If you’ve ever been on Myspace, chances are you’ve seen Amber Rubarth. It seemed for a while she was a little bit of everywhere, gently wheedling her way into my subconscious, making an impression around the time Colbie Caillat splashed on the scene, similarly fresh with sunshine and cute as a button with an adorable topper. I can’t say I ever consciously listened to Amber Rubarth’s songs back then. Nonetheless, her name took root in a loose miscellaneous internal registry, filed away under darling substance-free myspace phenoms not to bother with.
Let’s hope, for goodness’ sake, the same cynicism did not occur for you. And if it did, help you, there’s still time for redemption.
Amber and co-conspirator Alex Wong visited our studio for a Live Luxury Wafers Session as The Paper Raincoat. Comfortable and easy-going (and still amazingly adorable), the pair set the record straight, playing intelligent, well-crafted songs which revolve around a central character and theme – the imaginative invention of Rubarth and Wong. There it is again – at first blush there’s plenty of room for snappy conclusions. A character and a theme? Don’t be fooled. The Paper Raincoat’s creations bear Rubarth’s signature authentic personal connection. Their songs pull at you and repeatedly surprise with depth, warmth and resonance. The Paper Raincoat invites you to the adventure of your own multisensory playground.
To be fair, Rubarth is sunshine and rainbows – the true, satisfying kind – like being on a locals only beach in Hawaii versus Sparkle Rainbow Bubbles Pony. She’s also strong, independent, passionate, motivated and a natural for success in today’s DIY world of music. Due to my own obstinance, skepticism or some other personal defect, I’m a latecomer in appreciation for her dynamism as a contemporary musician. But I notice I’m not the only one touting respect for Rubarth – Caillat herself, with 36million page views on the place for friends and Universal label backing lists Rubarth as an influence, right up there with Norah Jones. And, speaking of Jones, longtime Norah bandmate and singer/songwriter in his own right, Adam Levy, has also taken a shine to Rubarth.
Wong comes across equally bright and positive, albeit more reserved stylistically. As producer, arranger and co-writer in addition to playing guitar and singing, Wong is deep in The Paper Raincoat. His investment and their dedication to the project beget an enthralling and sweet energy. Special magic lies in the collaboration of Rubarth and Wong. Both terrifically smart and sensitive, their symbiosis as The Paper Raincoat is a classic example of the whole being far greater than the sum of its impressively talented parts.
I’m psyched that we captured the essence of The Paper Raincoat’s brilliance in these exclusive live studio recordings and videos. It’s easy to become immersed in the stories. Each track is a cinematic songscape with a life and personality of its own.
By the way, the mildmannered drummer on the session unassumingly contributes the whole way until he rocks out on last track, It All Depends, in a colorfully exuberant, super-fun, lengthy solo. What a raucous, celebratory goodbye with verve!
Listen to the Exclusive Luxury Wafers tracks (option/click to download):