The term garage gains hyphens from a slew of neighboring genres: Garage-punk, garage-rock, garage-pop. What about garage-folk? While two-word terms rarely manage to fully describe a band, that’s the most brevity-conscious way to describe the Babies.
The Brooklyn band was co-founded about three years ago by Kevin Morby of Woods and Cassie Ramone of Vivian Girls. Both brought their specialties on board: for Morby, his simultaneously lush and lo-fi folk; for Ramone, her grittier garage sensibilities and signature off-kilter vocals
They were originally dubbed Road Sodas—after Ramone suggested the grab some to-go drinks on a long walk between parties—but, before playing their first proper gig, the pair thought it sounded “goofy.”
“So we decided to get a different name that was not goofy at all,” Ramone laughs. “I’m being sarcastic.”
The impetus for the band may have been lighthearted, but on the four-piece’s second LP, Our House on the Hill, the Babies sound like the players’ main focus—not Morby or Ramone’s occasional, less tended to side-project. Ramone says the first album was recorded in multiple sessions, which afforded it the qualities of a “collection” rather than a start-to-finish work.
“At least that’s how it feels in our heads,” she adds. “For our second album we flew out to LA and booked two weeks in a studio. We had our friend Rob Barbato [of Darker My Love] produce it and record it, and we just kind of spent like all our time there working on the album. I think that the recording experiences were very different. The second album feels way more solid, like an album rather than a collection.”
Barbato also recorded the sophomore effort for La Sera, fellow Vivian Girl Katy Goodman’s undertaking. He’s also worked with Bleached, Cass McCombs and the Soft Pack, among others.
“I think we’re all taking it more seriously now than we were at first,” Ramone affirms. “But you know, I hesitate to say which thing in my life has the most priority. Like today, you know, the Babies has the most priority. But, like, next week once the tour is over, it becomes something else, then it becomes the Babies again. It depends on which day it is basically.”
Tonight, it’s the Babies for both Ramone and Morby. Watch the video for “Baby” below, then catch them at 529 tonight.
The Babies play 529 tonight, Dec. 18, with Koko Beware and Gold-Bears.