Ivan & Alyosha
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Ivan & Alyosha

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
Band Pop Rock


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The Tractor Tavern in Ballard was the perfect setting to spend a Thursday evening: nothing fancy, just good beer and good music. There were just enough people there to have fun on the dance floor without feeling crowded.

Local musician Shane Tutmarc (now solo after old band Doulor) made for a great opening act. He had a strong stage presence with just an acoustic guitar. His eccentric style came through in both his style of clothing and his genre-bending song writing. Traces of folk, blues, and country all came through on his guitar and through his expressive voice.

The next band, Ivan and Alyosha, were the highlight of my evening. Although they are new to Seattle, they have already solidified their own “Brit Rock” style. Instrumentally, the sound was lovely and full, but my favorite moments were when it got a bit more experimental. The band members were enjoying themselves on stage and playfully joked with the audience. They saved their ever-poppy but irresistible hit “Easy to Love” for last.
- Melophobe

Ivan & Alyosha have flown a bit under the radar in the Seattle music scene, quietly unveiling The Verse, The Chorus, a brilliant seven-song EP recorded and self-released by the duo earlier this summer. The band hits a sweet spot of anglophilic pop (swaggering tracks that skate between T Rex and Travis—imagine “Driftwood” with less drama and more handclaps. Pure! Pop! Gold!) Jangling guitars and brief spots of falsetto are here throughout. “Easy to Love,” though, is the unlikely hit, slowly appearing with a muted stomp and a simple acoustic guitar strum, radiating a simple beauty as the line “You’re really easy to love” is repeated over and over again. Then the song disappears just as seemlessly. Along with the Tacoma’s always purple-lit Mono in VCF, who headlined Ivan & Alyosha’s EP release, there seems to be a new Northwest Anglo-pop invasion comin’ on. Somebody start a label! - Mark Baumgarten, Seattle Sound Magazine

On Saturday, local band Ivan & Alyosha begins a monthlong residency at the High Dive in Fremont. Every Saturday for the next three weeks, an opener will take the stage at 5 p.m., followed by an hour of Ivan & Alyosha's buoyant, timeless pop, ending around 7 p.m.

The events celebrate the release of "The Verse, The Chorus," Ivan & Alyosha's debut EP on Cheap Lullaby Records. (The duo is also headed to the SXSW festival in March in Austin, Texas, along with several other Seattle bands.)

The residency concept is not new, but it's relatively untested in Seattle.

"We wanted to do something more creative, something that stood out where we could make some noise in a small amount of time and get some fans exposed to our music," says I&A's Tim Wilson. "The idea is to keep having better shows."

Weekly performances will allow the band an unusual degree of casualness and familiarity with its audience and material, and vice versa. Fans attending all three weekends will witness the band develop its material live on stage as well as hear rarities and covers that might otherwise go unplayed at a headlining gig.

"The idea is to do something special every time, a new jam or a Christmas jam, and have our friends playing with us," Wilson says. "It's like old-model show business: You might go to a club back in the day when it was jazz vocalists or jazz bands and it's the same guy singing every Friday night and that's how people would get their start."

Greg Garcia, talent booker at the High Dive, understands the growth potential in hosting a residency. As the only booker willing to sign on to what was initially the band's idea, he sees it as a twist on the usual three-band, late-night bill.

"Artists are trying to be creative and do different types of shows rather than one show every six weeks," he says. "So we're doing a show every week and making a big deal out of it. There's a lot of cool local bands, and this is a good way to build their following. People end up hearing about these types of things."

"Certainly if it's good, people will keep coming," says I&A's other half, Ryan Carbary. "As opposed to if it wasn't."

"This is a big step," Wilson says. "Elvis did it and Celine Dion did it. We're just doing it at the beginning of our career instead of the end."

