Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees
Gig Seeker Pro

Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band EDM Rock

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

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

Music

Press


Ruby Jean & The Thoughtful Bees is an all-star team of Haligonian indie rockers making electro dance rock. As such, as hella-danceable as this offering is, it's got a little menace, swagger and sex appeal to it as well. The first thing I've fallen in lust with in 2009, this is a sweaty, dark, dingy, glorious record whose crunchy synths and hammering beats wrap around frontwoman extraordinaire Rebekah Higgs (that's Ruby Jean to you) and keep her warm enough to pierce you with superb bits of vocalization. Also, while You Don't Miss Me will be the hit, Trustfund is my favourite song of the young year.


- Montreal Hour


It's hard not to stare. She's the best looking girl in the bar, dressed to the nines and part of you wonders why she's even here, trapped amongst the plaid shirts and scruff. But then the music starts and she’s in front of the speakers dancing without any regard for who's around her and that unabashed freedom and originality is the feeling you get as soon as Ruby Jean & the Thoughtful Bees start playing.

It’s not surprising I guess; the dirty electro quartet is made up of regulars from the Halifax music scene, all of whom know what performing is all about. The programming and synths – which makes up the foundation of the songs – comes courtesy of Colin Crowell and is filled in nicely with Sean MacGillivray’s drumming and Jason Vautour’s guitar. The guitar blasts and heavy drums really give life to Crowell's beats and helps transform RJATTB from a MSTRKRFT-esque beat into an organic, breathing experience. Throw in the swirling vocals from Halifax song writer Rebekah Higgs – no stranger to vocal looping and subtle electronics herself – and you start to see why Ruby Jean & the Thoughtful Bees is ready to be something bigger than just "another electronic act or yet another Bees band from Halifax."

Without a doubt, the self-titled debut is certain to be a regular on playlists at any indie dance night (Bones, I’m assuming you already play these jams), but like I said, it’s more than just club bangers. Sure the beat clap and synths of A Thoughtful Letter and the driving beat of You Don’t Miss Me are terrific, but it’s moments like when Higg’s vocals swirl around the rapid fire beats of Trustfund, the down tempo flow of Not About To or the subtle guitar pick that opens up the unique twist on the Paula Abdul classic, Cold Hearted that you start to realize how well thought out these tracks are. Higgs is enough of a personality to stand out from the mix, but seasoned enough to not overshadow the recipe Crowell, MacGillivray and Vatour craft.

Not to get all Footloose on you, but times are hard on the boulevard these days and more hangdog tracks of shit not working out just isn’t always the answer. Hearing RJATTB boom out of your headphones is just the thing to give you some pep in your step or jump start your evening when the temperatures start to plummet. - Herohill


Fierce~ 1. marked by extreme energy; 2. marked by extreme intensity of emotions or convictions; 3. ruthless in competition.

All three definitions describe a first impression of Canadian indie/dance crossover wizards Ruby Jean & The Thoughtful Bees rather well. Landing somewhere smack bang between rocking and rolling, new wave electro and more commercial leanings, Rebekah Higgs is the thrashing, vibrant frontwoman leading her cogitative three-man colony into battle, adopting an alter ego (Ruby Jean, that’s her, sweetly named after Higgs’s two nans) to stylishly promote a confident and creative take on the dance music scene on this rather impressive debut album.

Claiming to be influenced by, amongst other things, “high pitched noises only dogs can hear” and “canine reactions to high pitched noises that only they can hear”, it’s the last on the band’s list – heavy metal, most likely courtesy of guitarist, Jason Vautour – that so tellingly merges with the bleeps and whizzes to create a massive force during album opener ‘You Don’t Miss Me’ that any Death From Above 1979 remix would be proud of. A great blend of alt-rock hysteria and the sexy synth action of Colin Crowell (aka The Brains behind the whole project) is surprisingly well complemented by Higgs’s bittersweet vocal (so deliciously unveiled on her self-titled solo album from 2007). “You don’t miss me at all,” she repeats, sometimes sweetly, sometimes scathingly, as if possessed by a wild-eyed Róisín Murphy. She somehow sounds both vulnerable and completely in control, giving an emotional depth to a genre of music that often lacks such meaning.

