Blue Ribbon
Gig Seeker Pro

Blue Ribbon

Band Alternative Rock

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Jun
24
Blue Ribbon @ century lounge

providence, Rhode Island, USA

providence, Rhode Island, USA

Jun
21
Blue Ribbon @ zuzu

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Jun
18
Blue Ribbon @ 2005 Waterside Summer Festival

Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA

Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Fancy some dark new wave electro pop made by four indie aliens with a penchant for OMD, Human League & New Order amongst others? Well you could do so much worse than invest in this here ace CD by Blue Ribbon (yeah, It's a naff name but hey...) This is 12 scorching tracks of synth genius with hooks & melodies from the gods. The lyrics are of the occasionally twee & lovelorn variety sung in a hazy, detatched style over huge crashing waves of euphoric electro genius. Warm & passionately crafted, this is simply a superb album, believe me. So if you fancy hearing what The Field Mice covering 'Dare' by The Human League would result in........Buy buy buy!!!!"
- Norman Records website www.normanrecords.com


"What is it about the '80s that is so damn appealing? A large part of it has to do with the evolution of the synthesizer; while the technology has been evolving, there exists a feeling among many gearheads and electronic musicians today that the full range of sound possibilities has yet to be explored in those old analog synthesizers. These days, it seems like everybody is going back to the old analog synthesizers for inspiration, especially so in the EBM/futurepop scene, and more obviously in the electroclash scene. Artists like I, Synthesist, Celluloide, Ladytron, Fischerspooner, and wide array of others are returning to the days of Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, and early Front 242, using vintage equipment and reprising the simplicity of pop composition. Out of this '80s revivalism is Blue Ribbon.

With their album Another Time, the New York/Rhode Island quartet has put together a sugary sweet collection of upbeat pop songs, all based on the '80s synthesizer. Indeed, the majority of the band's equipment is vintage: the Roland Jupiter 6 and Juno 60, and the Korg MS-10 and Mono/Poly, the whole album is composed of those classic detuned square and saw sounds that defined the early synthesizer sound. Throw in some simple pop song structures, and some oddly robotic but strangely emotional vocals, and you would have the sound of Blue Ribbon. To look at the band, one might get the impression that they're just another indie band along the lines of Belle & Sebastian or Stereolab. While their songwriting is somewhat indicative of those bands, there is also a distinct sense of that classic '80s synthpop mentality. There is a resonance of Depeche Mode's first two albums, especially on the slightly melancholy “Army Song” and on the bouncy sugar pop of “Eagles Fly.” “2012205” is fairly minimalist with its detuned pad progressions that show the quirky imperfections of those analog sounds, as well as the futurist soundtrack spirit of many electronic musicians. “Your Izod” is interesting with its slightly off beat out-of-sync arpeggios, while “Miami” plays as a slight mockery of the modern electronic scene with its sardonic lyric, “I know technology is good…and it's killing me /
I was sucked into your computer screen…and it killed me.”

Another Time has something for everybody. For the audiophiles and gearheads, this is a history lesson in just what the synthesizer used to mean, how far the instrument has come in the last two decades, and a reminder that sometimes technology is only as good as the emotion put into it. For those looking for that perfect pop song that will play the part of soundtrack to your love life, every song on Another Time could fill that role; the melodies are pretty saccharine, maybe even too sweet for comfort, but there's no denying that this is some quality synthpop, old school style. These songs can get stuck in your head, whether you like them or not; they are that catchy. The crisp production and mastering, a la Trevor Kampmann, also help to bring the nuances of sound in those old synths, while at the same time keeping the sound quality grounded in modern times. As part of the new retro, the boys in Blue Ribbon are making some good music to stand up to their peers. While this sound may simply be another fad fated to eventually die out like their '80s heroes, Blue Ribbon are at least making good on it and making sure to get you bouncing until then. "
- www.regenmag.com


"If I were born in 1990 and only knew the 80's through what Hollywood, MTV, and Vice magazine taught me, Blue Ribbon would make me nostalgic for good times that never were.  This Providence, RI synth-pop band's debut is best heard on sun-worn, third generation tape with the treble cranked up and played on an after-hours drive through the orange phosphate lights of suburban subdivisions.  On the surface, Blue Ribbon projects self-aware cliches of ironic detachment and hopeless sexual frustration through its robotic British accents, vague dirges, and awe-shucks melodies -- just like its beloved Human League.  Yet, there is still great soul and odd innocence in it all -- plus the three-man synth attack of analog Korgs and Rolands can drone the mind into a blissful, half-asleep state.  That effect just barely forgives
the poetry and drama here.

Opener "Icicle" lays out the formula with new wave beats, smudged, synth-string melodrama, and verses mechanically repeated throughout the song's four-and-a-half minutes:  "She wouldn't go/She's an icicle."  "Eagles Fly" is a decent Modern English homage with melodies that first feel doubtful, see the Light and then reach an epiphany two bars later -- "I see the time/She sees the time tonight/I am the world she knows."  "And she claps her hands to me" (insert sassy handclaps).

