“So Much For Romance” is the first full length offering from Toledo/Brooklyn based band The Antivillains. Its rust-belt roots are fully apparent and bring a certain romantic notion to the Midwest as a place for growing up, a place for romance and sadness, a place forgotten. Much of the record’s inspiration is drawn from the members’ own convoluted relationships. Their songs are isolated, claustrophobic, and cinematic in their range of emotional drama and musical extremes. They have developed a reputation throughout the Midwest, drawing comparisons with Beth Orton, Yo La Tengo and the Velvet Underground, among others. Aside from some promotional help by their friends at Little Pocket Records, it is self produced, self released and self distributed. Splitting their time between Brooklyn and Toledo, the band is currently recording demos for an upcoming EP and looking to play as many shows as possible.
The Antivillains are a trio composed of siblings Sarah and Ben Cohen, and jazz percussionist Sam Woldenberg.
Sarah Cohen (vocals, guitars) Ben Cohen (vocals, guitars, pianos) Sam Woldenberg (drums, percussion) Michael Rodgers (bass) Nathan Cogan (piano, electric guitar)
So Much For Romance (full length via Little Pocket Records)
allmusic.com review of So Much For Romance
[+ Show ]
It's anyone's guess as to what a band from the post-industrial Midwest is supposed to sound like the...It's anyone's guess as to what a band from the post-industrial Midwest is supposed to sound like these days, but chances are whatever you were expecting from a new trio from Toledo, OH, it's not what the AntiVillains serve up on their debut album, So Much for Romance. Sarah Cohen, Benjamin Cohen, and Sam Woldenberg have created a set of lovely, ethereal music built around simple harmonies, bittersweet guitar melodies, and artfully executed arrangements that conjure up a world of broken hearts and glorious sadness, echoing through the bedrooms of lonesome bohemians late on a mid-winter's night. So Much for Romance is strikingly accomplished stuff for an independent debut, suggesting some missing link between the Sundays and This Mortal Coil (only with more engaging melodies), and the production and arrangements are remarkably intelligent and effective, bringing a powerful shape and color to the simple lines of these nine tunes, and the vocal harmonies (especially Sarah's frequent leads) bring a very human warmth to the music that contrasts nicely with the blue moods of the music. The AntiVillains may sound sad on So Much for Romance, but they're not thoroughly mopey; there's a jangly pop texture to "Don't Get Excited" which gives the disc a welcome kick, and the jazzy, bossa nova feel of the title track makes for a witty contrast with the lyrics bemoaning a failed relationship. The AntiVillains are not exactly reinventing the wheel with So Much for Romance, but they've absorbed their influences and shown both the talent and the desire to make something new and interesting from them, and the finished product is an album that's clever and surprisingly powerful, confirming once again a lot more of importance is happening in Ohio than you might imagine. - mark deming
[+ Show ]
"If this is Glass City's finest, sign me up!" From the "Do Your Best Not to Miss This" file is a ..."If this is Glass City's finest, sign me up!"
From the "Do Your Best Not to Miss This" file is a heads-up that the Toledo trio Antivillains will be sharing a bill with two of our fair city's brightest lights, Zoos of Berlin and Wildcatting, at the Corktown Tavern next week — Feb. 6 to be exact (plenty of time to plan, right?). Antivillains are centered around the young and vibrant chops of brother-sister duo Ben and Sarah Cohen, with Sam Woldenberg along for the ride. Their MySpace profile lists their "sounds like" as "the remains of the Grande Ballroom" and as romantic — and sometimes appropriate — as that sounds, there's something more here. They work the melancholy like no one's business — certainly with more authority than most twice their age — giving it a haunted-heart insight and soundtrack quality (in fact, they cover the Bond theme, "You Only Live Twice" — do listen to it) that suggests a holy alliance of Portishead, Beth Orton and Velvet Underground-y goodness couched firmly in an analog duskiness that wouldn't be out of place sharing a stage with locals like American Mars, Sunshine Doray and the Gangplank gang. There's a scant three songs on offer, but they bear repeat listens. You're welcome! ---- Chris Handyside
Great Lakes Indie Music Review
[+ Show ]
On their forthcoming album So Much for Romance, brother and sister Ben and Sarah Cohen weave immacul...On their forthcoming album So Much for Romance, brother and sister Ben and Sarah Cohen weave immaculately conceived harmonies into shimmering vistas of love lost. With bandmate Sam Woldenberg, the siblings make up the Toledo, Ohio band The Antivillains. Their new album is nostalgic but ahistorical, old-timey but fresh. At times, they co-opt the close harmonies and pop-jazz sensibility of the Zombies (“So Much for Romance,” Emily”); elsewhere, they exude a rootsy American folk vibe (the glissando vocals of “Weightless,” the slide guitar on “The Only Sound,” or the Slim Pickens-tested and Quentin Tarantino-approved “I Can’t Fall Asleep”). They blend these influences with textured hooks and energetic indie rock a la The Pixies, a comparison suggested by not only the boy-girl vocals but also by the bacchanalian exuberance of tracks like “Don’t Get Excited” and “To Be the One.” The Antivillains’ yesteryear tendencies and contemporary smarts make for an album that is both surprising and quite familiar.
