Ladylike
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Ladylike

Phoenix, Arizona, United States | SELF

Phoenix, Arizona, United States | SELF
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"Ladylike, Crescent Ballroom, 5/25/12 (Video)"

In this week's music feature the men of Ladylike, the Tempe-based pop combo that packed Crescent Ballroom last night, discussed the difference between a live show and a recording:

"There's studio art and there's performance art," says songwriter/pianist/guitarist/vocalist Rob Kroehler (Disclosure: Kroehler contributes to New Times' Night and Day section). "They're two different things. To try and make them the same thing is to inhibit both things. Because you [wind up] confining yourself to a certain situation in the studio setting. If you confine yourself to a live setting, you're missing out on a plethora of opportunities in the studio setting."

But last night's performance at Crescent Ballroom -- bolstered by performances by local synth-pop outfit Factories, the singer/songwriter-meets-jazzy progressive rock Steff Koeppen and The Articles, and local mope pop rockers Gospel Claws (the latter bidding adieu to their guitarist, the exquisitely coiffed Wesley Hilsabeck) -- demonstrated that the band's power doesn't rest solely in the studio. On stage, Ladylike stomp, stretch, and strut, their indelible melodies causing the butts of the 20-something crowd to shake.

Seeing an all-locals show as packed (or very nearly at least) as last week's Spiritualized show at Crescent was a good feeling.
No one band "sounded" like the others. Koeppen, up from Tucson, has a fluttering, melodic voice and piano style that might have erred on the side of standard were it not for the unexpected arrangements that took songs veering in other, stranger directions. And that's no dig on her voice, either -- when she let loose on "Change Like That," it was a stunning thing to behold.

Gospel Claws spent most of the evening show off songs from a brand-new album (they've got a Kickstarter going to fund it), and they were something special, finding singer/guitarist Joel Marquard embracing his inner-Jonathan Richman/Scott Walker, a booming new tone for the singer that inches their reverberating rock sound closer to '50s pop and early '60s soul. "It's bittersweet," Hisabeck said following the show, about his decision to leave Phoenix for Portland. "I don't know if it's more bitter or more sweet." The sentiment works as an apt description of Gospel Claws' music.

Factories -- the synth pop trio we chatted with about the '80s yesterday -- wowed the crowd with intense walls of synthetic sound and guitar. It was a little strange watching keyboardist/vocalist Audra Marscovetra go so hard while a mostly staid audience maintained the crossed-arms-indie rock stance, acquiescing little more than an occasional head nod. It makes me curious how the band's increasingly glitchy beats would go over at a proper dance night, rather than the band adding an impressive electronic edge to a guitar-rock kinda show.

"Do people even have weekends anymore?" Ladylike keyboardist Alex Tighe pondered from the stage.
They do, and they were eager to kick off Memorial Day weekend with the band, who pulled out a new one, an ode to a post-rapture, apocalyptic future. Imagine The Beach Boys (with Dennis resurrected) and Wings soundtracking The Road Warrior and you're on your way.

Jangle-pop tunes like "Bombproof" and the Graceland-like touches of "Crime of the Century" (which found trumpet and banjo easing into the mix) slowed things down a little, but the band's surefire rockers -- tunes like "Leave the Boy Alone" and "Cinema Kiss" -- had beer in the air and even -- for real -- devil horns hoisted to the sky.

Who else is ready for the weekend?

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Ladylike, Gospel Claws, Factories, Steff Koeppen and The Articles
Of Note: Ladylike was strangely and wonderfully proud of drummer Ethan Hillis' chest hair. - Phoenix New Times


"Miss DJ MJ on Mouse Powell, Ladylike, and Sluggo ft. HavocNdeeD"

"I know hits when I hear them," Miss DJ MJ says, hanging out in the New Times office.
I believe her. She's been on the air for 10 years, working as music director at Power 98.3. She recently left the station, but not before becoming the first female on-air mixer in Arizona.

I ask DJ MJ for her album of the year, and she states Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Technically, that's a 2010 release, but we get it. DJ MJ likes pop music, but pop music that isn't afraid to explore sounds and themes.

With that in mind, we tuned into three local tracks by "Mighty" Mouse Powell, Ladylike, and Sluggo ft. HavocNdeeD.

Mouse Powell released a new album, Where Its Cloudy. He performs tonight as part of The How the Grouch Stole Christmas show tonight at Club Red.

Up on the Sun: What did you think about that?

Miss DJ MJ: Very nice! I loved it. He gives a shout out to Phoenix, "60 and the 10." He's not talking about dumb stuff, he's actually talking about how he wants to make it. He has dreams and goals, and the sample and just everything [in the song] sounds good.

It's interesting, because it has a beat that refuses to be predictable. Every time you start to get into the groove, bobbing your head, it backs off, and the rhythm fades away. And then comes back. Fantastic production.

It's not boring. It flows, and he has an underground appeal, which could generate him a following. I love his style, and the singing on the hook is just "lala," just cute singing," but it's "rollin'," and it's him doing it.

We mentioned Kanye before, and one of the things I love about Kanye is when he sings his hooks. He doesn't have a traditionally great voice, he's not even on key, but it's him. It feels like it's really him. 808s and Heartbreak, where everything was Auto Tuned...I like some of that record a lot, but it didn't feel as real as his other stuff.

It didn't feel real, but with that album, I could feel his pain. [It felt like] I was in his shoes; I understood.

It demonstrated the risks he was willing to take. He lost some people with that, but that willingness was just such a big step. And then he followed it was Fantasy. He proved he was willing to take the risks, and then came back with a record that had that riskiness but also hits.

