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STONED SOUNDS: The Royal Baths Take The Empty Bottle

By Michele Lenni in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 17, 2012 8:00PM

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With a 90s revival in full swing these past few years it's no real surprise that a slew of bands have gravitated to the sounds of stoned-out symphonic scores from drone heroes like Spacemen 3, The Bad Seeds and of course the originators of all things drone, psych and darkly dense, The Velvet Underground. Bands like The Black Angels and local boys like Disappears have spent years crafting these veiled melodies, taking their audiences on a journey down the proverbial rabbit hole and The Royal Baths have followed their lead deep into the nebulous cavern, with a raw, dirty low-fi sound that sets them apart from their contemporaries with a "more blues than buzz" philosophy.

The Royal Baths' sound is more rooted in Chicago blues than New York John Cale-esque noise, cloaked in a morose lyrical sensibility that makes even Nick Cave look like a female 60s pop ingenue. It is no wonder that the group recently migrated from the sunny shores of California to the more dreary streets of Brooklyn. Much like their move the release of their newest LP, Better Luck Next Life, marks an even deeper descent into murky depths of their brand of slow, yet deliberate psych and further and further away from the crunchy garage that is San Francisco's current trademark.

Though the album walks a fine line between dark poetry and brusque teen angst, we've centered our opinions directly in the middle of the divide. We've given the record more than a few spins since its release and find it's somewhat bleak tendencies to agree with our senses and the season. Though you may want to pop a Prozac before their set at the Empty Bottle this Monday, we think you'll be glad you made the trip.

Royal Baths, Monday Feb. 20, The Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., $12, FREE, 21+