Randi Russo
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Randi Russo

Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"various Village Voice quotes"

"...Randi's someone to keep your eye on."

"...offbeat song structures and cutting lyrics"

"Randi Russo just keeps growing on me. Every time I listen to her debut album, Solar Bipolar (Olive Juice Music), I notice something new. Like how her songs could be lost Patti Smith recordings from 1976. Or how the fourth track, League of the Brigands, sounds like Buffalo Springfield's For What It's Worth (that's a good thing). Or how her guitar playing is sweet when it needs to be, but nasty in all the right places. All she needs is one gig opening for somebody like Cat Power, and her fame is pretty much guaranteed."

"guitar goddess"

"Randi Russo is a rock and roll poetess in the rough."

"I like a woman with balls... Randi Russo has 'em to spare. ...songs not meant for the faint of heart."

"With a voice like a young Patti Smith, and this cool left-handed way of playing a right-handed guitar upside down, local singer-songwriter Randi Russo makes the sweetest kind of uncomfortable noise. Her delightfully abrasive debut album, Solar Bipolar, showcases... her own unique sound from what's left of the Velvet Underground's legacy..."

- Village Voice

"Solar Bipolar review"

"An explosion of creativity that oozes with eclectic charm and raw emotions, it grabs you forcefully and pulls you in. When it's all over, you're left wondering what the hell just happened. ...There are a whole lot of balls and artistry packed into the 12 tracks of the disc. The intensity of her sound is something to be heard. Fans of unusual, melodic verse will be able to appreciate the words, the music, and that powerful voice as they all fuse together into Solar Bipolar." - Venus Zine

"Solar Bipolar review"

A tough-minded debut, with lyrical bite and guitar growl in abundance, New York singer/songwriter Randi Russo blends early Patti Smith theatrics with Jefferson Airplane rawness and a chaotic garage rock spirit. As if stepping out of the summer of 1976, Russo's confident and idiosyncratic approach to the rather staid formulas employed by the majority of those who would be considered her contemporaries is a very pleasant detour and ultimately places her in an all too lonely class of songwriters. Capable of channeling a visceral energy without coming off as even slightly contrived, she maneuvers through a variety of roughly cast guitar tones and changing tempos, tempered with the occasional stripped-down ballad. Further, she maintains a confidence and poise throughout that only echoes the fact that her approach is largely at variance with the current talents in her genre. All in all, an impressively balanced and altogether realized work from an artist who comes darn close to finding her own sound on her first release.
- All Music Guide

"Solar Bipolar"

"There's definitely a strong tie to the styles and sounds of the early New York punk scene, Patti Smith poetics driving over underground distortion. Yeah, crazy feedback slide drifting through my cranium. Dirty Lou Reed guitar crunches mixed with early Velvet Underground pop noise, and a touch of more current inspirations spilling out into the melodic rock beauty. Sonic Youth to even a little Pixie curl. Some no wave artsiness slips in to the gutter drawl, like a Jim Carroll dry dream, and it's nice. Still, the Patti Smith vocal style holds strongest, like early days Wave or Radio Ethiopia, and it's like a beautiful artistic tribute more than the act of overt influence. Randi Russo has her own stories to tell, and I'm listening to every word." - The Big Takeover

"SBP Review"

"Restoring the spirit of rowdy garage rock to the female singer-songwriting genre, Randi Russo plays a cathartic and therapeutic blend that reads like entries from her journal. Strongly reminiscent of Patti Smith, both in her vocal style and her ability to seemingly lose herself in the moment of a deeply hypnotic groove, Russo is both visceral and haunting, balancing a pained vulnerability with a determined self-confidence. Whether chugging through a gloriously messy rocker ("Dead Citizen"), a psychedelic Jefferson Airplane-ish dirge ("Adored"), or simmering through quickly shifting tempos ("Dress"), Russo and her band maintain a very live and organic sound. Inspired riffs, pounding drums, and her own raw vocals strongly recalling Lou Reed in her phrasing, Russo and her band seem perfectly suited for creating darkly mysterious arrangements. Of course, that's not to imply that chaotic bluster is Russo's only trick, as she is just as capable of turning around and delivering a spooky ethereal ballad, as well. Adding balance to the somewhat harsh mix, dobro, pedal steel and bouzouki are included for an even more enduring effect. On the whole, a smartly realized and savvy release from a talent that promises to deliver more than a few highlights in the future." - Skyscraper Magazine

"Review of Shout Like a Lady"

“Akin to wordsmiths Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, and Ani DiFranco, Russo emerges as a seer, sage, and soothsayer - sometimes all in the span of one song…Highly recommended.” - Amplifier Magazine