Everyone's life is different. He took a risk by telling us what he was going through at that moment. I like that he didn't put himself into one corner, like, "This is the only Kanye West you'll hear." He said, "I'm a broader person, I'm an artist. I can do different things."

Which is why something like this is really indicative of what's going on: he's talking about himself. All hip-hop is that, the MC sharing themselves, but more and more it feels like some of the "rules" about creating multidimensional pictures of yourself have changed. Someone like The Game isn't rapping about being insecure, or scared, but more popular rappers (records like Drake, Childish Gambino) are moving toward that, and Mouse is doing that, too.

We could be going into something different with the music. This "Rollin'" record and this artist demonstrates a side of himself where he doesn't have to be [anything but] himself. This sample, the singing on the hook, that risk...he's doing his own thing. He didn't go get a girl and say, "Can you sing "rollin'" like this? He did it.


Miss DJ MJ: From start to finish, that song was amazing. The way they lead you in with the riff in the beginning, the way they finished it out with that energy. It was just amazing. Man, there was a lot going on, but there was never a dull moment. Everything switched up, but they stayed with the flow of it. Whoever plays that guitar is on some next level stuff...

Some of the band used to be in The Loveblisters, Fun, and Dorsey. I hear a lot of stuff that gets defined as "indie rock," but I would be hesitant to call this anything other than just rock 'n' roll. It sounds like it could be a radio hit.

That could definitely be on the radio. They might get upset for me to say this, but that's one of "Moves Like Jagger" crossover-pop feel. Sometimes people get like, I don't want to be that pop whatever, but the way that song made me feel was like, "Holy crap, that's a good song." To be honest with you, the lyrics were perfect. Very feel good. It was just well put together.

I'm not a huge fan of that Maroon 5 song, but I know exactly what you're talking about. It has that insistent rhythm, and that lead synth hook -- something the Stones did on "Miss You" or some of the disco stuff. This was more Exile or Goat Head Soup. It really lead by the guitar. It never stops. They do a piano break --

That piano - Phoenix New Times


"Miss DJ MJ on Mouse Powell, Ladylike, and Sluggo ft. HavocNdeeD"

"I know hits when I hear them," Miss DJ MJ says, hanging out in the New Times office.
I believe her. She's been on the air for 10 years, working as music director at Power 98.3. She recently left the station, but not before becoming the first female on-air mixer in Arizona.

I ask DJ MJ for her album of the year, and she states Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Technically, that's a 2010 release, but we get it. DJ MJ likes pop music, but pop music that isn't afraid to explore sounds and themes.

With that in mind, we tuned into three local tracks by "Mighty" Mouse Powell, Ladylike, and Sluggo ft. HavocNdeeD.

Mouse Powell released a new album, Where Its Cloudy. He performs tonight as part of The How the Grouch Stole Christmas show tonight at Club Red.

Up on the Sun: What did you think about that?

Miss DJ MJ: Very nice! I loved it. He gives a shout out to Phoenix, "60 and the 10." He's not talking about dumb stuff, he's actually talking about how he wants to make it. He has dreams and goals, and the sample and just everything [in the song] sounds good.

It's interesting, because it has a beat that refuses to be predictable. Every time you start to get into the groove, bobbing your head, it backs off, and the rhythm fades away. And then comes back. Fantastic production.

It's not boring. It flows, and he has an underground appeal, which could generate him a following. I love his style, and the singing on the hook is just "lala," just cute singing," but it's "rollin'," and it's him doing it.

We mentioned Kanye before, and one of the things I love about Kanye is when he sings his hooks. He doesn't have a traditionally great voice, he's not even on key, but it's him. It feels like it's really him. 808s and Heartbreak, where everything was Auto Tuned...I like some of that record a lot, but it didn't feel as real as his other stuff.

It didn't feel real, but with that album, I could feel his pain. [It felt like] I was in his shoes; I understood.

It demonstrated the risks he was willing to take. He lost some people with that, but that willingness was just such a big step. And then he followed it was Fantasy. He proved he was willing to take the risks, and then came back with a record that had that riskiness but also hits.

Everyone's life is different. He took a risk by telling us what he was going through at that moment. I like that he didn't put himself into one corner, like, "This is the only Kanye West you'll hear." He said, "I'm a broader person, I'm an artist. I can do different things."

Which is why something like this is really indicative of what's going on: he's talking about himself. All hip-hop is that, the MC sharing themselves, but more and more it feels like some of the "rules" about creating multidimensional pictures of yourself have changed. Someone like The Game isn't rapping about being insecure, or scared, but more popular rappers (records like Drake, Childish Gambino) are moving toward that, and Mouse is doing that, too.

We could be going into something different with the music. This "Rollin'" record and this artist demonstrates a side of himself where he doesn't have to be [anything but] himself. This sample, the singing on the hook, that risk...he's doing his own thing. He didn't go get a girl and say, "Can you sing "rollin'" like this? He did it.


Miss DJ MJ: From start to finish, that song was amazing. The way they lead you in with the riff in the beginning, the way they finished it out with that energy. It was just amazing. Man, there was a lot going on, but there was never a dull moment. Everything switched up, but they stayed with the flow of it. Whoever plays that guitar is on some next level stuff...

Some of the band used to be in The Loveblisters, Fun, and Dorsey. I hear a lot of stuff that gets defined as "indie rock," but I would be hesitant to call this anything other than just rock 'n' roll. It sounds like it could be a radio hit.

That could definitely be on the radio. They might get upset for me to say this, but that's one of "Moves Like Jagger" crossover-pop feel. Sometimes people get like, I don't want to be that pop whatever, but the way that song made me feel was like, "Holy crap, that's a good song." To be honest with you, the lyrics were perfect. Very feel good. It was just well put together.

