Little Record Company
Apr 01, 2013 Issue #45 - Winter 2013 - Phoenix
Fourteen years after the celebrated Los Angeles group Rilo Kiley self-released their first EP and five years since their last full album, bassist Pierre de Reeder is releasing RKives, a collection of unreleased songs, B-sides, and rarities on his own record label. From Barsuk to Saddle Creek to Warner Bros., the band found itself at the vanguard of indie rock culture in the aughts, and dealing with all of the conflicts of breaking into mainstream culture.
Rilo Kiley officially called it quits in 2011. Up until that point, all of the band's members were still working in or around music, which left many fans holding out for a new record for years.
The cleverly titled RKives pulls together 16 rare Rilo Kiley tracks, seven of which are as yet unreleased (the deluxe bundle comes with a cassette of demos only available on tape), but if you've followed the band throughout the years, you've likely heard many of the tracks in one form or another.
"Let Me Back In" is the first clean version available of a song that circulated on the bootleg circuit as "I Love L.A." Its spare arrangement features Blake Sennett's staccato guitar over a new string ensemble, and a formalized tapped percussion developed on tour with Omaha's Tilly and the Wall. "About the Moon," a B-side from Take Offs and Landings, boasts Jenny Lewis' early vocal work with The Watson Twins. And the demo version of "Rest of My Life" (also on Take Offs) sounds fresh off the tape recorder with warped synths and a young, emotional Sennett.
While this collection is a welcome, if brief, return to the band's heyday, it naturally doesn't stand on its own as an album. Expect a Rilo Kiley retrospective collage with gems that so many fans chased during their extensive touring and writing days. And if you've followed the band for as long as some, expect to feel really weird when "The Frug" signals you've reached the end. (www.rilokiley.com)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 7/10