"Listing for CMJ Marathon"

"Temptress-voiced Russo's folk-psychedelia bobs up and down in the sonic equivalent of a mysterious, moonlit lake."-CMJ.com - CMJ.com

"SBP Review"

"Solar Bipolar is her reward and ours. ...it's addictive to hear. There's no question that Randi Russo has listened to and absorbed lessons from some of the best, and incorporated them in ways that sound completely new...Solar Bipolar is matchless, a huge gift in a small box." - Splendid e-Zine

"Shout Like a Lady Review"

“Her sweet, resilient voice is distinctively her own, while her songs focus squarely on her honest, provocative lyrics. ...her tender confessional tunes, [are] where she really shines...hauntingly beautiful... and 'Ceiling Fire' is simply heavenly, showcasing Russo's undeniable improvement as a singer. One of the few instances where the dreaded word 'maturity' is a blessing rather than a curse.” - The Big Takeover Magazine

"Live show Review (London, UK)"

"RANDI RUSSO is the first of the NYC antifolk triple bill that this night is based on. Armed with only an electric acoustic guitar for company she sets about winning us over with Wonderland, a mournful request for the return of a lost-lover-made-good. That Corpse feeds the previously gentle strumming through a pedal, giving a powerful edge reminiscent of Tanya Donelly, but she's not commanding the respect her fantastic songwriting deserves. Then suddenly, midway through Shout Like A Lady, the previously chattering room falls silent and spellbound on every word. Battle On The Periphery and Ceiling Fire then play out to the rapt audience and, almost without warning, Randi Russo has just stolen the show and our hearts as well." - SoundsXP.co.uk


Live at CBGB's 313 Gallery (live EP)
Solar Bipolar (studio LP)
e-music Live (live at Sin-e LP; limited release)
Still Standing Still (studio EP) -- from which two songs have been played on NPR and KEXP, among college stations
Shout Like a Lady (studio LP)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Randi Russo has ended up on the wrong side of the tracks…at least when it comes to her guitar-playing. Her fingers ride and glide the rails of strings of a right-handed guitar played upside-down and backwards. In other words, this southpaw is not just taking a right-handed guitar and switching the strings around (like the late, great Jimi Hendrix), but keeps the guitar as is and just flips it over, so that the bass strings are on the bottom. And all this happened long before Randi ever heard of Elizabeth Cotten (another upside-down lefty guitarist of the late 1940’s).

This inspired approach came about when Randi bought a $22 right-handed classical guitar on the street. Maybe it was teenage laziness or maybe it was a pure magnetism for thinking out of the box, but Randi didn’t change the intricate tie-end strings to make it into a traditional left-handed guitar. This soon became her foremost artistic muse, experimenting in an organic way, essentially inventing unusual chords in the process. Oddly enough, she continued to play the “proper” lefty style on her electric, but eventually inverted that guitar as well, with the bulk of her prolific catalog dominated by this atypical style.

It was only a couple of years ago that Randi began “experimenting” again with the standard way of playing. As a result, Randi is proficient in playing both ways. This has not been an easy task, as she tells us, “I was trying to look at it as an alternate tuning, but it was much more complicated than I thought. It’s like playing a keyboard and then being asked to walk around to the other side and play a piece with the black keys up front and the white keys in back – that can really mess with a musician’s mind. But in the long run, it really has made me a better musician and has opened up so many possibilities musically.”

After a couple of overseas tours and countless shows in the U.S., Randi earned a spot at the Milwaukee Summerfest in 2004, playing alongside main stage artists Crosby, Stills and Nash. She has been on an Antifolk compilation along with cult hero Daniel Johnston, as well as more recent cult-status artists such as the Moldy Peaches’ Adam Green, Kimya Dawson, and fellow Antifolk songwriter Jeffrey Lewis. She has shared bills with the aforementioned three Rough Trade artists, as well as Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group), Melora Creager (frontwoman of Rasputina), Kid Congo Powers (The Gun Club, The Cramps) and Regina Spektor.

Randi was named one of the Top Ten Best Unsigned Artists of 2005 by Heathen Angel (a popular UK-based website). She is not only a musician/recording artist, but a visual artist as well, and has had her work printed in various zines and shown in galleries in NYC.
With her latest release, Shout Like a Lady, Randi continues to venture outside of the box with songs that challenge the listener. Whether her unconventional way of playing was out of convenience or creative vision (or perhaps a combination of the two), this “hardworking rocker” (The Village Voice) knows how to work it through and through… whether it be right-side up or upside-down, she knows exactly which direction she’s going in.

Video can be found here: