Radio K presents THE ROSEBUDS
After The Rosebuds released Life Like, their fourth album for Merge Records, in 2009, Kelly Crisp packed a few essentials and moved, alone, to Greenpoint in Brooklyn. North Carolina had been the cradle for The Rosebuds, the band Kelly and husband Ivan Howard (or Ivan and Kelly Rosebud, as you might know them) started the very week they got married. But the marriage had been failing for two albums, maybe longer, and it was time to call the relationship off. Ivan and Kelly were done, and The Rosebuds—Merge’s buoy- ant pop-rock couple who’d youthfully named their first album The Rosebuds Make Out—were in limbo.
But Loud Planes Fly Low, The Rosebuds’ fifth and most inventive album to date, is a sad-eyed and bright new start for Kelly and Ivan, beautifully born of the struggle to define their relationship as bandmates—and more importantly, friends—outside of the context of marriage. It wasn’t easy. Written and rewritten, recorded and re- recorded in fits and starts, Loud Planes Fly Low allowed Kelly and Ivan to have the very conversations about their relationship that they’d long avoided. They finally started to understand what had gone wrong. When Ivan went to record “Worthwhile,” the gorgeous acoustic ballad that closes the album, in a studio isolation booth, he cried as he sang. “I sent a box of our stuff, so there’s something to open up,” he coos, reading the words from a Christmas letter he wrote to Kelly during her Greenpoint stay. He’d sent her a box of meaningful trinkets gathered from the recesses of drawers and depths of closets in their old home. “Girl, I want to make it all worthwhile.” He’s reconsidering the past through new hope for the future.
On Loud Planes Fly Low, Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp relive the pain and the worry through lyrics written together in the back room of the house they used to call home. For Kelly, making the album felt like a funeral for their relationship, where old friends like violinist Mark Paulson and drummer Matt McCaughan stopped in to pay their respects to an old end and to help build a new beginning. For Ivan, it was an honor to have musicians he respected, like bassists Brad Cook and Wes Phillips and producer Chris Stamey, give so much time and energy to songs that were so personal. Of course they did: Proudly mature, genuinely reflective, Loud Planes Fly Low is the most honest Rosebuds record since Ivan and Kelly made their way out of the gates in 2003. But that’s how it goes, right? You live, love, maybe lose and, hope- fully, live to play another day. Loud Planes Fly Low, then, is the start of The Rosebuds’ second chance—not as a couple, but as songwriters with, at last, a fascinating truth to tell. —Grayson Currin
The trail discovered by 2008’s Bury The Square, blazed by 2009’s Gather, Form & Fly, and tended by 2010’s Heretofore has run into a wide and rushing river. The band we know as Megafaun, born alongside Bon Iver in the ashes that rose from DeYarmond Edison (Brad Cook, Joe Westerlund, and Phil Cook’s former band with Justin Vernon), has woven years of writing, touring, and living into a new sonic language.
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