Bay Area - moving quickly from playing house parties to selling out ticketed events. They've performed with artists such as The Morning Benders, Emily Jane White, My First Earthquake, Chelsea Wolfe, Beat Beat Whisper, with members of Built for the Sea, the (former) Dance Hall Crashers, and in festivals with The Chapin Sisters and the UK's 6-Day Riot. Members of BR were featured on vocals and violin in The Morning Benders video for their hit, Excuses, as featured on Pitchfork.
Blue Rabbit has performed live on college and community radio stations such as KWMR, KDVS, KOWS, and KKUP. The band's debut album was in rotation on 170+ stations across the country, placing in the CMJ top 20 charts week after week on many of them.
Blue Rabbit was recently featured in the UnderCover Project's Pixies tribute album and forthcoming documentary film (2011). Their live performance of their very different cover of "Hey" received critical acclaim from local press. The band has also received multiple awards, including Artist of the Month on The Deli Magazine SF, featured Artist of the Month on Music Zeitgeist, Wildy's World, Unsigned Magazine and more, and was ranked 3rd most popular indie-pop band in the Bay Area.
The band's self-released debut album, "Separate"(November, 2008), can be poignant and melodically striking ("Getting Away"), wistful and lilting ("Love Secret"), or dark and brooding, as in its epic, bluesy torch song, "Missing Piece". But with all things Blue Rabbit, there is humor and compassion built into the darkness, and even the latter song - their saddest dirge, finishes off with a gospel choir-esque bridge and a finger-snapping, tempo-building, group-sing outro in the vein of "Come on Eileen".
"...mesmerizing...sonically & visually...so many women on stage...all dolled up in shiny vintage dresses, plucking, bowing, strumming strings, slapping tambourines, pounding drums, the singers trading off leads and wailing out contrapuntal harmonies - it's infectious." - The Bay Bridged, Annual 'Best Of': Lindsay Garfield of Or, the Whale
"By turns ethereal and frighteningly muscular, [Blue Rabbit's] music kept stopping people in their tracks, perhaps snared by something Bjork-ian but quickly tossed into passages that beat with tribal thickness or the bright interplay of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound. There's a powerful internal logic to Blue Rabbit that allows very poppy aspects to mingle with quite adventurous experimentation, all tied together by real dedication to their craft." - Jambase
"Watching Blue Rabbit perform live, your first question is why aren't they already famous? They're unique, they're catchy, and above all, they're wonderfully personal and quirky...On the whole, Blue Rabbit is one of the best bands playing in the [SF] bay area right now in terms of ingenuity, heart, and sound." - Examiner.com
"[T]he title track is some great rolling cello pop ...." - The Bay Bridged Monthly Mix (Podcast)
"Blue Rabbit's Separate is a breath of fresh air. Formed in 2005, this San Francisco-based cello/harp septet demonstrates a tasteful mixture of jazz-like melodramatic feel and phrasing, thick harmonic layering... the result is a blend of sound that most Greenwich Village and Brooklyn-based ensembles strive toward, but fall well short of ..." - MusikReviews
"Blue Rabbit drives their songs with strong lyrical content and melodies you can't shake. Their debut EP, Separate, is a feast for the ears...[It] is a brave and exciting album that takes big risks and wins. Dark, melodic folk/pop songs with credible weight and depth await you." - Wildy's World
"Blue Rabbit comes across as something akin to the long-lost mystery sister of Feist and Rasputina, with a catchy pop sensibility that's remarkably schlock-free.... This band could appeal to just about anybody, from the American Idol crowd to those with vastly more purist or cynical taste." - Lucid Culture
"Contemporary stuff for contemporary ears, Anderson and her crew have studied well and know how to serve it right. A deep work on the art rock side ...." - Midwest Record
"Blue Rabbit demands attention, and when a harpist, cellist, and three girls who harmonize extremely well line up the stage, you can't help but be completely immersed in their music." - The Bay Bridged
"Sleep" is rolling drums, throbbing cello, its exhausted, insomniac central character chanting herself to sleep in gorgeous harmony.... "Getting Away" pushes the vocals further... soaring to great heights that leave little wonder about ... Blue Rabbit's ability to at once stick with a classical Baroque sound and yet defy boundaries. Can't find your white rabbit? Follow a blue one down the rabbit hole, and you won't be disappointed." - Online Rock
Blue Rabbit has played many charitable events, raising funds for causes ranging from cancer to preservation of the arts and cultural awareness. Benefit concerts played include:
"Art Bras Against Cancer" in conjunction with The Barrel House in SF - to raise funds for Breast Cancer survivors and research.
Fundraiser for Children Fighting Leukemia - to raise funds to pay hospital bills
WorldFest in LA - an educational, environmental awareness festival
"Dreaming Outside the Walls" - a fundraiser for a third world musical summer camp for children
"Atomic Mom" - Fundraiser for documentary film about the development of the Atomic Bomb
"Hooternanny" - Fundraiser for breast cancer research
Finalist in the Blackbird Song Contest 2009 (for not-yet-released song, "Flattened and Shined")
Heather Anderson - Vocals, Guitar
Arami Reyes - Vocals, tambourine
Sarah Rocklin - Vocals, Shakers
Kevin Weber - Drums
Adam Willumsen - Violin
Adaiha Macadam-Somer - Cello
Eah Herren - Celtic harp
Lona - keys
Debut EP, "Separate"
Digitally released 9/15/08
Physical release: October 12th, 2008.
Songsalive! Compilation 2009 (not yet released)
Women of Rock Compilation
"Getting Away" (Separate EP) was included on this compilation album of female-fronted rock bands, produced and distributed by MJR Films.
Digitally released (Itunes) 9/17/08
WomenRock Showcase Compilation
"Love Secret" (Separate EP) was included on this compilation album celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of the WomenRock Showcase Series at the Bazaar Cafe in San Francisco.