This romanticism combined with a fuck-you attitude is a theme that continues through many of the tracks that follow. They bristle with an innocent yet brooding sexual charge, again so eloquently achieved with frantic rhythms and chunky beats. From the awesome Friday night floor-fillers of ‘Trustfund’ and bonus jam ‘Cold Hearted’ (an unlikely cover of the Paula Abdul track) to the retro sound of ‘Girls You Love’ (notable for its aching yet furious message, “Why you cheat on girls you love? / don’t cheat on girls you love!”), scene combines with talent as Vautour’s accomplished solos remind us further still that this is a bunch of actual musicians. It’s an approach that removes them somewhat from the all-too-popular chart dross clubbing experience, only to place them firmly in chilled-out Ibiza territory with the quiet, Lamb-esque trip-hop beats of ‘Not About To’, a seductive tenderness amidst the heavy foreplay, for the end of the party when the faces start to blur.

Overall, here is a debut that’s fresh and cool without being pretentious or losing a scrap of hard-won integrity, a statuesque indie-rock monster holding captive an all-too-willing dance prisoner, with pop not completely kicked out of the equation. Like the album that Madonna wishes Hard Candy might have been, the remix of Kylie that Calvin Harris wishes he had produced, the best dance music is that which has a pulse, not just in rhythm but also in the heart that pumps the blood around. And in that respect, Ruby Jean and her insatiable insect buddies definitely get the juices flowing. - Wears the Trousers (UK)



One of the up-and-coming electro bands to watch for in ’09 has to be Halifax’s Ruby Jean & The Thoughtful Bees. Ruby Jean (actually Rebekah Higgs) is a divine disco mistress at the mic — her swooning vocals dip between bouncing, dancey-dance sweetness and distant, ambient purrs. The beats are hard, fast, and bleepy, and you can certainly hear MSTRKRFT and Daft Punk all over the hooks on “Danse Danse Resolution” (the standout on the album) and “Trustfund.” The quirky synths and dark, deep guitar are irresistibly danceable.
Dorky as it may be, I like to test out an album’s danceability by throwing it on while housecleaning, and these tracks will have you literally crawling on the kitchen counter to get to that pesky dust above the cabinets — that’s how catchy the beats are. “Girls You Love” had me scraping behind the fridge, for God’s sake. Should these Bees decide to swing westward in the new year, you’d be an idiot to miss them.
FAWNDA MITHRUSH - See Magazine


I’m a sucker for dirty electro, and this shit is good. A Halifax super-group featuring Rebekah Higgs, Colin Crowell, Jason Vautour and Sean MacGillivray, Ruby Jean & the Thoughtful Bees is exactly the kind of stuff I would like to listen to on a Saturday night with someone’s tongue in my ear. I’m also a sucker for great packaging, and the hand-screened art on the digipack, featuring a suitcase, instruments and portraits of the bandmembers all in stunning gold on black throughout, is totally awesome. - Vue Weekly


The first surprise that you get from this Halifax quartet is their name. Firstly, there's no one here named Ruby Jean. And with their name, you might – as I did when I got their press release – think some laid-back East Coast folk songsmithery was awaiting your ears. Then I hit play on their first track on their MySpace page. What came at me was an ice cold glass of Euro-influenced-electro-thrash - an assualt of crunched-up guitars, thick beats and Rebekah Higgs singing in french on Danse Danse Resolution. It was Higgs that drew me to investigate this band - I'm a fan of her solo work. But the man really behind the knobs on this project is Colin Crowell, the band's beatmaker and mixer. Rounding out the band is guitarist Jason Vautour and drummer Sean MacGillivray, who is also the bassist for fellow Haligonian Jenn Grant. The songs, at least what I've heard from their MySpace, position the band as an easily accessible addition to the new wave of Canadian-female-fronted-thrash-indie-electro revolution that Crystal Castles begat. - The National Post


Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees' ass-shaking sound is the result of hard time in the home studio.
by Andrew Robinson


A night out dancing in Halifax used to be fairly generic. You could shake your rump along with loads of other loose-boozers at dollar-drink venues to the expected top-40 tunes rocked by unimaginative DJs. Then there'd be those cover bands knocking out covers of "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Sweet Caroline." This is all fine, but in the one-size-doesn't-fit-all world, some people want an experience with a little more flair.