I'm not a huge fan of that Maroon 5 song, but I know exactly what you're talking about. It has that insistent rhythm, and that lead synth hook -- something the Stones did on "Miss You" or some of the disco stuff. This was more Exile or Goat Head Soup. It really lead by the guitar. It never stops. They do a piano break --

That piano - Phoenix New Times


"Nadia Ali and Ladylike Over the Weekend"

Ladylike at Crescent Ballroom
In this week's music feature the men of Ladylike, the Tempe-based pop combo that packed Crescent Ballroom last night, discussed the difference between a live show and a recording, noting that limiting their approach in the studio in favor of their live setting only hampers both.

But Friday night's performance at Crescent Ballroom demonstrated that the band's power doesn't rest solely in the studio. On stage, Ladylike stomp, stretch, and strut, their indelible melodies causing the butts of the 20-something crowd to shake. - Phoenix New Times


"Ladylike Explain "Do It to Death""

?If you happen to check out local pop band Ladylike when they play Scottsdale's Rogue Bar Saturday, July 30 with The Vanjacks, you'll hear their song, "'Do It to Death".

It's an upbeat, catchy little ditty with a singalong chorus -- sharing those qualities with most of the band's songs.

Though the band has released this song already, they're re-releasing it on an upcoming album due in late August/September.

Check out the unmastered version of the song, along with lyrics and what inspired it, after the jump--and get ready to dance.

Singer (and New Times contributor) Rob Kroehler says, "So this tune is pretty autobiographical. I used to date a girl from a small Idaho town. Whenever I'd visit her, I'd take in the stark differences between her hometown and mine. There was something sweet and nostalgic about it, but also something fleeting. In the back of my mind, I knew things wouldn't pan out, but I wanted to soak in the experience for all it was worth -- the familiarity of small town life intertwined with the bleak prospect that most of those kind folks would never get out of there alive. And what was even stranger to me was that they didn't seem to mind. No way was I going to move there for her, and she really didn't want to move to Phoenix -- a strange juxtaposition, so my intent was to enjoy every drop of it, but to get out at just the right moment. A bit screwy perhaps, but whether or not she realized it, she was on the same path. This song is a snapshot of those recollections.

I suppose I hope that people can simply relate to it somehow -- the nostalgia, mixed with the sadness of anticipating the impending heartbreak, the squeezing of every last drop out of a bittersweet chapter in one's life."

Do It to Death

I miss the carnivals that flied by night
Ten bucks would get ya' unlimited rides
She liked the crazy train
We'd tear down the town for something to prove
Praying that radio might keep us in tune
They're playing crazy train

But oh, the sights and the sounds
The blurry nights on a hard luck town
Do you remember, did you forget?
We perfected the art of loneliness
When we'd do it to death.

I must've made it in the nick of time
I bet you had your bloodhounds at that county line
But I took the latest train
And my parachute had more holes than faith
But I killed the engines, threw it anyway
You're anything but plain.

(Chorus Repeat)

She'd make a noose of my necktie
If she thought it could hang me high and dry
That bonneville county carnival queen
Ain't got no time for a city boy like me
I think you know what I mean
Do ya city boys? (I think we know what you mean)

(Chorus Repeat) - Phoenix New Times


"Ladylike Explain "Do It to Death""

?If you happen to check out local pop band Ladylike when they play Scottsdale's Rogue Bar Saturday, July 30 with The Vanjacks, you'll hear their song, "'Do It to Death".

It's an upbeat, catchy little ditty with a singalong chorus -- sharing those qualities with most of the band's songs.

Though the band has released this song already, they're re-releasing it on an upcoming album due in late August/September.

Check out the unmastered version of the song, along with lyrics and what inspired it, after the jump--and get ready to dance.

Singer (and New Times contributor) Rob Kroehler says, "So this tune is pretty autobiographical. I used to date a girl from a small Idaho town. Whenever I'd visit her, I'd take in the stark differences between her hometown and mine. There was something sweet and nostalgic about it, but also something fleeting. In the back of my mind, I knew things wouldn't pan out, but I wanted to soak in the experience for all it was worth -- the familiarity of small town life intertwined with the bleak prospect that most of those kind folks would never get out of there alive. And what was even stranger to me was that they didn't seem to mind. No way was I going to move there for her, and she really didn't want to move to Phoenix -- a strange juxtaposition, so my intent was to enjoy every drop of it, but to get out at just the right moment. A bit screwy perhaps, but whether or not she realized it, she was on the same path. This song is a snapshot of those recollections.

I suppose I hope that people can simply relate to it somehow -- the nostalgia, mixed with the sadness of anticipating the impending heartbreak, the squeezing of every last drop out of a bittersweet chapter in one's life."

Do It to Death

I miss the carnivals that flied by night
Ten bucks would get ya' unlimited rides
She liked the crazy train
We'd tear down the town for something to prove
Praying that radio might keep us in tune
They're playing crazy train

But oh, the sights and the sounds
The blurry nights on a hard luck town
Do you remember, did you forget?
We perfected the art of loneliness
When we'd do it to death.

I must've made it in the nick of time
I bet you had your bloodhounds at that county line
But I took the latest train
And my parachute had more holes than faith
But I killed the engines, threw it anyway
You're anything but plain.

