The Rosebuds return with their pal Justin Vernon in tow

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

The Raleigh, North Carolina duo The Rosebuds (Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp) are releasing a new album, Sand + Silence on Western Vinyl, on August 5th. Joined by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) on guitars and synthesizers, Bon Iver drummer Matt McCaughan and Nick Sanborn of Sylan Esso on bass the album was recorded at Vernon’s April Base Studio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

The Rosebuds debuted in 2001 and over the course of six studio albums, a collection of Christmas songs and a free digital song-for-song cover of Sade’s classic Love Deluxe Howard and Crisp have steadfastly committed to making a different kind of synth-pop; informed by indie-rock, warm washes of guitars, touches of melancholy and romance. They’ve always been a smart rock band, and smart songwriters, and “In My Teeth” is an excellent example of what The Rosebuds do so well. Plus, the get extra points for the use of the voice box on this new tune.

The Rosebuds play Boot & Saddle on Thursday, August 7th.



Recap: The Rosebuds brought Love Deluxe to Johnny Brenda’s (photos, review)

The Rosebuds | Photo by Chris Sikich |
The Rosebuds | Photo by Chris Sikich |
All photos by Chris Sikich |

Tuesday night at Johnny Brenda’s an odd, yet inviting sound came forth from the miniature stage and dark, moody lighting – Sade’s whole album, Love Deluxe, as covered by the underrated North Carolina alt-rockers The Rosebuds. And if that seems like an unlikely pairing, consider the fact that the band fronted by the once married Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp released this cover album for free last year and had not released new non-holiday oriented material for two years (they did put out a Christmas album last year as well). Add to this the fact that Crisp was absent (due to being back at school in New York) and you have a night of the seemingly unexpected.

But, if you know how talented Howard is, you could sense this would be a satisfying experience, especially with a solid five piece backing band. Though the crowd was sparse – no more than 75 people attended – the reception for the delivery of such Sade classics as album opener “No Ordinary Love” was quite warm. It was an intimate evening of music that ended with two great notes – the delivery of one of their finest tunes off of my favorite work of theirs (Birds Make Good Neighbors), “Blue Bird,” and a brand new song to end the night. Of course the lack of Crisp’s harmonies was felt, but there is promise for more aural plumage in the future.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN Welcomes Mayer Hawthorne to Union Transfer, The Rosebuds at Johnny Brenda’s, Majical Cloudz at Kung Fu Necktie, Joey Sweeney and the Long Hair Arkestra residency at Khyber Pass


XPN welcomes Mayer Hawthorne to Union Transfer tonight with Superhumanoids.  The neo-soul / R&B singer released Where Does This Door Go earlier this year, showing an ability to put on a more pop-angled hat while still maintaining the retro flair that won over early fans.  Tickets and information for the show can be found here; watch Hawthorne’s video for “Her Favorite Song” below.

The Rosebuds will make a special appearance at Johnny Brenda’s, performing Sade’s Love Deluxe in its entirety.  After the marital split of band members Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard during the release of 2008′s Life Like, Howard retreated to coastal North Carolina where he recorded the entire 1992 album that had meant so much to him throughout his life.  The pair have managed to redefine their relationship as friends in recent years and bring their intimate tour to Philly tonight with Dark Rooms.  Tickets and information can be found here.  Stream “No Ordinary Love” below and download the full tribute album for free here.

Majical Cloudz performs at Kung Fu Necktie tonight with Moon King.  The simultaneously lush and sparse project belongs to Devon Welsh, a Canadian musician / producer who writes emotionally heavy electronic music.  Impersonator, Welsh’s first LP under the moniker, was released in May and instantly perked up ears with its piano / synth base and downtempo vocals that aim for your core.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here.  Watch Welsh perform “Bugs Don’t Buzz” for La Blogotheque below.

Joey Sweeney and his Long Hair Arkestra present their second of four residency nights at the Khyber Pass Pub tonight.  This week will feature performances by The Lift Up and Heyward Howkins in addition to Sweeney’s latest rock project.  The Long Hair Arkestra will release its debut record this fall on La Société Expéditionnaire / BITBY.  Listen to “Kate Moss Hologram” from the band below, followed by an iPhone demo of “Our Brothers” from Heyward Howkins.  More information can be found here.

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One night only, The Rosebuds are playing Sade’s “Love Deluxe” (at Johnny Brenda’s 9/10)

rosebInfluenced heavily by the 1980 R&B sensation Sade, The Rosebuds‘ Ivan Howard created his own version of Love Deluxe while isolating himself on the coastal beaches of North Carolina. Reinventing the electronic elements of the original tracks with his own organic, live instrumentation, one can quickly hear the deep changing relationship Howard had with the music as he journeyed through life. Listen to and download (for free) the entire album below. The Rosebuds tour in support of their cover of Love Deluxe comes to Johnny Brenda’s on September 10th. Get tickets for the special album tribute show here.

