Local Band Charges Back Into Town

Photo courtesy of Rhino House Band.
Photo courtesy of Rhino House Band.
Photo courtesy of Rhino House Band.

Local band Rhino House Band will make a visit up to New Paltz from Brooklyn after having recently released their first full-length EP Golden Summer during the dead of winter.

“A lot of the songs are about remembering childhood, facing the real world, and moving on,” lead vocalist Ricky Demetro said. “Golden Summer is actually an ironic title — the summer after graduating college isn’t a Golden Summer at all; it’s a cold, black, depressing summer.”

Demetro, a graduate of New Paltz with a degree in English, said the main theme of the album is approaching adulthood and leaving college and old friends behind.

Rhino House Band started recording in late July and finished late September. According to Demetro, the band recorded most of the material for Golden Summer in three 10-hour-long sessions, although the mixing and mastering process stretched the total completion time to about six months.

“I think it was all the hard work in the mixing stage that lead to the EP being as good as it is,” Demetro said.

“Yes,” “Little Things” and “James’ Song” are three tracks from the EP Rhino House Band performed in New Paltz last spring before making their move down to Brooklyn.

“It continues the bright indie rock sound we had with [our last album] Wallkill River, but also expands it more,” Demetro said. “We’ve got an acoustic folk song, an old school rock and roll song about a hobo and a mid-tempo, anthem-y alt-rock song. So the EP is very wide-ranging.”

Drummer Steven Bartashev, who studies in New York City and traveled up to New Paltz to practice and play with Rhino House Band last spring, said he’s really happy with how Golden Summer turned out.

“There’s always going to be ideas after the fact that I wish we could have done, but at some point you need to just say it’s great and its finished,” Bartashev said. “We did all the packaging ourselves, so getting paper sleeves printed, folded and ready for CD’s, plus CD duplication and CD labels made life a little hectic.”

Bartashev said after Demetro graduated and moved back to Brooklyn, the band just tried to “keep the wheels turning.” They got their new bassist, Joey Vergara, and recorded Golden Summer at Salant Sound in Canarsie, Brooklyn.

“[I] think the extra time we took paid off in the end and we have a product we can say we are truly proud of,” Bartashev said.

Maria Pianelli, a third-year journalism major with a concentration in public relations, began doing public relations for Rhino House Band in May 2013, right as the band was transitioning from New Paltz to Brooklyn.

“At the time, the Wallkill River demo was about six months old and we were trying to brainstorm ways to push it beyond the New Paltz community,” Pianelli said. “At the same time, since the band’s move would make them less accessible to their New Paltz fans, we wanted to devise ways to keep those fans engaged, despite the distance.”

Pianelli said she’s compiled a hefty media list filled with both fan-based and professionally-run indie websites and blogs. They are also collaborating with print music magazines and college radio stations both across the country and abroad.

“I think the music speaks for itself. Rhino House Band are the guys next door, the band you could rock out to and then drink a few beers with,” Pianelli said. “Everything they do is grounded in their love for music.”

According to RhinoHouseBand.com, with the Golden Summer EP on the rise, Rhino House band is gearing up for a winter full of music and memories. The band will make their way back up to New Paltz for a show at The Alter on Saturday, Feb. 22.