(Chorus Repeat)

She'd make a noose of my necktie
If she thought it could hang me high and dry
That bonneville county carnival queen
Ain't got no time for a city boy like me
I think you know what I mean
Do ya city boys? (I think we know what you mean)

(Chorus Repeat) - Phoenix New Times


"Ladylike Says the Honeymoon Is Over"

Records don't often sound as effortless as Ladylike's self-titled debut. The Tempe-based power-pop combo subtly incorporates disparate elements of '70s pop, piano rock, and Queen bombast, topping it all off with effervescent melodies.

The band, made up of Rob Kroehler, Ryan Casey, Ethan Hillis, Alex Tighe, and Austin Owen (Disclosure: Kroehler is a regular contributor to New Times' Night and Day section), says it's simply a matter of rolling of their sleeves and getting to work.

"This is a really, really cool job," Casey says. "But it's a job, and we want to do it well."

The band gave entertaining quotes that were left on the cutting room floor as we assembled this week's feature. So read on for Ladylike's outtakes.

Kroehler on how much lyrics matter:

"For me, it's about finding the perfect lyrical pairing with the perfect musical pairing, [finding a way] to match the musical content with the lyrical mood. For me, that is the zenith of songwriting. For me, guys who might even be short on musical talent, guys like Springsteen, that write songs that lyrically resonated. They are lyrical mirror images of that musical mood, and they had a band that could bring those songs to life. You can do that, and you've got a perfect pop song."

Casey on Wilco bassist John Stirratt (and our interview with him):

"He's what, 45 years old or 50? There's sort of peace you can have with yourself as a musician in a band. He's a bass player, and bass players are fantastic, and he's a great bass player. But traditionally you don't think of a bass player as a big deal most of the time. But when you hear about how he works with in the band, how he fulfills himself creatively in the band and outside of the band, to me, that's what being a musician should be about. So side projects? Fuck yes!"

Tighe on putting in overtime:

"I went to Austin's [Owens, bassist, not present for interview] after work one day, and we recorded strings till six in the morning . . . the only reason we worked on it that long, the only reason we paid the violin player extra to keep working was that, if we didn't get that part done, it was going to drive us crazy. I mean, it's like one of those blackout things. I remember being there, but I don't remember any details. We just knew what we wanted to get done."

Hillis on his one regret about the album:

"I honestly wish I had little more time to work on drums [laughs]."

Kroehler on moving on:

"I went through a honeymoon period with the record, but honestly I don't even think about it. What's next? What kind of songs do I want to be writing right now? How do I want to define myself as a songwriter, and what does that look like for this band?" - Phoenix New Times


"Ladylike Approaches '70s Pop With Sharpened Tools"

Free online music service Spotify has plenty of fans (and nearly as many vocal detractors) but let's stick to the facts. According to the music library, Ladylike is a "rock-oriented version of The Pussycat Dolls," a "contemporary girl group comprised of four striking vocalists."

Below the description, you can listen to two very different bands. One is, indeed, a glossy pop group, but the "top hits," songs like "Leave the Boy Alone," "Do It to Death," and "Cinema Kiss," belong to a very different Ladylike — the one from Tempe that features five dudes: Rob Kroehler, Ryan Casey, Ethan Hillis, Alex Tighe, and Austin Owen. (Disclosure: Kroehler is a regular contributor to New Times' Night and Day section.)

And rather than taking cues from the pop princesses of The Pussycat Dolls, this Ladylike draws from pop of a different stripe: the harmonized guitars of '70s arena rock, vocal whoops and hollers like those of Harry Nilsson and The Beach Boys, strutting Mott the Hoople grooves, shiny ELO arrangements, and piano-led rock that recalls early Elton John, prime Billy Joel, and shades of bombast, à la Queen.

"You know, we never thought Queen — and I didn't make that connection until I watched a Queen documentary on Netflix," Tighe says. "They had the same mentality of 'we're in the studio, and we're going to make the best possible songs we can, and we all have different influences in music.' That was something — the five us all have a lot in common, but there's some stuff on the edges [that we don't share]."

"And Rob has got terrible teeth and is indiscriminate when it comes to sexual partners," Casey deadpans.

Reducing the band's self-titled debut (which follows a string of well-received digital singles) to retro-fetishism isn't quite fair — though tracks like "Bad in Bed" and "The Auctioneer" have a certain '70s sitcom theme feel, and that's a total compliment — as the bouncing pop has plenty of modern analogs, too. Acts like Spoon, for instance, who had a stash of gear at The Black Lodge in Kansas, the studio where Ladylike recorded the basic tracks for the album. "We were in the back, looking at keyboards and they all said 'Spoon' on them," Kroehler says laughing. "We were like, that's awesome."

"Some equipment ended up on the record not because it was the best stuff, but because it said 'Spoon' on it," Casey jokes, passing out cans of Miller High Life in the band's practice space (a room in a Tempe house belonging to Jack Maverick, who runs Long Wong's at the Firehouse). Between bits about Chandler's famed Ostrich Festival (Casey: "I've eaten an ostrich burger") and discussion of Joss Whedon's musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, talk has centered on the influence of Spoon.

The band is just as likely to cite Guns 'N Roses, Dawes, or Rush as influences or favorites, but like the best Spoon records, Ladylike's oeuvre walks a fine line between arrangement and looseness, between composition and strut. It's meticulously adorned but doesn't sacrifice spontaneity for polish. The band has the kind of songs that wind up in movies, on mixtapes, and on the radio. They're big but still intimate, perhaps a trick that Kroehler learned from his friends in fun., whom he toured with as a guitarist in 2010.

"There wasn't a genre when we were recording," Tighe affirms, noting that the band brought songs to the table but strayed from initial blueprints and explored new ideas. The idea that they "couldn't pull something off live" wasn't a factor. In fact, that statement irks Kroehler especially.