2011 - Horse n Bird
2011 - Freezing a Frame
Flattened and Shined
Getting Away 8-2-08
Love Secret 8-2-08
Missing Piece 8-2-08
- Download print quality (high-res) version (Right Click -> Save As)
- Download print quality (high-res) version (Right Click -> Save As)
- Download print quality (high-res) version (Right Click -> Save As)
- Download print quality (high-res) version (Right Click -> Save As)
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Best of 2009: Lindsay Garfield of Or, the Whale on Blue Rabbit
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Best of 2009: Lindsay Garfield of Or, the Whale on Blue Rabbit December 30, 2009 [Lidsay Garfi...Best of 2009: Lindsay Garfield of Or, the Whale on Blue Rabbit
December 30, 2009
[Lidsay Garfield of Or, the Whale - Photo by: Charlie Homo]
First thing’s first: Full disclosure. I used to help with Blue Rabbit’s publicity. BUT, I assure you that I meet the criteria for a bona fide fan, i.e. going out to as many of their live shows as I possibly can, discussing them at length with other Rabbit Heads, and listening to their album obsessively.
Back in 2005, Heather Anderson, BR’s founder and general mastermind (composer, songwriter and singer/guitarist) formed the band as an experimental drums and vocal duo. Since then, the group has swelled to its current eight member count, currently comprised of drums, keys, guitar, harp (yes really- harp!), cello, violin, and- the cream on top- three gorgeous female voices. Note: as a female singer I tend to have an affinity for female vocals. That being said, I am often hyper-critical of them. But seriously, these girls can SING!!
Their live show is mesmerizing, both sonically and visually. With so many women on stage (at one point the band had five), all dolled up in shiny vintage dresses, plucking, bowing, and strumming strings, slapping tambourines, pounding drums, the singers trading off leads and wailing out contrapuntal harmonies-its infectious. Their drummer, Kevin Weber is particularly impressive, gracefully banging out manic time signatures with clockwork precision.
Most recently, BR has been making some serious headway. Since the release of their first full-length Separate, they’ve played festivals throughout the US and Canada, and garnered some serious media buzz, including being featured on the cover of Unsigned Magazine and in Spin Earth’s “12 Singles From Rising Bands”. So what do they sound like, you ask? I’d say a cross between Feist, Bjork, Rasputina, and The Chapin Sisters. But don’t take my word for it, check out tracks off “Separate” on their MySpace page.
Original article may be found here on The Bay Bridged:
INTERVIEW with A Bird in the Tree
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Beautiful Music: Blue Rabbit's Gloriously Indie Muse Past calling the band “indie,” San Francisco...Beautiful Music: Blue Rabbit's Gloriously Indie Muse
Past calling the band “indie,” San Francisco's Blue Rabbit defies easy categorization. Notable for its use of multi-part harmonies and keys, violin, cello, Celtic Harp and an uncanny ability to write memorable tunes, there’s simply no other band like it on the scene. Musically inventive and contagiously enthusiastic, the 8-member group that local songwriter Heather Anderson formed to bring her songs to life has quickly gained both a devoted following and media regard: they routinely sell out area venues and Spin recently picked Blue Rabbit as one of 12 notable "rising bands." Between rehearsals, a day job and prepping for the next recording, Heather Anderson related a bit about how it all started.
DC How did you become a musician? Tell us a little bit about life before Blue Rabbit.
HA My 6-yr-old diary has lyrics in it for songs about the sun and rainbows, my front yard, my mom. And most end with the words "REPEAT AND FADE.” I guess I've always written songs. I played (and can still play) most instruments quite badly, namely keys, guitar, and French horn. I was in concert band starting in 5th grade, and marched a Mellophone in college. After college I saved up and splurged on my first 4-track recorder, and started making cassette tapes of some really strange songs, always with 5-part vocal harmonies. I'd record them in my bathroom, for the reverb-y tile acoustics. After these 'bathroom recordings', I performed a little around the East Bay as a solo singer-songwriter. After one of my house concerts, my dad told me that my songs are amazing, but that I should never (ever!) sing them myself. I took his advice to heart and started fantasizing about Bjork or NIN singing my songs, but a couple years later, after a consultation with an LA music-industry pro, I realized the somewhat obvious fact that these alternative artists write their own. This guy had produced big names and so I asked him what the hell I should do? And he said, pressing pause on the boom box playing my homemade demo:
“I see you as the new, female Trent Reznor. Your stuff is dark, would be perfect in horror films. Why don't you dress the part, get a producer who shares your vision, raise $100k and put out your own album!”
“Ok?” I said. And then continued, “But I can't sing!”
“Who sang on these demos?” he asked.
“Well, slap some Protools on that s#$% and you're good to go!”
I walked out of that session in a daze, wondering how I'd raise $100k and picturing myself in Goth attire exploiting auto tune with a producer in LA. People outside the door waiting for their turn to meet with him asked me anxiously – “So?? What happened? What did he say about your stuff?”
Calmly, I stood there and told them that I was going to be the next NIN.
DC How did you form the band? Did you ask people or were you playing with the other members and said, hey, let’s do this, or did you have a very specific idea of what you wanted? Did you see having an 8-member line-up?
HA No, to all of the above. I had a specific idea of what I wanted, but what I created was absolutely nothing like it. At the time (circa late 2004), I was listening to a lot of Pinback, Modest Mouse, Silversun Pickups, and I really wanted to form a band that sounded something like Radiohead meets Silversun Pickups. Instead I started something that sounded like a tribal choral ensemble. I originally posted separate ads on Craigslist as a band looking for different parts — but I was really looking for EVERY part and had no band. I posted for a bassist, a drummer, guitarist, keyboardist, vocalists… you name it. I received some emails, but no one actually ever showed up. So then I answered a drummer's ad. He'd posted that his nationally touring, signed band had just split up and that he was looking for intermediary band projects. I considered myself a project, though I had nothing to offer but the songs in my head. We met for coffee in Oakland, swapped bios over French fries and cans of Pabst, and I thought he was a catch. He had been playing drums professionally for 17 years. I told him I had a ton of songs in my head, that I had formed a band in junior high that rehearsed under my house, wrote a song about a janitor, and split up after a driveway debut performance to one member's grandma.