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The Week’s Best MP3 Downloads, incl. Pissed Jeans, Tommy Conwell, Erin McKeown

Pissed JeansPhilly thrash heroes Pissed Jeans released their first new music since the 2010 7″ Your Life Is Worth Pissed Jeans, a raging track called “Bathroom Laughter.” It’s going to be on the band’s forthcoming LP Honeys, expected for release sometime in February. You can listen to it, and download it for the price of an e-mail address, in the player below.

Continue reading →

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My Morning Download: The Rosebuds release a song for song cover of Sade’s Love Deluxe

In celebration of the 20th anniversary release of Love Deluxe by Sade, the Raleigh, North Carolina indie-rock band The Rosebuds (Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp) has released a song-for-song cover of the album for free. Love Deluxe was Sade’s fourth album, released in the UK in October 1992 and in the States in November of 1992. About the album, Kelly writes: “To say this album is a constant influence to The Rosebuds and the records we’ve made over the years would be an understatement. We’ve always been fans.” Download the Rosebuds’ version of it below.

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Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company

Tonight’s Concert Pick: The Rosebuds at Johnny Brenda’s

The video for The Rosebuds‘ song “Woods” is a lament to a relationship featuring the lonely, black-and-white journey of band member Ivan Howard. Masked in grainy, colorless camera effects, Howard shouts lyrics as (bandmate and ex-wife) Kelly Crisp’s eerie vocals dangle in the background. The couple divorced right before writing and recording their most recent album, Loud Planes Fly Low, which, as a result, is their most creative and unrestrained project. Words like “the smallness is the comfort between us/but experience makes us mean,” prove that the members of The Rosebuds share every detail of their past and present relationship with the listener. Although the lyrics can be mournful and the music desolate, the video for “Woods” is a visually and musically pleasing representation of the duo’s emotionally complex relationship. The Rosebuds perform with Yellow Ostrich at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $12. —Caitlyn Grabenstein

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In case you missed it: Bon Iver and The Rosebuds at the Tower Theatre photo recap, videos, set list and review

Bon Iver and The Rosebuds rolled in to town this week at the Tower Theatre. Check out our photo recap of Bon Iver here and our photo recap of The Rosebuds here (photos by Eric Ashleigh). Kiley Bense wrote a review of the show that you can read here. Below, check out a couple of fan videos from the show and the set list.

Bon Iver set list, Tower Theatre August 3, 2011
Minnesota, WI
Beach Baby
Blood Bank
Hinnom, TX
Creature Fear
Re: Stacks
For Emma
The Wolves (Act I and II)
Skinny Love

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Photo Recap: The Rosebuds at the Tower Theatre

Last night at the Tower Theatre, The Rosebuds opened for Bon Iver with a fantastic set. Photos by Eric Ashleigh. Check out the photos from Bon Iver’s set here and read our interview with The Rosebuds here

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Interview: The Rosebuds’ Kelly Crisp (opening tonight for Bon Iver at The Tower Theatre)

Nothing stops The Rosebuds from making music together. The Rosebuds (Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard) had been putting out records for nearly a decade as a husband and wife team, making narrative-driven songs with atypical lyrics, veering from indie pop to folk and dance and back again. But after the release of 2008’s Life Like, Kelly and Ivan decided to get divorced. Surprisingly, the end of their relationship didn’t spell the end of their band, and they embarked on a trying (and often profound) writing and recording process. The “transformative” result is Loud Planes Fly Low, a deeply affecting and expressive album and The Rosebuds’ most personal offering to date. Tonight, the band open for Bon Iver at the Tower Theatre. The Key sat down with Kelly Crisp to talk about why Loud Planes feels like their first record, writing songs together, and their North Carolina music family.

The Key: You’ve said that your new album [Loud Planes Fly Low] felt like your first record, even though you’ve been putting out albums for years. What is it that makes this one different?

Kelly Crisp: Ivan and I broke through to a really deep and honest place. It felt like we were not re-inventing ourselves, but inventing ourselves for the first time. We had that feeling making music together before, but never like this. This record is something that we’re really proud of. It was difficult and also rewarding. So we stayed with it, and the deeper we went, the more difficult it became, but also the more transformative it was. We just really felt like new people by the time we finished the record. I don’t know how else to describe it except that we feel like this is our first album because this is who we are now, you know?

TK: So this record was very “honest.” Do you mean that the songs are more personal or is it a more general feeling?

KC: Yeah, the songs are very personal.

TK: Did that make it more difficult?

