The Rosebuds – Sand + Silence

rRating: ★★★☆☆

Whenever your album is produced by a big name in the indie rock world, let alone Justin Vernon, there’s going to be a great deal of attention drawn to you by this simple fact, and not by the catalogue you’ve already generated as a group that’s been around for 13 years now. I was impressed with Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard’s last effort on Loud Planes Fly Low and thus, regardless of big names, my expectations were high for Sand + Silence, but perhaps a bit too high.

When I heard a single for this album, “Blue Eyes,” I was pretty stoked to hear the rest of the album; it seemed like the band was stepping into this surf rock tinged version of their previous sound. Instead of garage rock as the base for the surfy jams, this track offered up a pop base for those surf rock guitars to move around in. It’s a downright jam; Ivan Howard’s vocals warble and soar, backed with Kelly Crisp’s arcing “ooh’s,” and the jangly guitars to make it a beach tune to throw on your latest mix.

However, when listening to the rest of this album, it’s hard to find this continual current, or even a continual current of enticing tunes. I find myself being pulled back to the music once every third track or so, getting interested in a track, only for the band to switch it up for the next song. There’s something be said about creating a collection of songs that are different but somehow work together in some fashion, but the tracks sprawl out far in different directions. That being said, I still really enjoyed “Looking For,” where you have the beach vibe returning in the guitar parts as well as the fading “ahhs.” On this song we also encounter Crisp’s small presence on this album via the form of her backing vocals. Here, some of the enticement of infectious pop tunes that The Rosebuds started to reinvent on their past album.

While there are some nice tracks on Sand + Silence, I really am missing some vital cohesiveness that would make this album go from good to grand. The beginning of the album feels a bit lost and muddy, and while the ending starts to pick up on that subtle surf vibe that “Blue Eyes” sparked, it’s hard not to skip over the first few numbers, after “In My Teeth” to get to the goods. Perhaps this is a record that requires some extra time for a deeper undercurrent to arise. See for yourself.



Another New Track from the Rosebuds

blueeyesWe’re just a few short weeks away from the release of the new album from The Rosebuds, and another single has made it’s way into the world.  Ivan takes the lead on this track, and I’ll be the first to say that this is one of my favorite songs from the group, period.  There’s a pronounced energy to it, which highlights the band’s exuberance.  There’s also a few moments when the band pulls back just for a second; those moments get me every time.  Sand + Silence will be released by the good people at Western Vinyl on August 5th; it’s shaping up to be one of those records that wins everyone over, so don’t be left out.


Download: The Rosebuds – Blue Eyes [MP3]

New Music from The Rosebuds

rosebuddiesThere’s always been something incredibly special about the music of Rosebuds. No matter when I throw a track on, be it in a mix or just on random shuffle, there’s always an immediate change in emotion.  It’s a welcome change, even if it only enhances current states of happiness; it just feel good to listen to this band.  News just broke that they’ll be releasing a brand new album, and even more exciting is that they’ve signed on to release the record with the much revered, local label, Western Vinyl.  This LP is titled Sand + Silence, and it will be released on August 5th;  the first single is streaming below.


Download: The Rosebuds – In My Teeth [Mp3]

PYAITK: In The Valley Below

My friend Mike Taylor turned me on to this band. He hosts a show over at Amazing Radio you should check out when you get a chance.

In The Valley Below are a boy-girl duo out of Echo Park and dammit if they aren’t disciples of The Rosebuds. Pretty stuff, but with an edge of darkness underlying chords and tones. Some tracks are melodically driven, shared vocal duties between Jeffrey Jacob and Angela Gail, other tracks feature exchanges of differing phrasing and overlapping lyrics. I have enjoyed every song off of the Hymnal EP, but I agree with Mike that “Last Soul” deserves to be a hit. Make it so, people.

I missed them during SxSW. Bummer. They’ll be in the UK for the rest of the month, but return to Cali in June and hopefully swing back through town later this year…

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Benefit Album from The Flute Flies (ft. Ivan from the Rosebuds)

I know how important the word community can be in regards to music, so when I read about the benefit album being put together by some of the heavy hitters in North Carolina’s music scene, I knew I had to share.  Ivan from the Rosebuds (the most well-known of the bunch) and two other friends have created a record titled Yes Means Maybe, using the moniker The Flute Flies.  Right now, they’re offering the album for a donation only, which is an absolute must, as all the money goes to Tisch Brain Tumor Center.  The TBT Center is important to the story because their friend, and member of the NC music community, was a patient there before his passing. You know this means a lot to the musicians involved, so please head over to the band’s BANDCAMP and donate–enjoy the music they created in honor of the cause too.