Jonathan Zwickel: zwickelicious@gmail.com
- Seattle Times

"When Ryan (Carbary) and I began making music together a few years back, we didn't have a name," Ivan and Alyosha's Tim Wilson explains, "we'd ask everyone for ideas. Finally, our friend and producer Eli Thomson came up with Ivan and Alyosha, and it stuck," he smiles.

Although Wilson doesn't directly make the Dostoyevsky reference, it's pretty obvious that the names - also the names of two of the main characters in Dostoyevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov - could be appropriate (although hopefully minus all that Russian drama) for these two friends whose brotherly relationship makes for a strong and productive partnership, blending their individual personalities into one musical craft.

Ivan and Alyosha's debut EP, The Verse, The Chorus, echoes both plenty of '60s-'70s Europop and American rock n 'soul, and adds in sounds and compositional approaches that also throw nods to some of the duo's indie-rock contemporaries of today.

"We are definitely influenced by Europop and rock," Wilson agrees, "that's what indie rock is, to us at least - a return to organic instrumentation, a return to the song, acoustic guitars strumming, hands clapping, tamborines shaking. We kind of ended up with a nice family band/Fleetwood Mac feel on The Verse, The Chorus. A lot of the records and songs back then - the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and certainly not just in Europe - are so timeless. David Bowie, T-Rex, Rolling Stones, plus everything coming out of Motown, are all influencing what we are attempting to do musically."

"There are certainly also a lot of artists making timeless records now who are influencing us. Helio Sequence, Wilco, Rufus Wainwright, Monsters Of Folk, and Belle and Sebastian are just a few," Wilson continues.

"The older recordings - as Tim mentioned, of the 50s, 60s, and 70s - are a large influence on what we want our records to sound like," bandmate Carbary explains, "there are many new production techniques we enjoy, but nothing beats those older recordings."

While they're in production, Wilson explains that he usually writes the songs on acoustic guitar and piano, passing them along to Carbary for "a bit of a musical and arrangement overhaul."

The Verse, The Chorus was recorded mostly in California, and wrapped up further north.

"We did some of it down in Los Angeles, specifically at Sonikwire Studios in Irvine, where we tracked mainly drums and bass," Carbary explains, "then we shaped the songs with producer Eli Thomson at Frank Lenz's apartment in Huntington Beach. We finished up overdubs and got the songs where we wanted them in Seattle at a few home studios, and then mixed the record at Avast!. So, we got the ball rolling in L.A. with Eli, then finished it on our own."

"The sessions were kind of a learning experience, for sure," Wilson says, "a lot of ambition, not enough vision or preperation was our problem; we kind of made it up as we went. To be honest, looking back it was a frustrating year (but still fun.) I'm pretty sure Ryan would say the same. But we ended up with something special, something very honest - we learned a lot about ourselves, each other, what not to do, and how to put a record together."

Wilson and Carbary are demoing for their next upcoming Ivan and Alyosha album even as you read this, and hope to have the new set ready for release in the spring, when they're also scheduled to play the SXSW Fest.

"These days, my brother Pete is also writing songs for our second record," Wilson says, "lately it certainly has been more democratic than ever before, and more productive, it seems. We are closer, our friendships are deeper, our vision and goals are similar, and we are having a lot of fun working together."

Hmm. So should fans anticipate a Dostoyevsky-slash-Thomson-inspired Dmitri being added to the Ivan and Alyosha moniker soon?

Only time will tell. - Groupee.com

"With “Easy To Love” from their debut EP, The Verse, The Chorus (due October 10 on Cheap Lullaby), Ivan & Alyosha announce themselves as musicians rooted in the reality of romanticism. The duo named after Dostoyevsky characters—vocalist Tim Wilson and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Carbary—creates honest and artful songs that pair strumming and drumming with an occasional sweet whistle to make your heart leap."

www.magnetmagazine.com/2009/09/25/mp3-at-3pm-ivan-alyosha/ - Magnet Magazine

Back in Seattle, an ever-growing indie music hub, Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary are better known as Ivan & Alyosha. Now, with the widespread rerelease of their first EP, The Verse, the Chorus, the pair is sure to take local buzz to the next level. The nearly two years of work invested into their debut EP are instantly noticeable; the album is moved by an undeniable thoughtfulness, product of the musicians’ honest dedication to their craft.