We received an advanced copy of So Much for Romance that is still unmastered, but the album’s incomplete production does not obscure the band’s talent. In fact, if the album has a weakness, it is that there are too few loose ends. Even the wall-of-feedback moments are masterfully engineered. But So Much for Romance is not cold or antiseptic. It is permeated with humid dreamscapes and bright aural sunrises.
[+ Show ]
Antivillains CD Release Nov. 25 @ Ottawa Tavern Published: 11/23/2009 7:00 am - by Ryan A. Bunch> ...Antivillains CD Release Nov. 25 @ Ottawa Tavern
Published: 11/23/2009 7:00 am - by Ryan A. Bunch>
Time heals wounds, but it also tells truths. In time, quality tends to rise to the top. Submerged in the contemporary, it is sometimes difficult to understand things as thoroughly as we can in hindsight. I will you tell you this now in hopes that it will help inform your future: Time will prove that The Antivillians are one of Toledo's greatest musical treasures. This trio possesses more natural talent and hard-earned craft than ten average local bands combined. I know I run the risk of 'over-hype.' That's fine. Time too will melt that away.
On Wednesday, November 25, The Antivillains will present a highly anticipated unveiling of their latest LP, "So Much for Romance" at the Ottawa Tavern, 1815 Adams St., and will celebrate with a very special live performance. If the preview offered in the small handful of songs on the band's MySpace is any indicator, this record, like previous Antivillains offerings, will be a touching adventure through a melancholy landscape that is at once the very essence of Toledo, and too wildly cosmic.
The Antivillains seamless fusing of jazz, shoegaze, and pure pop makes them not just one of the most interesting bands to come out of Toledo, but one of the most effective in an otherwise nightmarishly boring time for American indie rock. What establishes this band on creative echelons high above most mediocre acts is not just the gorgeous vocal harmonizing of brother-sister lead vocalists Ben and Sarah Cohen (though, that certainly is a key ingredient), but the invisible mental harmony that exists between the two, an element of the music that is there and obvious to the listener, yet remains unspoken and untouchable. It seems at times there is a peculiar reading of minds happening, adding to the dreamy eeriness of the music. It exists in the shouldn't-work-but-does matching of Ben's low-tone guitars to Sarah's muted, yet strikingly powerful and endlessly haunting vocals, and other times in simple, yet complex changes that should be problematic, but come off smooth and effortless. It is that thing that all good music must possess to be qualified so; it is that unnamable magic that captivates and carries the listener into the music. It is not always some weird inherent musical telepathy, but in this case it is and it's brilliant and exciting. The Cohens own the magic of this music, but not without credit to the often under-credited genius of drummer Sam Woldenberg, Ben and Sarah's childhood friend, a respectable jazz drummer in his own right, who, without fail, remains connected to the Cohen's sleepy, surreal musical landscapes, who too knows the art of subtlety and grace, and how to make sadness heart-achingly beautiful.
Time is its own great communicator, in this music, where timing is everything, the communication happens almost beyond the music. Without ever coming across as blatantly experimental or striving to be eclectic, The Antivillains are able to hold a number of sounds and styles in one tight glass of unifying sound. In these songs are evidences of the trio's teachings from Toledo hero and jazz legend John Hendricks, indulgences into the experimental aural pleasures of the likes of Low, My Bloody Valentine, and The Velvet Underground, guiltless interest in bouncy Americana, and what might pass as sincere translations, or at least impressive affectations of the lost songbook of Edith Piaf. Simply put, these new works by The Antivillains are moving, impressive, and beautiful. And they stand to become timeless.
Doors open at 8 p.m. This is a free show, there is no cover charge. For info, www.otavern.com
45 min - 1 hour
There are no upcoming dates at this time.