Enter Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees. When these Halifax dance-rockers first got together in 2006, they only had intentions of being a recording project for principle members, singer Rebekah Higgs and electronics whiz Colin Crowell. There was no grand vision of playing entertaining shows and releasing proper albums.

But once their live show began to catch on, that all changed. The hard beats, courtesy of timekeeper (and soundman extraordinaire) Sean MacGillivray, combined with Jason Vautour's atmospheric guitar playing, Crowell's arsenal of digital doohickeys and Higgs' constantly manipulated vocal yelps really caught on with show-going folks. Having a sense for flair doesn't hurt either---they were voted Best Dressed Local Artist in last year's Best of Music poll (note to readers: Higgs does not want to lose this award).

Now the band are preparing to release their first self-titled album through local label Youth Club Records and the energy of their live shows is all there. From Crowell's standpoint---he also produced the album in his home studio---the band's live sound relies heavily on production work doneat home.

"We produced the tracks the way we wanted to have them sound live. It was more of a challenge to get them to sound live the way we have them on the record. The live show is obviously more intense and there's more improvisation going on, but we try to stay true to what we have recorded," he says.

The move to self-produce is largely of necessity and not just for the sake of being cheap. Electronic music is a hands-on genre and Crowell wants that kind of control.

"I don't know if I could stand to work with another producer because I have an exact idea in my head of what I want in terms of tone and feel."

"It's the day and age of home recordings," says MacGillivray. "Frankly, studios should be getting nervous because more and more people like us are feeling empowered."

"And that's making for better music I think," adds Crowell. "It's making for a lot of crappy music, but also means people can sit in their basement for years and years---like we did---to perfect their craft and then release a record instead of going into a studio for a week."

The hands-on nature of the recording extends to the album's charming packaging, which the group hand-assembled with help from Laura Dawe and Chris Foster, who both took care of the artwork and layout.

"When you pick it up and smell it, you can smell the love. You can just put it against your heart and get all warm from it," says Crowell.

"You can probably smell coffee and fingernails," pipes in Higgs.

"... and body odour," says Crowell to the laughter of his bandmates.

One of the focal points in the band's live show is the mysterious sounds Higgs creates with the assistance of whatever gadgetry is inside her suitcase. She makes a casual remark about having a Kaoss Pad, which can handle all sorts of freaky-deaky sounds. When asked what's specifically in the case, she's unwilling to divulge her trade secrets.

"I can't give you the whole shebang, that's like asking somebody what their secret recipe is for a soup or something," says Higgs.

Their live show requires substantial time for setting up. The Marquee CD-release show will be manageable, but when playing Gus' Pub the band needs a full day to get the gear ready. MacGillivray has mixed feelings about pulling double duty as a soundman and drummer, but the end result makes the extra responsibility worthwhile.

"You gotta put some boom in the room to get people shaking their asses," he says dryly. So derrieres, be prepared.

Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees CD-release show w/Woodhands and Tomcat Combat, Friday, January 16 at The Marquee Club, 2037 Gottingen, $10, 429-3020.
- The Coast


Rebekah Higgs’ debut solo album last year proved her as a singer-songwriter with an ability to warble roots-like to country fiddle accompaniment. But her Feistian dabblings with electronic loops also won her fans in the alternative community. Higgs shows another side of her art as vocalist for this Halifax electro dance ensemble. This odd collective of Haligonians is led by the synth-beats of Colin Crowell, the real drum rhythms of Sean MacGillivray (Jenn Grant) and the guitar effects of Jason Vautour (Jon Epworth). It works, in a trippy way that’s best listened to while dancing in the dark.

