Featuring Peter Bartsocas (vocals, guitar), Drew Demaio (guitar, vocals), David Diem (bass, vocals) and Jeff Gensterblum (drums, percussion), New York-based indie rock quartet Robes is comprised of a group of grizzled professional musicians, whose careers can be traced back to several different projects in the 90s. Demaio helped put Gainesville, FL on to the post hardcore map with stints in bands such as Gus, Strikeforce Diablo, Argentina, Asshole Parade and Floor — all before he decided to relocate to New York. Diem, was also a member of Gainesville, FL-based band Twelve Hour Turn. And after the band dissolved, Diem decided to pursue a career as a teacher before he also relocated to New York, where they caught up and began writing and sharing musical ideas through email. Gensterbaum was originally based in Michigan, where he was a member of Small Brown Fox, Able Baker Fox, Unwed, States and Kingdoms and Your Skull My Closet. As it turns out Gensterbaum was labelmates at No Idea Records with Diem and Demaio, with whom he had toured with quite a bit over the years. And when he relocated to New York, Gensterbaum called his old labelmates. Adding to the six degrees of musical separation at the heart of the band, Bartsocas also hailed from Florida and was a member of Pagan Girls, As Friends Rust and Bird of Ill Omen and — and as the story goes, Bartsocas and Demaio were good friends, who had talked about collaborating together before Bartsocas relocated to New York to finalize the new band’s lineup.
The band’s latest single “Unholy Moon” owes a major sonic debt to 90s alt rock — in particular Superunknown-era Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam — as the band pairs layers of enormous power chords, thundering drumming, extremely downtuned and rumbling bass chords with an anthemic hook, an alternating quiet, loud, quiet structure and Bartsocas’ baritone crooning. And as a result, the quartet reveals that they can craft a moshpit and beer-raising worthy hook.