We went to his practice space and I sang a cappella from my diary. He followed my every move and played the exact rhythms I'd imagined, but didn't know how to verbalize. I was floored. I decided to do whatever it took to keep playing with him and somehow, that worked. After a year and a half of playing in the closet as a duo, I posted an ad for vocalists without telling him. He was away visiting family for the holidays and we weren't speaking because we'd just broken up. :-0 This is a much longer story — of which I'm tempted to write a screenplay or something, as it was really so bizarre and wonderfully odd. But here's the shortest possible version:
I found ten awesome — and utterly enthusiastic — singers. I rehearsed with them all, teaching them our songs by ear on Mondays and Tuesdays, five singers a night, accompanied by iPod recordings of the drummer. I hung in there for two months, until they flaked and fizzled down to our final four. I had only been looking for one or two 'backup singers', but when I found ten who could sing better lead than I; I decided to just play it by ear, letting them slowly 'eliminate' themselves. When Kevin returned to find my surprise band mates, the final five of us sang over just a drum for a while, hence, the [resulting] 'tribal choral. I didn't quite think about the fact that Silversun Pickups uses about four guitars in their sound, and that without even one guitar, we were never going to sound like them, let alone even fall into the same genre. Instead, totally organically, we'd become something absolutely peculiar — and really cool, I thought! We later added cello — because who doesn't love a cello? And we needed a 'bottom end.’ And then Celtic harp because my friend played one, and after seeing our first show, she asked if she could join in. And again — now really, who doesn't love a Celtic harp? Plus, she rocks out like no one's business. Much later, we added keys because we realized one of our singers could play. Fast-forward three years from that first vocalist audition: we have lost two of the original four singers and replaced them with a singing male keyboardist, and a multi-talented violinist. Now I can firmly say, we sound positively nothing like anything I ever imagined — nor actually, anything I've ever heard! I did not envision—nor desire — our massive body count when I first set out. Maybe it's like an animal lover who discovers their home has become a zoo, when all they meant to adopt was one tiny kitten. Not that my band mates are pets, but they are lovable and adorable and now that we have each other, let's just say, no one's getting euthanized.
DC Blue Rabbit gets called a lot of different things in regards to genre. What, or who, are your main influences? And how has your approach to a song changed, if it has, since you formed the band?
HA With eight of us, and decades of musical life spans between us, this answer could be a mile long if I didn't just go out on a limb and pick one example. Let's go with Radiohead because I listened to ‘Creep’ on cassette until it broke, and followed their every move until making a backwards recording of ‘Ok Computer’ in college, just so I could take a break from listening to it forwards. And because I read a music theory book recently on writing melody, and I got a kick out of something it said.
It said that you could recognize a band's style by analyzing the patterns of intervals between notes and the rhythmic phrasing of the band's melodies. And then once you determined an artist's 'formula' or 'sonic algorithm', you could easily whip out a fake sort of 'knock-off.’ The book used Radiohead as an example, and it pointed out that they tend to do this, that, and the other (e.g., use lots of 2nd intervals, etc.). And the book came with a CD, on which the author had created a fake Radiohead song — and I'll be damned if it didn't sound just like a Radiohead song, but it wasn't!
What I'm getting at is that I finally had a concrete way to identify Radiohead as an influence on me, because I tend to (unconsciously) write music with a lot of the same 'trademark' characteristics, at least according to this author. Now, if I could just do it as well, and have us open for them on their next tour!!
About my approach to a song pre-and post-band formation: I think it would be an increased attentiveness and effort. Alone in your bedroom you can sing anything, but there's just another level you have to try for in order to be willing to ask your friends to sing it, because they've got to be able to like it, feel it, and enjoy it at least enough to take it from there. Also, this may be obvious, but suddenly you have to actually 'finish' a song.
DC What’s next? Can we expect something different from your next recording?
HA I hope so!? I think our sound has gelled a lot since that first recording. We've had more time to 'bond' in all ways — vocally, musically, personally, and I think that comes across in the way a band sounds. We also have a violinist who wasn't on the first album, and he adds an element I was craving. I love how he dances with and against the vocals — it's like a magic mirror that had been missing from the room. That, and there's something different about our newer songs. I can't put my finger on it yet, but I can tell there is something 'new' that is happening to us. I'm excited. Oh, and I'm not sure what — if anything — will happen with this, but we were recently contacted by legendary producer Ron Nevison (whose album credits include The Who, The Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, Grace Slick, and on and on). He emailed to tell me that I am "f#$%ing cool." Haha! And that he'd be interested in working with us. I wrote him back a few days ago and haven't heard anything yet.....so we'll see. Who knows!?
Blue Rabbit's current line-up is Heather Anderson (voice, guitar); Arami Reyes (voice, shakers, tambourine); Sarah Rocklin (vocals, cowbell); Timothy Galida (keys) ; Kristin Harris (cello); Eah Herren (Celtic harp); Kevin Weber (drums) and Adam Willumsen (violin). The band headlines the GoGirlsMusicFest at Cafe Du Nord, November 17, 8pm-1am, San Francisco, CA
LIVE REVIEW - Jambase - BR at The Independent in SF
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"The vintage posters that line the walls of The Fillmore in San Francisco boast wild combinations of..."The vintage posters that line the walls of The Fillmore in San Francisco boast wild combinations of sounds offered in a single evening – The Who sharing the stage with the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, a jug band and a surf music combo. The beautiful incongruity of these lineups speaks to an egalitarian perspective, where one assumes good music, of whatever stripe, can snuggle up to other good music to produce positive friction. A similar divergence lovin' gusto permeated this Saturday night triple bill at The Independent dubbed "The Blue Up Ball", which offered three very different, very interesting takes on what constitutes modern rock.