By the time "Army Song" wears down the album's flow with same-old, same-old melodies and beats, the following "2012205" thankfully detours. This Boards of Canada-like instrumental is one long, analog drone that peers around from time to time with chord changes to see if there is anyone else in the room.  The other highlights include the punching-bag beats of "Lyra" and the peculiar duet of what sounds like Joy Division's Ian Curtis lamenting with Robert Smith on "Roll Your Eyes."
- Grooves magazine


"Blue Ribbon's debut release, Another Time, may owe a lot to their many pop idols -- Human League, Thomas Dolby, Psychedelic Furs, Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran, Hall and Oates, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, INXS -- but clearly stands on its own as a fluid collection of songs which actually have a greater range of textures, moods and pop hooks than the aforementioned bands could actually pull off in their heyday.

The surging chorus of "Icicle" is an infectious opening to the album; which rides the vocoder-laced lines "I saw you cry she said, she's an icicle / I asked her out last night, she wouldn't go" into the icy waters of Ride's epochal Nowhere. With a swelling hook which just melts atop the crisp drum intro, "Eagles Fly" seems to be one of those songs which was written for that single spot -- the third track which you always seem to go back to. While singers Steve Goodman and Jon Erikson don't stray far from the subject of jilted adolescent love, they do have soft and soothing voices which absorb into the mix beautifully.

Another Time is a surprising find; Blue Ribbon was able to, on their first outing, create a record which is a sharp contrast to the growing lot of self-conscious synth-pop revivalists. By the end of the album you will realize that Blue Ribbon do not seem too concerned at all with experimenting with the world of keyboard tones which lie at their fingertips. Instead they craft complex, sad, and really beautiful songs within a relatively simple formula. And I'll be damned if they did not succeed entirely. This is mesmerizing stuff, indeed."
- verticalslum.com


"From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, Sacto had a kickin’ techno-dance scene. That said, if you’re reminiscing about scooting in your parachute pants to Yaz, then I’m talking to you. Blue Ribbon is a quartet from Providence, R.I., that plays classic synth-pop, and its debut CD, Another Time, proves it’s a fine practitioner of the form. Musically and vocally, the band owes a big debt to 1980s Brit groups like OMD, Blancmange, Heaven 17 and especially Power, Corruption & Lies-era New Order, if fronted by Vince Clarke. “Eagles Fly,” which debuted on Blue Bell Records’ great Hear You Soon: Part 1 compilation, is a standout track with pensive vocals over pastoral hooks. “2012205” wouldn’t be out of place on Brian Eno’s Music for Films. So, which member of The Breakfast Club are you most like?"
- Sacramento News and Review


Discography

"Another Time"
Debut Full Lenght CD (2005)
*the track "Eagles Fly" received heavy rotation airplay from RI's WRIU 90.3 and Miami's WVUM 90.3. the track is also receiving airplay from many other college radio stations, including KDVS (CA) and KTRU (Houston, TX)

compilations Blue Ribbon has contributed to:
"Hear You Soon Vol.1 : various artists" 2004 Blue Bell Records
"WXJL vol. 2 Music for the Masses" 2003 Ninthwave Records
"UAC vol.4" 2003 Plastiq Musiq

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Suited with an affinity for analog synths and contagious melodies, Blue Ribbon bring their debut full-lenth entitled, "Another Time" (2005). Released on Blue Bell Records after the label's debut release, "Various Artists: Hear You Soon Vol. 1" (2004) featured the Blue Ribbon track "Eagles Fly"and generated considerable interest and favourable press:

 
 

"...the soaring “Eagles Fly” by Blue Ribbon distills breezy vocals and massed synth banks into five minutes of New Wave electropop bliss." -Ron Schepper Stylus Magazine 5.3.04

With "Another Time", Blue Ribbon delivers huge layers of synths, danceable beats, and memorable vocal hooks. The vintage tones on the album can reflect the influence of bands such as the Human League, New Order, or OMD. Modern influences would include the likes of Lali Puna, Figurine and HollAnd.

The band's live set up consists of a hybrid drum set (half electronic triggers / half acoustic drums), live bass guitar, a small arsenal of synths, and two vocals. They use no pre-programmed parts, choosing to play everything live.

Fresh off their first U.S. tour, Blue Ribbon are now writing material for a follow up to this year's "Another Time" and will continue to play some East Coast shows through the summer.

Although the current line up of Blue Ribbon has been together for just over a year, Steve and Jon started writing together in 1997 under the name, "How to Draw Robotech." After experimenting with a Jupiter 6 being triggered by a 707 drum machine, Blue Ribbon was founded in 2001. The band went through various member changes, intermittent practices / shows, and a few compilation appearances before dissolving in 2003. The current line up came to be after moving back to Providence, RI in 2004 and recruiting Jesse Carter for keyboard duties and Bryan Robertson for bass guitar.