Making music in Seattle seems both difficult and inspiring. The city is home to so many extraordinary indie and folk artists, including Dave Bazan, Damien Jurado and Fleet Foxes. I've got a feeling that Ivan & Alyosha will one day be ranked among Seattle's musical elite -- they've got that timeless sound.
The band's name, adapted from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, was founded on themes of uncertainty, faith, doubts and hope. For now, Ivan & Alyosha have much to be hopeful for: They've caught our attention with their fantastic EP, Fathers Be Kind.
The track "Glorify" begins with a humming harmonica and the soothing vocals of Tim Wilson in what initially sounds like a country-folk tune. But then this lyric catches you, almost subtly: "Glorify the Lord above, with your drink and making love / Glorify the Lord my son, with your whiskey and your gun." Is the spiritual talk in jest? That's the playfulness behind the band -- they mix grandiose love ballads with the folk-anthem imagery of gunslinging and whisky-swigging.
Ivan & Alyosha were riginally formed in Seattle by Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary in 2007, and a few years later Pete Wilson and Tim Kim joined. In an interview with NPR, they describe their music as "tongue-in-cheek" and "gospel," but it feels like more than that. In "Fathers Be Kind," for instance, it feels more like Southern California rock with Fleet Foxes-like harmonies.
It's rare in indie rock to find a band with such lovely vocals, free of the distractions of layers, reverb and synths. Instead, there's a simplicity and sweetness to them that's inviting to the ears. You and your ears can hear Ivan & Alyosha on Tuesday, March 6 at Soda Bar with Josh Ottum and Michael McGraw. Grab your tickets here.