Up first was Blue Rabbit, a hometown force to be reckoned with, packed with three comely, hugely talented female lead singers, cello, harp (yes, like orchestra's have!), violin, keyboards and a healthy rhythm section. By turns ethereal and frighteningly muscular, their music kept stopping people in their tracks, perhaps snared by something Bjork-ian but quickly tossed into passages that beat with tribal thickness or the bright interplay of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound. There's a powerful internal logic to Blue Rabbit that allows very poppy aspects to mingle with quite adventurous experimentation, all tied together by real dedication to their craft. There's too many twists and turns for any of this to be accidental, yet they delivered the lot with nostril-flaring immediacy. A ball to watch with constantly engaging material, Blue Rabbit made more than a few new fans in one fell swoop. A happy reminder why one should always show up early enough to catch an unknown opener." -Dennis Cook / Jambase 6/6/09
Go here to view full article:
INTERVIEW with Unsigned: The Magazine
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Blue Rabbit was the featured artist of the month on the home page of Unsigned for all of November, 2...Blue Rabbit was the featured artist of the month on the home page of Unsigned for all of November, 2009. In addition to photos and streaming audio, this interview was part of the feature:
Blue Rabbit: Separate
Harmoniously racy and edgy.
Based in San Francisco, the group Blue Rabbit consists of composer, songwriter, and singer Heather Anderson, who is joined on vocals by Arami Reyes and Sarah Rocklin.
Their release Separate has been reviewed several times and what I got from reading one of the myriad reviews out there about them is that other's besides myself have a difficult time defining this groups sound. So rather than reinvent the under-described wheel we decided to go with a feature and let the band describe their sound for themselves.
UTM: If you had to define your music by placing it in a record bin at a music store what category would you put yourselves in?
Heather: Well, there is something pretty cool about music stores who lump every nuanced subgenre together under the sign “ROCK”, listed alphabetically by band name – even if it’s a tad weird to find your Small Faces next to your Siouxsie and the Banshees. It’s nice to not pigeonhole bands into a particular sound, and to let listeners try something new with fewer preconceptions. So ideally, we’d fall under “B” in the rock section. But since every artist needs to give this answer a stab, I can tell you that my Wikipedia research tells me we’re closest to “modern baroque pop”, “indie pop”, or if you wanna get down to it: “alternative modern baroque indie pop”. Problem is, those terms only hold meaning for a few.
Here's my take: The ‘modern’ because overall, we have a contemporary, edge-pushing sound and aren’t afraid to experiment, the ‘pop’ because weird as we might be, we still love catchy hooks, and ‘baroque’ is a reference to our classical elements – such as key signature and meter changes, as well as our string instruments. And indie…well… I’m actually reading a book right now that tries to define what “indie” means. Pretty interesting stuff - especially the historical perspective on “indie” in the 50s and 60s. It’s called Slanted and Enchanted. Check it out!
UTM: Please tell us what methods you used to make your voice so flexible and expressive?
Heather: Well, thank you, by the way! Four of us sing, and frankly I do terrible things to my voice and throat and must be better about it. It’s hence not very flexible –but it’s our emotive grit, our ‘dirt’ in the mix. Arami and Sarah – who we call “Sarami” – say that their vocal strength has come simply from practice, singing together for six or more hours per week. Also, for a not-so-healthy quick fix at shows: whiskey straight up with a lemon wedge. Though, we were just informed that we’d be smarter to gargle with apple cider vinegar. We’re learning!
UTM: How do you approach your songwriting?
Heather: The way I approach it is changing. Expressing myself in the form of a melodic lyric has been more of a life-long ‘tick’. It’s automatic, instinctual; It’s been both my medicine and crutch of sorts. In the past, when I wanted to tell someone something personal, I’d sing them a song. I’m the relationship person who hates when it’s time to have “a talk”. In college, I’d literally say, “Ummm, hold on, lemme get my guitar.” Our album is made of those kinds of songs. Each one is 100% autobiographical, like a private conversation.
Lately I’ve been writing about more abstract feelings and concepts, and about other people’s stories. Also, since the album came out, I’ve put a lot more thought into pop song structure. I’m fascinated by the craft, and by what makes a melody appealing. There’s so much to learn, it’s endless and inspiring. I'm not sure yet, how that will change this next album from the first, so you'll have to listen and let me know next year.
UTM: How do you strike a balance between the business of music and your creativity?
Heather: You basically have to split into two people. And both of you have a full-time job. One needs to feed and care for the muse, give it musical soul food, feel inspired, space out, spend time alone, pace around brainstorming and singing under your breath. The other one needs to be creative in a different way – needs to reach out to as many people as possible to get the music ‘out there’. This is no easy task, but it’s not total hell either. You just have to view ‘self promotion’ as sharing something you love with people you respect. If you don’t like sharing, or other people, you better hire someone!
UTM: Do you all plan on giving the world some good material for a future "Behind The Music" special? Or are you pretty tame?
Heather: We are laughably tame when it comes to the typical Behind the Music fare – drugs. We do have some inter-band “Fleetwood Mac”/ “No Doubt” sort of love-and-heartbreak stuff that we can dredge out if needed.
UTM: Do you prefer the stage or the studio?
