Sound Advice: Ivan & Alyosha with Plastic Ants

Monday • MOTR Pub

click to enlarge Ivan & Alyosha
Ivan & Alyosha

For the uninitiated, Ivan & Alyosha falls into the same nomenclature category as Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd — there are no Jethros, Floyds, Ivans or Alyoshas among their ranks. Ivan & Alyosha was initially comprised of vocalists/guitarists Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary, who gravitated from working in a variety of musical relationships to forming an exclusive duo in 2007.

After a year of working in and around Seattle and writing a fair amount of original material, the pair headed to Los Angeles to record their debut EP, The Verse, The Chorus, with producer Eli Thompson. Wilson and Carbary had never christened their “band” with a proper name, so it was Thompson’s idea to dub them Ivan & Alyosha, after the diametrically opposed lead characters in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. After weeks of recording and months of mixing, The Verse, The Chorus was released in early 2009 to great acclaim, with critics specifically noting the duo’s songwriting acumen and ability to expand and transcend its chosen melodic Roots Rock/Folk Pop genre.

Ivan & Alyosha’s first national exposure came from NPR, which spotlighted the duo in its preview coverage of 2010’s South by Southwest, citing Ivan & Alyosha in its top 100 acts to see at that year’s festival. Over the next two years, Ivan & Alyosha toured relentlessly, opening for Aimee Mann, The Lone Bellow and Brandi Carlile, among others, and released two more EPs and its debut full-length, 2013’s All the Times We Had, the bulk of which had been previously released on the preceding EPs.

Over the years, Ivan & Alyosha has added Wilson’s brother Pete on bass and guitarist Tim Kim on guitar and vocals (in addition to several studio and touring drummers), which has broadened the band’s sonic palette considerably. Ivan & Alyosha’s sophomore album, It’s All Just Pretend, is its first album to be released without a teaser EP, but it’s filled with the group’s trademark Avetts-meets-Everlys melodies and romantic balladry, with an added jolt of propulsive Indie Rock.


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