"That very notion just grinds my gears," he says. "There's studio art and there's performance art. They're two different things. To try and make them the same thing is to inhibit both things. Because you [wind up] confining yourself to a certain situation in the studio setting. If you confine yourself to a live setting, you're missing out on a plethora of opportunities in the studio setting."

Casey describes a live show as a Polaroid, and the album as a "panorama, a long shot," which isn't to say that the band puts any less emphasis on making the live show something more than just "a band up on stage." After all, it takes a lot of work to sound this relaxed.

"There's some value in showmanship," Casey says. "I'm not saying we're out there or have a weird stage setup. But you get out there, and you've paid to see a band perform. So why be boring fucking dudes who could be anywhere? That's not exciting."

Kroehler confirms: "It's like, what are you saying to the audience — and what are you saying t - Phoenix New Times


"Ladylike Approaches '70s Pop With Sharpened Tools"

Free online music service Spotify has plenty of fans (and nearly as many vocal detractors) but let's stick to the facts. According to the music library, Ladylike is a "rock-oriented version of The Pussycat Dolls," a "contemporary girl group comprised of four striking vocalists."

Below the description, you can listen to two very different bands. One is, indeed, a glossy pop group, but the "top hits," songs like "Leave the Boy Alone," "Do It to Death," and "Cinema Kiss," belong to a very different Ladylike — the one from Tempe that features five dudes: Rob Kroehler, Ryan Casey, Ethan Hillis, Alex Tighe, and Austin Owen. (Disclosure: Kroehler is a regular contributor to New Times' Night and Day section.)

And rather than taking cues from the pop princesses of The Pussycat Dolls, this Ladylike draws from pop of a different stripe: the harmonized guitars of '70s arena rock, vocal whoops and hollers like those of Harry Nilsson and The Beach Boys, strutting Mott the Hoople grooves, shiny ELO arrangements, and piano-led rock that recalls early Elton John, prime Billy Joel, and shades of bombast, à la Queen.

"You know, we never thought Queen — and I didn't make that connection until I watched a Queen documentary on Netflix," Tighe says. "They had the same mentality of 'we're in the studio, and we're going to make the best possible songs we can, and we all have different influences in music.' That was something — the five us all have a lot in common, but there's some stuff on the edges [that we don't share]."

"And Rob has got terrible teeth and is indiscriminate when it comes to sexual partners," Casey deadpans.

Reducing the band's self-titled debut (which follows a string of well-received digital singles) to retro-fetishism isn't quite fair — though tracks like "Bad in Bed" and "The Auctioneer" have a certain '70s sitcom theme feel, and that's a total compliment — as the bouncing pop has plenty of modern analogs, too. Acts like Spoon, for instance, who had a stash of gear at The Black Lodge in Kansas, the studio where Ladylike recorded the basic tracks for the album. "We were in the back, looking at keyboards and they all said 'Spoon' on them," Kroehler says laughing. "We were like, that's awesome."

"Some equipment ended up on the record not because it was the best stuff, but because it said 'Spoon' on it," Casey jokes, passing out cans of Miller High Life in the band's practice space (a room in a Tempe house belonging to Jack Maverick, who runs Long Wong's at the Firehouse). Between bits about Chandler's famed Ostrich Festival (Casey: "I've eaten an ostrich burger") and discussion of Joss Whedon's musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, talk has centered on the influence of Spoon.

The band is just as likely to cite Guns 'N Roses, Dawes, or Rush as influences or favorites, but like the best Spoon records, Ladylike's oeuvre walks a fine line between arrangement and looseness, between composition and strut. It's meticulously adorned but doesn't sacrifice spontaneity for polish. The band has the kind of songs that wind up in movies, on mixtapes, and on the radio. They're big but still intimate, perhaps a trick that Kroehler learned from his friends in fun., whom he toured with as a guitarist in 2010.

"There wasn't a genre when we were recording," Tighe affirms, noting that the band brought songs to the table but strayed from initial blueprints and explored new ideas. The idea that they "couldn't pull something off live" wasn't a factor. In fact, that statement irks Kroehler especially.

"That very notion just grinds my gears," he says. "There's studio art and there's performance art. They're two different things. To try and make them the same thing is to inhibit both things. Because you [wind up] confining yourself to a certain situation in the studio setting. If you confine yourself to a live setting, you're missing out on a plethora of opportunities in the studio setting."

Casey describes a live show as a Polaroid, and the album as a "panorama, a long shot," which isn't to say that the band puts any less emphasis on making the live show something more than just "a band up on stage." After all, it takes a lot of work to sound this relaxed.

"There's some value in showmanship," Casey says. "I'm not saying we're out there or have a weird stage setup. But you get out there, and you've paid to see a band perform. So why be boring fucking dudes who could be anywhere? That's not exciting."

Kroehler confirms: "It's like, what are you saying to the audience — and what are you saying t - Phoenix New Times


"Make the Scene | Splash with Ladylike"

In a small, wall-carpeted room in Tempe, five band members practice in the middle of the night surrounded by amps, a Beatles poster and a PBR sign all tangled in cords.

Ladylike is trying out a new song “Crime of the Century” and each member is mouthing various ways on how the build-up can go including hand motions and different boom-dom-puh’s.

A few tries later, the song is coming together and the band’s pop 70s rock sound is full force.

Rob Kroehler, Ryan Casey, Alex Tighe, Austin Owen and Ethan Hillis have become quite the band of brothers.

Barely over two years playing as Ladylike, they have been able to tour with fun. and Steel Train, make a music video along the way and record their first full-length album.