Heather: Funny that you ask, because we just all voted to take a brief stage break to go into the studio. I can’t say that any of us totally prefer one or the other, but I can say that it’s hard for us to focus on both at the same time. I love recording, and it’s going to be amazing to step back into hiding, work out some kinks, and play around with the final structure and layering of each song – without worrying about how we’re going to pull it off live in 5 days. However, when we’re done with that, the resulting recording would be meaningless if we weren’t out singing and sharing it with real live people. Shows are like parties of all our closest friends – we can’t stay away for too long!
UTM: What's next for Blue Rabbit?
Heather: Wow! We have so many hopes and goals that I’ll have to use some self restraint (not my strong suit) to give you the highlights. In order: releasing our next single along with remixes from our first album, releasing our sophomore album next year, working with a talented producer who shares our vision, touring in the US and Europe! Right now we’re working with a London producer on our single, “Flattened and Shined”. And like I mentioned above, we’re about to hibernate for the winter and write and record some new tunes! Oh and live action and animated music videos are of course on our wish list. If someone's got some skills in that area, please let us know!
UTM: Why is your rabbit blue?
Heather: For better or for worse, I have to take full blame for the name, because I was the only band member at the time. It was actually blue before it was a rabbit. I used to call myself Blu Ram (no ‘e’ so that the words were symmetrical), but when I first started the band, I’d just been through the “Missing Piece” breakup, and was feeling less like a butting ram, and more like a smaller, vulnerable and nervous rabbit.
Blue is always good: an indigo sky, blues music, the ocean, the mood. And I grew up with lots of rabbits. I had 37 at my peak. I was also having lots of dreams with rabbits in them at the time. Rabbits in hutches. Rabbits running free. I was going to write a book once called Rabbit Dreams. It didn’t hurt that it’s also my Chinese animal. I also really like word pairs that start with B and R. I feel like it’s an unexplainable lifetime of reasons. One day I woke up and thought – blue rabbit, of course. Oh – and I didn’t want to call the band 'Heather Anderson'. Who the hell would want to join that? Not I! Also, I’m a huge fan of Chan Marshall and so I thought – hell, if she can call herself Cat Power, then I can surely call myself Blue Rabbit.
UTM: The entire album is an excellent show of sleek and inventive lyric writing and vocal arrangements. Do you all write together?
Heather: Thank you!! We have a little system, and I like to think we’re getting better at it all the time. It’s not always the same, but here’s the general flow of how it works best: I typically write the skeleton of the song on my own – the words, main melody, chords. Then, depending on who will have me first, I might teach that to the girls, or work with Kevin on the beat. It’s best if I can work with Kevin first, because a great beat and good rhythmic phrasing - or placement of the lyric - is kind of the backbone to the whole deal.
In the “beat first” method, Kevin and I create a rough “training track”, which is just an MP3 of me singing a scratch track over his drums. This helps the girls get a head start before getting to practice. Now, remember, I said this is ideally how it works. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of practices where I just sing to their faces and they sing it back, again and again, like the passing of a field holler or something. Once they have the main melody down, they come up with their own harmonies and other arrangement ideas. And as they solidify their ideas, I then start to have some new ones, and it flows like a circle until it settles for while.
The way we sing our songs is always changing, though the changes are subtle. In the beginning, we didn’t use chords. But now that we have a keyboardist, violinist and harpist, they’re quite essential. So the instrument people will invent their own parts based on the chords – and also offer feedback, critique, suggestions if they notice something kind of ‘off’. After we have the basic song down, it’s a never-ending free-for-all. We’re really lucky that we all have similar tastes and get along really well. We’ll each yell out our various ideas and opinions at practice, and in turn, ideas will either get a choral response of “Oh YEAH YEAH YEAH!” or an animated flurry of debate will ensue, ending in something we’re all cool with. I’m endlessly surprised by how easily we create en masse.
I know that Adam, our violinist, would like to compose some intros and interludes, and we’d like to also showcase Tim and Eah’s solos more, so we’ll see. Also, we are just starting to explore the full extent of everyone’s talents. Timmy and Eah are both great singers, and so we’re working towards highlighting that more. And a few of us are harboring instrumental fantasies…a mini synth keyboard, French Horn, lots of stuff. We’re always evolving.
UTM: If you could go back in time and invent one thing what would it be?
You can learn more about Blue Rabbit at www.myspace.com/bluerabbitmusic. Or better yet, you can purchase a copy of Separate at www.cdbaby.com/cd/bluerabbit.
Full article may be viewed here:
LIVE REVIEW - SF Examiner - Delusions of Grandtour
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Sultry Sirens of Song - Blue Rabbit headlines the Delusions of Grand Tour in SF Friday night, loc...Sultry Sirens of Song - Blue Rabbit headlines the Delusions of Grand Tour in SF
Friday night, local indie sensation Blue Rabbit headlined the Delusions of Grand Tour at the Hotel Utah. The tour features three indie bands - The Hoof and the Heel, Gregg Tillery, and Marcus Very Ordinary. For each stop the tour makes, they invite one local band to headline.
The Delusions of Grand Tour's unique blend of musicians has led to ringing success - their first night, a Tuesday, they sold 150 tickets at the Viper Room in L.A. The show at Hotel Utah was no exception - it was packed all night long, and even more packed for Blue Rabbit.
Watching Blue Rabbit perform live, your first question is why aren't they already famous? They're unique, they're catchy, and above all, they're wonderfully personal and quirky.
When Blue Rabbit took the stage, the room was filled with chaotic chatter. To get everyone ready to pay attention, lead singer/song writer Heather Anderson and her harmonizing vocalists Arami Reyes and Sarah Rocklin sang an acapella riff from Blue Rabbit's award winning song "Sleep." The brief snatch of song instantly quieted the rowdy crowd, opening the door for Anderson to start the set with everyone's full attention.
