The Red Channels have long been tuned into something special, but on Ghetto Cooking, the band’s new album, the signal is picture perfect! More evolution than a departure from their earlier work, Ghetto Cooking finds the group having mastered the art of uncanny, atmospheric songwriting, and now exploring the edges of their odd, dark world.
Formed in Oklahoma City, the earliest incarnation of The Red Channels began as an instrumental five-piece led by guitarist and songwriter Ryan M. Block. Focused on extremely repetitive, reverb-drenched melodies and rhythms, the very underage group soon found themselves playing along side the likes of Man or Astro-man? and Mr. Quintron and Miss Pussycat. The group then found their voice as keyboardist Elaina Azari began to add her haunting lyrics over the songs further evolving their increasingly exotic sound. Finally, on a show with noise makers Wolf Eyes the name The Red Channels was christened.
As it goes, members of the band fell away to do things that make money, leaving the determined core of Block and Azari to record their debut 7″ and self-titled full length. The self-titled album was released by San Diego’s Silver Girl Records in 2003; it delighted and confused critics everywhere drawing comparisons from Mazzy Star to the greats of 4AD’s early catalog. The duo relocated to Portland, Oregon recruiting bassist Joel Rasmussen and violinist Anne Marie Hoffman where they spent three years creating their double-length masterpiece, Lonely Melting Iceberg. Again their efforts scored critical acclaim ,but the album suffered the fate of poor distribution.
In the summer of 2006 Block and Azari returned to OKC and with the help of David Newcombe, Mike Trent and Dr. Michael Elliott (whose group T*Shirt was also on Silver Girl), spent the last two years creating their latest genre bending opus, Ghetto Cooking, which was released this week on Ten Dollar Recording Co.
Ghetto Cooking evokes much of the dark tranquility of their previous release Lonely Melting Iceberg, but resonates a fuller array of emotions with a steadier stride than the frantic aura of their self-titled debut. The eight tracks on Ghetto Cooking inhale from a variety of new influences, blending their signature sonic dreamscapes and Azari’s ethereal vocals with stirring doses of dub, classic soul, and melancholic folk.
“A freak folk duo’s third and beautifully weird gem of dub and reggae-infused beats over BjÃ¶rk-like howls.” – Philadelphia Weekly
“The Red Channels are a moody, meandering beast who like to up the quirk factor at every possible juncture… we get all manner of squiggles, samples, and unidentifiable musical instruments running roughshod over the proceedings… it’s a visceral thrill and a rush of blood to the head.” – Skyscraper
“A band and album with a tremendously well-developed and quite particular sound…If you’re enticed, good, you should be.” – Delusions of Adequacy
“A sense of danger underlies every turn. The result is the kind of exhilarating experience that you get from acting on a forbidden whim… it’s executed with undeniable (and never showy) finesse.” – Splendid
The Red Channels
[Ten Dollar Recording Co.]
Release Date: August 25, 2009
1. I Am In It
5. You Sleep
7. Tadpole Research
8. Newton Hayes