Download:The Flute Flies – Shopping Mall [MP3]

The Rosebuds – Loud Planes Fly Low

Rating: ★★★★☆

After five full-length studio albums, it is safe to say that The Rosebuds have shown you the various things that they can do. Be it dance tunes, grounded indie rock, or wispy pop, this band has done it all. With such a wide range of capabilities, it is hard to predict where this band will go next, which contributes to the delight and spontaneous feel to Loud Planes Fly Low.

Things start out strongly on the first song, “Go Ahead” where listeners are greeted by the mellow voice of lead male singer, Ivan Howard and the sweet echoes of female singer Kelly Howard. As far as pop tunes from this band goes this has got to be one of the more solid ones. Faded percussion rises then falls to meet the serenity developed by soft “ooohs” of the background, creating a head bob worthy beat. By the time it builds up to the end at four minute twenty seconds, it’s hard to resist the urge to skip back and repeat.  The Rosebuds make it difficult to move on from the bluesy, yet breezy appeal of this first number to the second song, which is always an excellent sign of things to come.

The breezy pop with deeper set roots continues on the second song, “Limitless Arms,” as well as the third, “Second Bird of Paradise.” However, on the fourth song, you have a pop track with a basis in a sort of disco groove. On “Come Visit Me,” Kelly explores the feeling of throwing away future consequences for an instantaneous gain (“Even if it fucks me up”), while maintaining a stellar 70’s feel with it’s string work. It’s songs like these that serve as reminders to the versatility of The Rosebuds; they can deliver danceable tracks that have substance as well.

“Worthwhile” ends things in a softer, acoustic light. Ivan leads the way once more with his soothing voice, and delicate strings join him and the guitar plucking towards the end of this little number. It’s a delightfully tender moment, and is the perfect finish for The Rosebuds.

Honestly, I can’t find a song worth complaining about on this album. With its limitless diversity, there is definitely something for everyone to enjoy. So find your own favorites on Loud Planes Fly Low and cherish a band that brings so much to the musical table.


Download: The Rosebuds – Woods [MP3]

New Music from Rosebuds

With all the great releases coming out this year, it’s no wonder that we haven’t heard about every little thing on the radar.  One of the things I’m most excited for is this new one from the Rosebuds titled Loud Planes Fly Low, which comes out on Merge Records on June 7th.  There’s definitely some interesting sounds coming here, as the track we’re posting has this really mellow clarity to it, while this TRAILER VIDEO featuring another track definitely has that whispy pop quality of past Rosebuds tunes. I guess we’ll have to wait and see which route the band takes, but either way, I bet it’s good.


Download: The Rosebuds – Second Bird of Paradise [MP3]

Free Merge Records Sampler

Merge records wants you to remember their artists when making your year end lists so they decided a free year end sampler would be a good way to do that.  The free sampler features 13 tracks from She & Him, The Broken West, The Rosebuds and 10 others.  This is not the first free year end digital sampler from record labels and probably won’t be the last.  Download/stream all the tracks now.


Download: She & Him – Why Do You Let me Stay Here [MP3]

The Rosebuds – Life Like

Rating: ★★★★☆

Last time around the Howards, also known as The Rosebuds, offered us a swirling bundle of disco beats and dance tracks.  Beneath those bubbling hooks layers of darkness soothed out of the stereos, making melancholy danceable. This time around, they’ve stripped out of those disco clothes, revealing a straight-forward moody album titled Life Like.

Opening title track, “Life Like” presents a somber Ivan Howard looking back on his life, or his current state, warning those to come that there are more just like him.  The hollowed guitar work seems to mimic the emotive vocals, continually building an underlying darkness.

Juxtaposed to the opening track comes “Cape Fear,” which features Kelly singing in place of her man.  Despite a darkness in the search for a man-eating catfish, the vocals don’t quite seem to match that of her counterpart, making her feature tracks seem more positive.  It seems odd to have such a juxtaposition, but this is the one thing that makes the dynamic between the two so strong, on album, and life like.

One of the more special moments comes by way of “Nice Fox.”  It’s a pleasant ballad driven by chugging guitar strumming and darkened saloon piano.  The entire affair is made more meaningful with the presence of a backing choir full of the who’s who of the band’s various musical friends. Then comes “Black Hole,” which seems to have the band emulating the late great Grandaddy in a supremely slow fashion.

In the end you find that this album is full of storytelling, which is most likely due to the fact that the band owes the imagery in this album to their respective grandparents.  It reflects a band that is willing to look anywhere for their creativity, relying, always, on what they know best, or in the case of this album, what they feel.  Life Like is not coated in the past, and as it moves into the future, The Rosebuds continue to progress, always keeping their best elements as the focal point.

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