Ravi Shavi kick out the jams

Party starter
By CHRIS CONTI  |  January 22, 2013

BUZZ BAND Rashid (center) and company.

A potent blend of scruffy garage rock and doo-wop dance floor jams, Ravi Shavi's new self-titled album is an absolute blast. Barely one month into the new year, we may have the Party Platter of 2013 on our hands here; file under something like: Iggy Pop, Little Richard, and John McCauley bum rush a sock hop. We're keeping a Best Album nomination on ice for Ravi Shavi in our 2013 Best Music Poll.

Expect a packed house at Firehouse 13 this Saturday when Ravi Shavi hosts its CD release party along with a stacked lineup of special guests, including Atlantic Thrills and the Rice Cakes, all for just five bucks at the door (or drop $10 and get a copy of the new disc).

Twenty-two-year old singer/guitarist Rafay Rashid was born in Islamabad, Pakistan and moved to Warwick with his family when he was eight years old. Around six years ago he met an admirer of his infectious onstage persona and songwriting chops — Deer Tick's John McCauley — while playing in one of his previous bands.

"John told me we should open for them sometime and we eventually did at this DIY show downtown," recalled Rashid. "We stayed in touch and I became good friends with [DT guitarist] Ian O'Neil, who also has provided a lot of positive encouragement and opportunities for us."

O'Neil recently praised Ravi Shavi's Indecisions EP as one of his favorite releases of 2012 on brooklynvegan.com. Ravi Shavi landed a pair of key supporting slots for Deer Tick last year, playing the Newport Folk Fest after-party ("Things got pretty wild that night") as well as the packed, DT-curated DudeSmash festival at the Met last summer

"That crowd was really responsive and nice," said Rashid. "It was just a great atmosphere of excitement throughout the day and night."

Ravi Shavi released the track "Birds" in mid-2011 and the quartet caught a nice buzz last summer with the three-track Indecisions; that title track also serves as the leadoff to the new full-length. It's impossible not to crash the party hard when an album kicks off with a couplet like, "You're out of my league, I'm in my element/Come home with me, just for the hell of it." "Bloody Opus" and "Hobbies" conjure plenty of those dance floor spaz-out moments that Rashid is known for while rocking out onstage. "Accidental Mental" from the Indecisions EP pops up renamed "Mental Breakdown" here, one of the many standout cuts on Ravi Shavi. "I feel good, just like I should," Rashid howls on "I Feel Good," and stick around for "Critters," which he cites at one of his favorites.

"I dig the faster cuts that embody the sort of abrasive underlying spirit of the album," Rashid said.

The album was recorded in a barn in East Greenwich owned by the previous bassist. While the new album featured the same lineup as the previous EP, only Rashid and drummer Ben Tucker remain. But Rashid is excited about the band's future with new bandmates Bryan Fielding (bass) and Nick Politelli (guitar).

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