The following radio stations have played our music:|
KSMC - Moraga, CA
KUSF - San Francisco
RainyDawg Radio - Seattle
BSR 88.1 FM WELH - Providence, RI
WBRS 100.1 FM - Waltham, MA
San Francisco cable access show Finger on the Pulse will be airing an episode composed of footage from our final three concerts.
West Coast Performer had this to say about our Builder CD:
Eighteen months ago this magazine designated Rust Belt Music one of the best new bands in the Bay Area. They've seen steady growth since, they're regulars at the Make Out Room. Devil in the Woods singled them out for the fourth offering in its 'Builder' series. The series offers a taste of a band for the price of shipping. The cornerstone of the RBM sound is guitarist John Lindenbaum's voice and songwriting. While not a technically perfect voice, it is a nostalgic, yet distinctive, blend of Neil Young, Michael Stipe, Bruce Springsteen, and a hint of Thom Yorke. Lindenbaum is a whip-smart writer from Indiana, and his songs concern themselves with the quiet desperation of the ordinary person. In his case, he sings of government jobs, single mothers and oxycontin. But he renders them with exquisite poetry, using almost too many words, giving the impression of short stories put to music, their words bleeding over the edges of the page. Lindenbaum and keyboardist/background vocalist Micah Weinberg have a Lennon/McCartney or Marr/Morrissey-like chemistry, and the five songs he is on are the best. Weinberg's use of a synth as bass is what gave the band its unusual synth/alt-country sound in the first place. That captures the attention initially, the nuance and details of Lindenbaum's writing holding it for countless listens. But RBM never forgets the hooky chorus. The downside? No lyric sheet, you'll have to go the website. Luckily, the better production (as opposed to the band's demo) makes for more vocal clarity. Which is good, since lines like "The light is so goddamned dim / I can't tell where I stop and she begins / Block rocking heat and we're stalking, stocking up on sins / I wonder if I'll ever have a love this dirty again" deserve to be heard. Observing, yet participating, intricate, yet simple, heartwrenching, yet unsentimental, commenting, yet empathizing, Lindenbaum is the Sherwood Anderson of contemporary music. It is not hyperbole to say that he is one of the best songwriters of his generation. And it doesn't cost more than the price of postage to find out. (Devil in the Woods)
The April 30th edition of Catbird Seat mentions RBM's upcoming DIW release.
The East Bay Express previewed the Wednesday, April 28th John solo show with Carrier, writing:
RM falls most conveniently into alt-country territory, while Carrier has a herkier-jerkier sound. But the bands share a lyricism that spirals far above the typical rock morass of sunshine feelings and comparisons of eye color to bodies of water. John Lindenbaum of Rustbelt (sic) Music, who plays solo tonight in Moraga, has a knack for the well-told tale, whether he's making listeners feel the pain of 'The Loneliest Boy in the State of Nevada' or fantasizing (in character, of course) about shooting the president in 'The Numbers.'
DIY or Else magazine features a big piece on John.
The Harvard Independent listed "Eulogy for a Fictional Girlfriend" as part of their "Bitter and Alone on Valentine's Day" mix.
DIW magazine gave Deborah a 4/6. Josh Mound writes:
Trying to put Rust Belt Music's sound into a box is difficult. Though they're often given the alt-country tag, Deborah, the strong debut from the San Francisco band, alternatively hints at early R.E.M.'s college-rock twang and Pavement's slacker cool.
What the self-recorded album lacks in fidelity it makes up for with singer/guitarist John Lindenbaum's strong lyrics and subtle melodies.
His voice recalls everyone from Michael Stipe and J. Mascis to Californe's Tim Rutili, and Lindenbaum's clever phrasings often portray the narrator in an unflattering light. As with Paul Westerberg, this honesty only serves to make the songwriter's tunes more endearing.
Brazilian site JunkMail just reviewed Deborah. If anyone knows Portuguese, please tell us what this says.
We are a featured artist in the June issue of West Coast Performer. Sherry Sly writes:
There’s a form of creative writing called 'flash fiction' in which a complete story is told in less than five hundred words. No more is needed. Visit the lyric page of Rust Belt Music’s website (www.rustbeltmusic.com) and virtually every song stands on its own as a complete and beautiful story. On Deborah, the band’s first full-length album, one can hear how San Francisco’s Rust Belt Music has already joined the esteemed company of Virgil Shaw, Chuck Prophet and Granfaloon Bus as Bay Area vivid word picture masters, even though they’ve only been playing out for little over a year.
