Ivan & Alyosha first drew me in because I read somewhere that their name was taken from characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Any band with such highly literary minds is worth a listen in my book. And thank goodness I did! The Seattle-based quartet has become another new favorite. They have yet to release a full length album, but their two EPs – 2009’s The Verse, The Chorus and their early February release, Fathers Be Kind – are enough music to get you started.
The band’s folksy melodies are just so eeeeasy to listen to. Sometimes the vocals remind me of an old, very acoustic Rufus Wainwright, but other times, I hear something more along the lines of The Decemberists. Either way, Ivan & Alyosha’s catchy rhythms and casual instrumentation are simply magnetic.
One song in particular from the new EP (which can be purchased on Amazon (you’re welcome)) really hit me. The whining harmonica, careful harmonies, and cleverly penned lyrics of “Glorify” just melt me: “Glorify the Lord above, with your drink and making love / Glorify the Lord my son, with your whiskey and your gun.”
NPR featured Ivan & Alyosha in one of their Tiny Desk Concerts, which I highly recommend if your interest is piqued. You can also go to their MySpace and listen to tracks from both EPs and download “Glorify” for free. Now go!
Update (3.20.11): Just found this incredible video of the band performing “I Was Born to Love Her” at SXSW earlier this week. Had to include it.