“Literally today we got the finally mixes back so it will be mastered and finished by the end of this month,” lead singer Kroehler said.

The album’s name and release is still up in the air but the band did something that most local bands don’t do.

“We wanted an opportunity to get out of our element so rather than recording in the Valley we recorded in Kansas,” Tighe said.

The band spent 10 days engulfed in the making of their CD and perfecting each song at Black Lodge Recording studio.

“Ethan and Austin would stay up some nights until we woke up in the morning and started again so we were working the whole time,” Tighe said.

Now that they’ve completed their first full-length, they want to take the band to a whole ‘nother level.

“Albuquerque,” Hillis jokes on where the band’s future goal will be.

“That’s a tank of gas,” Kroehler responds.

Before the band jumps the gun and leaves Arizona for good ol’ New Mexico, come see them at Summer Splash this Saturday at the Lexington Hotel.

Hit a beach ball to some catchy, sing-a-long rock that makes you want to grab a hold of an ice cold Pabst.

Ladylike is perfect music for a Saturday evening in Downtown.

Why should you attend other than all the reasons above?

“Because there’s a pool and there will be tons of girls there,” Owen said.

Also, there are hints that an onesie will be involved during the set.

Tempting isn’t it? - Downtown Phoenix Journal


"Ladylike's Debut Album Astounds"

Ladylike releases Ladylike: An Aural Odyssey In American Music

Everyone that knows me, knows I like Ladylike, knows that Ladylike is one of my top five favorite bands in the Phoenix scene, knows that I will preach their gospel to anyone that will listen no matter where I go, knows that I truly enjoy everything they are about from their entire catalog of originals to their carefully selected covers in their live show. Though since their inception they’ve only had a three song EP and a recent two song single to help me prove my point, I’m pretty sure their eponymous debut album will shed some light on crazy late night ravings that many have witnessed while I espouse the genius that is Ladylike. I’m confident that this album is everything I’ve been talking about for nearly two years and more. I’m confident that this debut is as startlingly fresh and original as it is true to its roots, true to the history of the music that influenced it and true to their ethos as a band. Ladylike has evolved in short order and the first full length offspring of this development is, in my mind, nothing short of a masterpiece.

The album Ladylike was largely funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, which made it possible for the entire band to trek to Eudora, Kansas and record it at Blacklodge Recording. It was there in a brief respite from the Phoenix scene that Rob Kroehler, Ryan Casey, Ethan Hills, Alex Tighe and Austin Owen were able to lay down the tracks with help from producer and engineer Nick Day. The results of that endeavor, along with the flourishes provided by local luminaries Tobie Milford, Danny Torgersen, Steff Koeppen, Chris Leopold and many others, will certainly be appreciated as a sweet reward for the fans that helped send their favorite band to the studio through the highly successful fundraising campaign. The results speak for themselves, throughout all eleven tracks, the proof is in the pudding. Ladylike’s Ladylike is already vying in my mind for album of the year—and if we want to classify that award genre wise, then it may well end up being the greatest pop album of the year. So let’s talk about the music, the amazing American music that Ladylike has unleashed on this stunning debut.

“Leave The Boy Alone” opens the album joyfully and somehow evokes the entire glam period, and I mean entire, it evokes Mott the Hoople, The Sweet, David Bowie and even 1972 era Badfinger. There is more than a hint of Queen in here and it’s astounding.” This may be the greatest offering, of love the world has ever known.” This is one of the greatest sing-a-long songs in 30 or 40 years, easily. “Hold tight easy street, don’t runaway beneath me,” even the lyrics recall that clever time when lyrics were as playful as they were important. There is also a grand sense of the carnivalesque in here, matching the mood, not overdone, with the harmonies of angels. Yet there is nothing contrived here, the sound is pure homage, but nothing unoriginal—they work their own magic on this without sounding anachronistic—it comes across as authentic. “And tonight we’ll do this town to death.” A brilliant transition into the next song on the album, but live, clearly this leads to “All The Young Dudes” and rightfully so. Simply brilliant.

Already one of my favorite songs, “Do It To Death” is the only song reworked from their EP, now with an ELO intro that plays off amazingly. Kroehler’s insistent references to “Crazy Train” denied, this is new music based on the likes of Jeff Lynne, Pete Ham and Big Star. Growling vocal, driving piano, the languid chorus building to harmonies that make your soul sink. This sounds like an immediate hit, the circus sounding interregnum only serves to preserve their acute knowledge of brilliant music and SMiLE era Beach Boys. In short, on song two, I’m beginning to think this album is the best thing I’ve ever heard in my life. This song gives me chills when it occurs to me in the middle of the night when I’m walking around town and it pops in my head, I often think who is that, reviewing my favorite bands for a few seconds before I realize it’s Ladylike. “But oh, the sights and sounds, blurry nights on a hard luck town” and the harmonies that follow kill me ever time.