The band quickly enthralled the audience with song and showmanship. While many bands don't bother to dress up for a performance, it's always nice when someone does. Blue Rabbit does not disappoint - the three female vocalists conjure up images of torch singers with sexy fitted dresses, and all the musicians dress up too - making for a nice change of pace.
Anderson had a great introduction for each song - for the first song she told a knock knock joke about an interrupting cow, garnering cheers from the audience. The second song she introduced as being her father's favorite (Yellowbird), and a set list selection for the evening because he was there for the evening. Hands down though, my favorite song introduction was for "No Batteries."
"No Batteries" is a song about why a vibrator wouldn't ever serve as a replacement for a boyfriend. Anderson introduced the number as being a Valentine's Day present for someone special. The patter drew the crowd into every song and formed a very strong audience connection. Combined with the emotional, powerful vocals of Anderson, Reyes, and Rocklin, it made for a very intense performance. One of the evening's highlights was when Reyes sang lead on "Like I'd Like You" - a song about an intensely passionate, dysfunctional relationship. Reyes poured emotion into every turn of phrase. "Like I'd Like You" stands apart from some of Blue Rabbit's other songs because it doesn't have as much of a pop feel to the lyrics, it's more a song you sit back, take in, and find yourself haunted by later.
During the show, Blue Rabbit brought up 3 additional vocalists - the ladies of Conspiracy of Venus - to accompany on some of the songs. The sound of six women singing the baroque, art rock songs of Blue Rabbit was nothing short of inspiring.
Rounding out the evening, the band unveiled a new song that's in the works - Drink. Drink is a dreamy, slow melody with soaring violin solos and powerful lyrics - "If only I could be your drink and blur the edges of your pain, wipe out the thoughts you don't want to think..." it's a sad, beautiful song.
As an encore, Blue Rabbit performed one of its most popular tunes - "Missing Piece." Again, it was accompanied by a great introduction. The band's violinist was injured right before the group was headed to Nashville, forcing them to find a last minute replacement. While they were away, they thought of their missing violinist as the "Missing Piece."
On the whole, Blue Rabbit is one of the best bands playing in the bay area right now in terms of ingenuity, heart, and sound. They're definitely one of those hidden gem bands - once you hear them you wonder how it is that you never heard of them before. You may have missed this show, but try not to miss the next one! Check them out on their myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/bluerabbitmusic
FEATURE: "Indie Artist of the Month" on Music Zeitgeist
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"Romance, like the rabbit at the dog track, is the elusive, fake, and never attained reward which, f..."Romance, like the rabbit at the dog track, is the elusive, fake, and never attained reward which, for the benefit and amusement of our masters, keeps us running and thinking in safe circles." ~ Beverly Jones
Blue Rabbit out of San Francisco comes at you like an urgent whisper, channeling early 90’s wombadelics like Lush and Cocteau Twins, the rumble and earthiness of Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits and the soft-compressed breaks of the Bristol Trip Hop in a way that feels as fresh as the 2009 calender you just thumb-tacked to your wall.
Selected from hundreds of submissions, we asked band leader Heather Anderson to fill us in. Here’s what we discovered down the rabbit hole:
We released our debut album, Separate in 2008. It’s a concept art piece, in that all 8 songs on it tie together as part of “The Story of Sadie Jones,” a collaborative art project that incorporates recordings by indie artists from all over the world into an illustrated storybook. I am the founder/producer of the project.
Several of the songs on the album were written when BR was a twosome, about the trials of trying not to love your band mate – because I was loving Kevin, and he did not want to go there. If you’re a voyeur – you’ll hear me accept what little he was willing to give in “Like I’d Like You To,” or how sad and awkward it got in the end by listening to “Stupid Flag” – a blow by blow shot list of our lamest moments. Even the title came straight from his mouth. He asked me once – if when I see he’s about to be a jerk – if I could please just raise up some kind of “stupid flag.” I told him it doesn’t work like that, but that it was a damn good title. People teased that we were pulling a “No Doubt.” I like to think I was channeling Fleetwood Mac. I want people to know that some of these songs were my private audio-letters to Kevin, so that they can picture us alone in a warehouse practice space after work – he beating a drum, and I singing these things to him, about him.
Now that our debut album is out and starting to circulate, we’re starting pre-production on our new EP. None of the new songs are about Kevin and me. In fact, the only one about a lover is about my current boyfriend’s Bridge to Terabithia childhood love affair. That song “Flattened and Shined,” and “Freezing a Frame” are now up as live videos on our site. If Separate’s songs make you want to dance in your head, the new songs make your body jump up and down.
Blue Rabbit at Hotel Utah - photo by David Levin
Blue Rabbit at Hotel Utah - photo by David Levin
Long ago, I was a lone blue rabbit making four-track recordings in my bathroom. Then one day I posted on Craigslist – an ad looking for all the missing band parts – and found a drummer. I threw some words at him like “dramatic pause, ¾ time, cymbals crashing, the sense of bitter epiphany.” He said to just sing it, and so I did, a Capella. Like magic, he played exactly what was in my mind.
We played secretly, “in the closet” – literally – for a year and a half as a vocals/drum duo. My voice has a limited low range, but I like to write sweeping melodies, so during most of our practices, I’d yell out mid-song, “and this is where our imaginary friends come in!” Then I’d squeak out the higher parts as best I could; there were so many great melodies for these imaginary people.
In February, 2006, I posted an ad for singers. I found ten singing women who wanted to know how I would ‘eliminate’ them. I said they would be eliminating themselves. So I rehearsed with all 10 for two months – five a night, twice a week, teaching them songs like a choir director with no sheet music. They learned every line by ear, parroting them back to me; we sang along to iPod recordings of Kevin drumming. They asked if we were ever going to have instruments, or when they could meet the ‘real’ drummer. When they’d dwindled to the original four, I called Kevin: “I found us some imaginary friends!” These four stayed with us until 2007, when we reorganized, sticking with our final two: Arami Reyes, and Sarah Rocklin. The rest of the members were carefully gathered like lucky thrift store finds. Not that they are used goods – but that the feeling of discovering a treasure is the same. Rounding out our crew, they are: Celtic harpist (Eah Herren), keyboardist/singer (Timothy Galida) who was doing voiceover work for a good friend, and cellist (Kristin Harris) whom we also found on Craigslist.
