Mood Ring Circus, Luna J. at The Riff

Mood Ring by Brandon Cole

Above: Mood Ring Circus (from left): Alexander Hines, Seth Randolph, Justin Larkin and Steven Sparks. Photo credit: Brandon Cole. Top: Luna J.: Tyler Mathews, Bryan Copeland, Kim Painter and Tom Pearson. Photo credit: Ryan Fannin

Two robust bands with strong followings — Mood Ring Circus and Luna J. — should generate some heat on this deep-freeze Saturday (1/13) at The Riff.

The combination brings tasty contrasts: Mood Ring for expansive rock and Luna J. for a chill-groove sound, with the emphasis on groove.

Mood Ring’s Justin Larkin said their album is in post-production. However, they have planned an album listening party around 7 or 7:30 p.m., before the show, and they’ll play the songs during their set.

“We’re calling the record ‘Limbo Daze’ as our testament to waiting, that we’ve already endured and will continue to do so. Good things take time,” Larkin said. The CD release show is set tentatively for mid-March, he said.

Larkin (guitar) often serves as lead vocal, and he excels at songwriting. Lead guitarist Steven Sparks has a background in metal that brings drama to his engaging set of chops. Alexander Hines has an agile approach to the bass while always providing a heavy bottom. Seth Randolph’s drumming offers a little something extra that keeps you continuously interested.

For this show, two horn players will perform with Luna J. for the first time, A.J. Lee (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Evan White (saxophones). They will play on five songs of the band’s EP, which should be out in March, said Bryan Copeland (guitar, vocals, songwriting).

The EP is part of Luna J.’s project of building a full-length album in two stages of five-song increments. The album’s single, “You Say,” is being released today, Friday 1/12.

“This album will be very groove-oriented, a chill-groove feel, with Kim (Painter) really pulling the bass,” Copeland said.

Players of the long-running unit continue to develop, he said. Painter’s bass lines often stand out as lead lines. “I play chords mostly, and she makes everything interesting without me having to do much. Tyler (Mathews, keys) is so good at filling in wherever there are holes in the vocals, and Tom (Pearson) is settling in and understanding what we need in a drummer, understanding the groove side of things.”

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