Starting off with “Beautiful Lle”, the seven songs that make up The Verse, the Chorus shift through effortless transitions until the very end. Listening to the first track, it’s easy get a good idea of what Ivan and Alyosha is shooting for: good natured, straightforward pop goodness. And like most songs on the EP, “Beautiful Lle” is a well-rounded effort.

Amongst Oasis-like guitar riffs, “Once and Future” follows suit. Throughout the song (and most of the album), gently arranged backup vocals complete the concept of an ethereal brit-pop rendition. When heard carefully, tiny details throughout the record reveal the careful and dedicated production that went into The Verse, the Chorus.

Endearing choruses, lovely backups, and caring vocals: there is nothing really aggressive about the lyrics or arrangements on The Verse, the Chorus; delicate is an accurate term. Case in point, “You´re really easy to love / And I can´t take it / My heart is aching” exclaim the lyrics on the accordingly titled “Easy to Love”. Abundant claps, heavy drums, gentle guitars and building whistles gradually take strength, but ultimately, simplicity (both instrumentally and lyrically) makes this one an easy, congenial hit.

Though production-wise there is very little to criticize, the content of the EP is nothing less than familiar since, unfortunately, the duo wears their Myspace “influence list” right on their sleeve. The Beatles, Queen, Wilco… Besides, The Verse, the Chorus is exactly that proverbial: a verse, a chorus, and the occasional bridge. And though very well done, the songs have a predictable structure that does everything but keep you on the edge of your seat.

“Some Friend You Are” is actually able to use this repetitive pattern in its favor; “I thought you were a friend of mine” Wilson indignantly sings over and over again. It´s because of tracks like this that Ivan & Alyosha earns some hard-earned praise for their melodic capabilities. “Wish I Knew” and “You´re on to Something” both share a truly amazing vocal clarity and boast beautiful melodies all around. While the first is an uncomplicated heartfelt tune, the second brands itself with a little more Americana.

Amongst the natural transitions, applaud-worthy melodies, and gratifying consistency presented on The Verse, the Chorus, there is no doubt that Ivan & Alyosha have what it takes. And though there is always room for improvement (journeying further from their retro adjustments is a must) the twosome has accomplished a truly pure, sprightly, good natured pop album. - PopMatters

The Band: Ivan & Alyosha

The Buzz: Smooth, soaring guitar pop from Seattle duo that is plaintive and pristine.

Listen If: You’d be curious to hear what happened if the Shins slowed it down a bit.

Key Track: “Easy to Love,” the perfect late Valentine for the mutually smitten.

-J. Edward Keyes

http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2009/03/12/hype-monitor-reykjavik-mazes-ivan-alyosha/ - Rolling Stone

Who: Ivan & Alyosha from Seattle.

What: Nothing like keeping it simple.

"Please take this one into the weekend with you, an acoustic creeper with foot stomps coming from the back of the room. A song off the debut of duo Tim Wilson and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Carbary who take their name from a Dostoevsky novel. Sounds like a brand of Americana with a touch of blues and hints of 60’s and 70’s. For fans of Shins, Bishop Allen, or something along what you’d expect to hear from Page France, check it out."

Song: Easy To Love.

http://www.indiemusicfilter.com/?p=2117 - Indie Music Filter

Ivan & Alyosha are releasing their debut EP called The Verse, The Chorus on October 20th. Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary formed Ivan & Alyosha in 2007 and spent nearly a year writing pensive songs for their EP. In 2007 they recorded with Eli Thomson (Richard Swift) with Frank Lenz (Starflyer 59, The Headphones) on drums. Six months of post production before sending the songs to TW Walsh (Pedro the Lion, The Soft Drugs) to be mastered.