Through our personalities and tastes, we each bring a unique perspective to the music, though it’s seven times trickier to get around (two cars, lots of flight tickets), and we’re seven mouths to feed – not one. But the trade-off is so worth it, because we are seven times what any of us could ever be alone.
There are songs in my head all day at work. On breaks I pace the allies between the office buildings mumbling them to myself, Rainman-style, until I can get the syllables to line up just right with the rhythm of my steps. I mutter and hum rhymes at bus stops, always when walking, driving, doing dishes, showering. When I am moved, I think in melody, in lyrics. If I am angry, enraged, joyous, enamored, my thoughts turn musical. My childhood house fell down in a landslide. When moving the black-bagged remains, I found a diary of mine from age five. Every page had a song. I opened to one about the sun. There were verses and choruses marked, even bridges. It ended in giant kid-scrawl, with the words “REPEAT and FADE.” The songs are in me. If I didn’t let them out, they would kill me.
Until we keel over. I want to tour the country in an old converted sleeper bus. I want to share stages with Arcade Fire, The Dears, Devotchka, Radiohead, Broken Social Scene and others. I want to co-produce 3D animated /live action music videos. I want to tour overseas. I want to play to people who know our songs by heart.
We are off to Toronto to play Canadian Music Week this month – our first trip together (that involves a sleepover). Our cellist, Kristin Harris, is getting married the same weekend, so Michael Fecskes of SF faves Built for the Sea will be filling in. He blew our minds at practice – whipping through our songs with little to no guidance! I’m glad we all like each other because, whether or not he’s yet fully aware, we’re about to bunk together for four nights in one room, dorm-style.
At least once a month you can find us singing it like we mean it at venues around the San Francisco Bay such as Cafe du Nord, Hemlock Tavern, Hotel Utah, Amnesia, The Starry Plough and more. On our plate right now in the next 40-odd days: Shooting a music video for Sleep, working on a radio remix of Sleep with a producer in the UK for UK radio play, Cafe du Nord on March 21 (with The Minks and Sex With No Hands), and Hemlock Tavern on April 15th sponsored by The Deli SF (with Chelsea Wolfe, Tippy Canoe). The Hemlock show will be taped by Wiretap Music and aired on their radio show the following week.
A few nights a week, we are in Soma, San Francisco, creating music in a tiny room we cloaked in red cloth and strung with lights.
Next year, look out for us touring the country in that sleeper bus.
Listen to Blue Rabbit’s “Sleep” at MZ’s Free Indie Jukebox.
Find more Blue Rabbit on:
Buy a Blue Rabbit CD on CDBaby
Buy a CD directly from Blue Rabbit
Arami’s blog: http://ohpicturethis.blogspot.com
Heather’s blog: http://thestoryofsadiejones.blogspot.com
Go here to see the original feature:
"Blue Rabbit’s ‘Separate’ is a breath of fresh air."
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So much more than creative, intergalactic bunny inspired cover art, Blue Rabbit’s “Separate” is a br...So much more than creative, intergalactic bunny inspired cover art, Blue Rabbit’s “Separate” is a breath of fresh air.
Formed in 2005, this San Francisco-based cello/harp septet demonstrates a tasteful mixture of jazz-like melodramatic feel and phrasing, thick harmonic layering, and a rhythm section that understands the intricacies of acoustic simplicity; the result is a blend of sound that most Greenwich Village and Brooklyn-based ensembles strive toward, but fall well short of (save NJ’s own Double Breasted).
Instead of the clichéd vamps and overly loud guitar lines found on album opening tracks nowadays, “Sleep” casually grabs your ear and draws you in. Reminiscent of Leigh Nash (Sixpence None The Richer), Bjork, and Fiona Apple, Heather Anderson’s intoxicating vocals gently convince listeners that while they’re not necessarily sure about where she’s going, they should follow her.
“Getting Away” follows with a rich minor chord sequence, strong percussive backbeat, and sudden, but smooth tempo changes; Anderson’s vocals are bluesy, soothing and seductive – the forerunner for top track of the album. Despite cloudy lyrical content, the title track follows with a solid backbeat/harp intro and a melodic chorus and without much avail, continues onto “Missing Piece” – a six-plus minute bluesy interlude splashed between catchy, finger-snapping choruses; in spite of an unlocked drum/harp/cello entrance at the onset of the tune, Anderson is vocally, once again, at the top of her game, weaving a dreamy spell over every corner of the track.
While the bossa-influenced “No Batteries, Please” and the 6/8 feel “Like I’d Like You To” showcase less of the dark Blue Rabbit material with acoustic guitars and thick Wurlitzer/Fender Rhodes-like keyboard tones, “Stupid Flag” and “Love Secret” return listeners back to the album’s original mood and tonality: gloomy and minor, but charming.
In spite of the occasional cello intonation issues and lack of low end to fill out the grounding of the album, “Separate” is a true breath of fresh air and interesting (a characteristic not possessed by many in today’s music industry) to listen to; not often are listeners presented with an ensemble of this makeup that effectively navigate through the elements of melody and mood – until their sophomore album, we’ll have to wait and see where Miss Anderson takes us next – wherever it happens to be, she’s got this set of ears on board.
Matt Jaworski-MuzikReviews.com Contributor
"...debut EP, Separate, is a sort of art-piece,..."