KC: Yeah, you know a lot of our songs in the past have been allegory, or stories about nature, the world around us, politics, things like that, stories about people, and places, and times, but never really about us. This record isn’t about us now either, it’s kind of like a snapshot of who we were, or how we felt in that particular time. So that if we tried to write that record today, we wouldn’t be able to. We’d have to write something else because we were just so honest about who we were at that time.

TK: Why do you think it was necessary to put out this specific record now? Why did you need to go so personal?

KC: I can’t say we attempted to. We definitely didn’t mean to write a record like this. We started to write a record like we usually do, gathering ideas for stories and stuff, but this was what happened.

TK: What specific emotions were you dealing with when making this record? It seems sadder, in some ways, than your earlier work.

KC: Yeah, sadness, but I feel like overall, for me listening to it, I get a feeling of hopefulness. And when I listen to the record, I get a feeling of pride in myself and in Ivan. I can appreciate us as people, listening to us going that deep with these songs, not just with the lyrics, but with the territory we were able to explore, with sound. And we got more intimate with actual sounds that could evoke emotions. I just feel really proud. Most of the songs feel very hopeful to me. None of them are totally sad.

TK: What was your songwriting process like on this record? Was it different too?

KC: It was very different. Usually we have demos of the songs, and then we go into a studio to record drums, and then finish them at home on our own time. Because we’re like two creative children together, we have ideas that don’t go in a linear way. You know, ideas come when they do. So the studio process in the past has been a hindrance to us. On this record, it was totally different because we wanted to write these songs completely together. We didn’t have any demos really; we barely had sketches of songs. And we went into the studio, and we wrote every piece of every song together. I don’t even remember who played what instrument on the songs, because we were just so completely creative, and it was such a good process that we were working so productively.

TK: Do you think you’ll write that way again?

KC: Yeah, I’d like to, I really liked that process. I think the one key factor was that we had a really nice small studio to go into that was close to our home. It was a studio out in the woods. A friend of ours owns it, and it gave us a base place to go be ourselves, and there was never any artistic posturing. We went in on the very first day, and we told Chris, our producer, that we need you to know that this record is going to be probably emotionally difficult for us to make, and we need to know that you’re okay with that. And he is so sweet and pure of heart, that we knew he was the right person because we just needed a place to feel safe and he created that environment for us. So in a way, it was like being at home, but in a studio where you have access to really great sounds and can be very productive. So we did have a really good place and kind of the spirit of creativity and experimentalism was alive in the air of the studio, so that was key in allowing us to make the record that we did.

TK: How did the different songwriting process change the record?

KC: I feel like our situation and the way we approached making this record allowed us to confront ideas, and sometimes just emotions, when they arose, when they appeared. So we were able to be scared of them, be sad, or whatever, but we embraced it. Whatever the case was, the emotion being difficult, we went deeper with it. The process of writing the record, having the studio, having this process for this record, was key to where we were when we finished it. And we walked out the door and we knew we had the record done. We knew had the record done the moment we felt it was done. We just were so happy with our creative process on this record. And that doesn’t mean it was easy. It was really hard sometimes. But it worked for us.

TK: You’re from North Carolina. How has North Carolina’s music scene shaped your music? What’s so special about it?

KC: To me, what is special about is that we have had a lot of people in our community who all came through town together at the same time and were all very young bands. Our music community is just like a family really. So I’m talking about the Rosebuds, Bowerbirds, and the band DeYarmond Edison, which became Bon Iver and Megafaun. We just had this weird idea that we could make music a life goal, as a real job, if we worked hard enough. And we all supported each other’s idea and now we’re all kind of putting out records this year. All of the bands I mentioned are either in the studio or just recently put out a record that I feel are representations of themselves fully. And I know that for us, this feels like our first record, and I would have self-titled it probably, if I could go back and convince the record label to let us do that. But I feel like Megafaun putting out their record called Megafaun, and Bon Iver putting out Bon Iver, and the Bowerbirds working on their record which is just beautiful so far, that I’m just so lucky to be in their company and also sometimes in their hands, because we really rely on them to push us forward, creatively and for moral support and we play in each other’s shows and in each other’s bands constantly. Our members are interchangeable sometimes. We have open arms for each other in a way that’s never been competitive, and always been very supportive.

TK: Why wouldn’t the record label let you call this record The Rosebuds?

KC: They thought it would confuse people, I think. But I feel like it was a good compromise because the title that we landed on had so much intense meaning for Ivan and me.

TK: What meaning does it have?

KC: When we worked on the lyrics for the song “Cover Ears,” it [the phrase Loud Planes Fly Low] created such a really intense image for both of us. And it was the same image. And we identified so closely on that. And we realized, we might be the only two people in the world who can communicate at this level. And we think when we were writing when we really understand how connected we were creatively with songwriting and how important that was to protect.

The Rosebuds open for Bon Iver this evening at the Tower Theatre at 8:00 p.m. Ticket information here.