Xenia Rubinos Black Terry Cat on LP + Download
Black Terry Cat is the Anti/Epitaph debut album from visionary musician and singer Xenia Rubinos. With a unique and soulful sound that the The New Yorker described as a "rhythmically fierce, vocally generous music that slips through the net of any known genre," Rubinos uses her powerful voice to traverse an array of genres from R&B to hip-hop to jazz and beyond, all of it delivered with a New York punk-funk abandon.
As Rubinos explains, "Black Terry Cat is a #browngirlmagic carpet ride powered by deep pocket backbeats and funky bass lines. "Lonely Lover" is the first full song I finished for the album - it was a real breakthrough where I felt like I'd created my own sound, and became kind of my mantra for making the rest of the album. I was listening to a lot of R&B, hip hop, rap, digging into black culture in America as well as the Afro Latin diaspora which I'm a part of."
Rubinos on the absolutely captivating cover photo of a smiling gap toothed girl with a bow in her hair, "NYC street photographer Joseph Rodriguez's picture of "Girl in Blue Dress" taken in Spanish Harlem in 1988 felt like the perfect soulful hostess for my album. I imagine this girl and the record itself exploring this special mojo where things work in unexpected ways that may be less conventional but are beautiful and captivating."
The new record finds Rubinos assisted by longtime drummer Marco Buccelli, who also produced the album, and Jeremy Loucas as engineer. The three worked an average of 16-17 hours a day for five months to complete the fourteen track affair which is named after "a giant black scraggly cat" that surprised Rubinos one cold night in Brooklyn.
"With the vocals I got into this spooky romantic zone thinking of singers like Billie Holiday, Judy Garland and the funk of Chaka Khan," she adds, "I was channeling all those singers but then ended up redoing the vocals on my own in my kitchen because they just weren't feeling honest. So I took a bottle of Aguardiente and started doing vocal takes. I lit papers on fire to get a smokey smell around me and thought that instead of emulating these other high priestesses I should create my own voice and find my own way to say my piece. I'm really proud of the result."