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Members include Jason Boesel, drums; Pierre de Reeder, bass; Jenny Lewis (born on January 8, 1977, in Las Vegas, NV), vocals; Dave Rock, drums; Blake Sennett (also known as Blake Soper and Blake Swendenson), guitar, vocals. Addresses: Publicist--Girlie Action, 59 W. 19th St., New York, NY 10011, website: http://www.girlieaction.com. Website--Rilo Kiley Official Website: http://www.rilokiley.com.
With a sound that coasts through the genres of country, power-pop, and everything in between, the Los Angeles four piece band Rilo Kiley has managed to make the kind of records that overshadow vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jenny Lewis and guitarist and vocalist Blake Sennett's pasts as child actors. With wry hooks, observant and sometimes terse lyrics, and a relationship with labels like Barsuk Records and Saddle Creek Records, Rilo Kiley has chiseled out a niche in indie rock as a band that All Music Guide said "writes melodies so damn catchy, you might almost think you've heard them before."
Born on January 8, 1977, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jenny Lewis began her career as a child actor when she appeared in a commercial for Jell-O. After a move to Los Angeles following the divorce of her parents, Lewis started to take acting more seriously, appearing first in the television movie Convicted alongside John Larroquette and Carroll O'Connor. Since, she has been cast in numerous feature films, including Troop Beverly Hills, Big Girls Don't Cry...They Get Even, Foxfire, Don's Plum (alongside Toby Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio), and Pleasantville (starring Maguire and Reese Witherspoon). Perhaps most notably, though, Lewis played alongside Fred Savage and Christian Slater in the video-game inspired The Wizard, which premiered in 1989. Though the film didn't do very well in the press (the Washigton Post's Rita Kempley called it "tacky and moribund"), Phil Villarreal of the Arizona Daily Star called the $14-million box-office earner "a near forgotten classic." But although acting was something that took up much of Lewis' time, music also played a role in her childhood. In an interview with Twenty Forty Zine, Lewis stated that, "I grew up in the San Fernando Valley in LA, but I went to public school and was into hip-hop and the Cure. They were mostly big bands, pretty much on major labels, with the exception of hip-hop groups that were on the smaller labels. But then in my late teens I started discovering bands like Modest Mouse and Built to Spill."
Rilo Kiley started as an acoustic songwriting collaboration between Lewis and Sennett in 1994. Sennett, who has also been known to go by the names of Blake Soper and Blake Swendson, has appeared in numerous television shows, including Highway to Heaven, Family Ties, the Wonder Years, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Most notably, however, is Sennett's casting as Pinsky in the Nickelodeon series Salute Your Shorts. He also had a four-year run, from 1994 to 1998, playing Joey on the sitcom Boy Meets World, starring Ben Savage.
Between acting commitments, Lewis and Sennett, who were romantically involved at the time, worked on material and gigged around the Los Angeles area. Wanting to expand on their skeletal arrangements, Lewis and Sennett decided to form an actual band. In 1998, bassist Pierre de Reeder, a high school friend of Sennett's, and drummer Dave Rock were drafted in, becoming the first version of what would be known to a wider audience as Rilo Kiley.
After spending a few years playing around Los Angeles, a small amount of touring, as well as songwriting and recording, Rilo Kiley released its first full-length, Take-Offs and Landings, in 2001 for the Barsuk Label. Home to bands such as Death Cab for Cutie and The Revolutionary Hydra, Rilo Kiley's straightforward indie-pop sound seemed totally at home with the Northwestern label. All Music Guide said, "Songs like 'Go Ahead' and 'Bulletproof' showcase the band's most distinctive asset---the sweet vocals and bittersweet lyrics of Jenny Lewis---while the breezy hooks and driving beats of tunes like 'Wires and Waves' and 'Always' show surprising commercial potential." In Music We Trust called it "a delicious collection of all the positives indie pop has to offer. The songs have feeling, the vocals inviting, the music tight and enjoyable, and the overall song always manages to make you smile, no matter what you're feeling."
A year later, Rilo Kiley returned to the release world with its sophomore stab, The Execution of All Things, released in 2002 for the Omaha-based Saddle Creek Records (home to Bright Eyes, the Faint, and Cursive). This was a record of firsts, as it was the first record to feature new drummer and ex-Lassie Foundation member Jason Boesel. It was also the first record Saddle Creek had released by a band not originally from Omaha. In Music We Trust said that the album takes a "darker, more sullen approach, giving the songs, and the band, more than one dimension to play in. Mostly due to the band's growth in songwriting---both musically and lyrically---they seem more apt to take chances.... Elements of country and folk, though not blatantly obvious, are there, and the pop and indie rock, which dominate the album, seem to appreciate it...." Pitchforkmedia.com said, "The words here are descriptive and articulate, but gracefully rendered. Perfect images and phrases litter the verses, some of them upbeat but more of them conflicted.... Around these frequently bleak lyrics, Lewis and Sennett wrote catchy and energetic music, with perfect hooks and choruses that knock down the walls."
Before commencing work on their next album following an extensive tour supporting Execution..., both Lewis and Sennett attended to their respective side projects. Lewis was tapped by Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard to work on an electronic collaboration between he and Dntel's Jimmy Tamborello called the Postal Service. Lewis offered her vocals to a number of the songs on Give Up, and the record was released on Sub Pop in 2003. While Lewis toured with the Postal Service, Sennett, along with Boesel, released Me First, the debut by a band they called the Elected, on Sub Pop in early 2004.
The time came, however, for Rilo Kiley to reconvene, write, and record More Adventurous in the winter months of Omaha in 2004. Released on their own imprint, Brute/Beaute, online music outlet Neumu.net praised the album as "Basic but gorgeously textured pop-rock with a country tinge, Rilo Kiley's music is led by vocals that'll stop you in your tracks."
by Ryan Allen
Rilo Kiley's Career
Lewis and Sennett formed group in Los Angeles, CA, mid-1990s; other members joined band, late 1990s; released debut full lenth Take-Offs and Landings on Barsuk Records, 2001; released The Execution of All Things on Saddle Creek Records, 2002; released More Adventurous on Brute/Beaute, 2004.
- Selected discography
- Take-Offs and Landings Barsuk, 2001.
- The Execution of All Things Saddle Creek, 2002.
- More Adventurous Brute/Beaute, 2004.
- Billboard, October 12, 2002.
- Entertainment Weekly, August 20, 2004; September 3, 2004.
- Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, August 28, 2004.
- Vanity Fair, June 2004.
- "Lazy-I Interview: Rilo Kiley," Lazy-I, http://www.timmcmahan.com/rilo.htm (November 11, 2004).
- "Rilo Kiley," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (November 11, 2004).
- "Rilo Kiley: The Execution of All Things," Pitchforkmedia, http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/record-reviews/r/rilo-kiley/execution-of-all-things.shtml (November 11, 2004).
- "Rilo Kiley: More Adventurous," Neumu.net, http://neumu.net/fortyfour/2004/2004-00178/2004-00178_fortyfour.shtml (November 11, 2004).
- "Venus: Jenny Lewis Interview," Venus, http://www.venuszine.com/stories/music_interviews/434 (November 11, 2004).
Rilo Kiley Lyrics
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