If the band Rings sounds like the musical equivalent of Animal Collective’s kid sister, this might be because band member Abby Portner is the sister of Animal Collective’s Dave Portner (better known as Avey Tare). The group, which had formerly been named First Nation, had a slight line-up change when they changed their name and acquired the female Portner. Then the band recorded and released Black Habit, an album which evokes the circular nature implied by their new moniker. As in her brother’s iconic indie band, Portner and Rings rely heavily on unique, reverb-soaked vocal harmonies and pulsating rhythmic percussion. Like a more experimental Le Tigre, the band certainly has a feminist streak. However, their trance-like grooves are less preachy and more mellifluous and musically focused. The band doesn’t quite capture the pop eccentricities and cascading vocal harmonies of their sibling label mates, but on this—their first album as an entity—they come surprisingly close.
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// Notes from the Road
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