Our Monday, March 31st show at the Make-Out Room was a featured event at Flavorpill, and they are even giving away some CDs in a contest. They write:
Hailing from Indiana, RBM’s guitarist and songwriter John Lindenbaum is a champion of the 'show, don’t tell' aphorism. Not only does he show, he turns inside out and shows again from the exposed nerve side out. For example, on 'M Tagged J' our hero may miss someone but knows saying just that is not half as evocative as singing: 'It is sinking into me, the buzzing is a symphony in my ears / Sometimes you hear a sound that reminds you and resounds for a thousand years / Pots and pans are banging, the echoes start hanging from the chandeliers / The light is like razor blades, slicing through my shades as morning nears / You're burned on the back of my eyelids... However, RBM is not all Hoosier emo, Lindenbaum’s lyrics are balanced with straight ahead rock and roll guitar and keyboardist Micah Weinberg’s Moog. Live, the band puts on a tight, high-energy show that belies both the longing of Lindenbaum’s lyrics and their newly formed status.
Sometimes sounding like Michael Stipe, sometimes like Neil Young, Lindenbaum’s voice is mumbly and lowkey, a verbal simplicity that compliments his emotionally and intellectually complicated lyrics. The band could be categorized as alt-country, as many of the songs contain Americana imagery. Live they have a more synth sound than the alt-country feel of Deborah because, says Lindenbaum 'Our bassist left town and we had this old Korg keyboard lying around in the practice space, and after trying the synth bass, we liked it and kept it. The result is a entire new genre, an alt-country feeling, melded with a synth-pop-meets-rock-and-roll sound. The band’s stage personae is similarly original, melding bar band folksiness with the original rock band showmanship and professionalism. Where other bands with a sprawling story telling style are sometimes jam bands live, RBM creates a marvelous tension by reining themselves in with a pop sensibility.
Their tight live shows and the world weary mood of Deborah are just a few pieces of evidence that prove RBM is a young band with an old soul. Gearing up to redefine their sound again as Weinberg leaves for graduate school, one thing is clear: they are going to be fine. This band is prenaturally poised for greatness, for their original, heartfelt lyricism melds beautifully with what is already a singularly unique sound. No more is needed.
Local alt country faves Rust Belt Music play just that - songs drenched in Americana and fueled by cheap beer, empty hearts, and industrial decay. At times quiet and introspective and at other times seriously rocking, their songs are akin to evocative stories, told through the wavering vocals of singer/guitarist John Lindenbaum. With songs like "Eulogy for a Fictional Girlfriend" and "Beer Can on the Side of the Road," Rust Belt Music are as satisfying as sipping a cold one on the back porch - even if you're slumped on the bar of the Make-Out Room. The whole boozy affair opens with special guests Rogue Wave and Hudson Bell.
Indieville.com gave Deborah an 80%, and said:
Rust Belt Music play a sort of pop-based alt. country hybrid that is at once epic and catchy.
Deborah just received a 4 out of 5 at www.sponiczine.com. The review goes something like this:
Most fans of live music have faced the sad realization that an album they love translates horribly when performed live, or worse, those same fans have forked over good money following a wonderful live performance only to discover the album is horrible. In this sense Rust Belt Music can say they have achieved the best of both worlds. In fact, their live performances sharply contrast against Deborah. But for some reason, considering the nature of the album and the nature of the band, this seems like either a stroke of genius or a wonderful coincidence.
Live, Rust Belt Music exudes raw energy, restlessness, and sprawling rock and roll. Their album Deborah, on the other hand, sounds reflective, autumnal, and well… exudes sprawling, folksy, rock and roll. This is even more impressive when you consider that these are the same songs, and only one track seems to suffer in its recorded form, “M Tagged J.”
Rust Belt Music takes their name from the stretch of the U.S. incorporating parts of the Midwest and Northwest that had once been the industrial center of the country, only to find economic decline following the '60s when many of the backbone industries began to move abroad. Of course many people who found themselves unemployed within this area moved west to states like California, hoping to find success and a new future. Quite a fitting name when one considers that the members of Rust Belt Music themselves originally hailed from the Midwest and have moved out west to San Francisco. Moreover, Deborah manages to completely incorporate the feeling of western migration.
With the release of Deborah, Rust Belt Music have been able to carve out a niche for themselves in the music world somewhere between early R.E.M. and Grandadddy. Tracks like 'Everything Helps, Even a Smile' even seem to embrace a bit of Weezer-esque poppiness while still retaining the maturity and serenity Rust Belt Music have crafted on the rest of the album. The eighth track 'a) Love in the Rust Belt b) Love in the Sun Belt c) Love in the Grain Belt' is easily the strongest track on Deborah displaying a maturity that many bands lack on their freshman releases. Other key tracks include 'Peepholes,' 'Beer Can on the Side of the Road,' and 'Songs About Planes.' The biggest complaint I have with the entire album is that one of their best tracks, 'In Turn They Made You Miserable,' was recorded too late to be included on the album. Luckily, you can download it, as well as a few other tracks, from www.rustbeltmusic.com.
Spendid E-Zine has reviewed our album Deborah:
Essentially, Deborah is a testament that familiar harmonies, a traditional rock ensemble and homegrown, rootsy lyrics can still tell new and compelling stories.
You can read the full review here.
More glowing praise here,