Inter-band relationships don’t always work out so well, unless you’re Johnny Cash and June Carter and just charm the pants off every crowd you grace with your honky-tonk presence. Things didn’t go quite as well for Ike and Tina Turner, nor for Blondie founders Debbie Harry and Chris Stein. Meg and Jack White had to pretend to be siblings to cover up their previously married past in hopes of avoiding tabloid publicity for The White Stripes. And Fleetwood Mac may take the cake for most complicated and awkward band relationships, even though all of the heartbreak and jealousy produced one of the greatest albums ever, the appropriately named Rumours.
But maybe the times they are a-changin’. In keeping with themes of love and romance for this upcoming Valentine’s Day, I wanted to highlight a few successful power couples in indie rock, specifically those that play together. It’s got to be hard to live and work with your significant other, especially when your work involves crafting art borne out of the vulnerability of human emotion, right? But these four bands handle it with ease, making headlines not only for their recent releases, but also for their rom-com worthy stories.
Brand new on the scene, these indie-darling newlyweds from Denver make pleasant, poppy surf-rock about their sailing adventures, their favorite hobby. Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore met in philosophy class in college, began dating and took to the open seas in a sailboat before they even began making music to record their experience. The result is positively charming: Their debut record, Cape Dory, is chock-full of power-pop sensibilities, old time R&B rhythms and a pleasant melodic haze atop Moore’s soaring vocals.
The buzziest of buzz bands, Cults consists of Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin, who are dating, touring, working on an album and interviewing with Pitchfork and Nylon magazine. And oh yes, they’re merely 21 years old. When I spoke to Cults in the summer for Paste magazine, Follin told me that touring with your significant other is “great, but you have to learn when to shut off. You can’t talk about it all the time … since this all started happening, though, it’s been pretty much all music all the time.” Here’s hoping they can at least leave the band behind for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.
Josh Ritter and Dawn Landes
These two aren’t officially in a band together — smart move, I think — but they have performed together frequently, most notably recording a take-away show in their kitchen for dailycandy.com. Ritter’s folk music is clean-cut, simple and charming, with bittersweet lyrics and classic song structure. Landes’ music is remarkably similar, only with wispy soprano vocals instead of Ritter’s decisive tenor. Bonus: Ritter is performing at the 9:30 Club on Monday night (without Landes), though the show is sold out.
Jenny and Johnny
Aside from the fact that their moniker and their folk sound is a bit too similar to that of Johnny and June (and, weirdly, Johnathan Rice played Roy Orbison in the Cash biopic Walk The Line), these two are pretty adorable. Jenny Lewis, Rilo Kiley’s frontwoman, and Rice, whose debut solo album was produced by industry king Mike Mogis, formed Jenny and Johnny in 2010. Their first record, I’m Having Fun Now, is a collection of upbeat folk-pop tunes bolstered by the blend of male and female vocals.
Caroline Klibanoff is a junior in the College and General Manager of WGTB Georgetown Radio. https://georgetownradio.com/blog
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