“Party in the desert, party in the desert/Everybody wants to party in the desert.”
The chorus of Gram Rabbit’s new single/video “Candy Flip,” full of disco and distorto guitars, says it all about the Joshua Tree-based band. They have the good stuff and they know you want it, that psychedelic nugget, and their domicile is the only place it makes sense. They are the musical equivalent of the opening paragraph of “Fear and Loathing.” But sometimes, they venture outside the Rabbit Ranch and come visiting, which they will this coming Thursday, to SOhO Restaurant and Music Club.
The fourth album “Miracles and Metaphors” is about to drop, but not in time for Thursday’s show, but six songs are available to hear at sonicbids.com.
“We’re still trying to decide what to do with it,” says Todd Rutherford, co-lead. “We want to do this round of shows, then see if there’s any labels we want to work with, or if we should release it ourselves.”
It’s tough to sell records these days, he says. But they’ve made money off television and movie licensing for their cinematic tunes. “It seems labels are offering less and less but asking for more and more. It’s a tough call. Doing it yourself, the question is ‘will these media outlets give you a fair shake if you’re not with a label?’ ”
They’re not tireless self-promoters, Rutherford says. “But we have spent countless hours writing songs and creating music.” That includes the now three-year break since “Radio Angel and the RobotBeat.”
Gram Rabbit was dropped by its distributor in 2008, then the band dropped its manager. “Miracles and Miracles” has been waiting to go for some time. The group holed up in a large mountain cabin in December of 2008 and made the tracks, spending a lot of time snowed in, recording in a room full of taxidermy. “I looked at the head of a hyena for a month while working on this album,” Jesika von Rabbit says.
The band even has the makings of a fifth album, just waiting.
“I’ve been ready to release a new record since this one,” she laughs. “I’m already sick of it,” she laughs.
And now there’s a new line-up that Jesika says is the best they’ve had. Their longtime producer Ethan Allen has stayed on as guitarist since the third record and there’s a new drummer. There’s also a projectionist and a bunny-headed dancer (an anonymous, but favorite part of the act) coming on tour.
There’s always been a dichotomy in Gram Rabbit’s albums between up-tempo party tracks and spacey, cool Romanticism; between Rutherford’s optimism and VonRabbit’s pessimism. And on “Miracles and Metaphors,” Rutherford takes the vocals on more tracks than ever.
“The production keeps getting better and better,” adds Jesika. “It’s a bigger sound, really luscious. More ‘desert.’ ” By that, the group means old, weird, almost Mars. Joshua Tree in other words, their base of operations.
“The energy out here is conducive to creation,” Rutherford says, adding there’s a small but loyal artistic community to work with. “It feels like an extended family. And it never feels lonely.”
When: 9 p.m. Thursday
Where: SOhO Restaurant and Music Club, 1221 State St. (upstairs)
Cost: $9, 21 and over only
Information: (805) 962-7776 or sohosb.com