RUG HITS RIGHT NOTES ON NEW CD;
-Jim Abbott; Orlando Sentinel
On its 2010 EP, “This Town Is Crowded,” Orlando indie-rock foursome Rug displayed its customary musicianship, but the skills were too often lost in material that unfolded as riffs better suited for jamming than memorable songs.
Somehow, that issue has been resolved on the band’s follow-up and first full-length album, “02.” The new release will be celebrated with a show on Saturday at BackBooth. A taste of the new album was offered at the band’s recent Florida Music Festival showcase, evidence that Rug has found a way to connect its polished playing with songs that are tightly constructed to make the most of it.
How’d that happen?
According to lead singer Jon Messeroff, the band was in an unexpected state of flux in 2010, just as the production of “This Town Is Crowded” was shifting into high gear. The band’s former drummer departed, causing last-minute changes to some of the arrangements.
This time around, there was no such drama, he says. The band’s current lineup — Messeroff, bassist Hogan Birney, guitarist Andrew Brooks and drummer C.L. Freeman — spent almost two years writing and arranging the album’s 10 songs, allowing them to develop at a relaxed pace.
“When we recorded the EP, there was a slightly more manic approach to the songs,” Messeroff said. “We had to scramble to put the pieces back together. This time around, everyone’s on the same page. We were better organized to put together a record.”
Although Messeroff often brings the embryo of a new song to the band, the final result is collaborative, especially when it comes to the textured guitar figures crafted by Brooks, who received his musical training at Stetson University in DeLand.
“For the most part, with most of these songs, I’d have a very, very basic skeleton, almost the shell of something,” Messeroff said. “Then we’d all get together and it wouldn’t really be complete until Hogan adds the bass and Andrew adds the guitar.”
The band recorded the songs at North Avenue Studios in Orange City, which has built its buzz as a go-to spot for acts that include Thomas Wynn and the Believers. Rug arrived with most of the songs fully formed, though the band did put together one track, the jazz-tinged “Memo,” in the studio.
“Leave It to Science,” the first song composed for the project, is framed by the foundation of Freeman’s drums, which anchor the song’s frisky, slightly funky, feel. The drums also add welcome polyrhythmic touches to several of the tracks that lean unexpectedly toward slower ballads.
“’61,” Messeroff’s rumination on the year that his father was born, unfolds with a vaguely bluesy feel, a mood that’s elevated by a memorable chorus. It’s a departure from the sound of the band’s previous release.
“The emotional tone of that song is a little bit more serious than some of the rest,” Messeroff says. “It is like a bluesy sort of guitar riff, but that lead guitar line has kind of a country twang to it.”
To my ears, it sounds more like Wilco’stake on country music, which is high praise indeed.
In reality, the band might have missed its chance to write a perfect country song. The inspiration for “Wedding Bells” was a fight that Messeroff witnessed between guests at a wedding reception, fodder for a tear-jerker if ever there was.
Instead, it yielded another moody song, with interesting splashes of percussion.
“I have no classical training in any instrument or voice,” Messeroff says. “I just write based on my experience as a listener.”
RUG: REVIEW; 02;
-Jack Kelly; www.Textbook12.com
Music is everywhere. It’s in our cars, in our phones, in our computers, in the gym, at restaurants, and even piped into town squares occasionally. But how often do you really realize the music playing around you? We’ve become used to music being everywhere; it’s almost a white noise of Rihanna’s cake cake cake cake and Flo Rida’s rehashed ‘80s melodies over synthy computer sounds that we only notice when they’re not playing.
Rug, a band from Orlando, Florida is a bit different. In fact, they’re very different. This is a band you should listen to when they come on. Rug has just debuted their sophomore album 02 and, well, it’s definitely worth listening to. Listening to a band with a very trademark noise is always an interesting adventure. Think of one of those bands that when their album ended you thought “Well crap. What do I listen to now?” Rug’s album starts off almost on a Kings of Leon note with their first single for the album Winnebago. Jon Messeroff, Rug’s vocalist, sounds so reminiscent that if this album was next on your list after KOL you might not notice the difference at first.
But as similar as the sound begin, Rug does sort of what you wish Kings of Leon did, which was be exciting. Rug isn’t a boring band, and their well composed, thought out songs reflect that. Winnebago is a great combination of a known noise and a new band’s signature style.
Rug almost baits you in with a sound you recognize and educates you on their ways as you listen to the new album. The third song on the record, ’61, begins to reflect what the band really stands for with a unique sound and vocals that stay on target for the rest of the album, but the band kicks it up with the next song, Something Ordinary.
Something Ordinary has a super catchy beat and a melody that will have you humming along easily. The song’s full sound and chugging beat will definitely keep you interested for what I think is the best song on the album Leave It Up to Science. LIUTS is one of those songs that does everything you imagine the song should. If you were to sit at your desk and air band this song exactly how you wanted to it would probably follow suit perfectly. And I like a song like that.
For me, Arms & Legs is the next stand out song. As one of the final songs on the album, the band having pulled you this far into the album, the song gives you a crash course on Rug. Strong vocals, high pitched, interesting guitars, and complicated drums keep this song as another favorite on the album and reflects the personality of the band very well. I’ve honestly been sitting around thinking about what to compare this band to and aside from the intermittent Kings of Leon noise; I really think they’ve found their own.
02 is available now from Rug on iTunes (click this link to listen), Facebook, and their website Rugtheband.com. So if you’re tired of Rihanna being your white noise, give your ears a break and play something awesome instead.
CD REVIEW – RUG’S 02;
-Kat Coffin; www.Examiner.com
“02” is the debut full-length release from local Orlando band RUG, music like this won’t keep the band a local secret for long. The rich, warm flowing multi-dimensional Rock music coupled with Jonathan Messeroff’s charismatic lead vocal and story-telling lyrics serve to draw a listener in song after song until they are startled to realize the CD is over.
“Winnebago” is a perfect way to start the listener’s journey along RUG’s musical pathway with their ear-catching music and Messeroff’s heartfelt vocals. The stark opening of “The Runaway” builds slowly through the song, gaining momentum to a spirited conclusion. The slower, hypnotic “’61” lures the listener further along as Messeroff sings “leave your home / it’s all you’ve ever known,” while the steady, driving beats in “Something Ordinary” dare the listener to sit still.
The intoxicating “Wedding Bells” has a bluesy feel to the music as Messeroff sings of a celebration. “Leave It Up To Science” has a dark, edgier vibe to the music, while “Thorn” takes the listener on a short excursion even closer to the edge. The swirling, spinning music in “Memo” gives way to the steering, bopping beats in “Arms and Legs.” Closing out the musical trip is “Come and Go,” an intense song with a sulky vocal building and soaring towards the end.
It’s easy to get lost in RUG’s “02.” The beautiful songs, rich tones, rhythmic music, and thoughtful, expressive lyrics easily captivate the listener. “02” has all quality songs that have a universal appeal for music fans across many genres.
“02” will be officially released at RUG’s show Saturday, May 12, at the BackBooth in Orlando.
Music fans can check out the local Orlando band on their FaceBook page, You Tube Channel, and Twitter feed.