Monday, March 13, 2006


Last month, the two leads of Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis (vocals and guitar) and Blake Sennet (vocals and guitar) went head to head, both releasing solo efforts, no less on the same day! Herewith, a review of the leads (and ex-lovers) albums and how they fared (in this peon of a blog's view):

Out of the corner, JL & the WT had the early lead. Going into this, with her fame as the lead singer of Rilo Kiley, recently being voted as the hottest indie female singer (in indie circles of course) and also her fame as backing vocals for the juggernaut the Postal Service, she probably had the biggest built in audience. Off the cuff, that HAS to equal big results and big sales. Add to that, a M. Ward produced album on the Team Love label pioneered by Bright Eyes' Connor Oberst along with appearances of M. Ward himself, Ben Gibbard of the Postal Service and Death Cab for Cutie as well as her boyfriend and singer-songwriter Johnathan Rice AND Conor Oberst again and WHEW, do you have a lineup! That is like reading off a resume of someone very important who has to be guaranteed a job...OR DOES IT!?

I won't lie. I knew little to nothing of this band going into it and still don't know much. Other than knowing that he sings in Rilo Kiley, was in the TV show 'Salute Your Shorts' and can be seen with a odd, Harvey Keitel mustache at times, I had nothing to go off of. Blake and his band, the Elected, were clearly the underdogs.

***It should be noted that both of these albums take on the Rilo Kiley sound of country, folk and pop to it's best balance. Not too heavy in one direction and very satisfying to the palette.***

THIRD ROUND: Off to a good start for JL & the WT
After a too long intro, we kick into the album with 'The Big Guns', what feels like a song to harken back to a country revivial. The spirit builds slowly within you and bursts forth, hand clapping all around, people fanning themselves from exhaustion and heat stroke and we are only 2 songs in!

FOURTH ROUND: Sennet holds his ground
After a short and acoustic intro with a message (though I can't fly, I can sing!), Sennet and the crew are rolling through the countryside with 'Would You Come with Me'? Strumming the guitar with birds chirping in their ears, singing of love so strong it has to keep a-movin', these guys are grooving.

FIFTH ROUND: JL & the WT are wavering...
Jenny and the Twins seem to be struggling here. Jumping to a slow song after their rocker, then getting very twang on us, back to slow, back to fast, we can't keep up or stay in the right state of mind.

SIXTH ROUND: ...Sennet holding steady, looking strong
While JL & the WT are fumbling around, trying to figure out which glove goes on which hand, the Elected is PUMMELING one punch after another. Solid hit after solid hit, the middle of this album picks up it's strengths and doesn't stop.

Because I am tired of the analogies and don't want to make this post any longer, (I am sure I have lost 99% of you by now), I will simply say Blake Sennet and the Elected pull out a unbelievable victory over the long standing heavy weight champ and have garnered a new fan. The album is just overall more cohesive, better produced and solid.

Listen to these mp3's and let me know your thoughts. Do I have it all wrong? Is the older Elected stuff worth checking out? Should I shut the hell up already?
mp3 - Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - The Big Guns
mp3 - Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Born Secular
Buy Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins 'Rabbit Fur Coat' HERE

mp3 - The Elected - Would You Come With Me
mp3 - The Elected - Fireflies In A Steel Mill
Buy The Elected's 'Sun, Sun, Sun' HERE

***ALSO***it should be noted that both these band are touring in support of these albums. Once again, I have to give it to the Elected who already toured with STARS and are now seeing the country with the Magic Numbers for crying out friggin' loud! And of course, no shows for either band coming to Cleveland.
See Jenny Lewis's tour HERE
See Blake Sennet's tour HERE


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