Names aside, Ivan & Alyosha’s music is an intriguing throwback to the `60s and early `70s, set to be released on February 24th on Cheap Lullaby Records. Their name is borrowed from Dostoyevsky, Ivan & Alyosha have conjured many elements that made the classics survive over the years.
- Puddlgum

Above all else, Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary have the beginnings of something great. The duo — Wilson sings and Carbary plays guitars — perform as Ivan and Alyosha, a mellow pop band that takes its name from characters in a Dostoevsky novel. And much like the Russian author, these guys are serious about their art: They took two years to write, produce and record The Verse, the Chorus, Ivan and Alyosha's debut full-length. The end result was an album of sing-along and clap-along melodies, driven by Wilson's incredibly honest vocals and Carbary's jangle guitars. The catchy "Easy to Love," for example, has earned its title. The song's simple guitars and chorus — Wilson sings, "You're really easy to love/And I can't take it/My heart is aching" followed by a pitch-perfect whistled refrain — has the makings of an instant hit. But that song succeeds because of its simplicity: It's just brushed drums, Carbary's gentle strums, and some smartly placed claps, augmented by Wilson's beautiful voice and makes-it-look-too-easy vocal range.
- PAIGE RICHMOND - Seattle Weekly


Debut EP - "The Verse, The Chorus" out Oct 20 on Cheap Lullaby Records (home of SXSW favorites Ane Brun, Joan As Police Woman, Kathryn Williams, Sylvie Lewis, Teitur, The Silver Seas, Tobias Fröberg)



"The Verse, The Chorus", out on Cheap Lullaby Records October 20th!

In a town where Indie is King, Seattle-based duo Ivan & Alyosha achieve an intricate balance between pop and pretense. The band is comprised of lead vocalist Tim Wilson (formerly of Izabelle), and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Carbary. Heavy 60’s and 70’s European influence coupled with their own brand of Americana with a touch of the blues, these brothers of song are sure to perk ears with a fresh take on west coast sound. An unmistakable emphasis on song and melody, instrumentation and arrangement, Ivan and Alyosha offer their well-crafted pop perfection paying subtle homage to a long list of influences whilst not wearing too much on ones’ sleeve. The arrival of thier debut EP produced by Eli Thomson (Richard Swift, Delta Spirit, Sylvie Lewis) brings stories of love, social change, spirituality and escape from the normal. Painting their sonic idealism with sweeping acoustic ballads and up-tempo, guitar-driven numbers, carefully maintaining subtle tenderness, romance and honesty.

"The Band: Ivan & Alyosha
The Buzz: Smooth, soaring guitar pop from Seattle duo that is plaintive and pristine.
Listen If: You’d be curious to hear what happened if the Shins slowed it down a bit.
Key Track: “Easy to Love,” the perfect late Valentine for the mutually smitten."
- J. Edward Keyes, Rolling Stone .com

"Pure! Pop! Gold!”
- Mark Baumgarten, Seattle Sound Magazine

"With “Easy To Love” from their debut EP, The Verse, The Chorus (due October 10 on Cheap Lullaby), Ivan & Alyosha announce themselves as musicians rooted in the reality of romanticism. The duo named after Dostoyevsky characters—vocalist Tim Wilson and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Carbary—creates honest and artful songs that pair strumming and drumming with an occasional sweet whistle to make your heart leap."
- Magnet Magazine

"The sounds from this luscious EP stem from the Brit pop era of the mid 90s, and that people is not a criticism at all. The overall tone of this catchy 7 song sampler is one of lush, soft and joyous proportions with a summery feel that really puts you on cloud nine."
- Peter Cornish, Liveforever.uk.com, "The Brit Rock Daily"

Currently featured on MTV’s hit shows “Parental Control” and “The City”