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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Portland-Based Band Roselit Bone Release Title Track From Their New Album 'Ofrenda'

By Stevie Connor.

Portland-based band Roselit Bone is excited to share "Ofrenda," the final pre-release single and title track from their album out August 25 on Get Loud Recordings. The song follows singles "Your Gun" and "Crying In The USA."

On Ofrenda Charlotte McCaslin says, "Ofrenda is a song about accepting the acceptance of death. I began writing it after a long, dark winter in which a handful of suicides and overdoses in my extended circle had impacted most of my friends. Some people very close to me had been talking about also ending their own lives at the time and I was constantly under pressure to help them stay alive. I would go on to lose several family members and friends over the next few years, and grief would knock me down for weeks or months at a time. But I noticed that, for some brief little moments, the pressure of grieving would give way and I would suddenly feel “okay.” I would then be flooded with pangs of guilt for surviving, for not suffering alongside the dead. “Ofrenda,” the song and album, are an attempt to come to terms with my place as a living thing in a dying world."

Roselit Bone's extensive U.S. tour which kicks off on August 24 in Seattle at Madame Lou’s. The upcoming tour will include shows in Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin, Nashville, Brooklyn, Chicago, Portland and more.

After over a decade of touring, Roselit Bone have perfected an infectious and intense live show that has transfixed crowds in a nightly conversion ritual. Previously described by Oregon Public Broadcasting as “a unique type of gothic country rock that borrows heavily from Mexican ranchera music, rockabilly and the same lonely and wide-open spaces that inspired the classic Spaghetti Western scores of composer Ennio Morricone,” the Portland 8-piece – led by frontwoman Charlotte McCaslin – have deepened, shapeshifted, and outdone themselves on their latest full-length record, Ofrenda.

Album opener “Your Gun” begins quietly with guitarist Victor Franco’s tense, muted power chords as Charlotte seethes “I can’t stop crying long enough to fuck // and there’s a bullet missing from your gun.” The drums fire, and violent stomps and claps herald the arrival of the full band. Trumpets blare, violins swell, guitars thunder, and tambourine rattles convulsively. Saxophone oozes and bleats as the band stalks the ruins of civic and carnal relationships, and you know Roselit Bone is back.

While at times confrontational, showcasing the band’s unambiguous worship of early punk bands like Suicide and The Gun Club, there is a new level of subtlety and complexity on Ofrenda. Listeners will be transported into a time of great tumult and transition in its players minds. Offering an explicit but tender look at Charlotte’s inner life, Ofrenda encapsulates the cycles of loss, survival and rebirth of the years between albums, which included a divorce, several family deaths, her gender transition, and the beginning of a new relationship – all set against the cataclysmic backdrop of the pandemic, a summer of police violence against her home city, and massive wildfires that blacked out the sun.

These songs are still as visceral and heartbreaking as anything the band has done, but there is a new glimmer of hope on Ofrenda, the band’s first recordings since Charlotte’s gender transition. She reflects, “I feel strange when I listen to our previous album, Crisis Actor. The band played well, but the voice does not sound like mine and the person singing was totally lost, hiding behind characters on most songs. The album title is a hint that I knew this at the time. I'm glad it exists as a document of the turmoil before my transition, but Ofrenda feels more real to me. The band is tighter, my voice is my own, the arrangements are prettier. Where the lyrics are especially bleak, I tried to create a soft place in the music for the heart to rest.”

Charlotte’s songs – picaresque poetry that seduces and terrifies – are delivered with passion and indignation. “The Tower” is full of classic Roselit Bone surrealist imagery set to a smoldering, half-synthetic western orchestra. Charlotte sings about fleeing from war, “away from the trenches and wet meat smacking” and making love in a fertile land that may no longer exist, as dying mellotrons, half-synthetic choirs, advancing horns, and clockwork fingerpicked guitars drift like a cold wind over the wasteland. She coos helplessly, “we ran for our lives as the angels took power // and I could feel the wires uncoil.”

On the second half of Ofrenda, the songs begin to smirk with a positive upturn. “Crying In The USA” is the 90s neotraditionalist country cousin to Crisis Actor’s “Laughlin, NV”. It is rocking and raunchy, decadent and danceable, fatalistically deriding late-stage capitalism as Faith and guitarist Brian Crace trade pitch-perfect honky-tonk line and the band mockingly cries in the background.

Roselit Bone is perhaps at their best on songs like this and “Truth or Consequences," – a ramped up ranchera full of Jordan Vale and John England-Fisher’s exuberant horns and ever rising harmonies. “Ain’t No Right Way To Feel'' devastatingly hints at the acceptance of goodbye, and the album’s closer and title track releases the grip of grief in a hypnotic cascade of dreampop synths and flamenco guitars before fading out on a hymn and a tinkling music box. These weary attempts to heal mark a new and important chapter for the band and a glimpse at the path forward. Looking back, listeners may even realize that the horrors of Roselit Bone’s back catalog were never fiction of Charlotte’s mind, but songs about the real, evil, living hell that we all survive.


08.24 - Seattle, WA @ Madame Lou’s

09.03 - Reno, NV @ Loving Cup

09.04 - Nevada City, CA @ Stardust Station

09.05 - Sacramento, CA @ Harlows

09.06 - Chico, CA @ Duffy’s

09.07 - Albany, CA @ Ivy Room

09.09 - San Diego, CA @ Tower Bar

09.10 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo

09.11 - Yucca Valley, CA @ The Annex

09.13 - Phoenix, AZ @ Linger Longer Lounge

09.14 - Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress

09.15 - Las Cruces, NM @ The Lighthouse

09.16 - San Antonio, TX @ Lonesome Rose

09.17 - Austin, TX @ Sagebrush

09.18 - Houston, TX @ 1810 Ojeman

09.19 - New Orleans, LA @ Siberia

09.22 - Nashville, TN @ Springwater Supper Club

09.23 - Asheville, NC @ Fleetwoods

09.24 - Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery

09.26 - Brooklyn, NY @ TV Eye

09.28 - Cleveland, OH @ Happy Dog

09.29 - Detroit, MI @ Lager House

09.30 - Chicago, IL @ Cole’s Bar

10.01 - Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club

10.02 - Dubuque, IA @ The Lift

10.03 - Omaha, NE @ The Sydney

10.04 - Wichita, KS @ Kirby’s Beer Store

10.05 - Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive

10.07 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Quarters

10.13 - Portland, OR @ Lollipop Shoppe


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