That’s how Brooklyn-based R.B.I. describes their sound, and it’s pretty on the mark. They have a new full-length album on the way, and are playing Gold Sounds in Bushwick on Friday, September 2nd with Divining Rod, Swampboots, and Rockaway.

The premiere of their first video off the album is below, as well as a Q&A with Mason Hedgecoth, their lead singer and guitarist.

GP: So I just promised the audience we’d premiere your new video Free Rider on our channel. Tell us something to get them excited about it, so they put up with my dumb questions until I show it to them.

MH: I hope it’s worth the wait. The projection was a collection of old stock footage from video test patterns and PSA’s about marijuana abuse.

Each take was recorded live without any overdubs, rough edges and all, and mixed and edited by Red6 Productions, at a studio on 18th Street.


GP: Is that West 18th or East 18th Street? Never mind. It’s just that for some reason it triggered the memory of a favorite poem, West 32nd Street, the Fonollosa one with the classic telenovela villain, he keeps cheating on her so she drowns herself, “The next day they fished her out of the river –“

MH (interrupting): I’m not sure what this has to do with our music.

GP: Well, nothing, I mean apart from the street name thing. OK moving on.

MH: Yes I think you better show that video now. Your readers are losing their patience.

GP: You’re right. But first, regarding your music, let me just say I haven’t been this excited about grinding electrified Delta sounds since the North Mississippi All-Stars were coursing through speakers at my local bar before they ended up on repeat everywhere. That first listen almost made up for having to deal with the bartender there who looks just like Aubrey Plaza and unfortunately knows it so makes everyone feel like crap for even troubling her for another beer. And I think Aubrey Plaza’s pretty damn clever, but not attracted to her at all, so it’s not like I’m throwing shade because I hit on her at one point and she wasn’t interested, that’s not my style.

(MH waving his hand in front of my face)

GP: Oh yeah. Without further ado, here is Free Rider.

GP: So I watched this, and read that you and other members of R.B.I. had a folk-rock band called Golden Bones before R.B.I.. Why the pivot away from folk-rock?

MH: I think “pivot” is an undeservedly dismissive categorization of what happened. I had a medical thing that almost killed me — a stroke at 33. I’m proud of what we did in Golden Bones, but a crisis like that opens you up to other worlds, in a way — after playing restrained, harmony-focused roots-rock, R.B.I. was a chance to cut loose, bust out some heavier sounds, and trust where the songs were leading us. But it’s more a resistance to settling in one place when there’s a world out there, something pulling you in another direction, running with it and not sitting back pretty on the familiar and secure.

GP: Well taken. I think it’s time for one last spin. Here’s Mountain High

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