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Album Review 12/1/08 Excerpt: How to describe Blue Rabbit? The band's MySpace page cites influence...Album Review 12/1/08
How to describe Blue Rabbit? The band's MySpace page cites influences as disparate as The Beatles, ELO, Simon and Garfunkel, Bjork, Radiohead and Rufus Wainwright. Reviewers have called them a mashup of Nick Cave and The Supremes, The Andrews Sisters and Portishead, Bjork and Arcade Fire. The band plays a range of instruments including guitar, tambourine, cowbell, drums, cello, keyboards and celtic harp (among others). It's tempting to throw this San Francisco indie act in with the likes of Rasputina and Emilie Autumn, though these dwell on the Gothic side of town, whereas Blue Rabbit is much more Baroque in flavor.
Blue Rabbit's self-funded, self-released debut EP, Separate, is a sort of art-piece, the lyrics to all eight of its songs tied together with an illustrated "autobiofictionalography" called The Story of Sadie Jones (written and produced by band leader Heather Anderson. Combined with Arami Reyes and Sarah Rocklin, this trio of vocalists (and then some) sing sweet lullaby nothings atop a fluttering cello bassline and the trill of the harp. Unique time signatures, odd chord progressions and eerie melodies keep things consistently interesting, but the melancholy cello ties everything together.
Album opener "Sleep" is rolling drums, throbbing cello, its exhausted, insomniac central character chanting herself to sleep in gorgeous harmony. "Missing Piece" is a smooth, smokey, jazzy number, Baroque Blues with haunting melodies and minimal instrumentation that feels like an epic unto itself (at 6:20, it's the longest song on the album). "Getting Away" pushes the vocals further to the front of the class, soaring to great heights that leave little wonder about [...] Blue Rabbit's ability to at once stick with a classical Baroque sound and yet defy boundaries. Can't find your white rabbit? Follow a blue one down the rabbit hole, and you won't be disappointed.
Favorite Track: "Missing Piece"
- Michael Fiegel, OnlineRock.com
Read the full review here:
"...Separate, is a feast for the ears."
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Blue Rabbit â€“ Separate 2008, Blue Rabbit San Franciscoâ€™s Blue Rabbit goes for Baroque. Mixin...Blue Rabbit â€“ Separate
2008, Blue Rabbit
San Franciscoâ€™s Blue Rabbit goes for Baroque. Mixing the devilishly delightful harmonies of Heather Anderson, Arami Reyes and Sarah Rocklin with cello, drums and Celtic harp, Blue Rabbit delves into Baroque style art-rock that fits perfectly in the San Francisco rock tradition. Blue Rabbit drives their songs with strong lyrical content and melodies you canâ€™t shake. Their debut EP, Separate, is a feast for the ears.
Separate opens with Sleep, an intense somnolent muse with powerful rolling rhythms, quirky instrumentation and gorgeously arranged vocal harmonies. Sleep could be the manic rant of a soul inflicted with intense insomnia. Getting Away mixes electronic and orchestral instrumentation. The music takes a back seat to the vocals here, as the voices of Heather Anderson, Arami Reyes and Sarah â€œBanginâ€™ Bootyâ€ Rocklin soar like angels and intertwine like golden braids. Separate renews the Baroque Rock push with an intricate and beautifully arrangement musical tableau.
My favorite song on Separate is Missing Piece. The song features voice and cello and has a torch song feel to it. The minor key harmonies make this a haunting piece of music that will stick in your mind long after the CD ceases to spin. The minimalist arrangement makes the most of Blue Rabbitâ€™s collective vocals while allowing the song room to move and breathe of its own volition.
Like Iâ€™d Like You To sounds like Sarah McLachlan with a dark aspect. The song lilts and sways through the neurotic midnight of emotions infused in a dysfunctional relationship. This might actually be the best written song on the album. It doesnâ€™t have the same pop sense that some of the other songs on Separate have and so doesnâ€™t stand out as much on first listen. Subsequent listens illuminate the song more and I suspect this will eventually be my favorite song on the disc. Stupid Flag is a fairly generic, pleasant listen. Love Secret returns to the dark, Baroque splendor that seems to infuse the best of Blue Rabbitâ€™s songs on Separate, playing piano and cello against one another in support of perhaps the loveliest melody on the album.
Blue Rabbit is unique. Cello in pop/rock bands is generally relegated to the background, or becomes the raison dâ€™Ãªtre for bands like Break Of Reality. On Separate the cello is front and center as one of the prime musical movers. Intermixing cello with piano, percussion and the haunting vocals of Anderson, Reyes and Rocklin, Blue Rabbit has found a winning musical combination that will take you by surprise and quickly win you over. Separate is a brave and exciting album that takes big risks and wins. Dark, melodic folk/pop songs with credible weight and depth await you.
Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)
You can learn more about Blue Rabbit at www.myspace.com/bluerabbitmusic. You can purchase a copy of Separate at www.cdbaby.com/cd/bluerabbit.
Posted originally at: http://wildysworld.blogspot.com/
"A deep work on the art rock side ..."
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BLUE RABBIT BLUE RABBIT/Separate: Up and coming singer/songwriter Heather Anderson shows she’s wel...BLUE RABBIT
BLUE RABBIT/Separate: Up and coming singer/songwriter Heather Anderson shows she’s well on her way with this song cycle in the tradition of some of Van Dyke Parks’ off beat works tilling this ground. Contemporary stuff for contemporary ears, Anderson and her crew have studied well and know how to serve it right. A deep work on the art rock side that college girls right of goth can easily take to heart.
All original songs. Songs average 4:00 min length. Typically play a set lasting between 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. Current set may contain any or all of the following songs:
2. Getting Away
4. Like I'd Like You To
5. Missing Piece
6. No Batteries
7. Love Secret
8. Stupid Flag
9. Flattened and Shined
11. Apres Vous
12. Freezing a Frame
There are no upcoming dates at this time.