GRAHAM ROCKINGHAM - Metro Canada


Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees. Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees. On January 13, Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees, a female-fronted electro-rock band from Halifax, released their self-titled debut. The eight-track album is a catchy line-up of addictive dance songs with just the right amount of edge. Bits and pieces of electro influences can be heard throughout the album. The best examples are the notable similarities to MSTRKRFT on the bass-heavy track "Trust Fund," Crystal Castles on the whimsy song "Not About To," and Fatboy Slim on the sardonically titled "Danse Danse Resolution." Standout tracks include the catchy "You Don't Miss Me," which features heavy bass hooks and a good amount of voice distortion without it being overkill. Another song to listen for is the softer, yet still indie rock-esque "Girls You Love," which is based around building guitar riffs with a healthy amount of synthesizers. Though as of yet the band has kept a low profile, Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees are definitely a group to watch out for this year.
­­­-Kyle Carpenter
- McGill Tribune


Dance-y to a thoroughly sweaty and satisfying extent, RJATTB is the thing that Gloria Estefan was warning you about when she sang the "rhythm is gonna get you," and the Maritimes' high-energy answer to the dance-rock movement that seems to be sweeping the nation. Pulsating, nasty, punky, groovy — RJATTB is all of these things and more, a confident, smirking monster of a good time that seems destined to take the country by storm.
- Dave Jaffer - Hour Montreal


Discography

Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees - S/T (January 13 2009)

Photos

Bio

There's no escaping it: Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees shows are
ground-poundingly ecstatic.

Rebekah Higgs, the band's lead singer and respected solo artist in her
own right, throws herself both literally and figuratively into each
performance, becoming ringmaster for the seething, sweating, dancing
crowd before her. She doesn't feel the bruises she incurs while crowd
surfing over the moshing masses until she wakes up in her own bed the
next morning in a post-party haze. Memories of her alter-ego return when
the YouTube clips appear, her pouring a bottle of champagne from stage
into some shirtless dude's mouth, somewhere in the midst of seven
costume changes.

Ruby Jean's soul might belong to Higgs, but the heart and beats that go
with it belong to producer Colin Crowell, the mad scientist responsible
for much of the Bees sound. Crowell lurks amongst the shadows, keeping
the machine running fast and tight with turntables, vocoder, mini Korg
keyboard, and laptop producing insane blips and bass. Rapturous
adulation during a chaotic set is the hard won pay-off for the hours
hunched over electronics in his home studio, giving birth to the
ingredients for what has been hailed by industry insiders as the best
new live act in Canada.

Higgs and Crowell aren't lonely killer Bees. Heralded East Coast muso
Jason Vautour provides the flaming guitar licks, regularly clad in gold
spandex and red sequins, nearly stealing the fashion spotlight from his
dolled-up female lead singer. Alternate tunings and ear-bending pedal
work turn his axe into multi-purpose weapon, churning out hooks that
lodge into your brain and force your ass to shake.

The devilishly handsome and massively talented drummer Mike Belyea
holds it all together with a sly grin. Forget the computer-based drum
tracks less worthy indie-dance acts pander. Belyea fills the room with
rib-cage rattling live percussion, his time-keeping directing the
electro-inspired magnetism that is a Thoughtful Bees gig.

Together, their audacious on-stage presence earned the Bees impressive
headlining and festival shows before they released a single note of
recorded audio. The four-piece shared the stage with Thunderheist,
Dragonette and Kid Koala, and recently invaded the UK, scoring an
invitation to the Great Escape in Brighton after a scorching set at
Canada Music Week that won the group the coveted award for Band Most
Likely To Succeed.

Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees backed up a exponentially growing
live reputation with its self-titled debut full-length (out on Youth
Club Records), hailed by critics everywhere, from Exclaim!, Metro, The
Hour (Montréal), and FFWD (Calgary) as one of the best albums of 2009.
Music fans cast their vote and Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees shot to
the top of the Earshot! dance chart. Even the packaging screamed “Hell
yeah,” the first 1,000 discs coming in limited edition, handmade,
silk-screened cases designed by renowned artists Chris Foster and Laura
Dawe.

The Bees are here. It's time to shut up, listen or dance.