With spring on the way, The A.V. Club, like all right-thinking folks, has its mind on new things: new improved weather, new spring wardrobes, fresh new life coming up in our gardens and lawns, and new music for the new season. For the next week, The A.V. Club will present daily band profiles and interviews with new musical acts we're excited about.
The band: New Bloods
Key release: The Secret Life
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
The primal, joyous group New Bloods couldn't be less in vogue or more needed at the moment: Their new Kill Rock Stars debut, The Secret Life, is an emotional, even spiritual, mingling of the organic and the poetic. Violinist Osa Atoe, bassist Cassia Gammill, and drummer Adee Roberson contribute rich harmonies and tense counterpart to their delicate-yet-wiry songs; "Oh, Deadly Nightshade!" is abrasively sweet and punctured by Atoe's haunting pizzicato, while "Day After Day" foregoes instruments altogether for a rich, hymnal a cappella. New Bloods are often compared to post-punk pioneers The Raincoats, but the trio owes just as much of its force and fierceness to past Kill Rock Stars bands like Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney. Lushly arty and yet free of pretense, New Bloods' music exudes pure, shimmering soul. And yes, you can totally dance to it.
Singer-drummer Adee Roberson on band democracy:
"As people in general, we are totally down with 'Share and share alike.' We don't want one person more dominant than another. We're all friends, and we all care about each other a lot. I think our music comes out that way, just because of who we are and how we are in our lives."
On the band's lack of guitar:
"We don't want to do the same thing as every band: bass, guitar, and drums. We had one song that had violin and guitar on it, but we were like, 'Ah, forget it.' Usually, when there's a guitar and a violin, you can never hear the violin. The guitar just washes everything out. A lot of times, people call it a fiddle, but Osa really creates her own style. They'll say it sounds like a hoedown! This shit is not a hoedown."
On being compared to The Raincoats:
"I think it's because of the violin. People always go to that first. We all really like The Raincoats, so I'm sure the idea of using a violin in the first place came from them. It's a really nice, big, crazy, complimentary comparison, but I would never say that myself: 'Oh, I'm in a band that sounds like The Raincoats.' That would be pretty obnoxious. [Laughs.] But I can see where it comes from: We have violin, we all sing together. We've taken some of those elements, but I think we sound totally different."
On signing to Kill Rock Stars:
"It really came out of the blue for us. I never would've guessed that would happen. It's awesome. I don't think we would have gone with another label if one had asked us; we're into doing shit ourselves. We would've put our own record out anyway. But Kill Rock Stars has such an awesome history. It's the only big indie label that's woman-run. Bikini Kill was on there, Huggy Bear, all these bands that we listened to when we were younger, and that we still listen to."
On filming the band's first video, for the single "Doubles":
"We did the video with a friend of ours, Donovan Vim Crony. He did this show called The Gaze—it was an Internet show where he interviewed bands like No Age and Mika Miko and XBXRX. We asked him to do the video 'cause we liked that his stuff looks all '80s: like early MTV, all cut-and-paste-y, not too fancy. We just filmed it at a friend's house, in their basement. It's basically a cute video about us all hanging out."
On being asked for their first autographs after opening for Gossip:
"It didn't make me uncomfortable, but it was weird. I'm not really into that. If it was a little kid asking, I'd do it, and of course my mom makes me do it. [Laughs.] Okay, maybe it was pretty awkward."
On making the cover of the legendary punk 'zine Maximum Rocknroll:
"I used to read MRR when I was younger, but it always seemed really, really punk. I mean, I feel like I have punk ethics and stuff, but I'm not über-punk. I don't have a leather jacket and spikes and all that shit. Then when we were on the cover, they got all this hate mail! It was all these complaints about our violin: 'Violins aren't punk! After all these years, how could you do this to Maximum Rocknroll!' [Laughs.] All these 14-year-old kids thought it was so fucked-up. 'Violins are for classical music.' They were so pissed. We were, like, grandmas on there."