The Grammys broadcast this year was perhaps my favorite of the past decade. The crossover of indie-rock artists to mainstream Top 40 radio is a welcome change. Among my favorite moments of the night was seeing pop luminaries enthusiastically joining in with the chorus to “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. That song is included in this live set from KEXP, recorded in April of last year.
I first posted about Seattle folk-pop ensemble Ivan & Alyosha two months ago when they were recommended to me based on my affection for their labelmates, The Lumineers. Having now heard Ivan & Alyosha’s entire debut full-length album, All The Times We Had, I’d say that the comparison to The Lumineers is still fairly accurate. The two bands definitely share a certain multi-instrumental, melodic sensibility, but Ivan & Alyosha’s music is distinctively different enough to stand on its own merit. And you have to love any band named after characters in a Dostoyevsky novel.
The opener “Be Your Man” is a catchy, buoyant folk-pop number.
“Fathers Be Kind” has a similar lyrical theme to John Mayer’s “Daughters,” but a much cooler execution. You can stream “Fathers Be Kind” below.
“Easy to Love” is a sweet, mellow, feel good kinda love song. You can stream the song at NPR.
The album’s first single, “Running for Cover,” begins as a gently rolling, tinkling melody but the energy and tempo build with every note. You can watch the video below.
The standout track “The Fold” is a cinematic pop-folk song as lovely, comforting and encouraging as an old friend.
The Americana anthem “Don’t Want To Die Anymore” is somewhere between Ryan Adams and The Low Anthem. Which actually describes most of the album.
Yes, everyone and their mother saw The Lumineers perform on the Grammys (and probably share my shock that they didn’t win) and we here at Muruch have been posting about them for a while. But we hadn’t actually heard their Platinum-selling, self-titled debut in its entirety until now. Chalk it up too much music, too little time. If you already own The Lumineers, you know it’s exquisite, brilliant, artistic and so very refreshing. If you don’t own it, you’re gonna wanna get it because it’s even better than you can possibly expect.
It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all
The opposite of love’s indifference
So pay attention now, I’m standing on your porch screamin out
And I won’t leave until you come downstairs
The Lumineers’ success seems to have ignited a roots revival and spawned a new breed of charming, buoyant, multi-instrumental, co-ed, folk-pop bands. But The Lumineers remain the best in this lovable sub-genre.
“Ho Hey” is already so well known for it’s swaying, call-and-response beauty, there’s not much else I can write that hasn’t already been written. But wow, what a delightful little song. I’ve heard it a million times now, but still adore it. Happily, The Lumineers’ album is pretty much back-to-back standout tracks from beginning to end.
The opener “Flowers In Your Hair” marries a traditional folk ballad style with the sound and sentiment of the summer of love.
“Submarine” has a similar ebb and flow punch to its arrangement as “Ho Hey,” but emphasizes piano rather than guitar.
“Dead Sea” and”Stubborn Love” are modern folk classics, falling into a delicious space between Bob Dylan and Paddy Casey.
“Slow It Down” does so literally with a more somber, intimate acoustic strum that burrows under the skin. The song conjures up the image of a lonely guitarist sitting on the windowsill of his tiny, grungy apartment, singing into the neon-lit big city night.
“Big Parade” falls from a quasi acapella, handclap-propelled introduction into a political, social, religious and romantic folk song worthy of Woody Guthrie.
“Flapper Girl” is a laidback ode to the titular gal with a brief reference to Romeo & Juliet.
The finale “Morning Song” wraps things up nicely by embellishing another heartfelt folk melody with bursts of rock guitar riffs.
Ivan & Alyosha were recommended to me since we here at Muruch like their labelmates, The Lumineers. Ivan & Alyosha have a similiarly buoyant, twinkling indie-folk sound. Can’t wait to hear their album, All The Times We Had, which will be released February 26th. You stream and watch the video for their new song, “Running for Cover,” below and also download a free, legal mp3 by entering your email address into their official site widget.
The Lumineers seem to love giving their fans free music. You can stream their entire debut album by clicking this link, and the band are also offering a free, legal download of their four-song EP, Tracks From The Attic. You can download the EP mp3s by entering your email address into the NoiseTrade widget below. You’ll also be given the option to donate to the band if you wish. And in case you missed it, check out our review of The Lumineers’ Hotel Café concert.
Muruch‘s L.A. guest reviewer, Laura Foxworthy, also attended The Lumineer’s show at The Hotel Café on January 6th. Following are her thoughts on their performance…
The Hotel Café always had this element of appeal to me personally and enjoys a certain “indie” reputation due to its association with Zach Braff and the “indie” soundtracks of his movies Garden State and The Last Kiss. I used to keep a playlist entitled “Zach Braff Made Me a Mixed Tape” with songs by bands I imagined seeing play at the venue. I had also envisioned The Hotel Café as a kind of artist’s cafe, somewhere in a side street in New York City or Paris, where the music and poetry runs as free-flowing as the americanos and cappuccinos.
Last week I was lucky to see two shows at the (infamous) Hotel Café. Ariana Hall was the first and The Lumineers were the second. The artists (as well as the venue) did not disappoint at all.
The Lumineers opened with my favorite songs of theirs that I had heard before the show, “Stubborn Love.” The indie-folk tune harkens comparisons to Mumford & Sons, The Civil Wars and a more “down-home” The Decemberists. Despite its lyrical sadness, there was something so catchy about the opener that my feet, and those of the crowd around me, began to tap. Their music, especially live, brings forth an energy that is contagious and makes your pulse hum.
By the time “Flowers in Your Hair” was performed, the foot tapping had turned into the crowd pushing tables and cares aside to get closer to the band. I saw a few couples spin each other about, as well as many others clapping and bouncing along. I even caught the sound guy and the venue staff bobbing their heads and tapping their feet. That collective humming pulse grew into a buzz as the band continued. They incited even more dancing and kinetic enthusiasm with “Ho Hey,” which turned into a full-fledged sing-a-long.
Though the high energy songs were definite crowd pleasers, my personal favorite of the night was “Slow It Down,” a slower and rather sad song that reminded me of the country ballads my Aunt used to favor when I was a child. It was also reminiscent of something Ryan Adams or Wilco would perform. Singer, Wesley Schultz, possesses a quality in his voice that is both sorrowful and hopeful all at once, and live that voice of his (and the energy of the band) moves people.
The Lumineers is a band to watch, to listen to, and to go and see live.