“Bad In Bed” is the perfect Randy Newman/Leonard Cohen/Tom Waits tune of self-deprecation, and how the song itself turns around, in and on itself and that is the most amazing thing lyrically. Musically it is unlike the previous numbers. Here is a song digging deep into American roots that aren’t often sought these days, something evoking songs that would emerge from New Orleans and the deep South and with that much soul, the addition of woodwinds is a surprise and it delights the senses, this song clearly marks so many influences, but sounds like none of them. The rising strings in the end provide an amazing finale that presents the composition of a song the way it used to be, like each four minute packet of love from your favori - Sounds Around Town


"Ladylike's Debut Album Astounds"

Ladylike releases Ladylike: An Aural Odyssey In American Music

Everyone that knows me, knows I like Ladylike, knows that Ladylike is one of my top five favorite bands in the Phoenix scene, knows that I will preach their gospel to anyone that will listen no matter where I go, knows that I truly enjoy everything they are about from their entire catalog of originals to their carefully selected covers in their live show. Though since their inception they’ve only had a three song EP and a recent two song single to help me prove my point, I’m pretty sure their eponymous debut album will shed some light on crazy late night ravings that many have witnessed while I espouse the genius that is Ladylike. I’m confident that this album is everything I’ve been talking about for nearly two years and more. I’m confident that this debut is as startlingly fresh and original as it is true to its roots, true to the history of the music that influenced it and true to their ethos as a band. Ladylike has evolved in short order and the first full length offspring of this development is, in my mind, nothing short of a masterpiece.

The album Ladylike was largely funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, which made it possible for the entire band to trek to Eudora, Kansas and record it at Blacklodge Recording. It was there in a brief respite from the Phoenix scene that Rob Kroehler, Ryan Casey, Ethan Hills, Alex Tighe and Austin Owen were able to lay down the tracks with help from producer and engineer Nick Day. The results of that endeavor, along with the flourishes provided by local luminaries Tobie Milford, Danny Torgersen, Steff Koeppen, Chris Leopold and many others, will certainly be appreciated as a sweet reward for the fans that helped send their favorite band to the studio through the highly successful fundraising campaign. The results speak for themselves, throughout all eleven tracks, the proof is in the pudding. Ladylike’s Ladylike is already vying in my mind for album of the year—and if we want to classify that award genre wise, then it may well end up being the greatest pop album of the year. So let’s talk about the music, the amazing American music that Ladylike has unleashed on this stunning debut.

“Leave The Boy Alone” opens the album joyfully and somehow evokes the entire glam period, and I mean entire, it evokes Mott the Hoople, The Sweet, David Bowie and even 1972 era Badfinger. There is more than a hint of Queen in here and it’s astounding.” This may be the greatest offering, of love the world has ever known.” This is one of the greatest sing-a-long songs in 30 or 40 years, easily. “Hold tight easy street, don’t runaway beneath me,” even the lyrics recall that clever time when lyrics were as playful as they were important. There is also a grand sense of the carnivalesque in here, matching the mood, not overdone, with the harmonies of angels. Yet there is nothing contrived here, the sound is pure homage, but nothing unoriginal—they work their own magic on this without sounding anachronistic—it comes across as authentic. “And tonight we’ll do this town to death.” A brilliant transition into the next song on the album, but live, clearly this leads to “All The Young Dudes” and rightfully so. Simply brilliant.

Already one of my favorite songs, “Do It To Death” is the only song reworked from their EP, now with an ELO intro that plays off amazingly. Kroehler’s insistent references to “Crazy Train” denied, this is new music based on the likes of Jeff Lynne, Pete Ham and Big Star. Growling vocal, driving piano, the languid chorus building to harmonies that make your soul sink. This sounds like an immediate hit, the circus sounding interregnum only serves to preserve their acute knowledge of brilliant music and SMiLE era Beach Boys. In short, on song two, I’m beginning to think this album is the best thing I’ve ever heard in my life. This song gives me chills when it occurs to me in the middle of the night when I’m walking around town and it pops in my head, I often think who is that, reviewing my favorite bands for a few seconds before I realize it’s Ladylike. “But oh, the sights and sounds, blurry nights on a hard luck town” and the harmonies that follow kill me ever time.

“Bad In Bed” is the perfect Randy Newman/Leonard Cohen/Tom Waits tune of self-deprecation, and how the song itself turns around, in and on itself and that is the most amazing thing lyrically. Musically it is unlike the previous numbers. Here is a song digging deep into American roots that aren’t often sought these days, something evoking songs that would emerge from New Orleans and the deep South and with that much soul, the addition of woodwinds is a surprise and it delights the senses, this song clearly marks so many influences, but sounds like none of them. The rising strings in the end provide an amazing finale that presents the composition of a song the way it used to be, like each four minute packet of love from your favori - Sounds Around Town


"Ladylike"

Familiar with Ladylike? No? Well, they're local, yes, but don't get dismissive, Mr. Phoenix Indie Rock Snob — they're actually kind of awesome. These guys have a quirky, fun sing-along sound, the kind of music you should drink cheap beer and dance around to, with Stephen Malkmus-y vocals and guitars reminiscent of a Queen album. It's poppy and catchy, much like the other band frontman Rob Kroehler (formerly of The Loveblisters) plays with, fun. Yep, the one with Nate Ruess from The Format. And much like fun., Ladylike adds a heaping helping of whimsy to their tunes, so if you're in Tempe and don't want to be on the part of Mill Avenue that's welcoming back douche-y frat guys — and the girls who love them — head over to the Yucca to support what could end up being a pretty great band. - Phoenix New Times


"10 local bands to see in Sept.: Black Carl, Ladylike, more"

Ladylike
These guys take the grandeur of glam-era Bowie and toss in some Beatlesque chamber-pop touches and a self-effacing sense of humor. But what ultimately matters is they top it with the type of vocals it would take to put those first two elements across. In fact, if you wanted, you could probably convince a lot of people their first album was recorded in the early '70s. And that's intended as a compliment.
Details: 8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7. Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix. $7; $5 in advance. 602-716-2222, crescentph.com.


Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/thingstodo/music/articles/20120831arizona-bands-phoenix-concerts-black-carl-ladylike-greeley-estates.html#ixzz2cjbxmyS1 - The Republic


"10 local bands to see in Sept.: Black Carl, Ladylike, more"

Ladylike
These guys take the grandeur of glam-era Bowie and toss in some Beatlesque chamber-pop touches and a self-effacing sense of humor. But what ultimately matters is they top it with the type of vocals it would take to put those first two elements across. In fact, if you wanted, you could probably convince a lot of people their first album was recorded in the early '70s. And that's intended as a compliment.
Details: 8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7. Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix. $7; $5 in advance. 602-716-2222, crescentph.com.


Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/thingstodo/music/articles/20120831arizona-bands-phoenix-concerts-black-carl-ladylike-greeley-estates.html#ixzz2cjbxmyS1 - The Republic


"Ladylike on Phoenix’s ‘Small Town’ Appeal"

No one can entertain Ladylike quite like the members of Ladylike. Rob Kroehler, Ryan Casey, Ethan Hillis, Alex Tighe and Austin Owen have been a band for three years and forged a brotherhood through hard work, pop music and dirty jokes.
“Rob and I have been playing together for a decade,” Casey said. “That’s actually true.”
“Austin and I share a meth dealer, so we met at the meth house,” said Tighe without missing a beat.
Between sips of Lhasa, a Tibetan lager, the band members joked around in their cozy practice space in Tempe, trying to one-up each other.
For instance, the band members are fans of a dirty made-up word game that involves synonyms, rhyming and clues. The rules are a bit hard to explain, and the game makes little to no sense, but it is extremely addictive and a great way to pass the time.
Dry humor fueled the band as they patiently waited to practice, but unfortunately their drummer, Hillis, slept soundly through it all despite a multitude of phone calls and messages. Normally, the band practices twice a week when Hillis isn’t fulfilling his role as the band’s cat.
The converted practice space they use has padded walls, plenty of gear and even a fireplace hidden among the instruments. They are eager to practice and are dedicated to their craft under their sarcastic wit.
This showed in their colorful self-titled debut album released in April. Ladylike, funded by a Kickstarter project that raised more than the band’s intended goal, was recorded at Blacklodge Recording in Eudora, Kansas, but Kroehler admits it was a bit of a gamble for them and their engineer.
While Kroehler toured with the energetic band fun. several years ago, he became friends with their live engineer, Nick Day, whom is currently the touring with Manchester Orchestra.
Ladylike was just starting out and didn’t have plans to record a new album, but Day offered to work with them without having heard very much of the band. When Ladylike finally came around to the idea of recording, Kroehler reached out to him.
Day was working in Kansas and though no one in Ladylike had been to the studio, and half the band had never even met Day, they all took off to the Sunflower State and spent 10 days recording in the middle of nowhere.
“We decided we wanted to record a record, not record a record while we were still caught up in our daily lives,” Kroehler said.
Sequestered in the Midwest, they created their 11-track album and returned home to pound the pavement.
“It’s [an] anomalous situation in Phoenix,” said Kroehler. “The West Coast is very thriving and you can blow up in the East Coast because you’re a stone’s throw from huge markets. Phoenix is a place that most bands don’t really come through.”
Simply booking tours outside of Arizona are costly, but Ladylike manages to play shows in California as much possible
The sprawling nature of the Phoenix metro area can be disheartening for show turn outs, but Casey said there are certain perks that come with being from Phoenix rather than Los Angeles.
“Young kids are thirsty for something interesting [in Phoenix], almost like a small town,” Casey said. “They really suck up anything new, which is kind of neat.”
Casey admits the band doesn’t exactly fit into any niche in the local music scene, but it does play a unique role.
“I think there’s a need for a band that doesn’t play to one specific audience, and I feel like we might fill that need,” Casey said.
The open and honest band also knows what it’s like to play in the scene with other bands. While on the surface Ladylike seem like a bunch of fun loving dudes, they are pretty upfront when it comes to musical rivalries.
Owen raised issues they have had in the past with yoga-enthusiasts and fellow local band Yellow Minute, and he didn’t mind calling them out by name.
“We would like Yellow Minute if they weren’t such assholes,” Owen said. “I hope we never have to share another greenroom with them again. Thank god it’s not a yellow hour.”
Ouch, so much for fitting in. - College Times


Discography

Ladylike Volume 1 EP (2009)
Cinema Kiss - Single (2011)
Ladylike LP (2012)

Photos

Bio

When musical visionary Rob Kroehler, a former touring member and collaborator of chart-toppers Fun., looked to create something entirely unique and musically powerful, Ladylike was born. In just under two years, the five-piece have transformed into leaders of Phoenix's burgeoning indie-rock scene, regularly selling out their hometown’s Crescent Ballroom, Yucca Tap Room and Long Wong’s. Incorporating the quirky pomp and camp of ‘70s piano rock, along with a modern indie/DIY edge, Ladylike has successfully built upon their large local following--currently generating a buzz that expands beyond the desert with packed gigs in California and the Four Corners region.

With help from a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, Ladylike released their self-titled, full-length debut that was recorded at Blacklodge in Eudora, KS with respected producer-engineer Nick Day. Its first single, "Cinema Kiss", was released in November 2011. Upon the song’s success, Ladylike has taken the stage with national acts, such as Fun., Squeeze and Young the Giant. With pop-oriented, harmony-laden tunes, Ladylike brings a sense of unbridled charisma. Tracks "Do It To Death," "Youngblood" and "Straightjacket Love" are accessible iTunes/Spotify/internet radio-ready anthems that showcase the band's devotion to musicianship, composition and imagination.

Currently, Ladylike is working in the studio with accomplished producer Ryan Breen on new material. They look forward to delivering their brand of excellence and quirkiness to open ears and music halls everywhere.