Yes In My Backyard: Download Ribbons’ “Total Loss”


Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.

Brooklyn’s Ribbons have the stripped-down fever-shivers and uneasy fidget of classic post-punk–think Joy Division, Orange Juice, Durutti Column, etc. But these two Cali transplants can also play the shit out of their instruments. Vocalist/guitarist Jenny Logan wages a tenuous war between textural, reverby strumwaves and ferocious fretting; drummer Sam Roudman supplies skeletal grooves that occasional burst into frenetic fireworks; Logan’s shivery vibrato skates on top. New track “Total Loss” balances a tender, woozy piece of Kate Bushian melancholy with Roudman’s percolating drums, creating a tension that is at once dreamy and confrontational. Check out “Total Loss” and a handful of other new Ribbons tracks at their recent Dayrotter session.

Ribbons vocalist Jenny Logan on “Total Loss”

What is this song about?

Well, the title of this song I stole from an individually packaged chocolate-covered cookie I bought outside of Amsterdam at a train station. It was called “Total Loss” and had a flying saucer on the wrapper. The song itself is a sort of sarcastic examination of the idea of having a second chance and also having the sense to be forgetful of people and places in order to keep on living.

The shudder/vibrato in your voice–whose records inspire that?

It’s not something I really do consciously but if I had to pin it on somebody I would say Grace Slick. Jefferson Airplane was my mom’s favorite band and I’ve always admired the power in that lady’s voice. I think it transcends the cutesy-ness or sexiness that a lot of female singers put out.

What do you miss about Cali? And what do you love about Brooklyn?

I grew up in an agricultural dustbowl in central northern Cal that didn’t have a lot of much going on. What it did have was beautiful open spaces and a lot of aimless angry kids. I think that’s why Sam and I became so proficient in our instruments–we both grew up in that climate where oftentimes your best option was sitting alone in your bedroom practicing along to your favorite CDs. Brooklyn has been good to us too, though I’m not really a city girl and I think about leaving all the time. The thing I love most is teaching public high school, being a part of this little community of kids from all over the world, teaching them how to play guitar after school in exchange for Spanish lessons, stuff like that. I guess that could only happen in a place like New York City.

What’s the memorable show you’ve played in New York?

The South Street Seaport Festival, that was wild. People were asking for our autographs and we had a pretty unparalleled deli tray setup behind the stage. It was especially memorable in retrospect when we played two days later to a crowd of about 10 people who had no idea who we were.

What’s your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?

Fette Sau. Enough said.