With a stunning new album out today, Caroline Rose and their band took the stage for the debut performance of the new material — and their debut with one another.
“This is my sexy band, and this is the first time we’ve played music in front of anyone together as a band,” Rose said at the top of the set. “It’s absolutely terrifying that it’s on the radio. No big deal, it’s just going to be broadcast to the entire city, and beyond. It’s fine, it’s fine, everything’s cool.” It seemed in the moment like Rose’s trademark deadpan humor, especially when beautifully slinky grove of “Love Song To Myself” got the set under way, followed by “Tell Me What You Want” — a song with a nice, Roy Orbison-esque retro-pop vibe that explodes with bold rock and roll energy.
The band making its debut, by the way, was stellar — Riley Geare on drums, Mike Dondero on bass, Lena Simon of La Luz on keys, Glenn Van Dyk on keys and guitar — and nicely captured Rose’s sonic transformation from synthy bops to cathartic rock, while still keeping their sense of hookiness at the center.
“Miami,” though, is where the set went up a level. The emotive slow burner turbulently journeys through profound emotions; a romance where the growing distance between partners is palpable, a disconnection with parents who are wrestling with their mortality. The conclusion is a confusing one: be open, be guarded at the same time, and as the song exploded with the lyrical coda of “There is the art of loving, this is the art of forgetting how” into “You gotta get through this life somehow,” Rose began truly crying with each repetition.
“It’s really hard to sing these songs,” they said, explaining that the album was written as they were going through a tough time, and it hit them during this set how playing it live takes them back there. “It’s so emo, this is so much more dramatic than I expected my morning to be. But I guess the point of making art like this is to get it out,” they said. “I’m not normally so vulnerable in my music and now I remember why.”
It was a very real and honest moment in a set filled with them, with continued with “Everywhere I Go I Bring The Rain” — an upbeat bop about the very thing Rose was just discussing — to the closing acoustic performance of “Goodbye May,” a song Rose wrote at 19 that they said still resonates with them at 33.
“It’s stood the test of time,” they said. “I feel a kinship to my younger self and part of that is because of the very raw nature of the way I made this album. It was very pure and innocent and in a way reminded me of being a teenager making music in my bedroom or the stairwell of my high school. It makes me more connected to my younger self.”
Listen to the Free At Noon below. The Art Of Forgetting is out now, and you can order it here. Rose returns to Philadelphia on April 11th when they headline Union Transfer, tickets and more information on that show can be found at WXPN’s Concerts and Events page.