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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

March 4, 2014 at 6:31 AM

Russian Circles at Neumos, relocate to Seattle? | Concert preview

Russian Circles. Brian Cook is on the left. (Chris Strong).

Russian Circles. Brian Cook is on the left. (Chris Strong)

By Todd Hamm / Special to The Seattle Times

“The other guys in the band keep asking when I’m going to move back to Seattle,” says Brian Cook, bassist for the instrumental heavy rock trio Russian Circles, which plays Neumos on Tuesday, March 4.

Cook lives in New York — the band is split between there and Chicago — but he lived in Seattle and Tacoma from the mid-90s until last year. What with this year’s frosty winter back east, you can see his bandmates’ point.

Russian Circles is touring in support of its latest recording, “Memorial,” which came out this past October on hip Los Angeles indie label Sargent House. The album’s winding progressions and ferocious riffs have earned strong reviews. The band has made plans to tour Asia, Australia and Canada later this year.

Cook, now 36, was a fixture in the Pacific Northwest hard-rock scene for well over a decade. He played bass in storied hard-core band Botch and progressive alt-rock outfit These Arms Are Snakes. He also pulled guitar and vocal duties in his indie-rock project Roy.

If his premonitions are correct, he may also be able to add his current outfit to the Northwest section of his résumé.

“I think we’ll all eventually wind up back out there, it’s just a matter of when,” he says.

Seattle-based record producer Matt Bayles, whose studio credits include Pearl Jam and Murder City Devils, oversaw the recording of Russian Circles’ 2008 album “Station,” when Cook entered the group.

“Musically, and personality-wise, he’s one of the nicest, smartest, most well-spoken people,” says Bayles. “I had no concerns about him integrating into the band.”

Cook’s distorted low end has helped shape the trio’s records ever since.

“He’s got a style and a tone that make him a stand out bass player,” says Bayles. “Russian Circles is a one-guitar player band. When you have bass players with the talent that he has, there’s space for him to not just be hitting root notes … Brian’s very accustomed to all the nuances that go into making heavy music interesting.”

Cook is also an active music journalist (he has covered the local and national music scene for The Stranger since 2008, which he continues to do) and he’s an upstart fiction writer, too. He just self-published his first novel, “The Second Chair Is Meant For You,” available at Russian Circles shows.

“It’s a novel about people on a camping trip, sorting through a bunch of emotional baggage,” explains Cook. “It’s a pretty short, straightforward read.”

Like anything Cook’s done, however, he admits it has an edgy side.

Sounds like just the ticket for a warm Seattle welcome home.

Russian Circles

8 p.m. Tuesday at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $15 (206-709-9467 or www.neumos.com)



Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: "Memorial", Brian Cook, Concert Preview


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