Love at 20
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Love at 20

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"Love at 20 – Time to Begin"

Austin’s Love at 20 is comprised of several members who’ve been making a name for themselves for quite some time (I remember drummer Mark Toohey as the man behind the kit for Lucidus in 99). Such backgrounds allow the group to bring an amalgam of influences to make a creative debut that’s as sharp as the cover art for Time to Begin would suggest.

Oddly, the band claim to have a huge influence of British indie rock, but opening track “The Look” has more of a resemblance to old Omaha circa the days of Denver Dalley. It’s got extremely sharp guitar chords that battle from ear to ear, and a complex structure that didn’t really exist outside of the more obscure Brit pop groups. Perhaps its the anthemic vocals during the chorus that harken back to that era, but nonetheless, its a solid lead track.

One might find that the band’s name sort of confines the group to a certain genre of writing, which comes apparent in lyrics and song titles such as “Let Her Know.” Despite the leaning towards somewhat juvenile lyrics, which is just personal taste, this track emphasizes the bombastic approach that surely has built the band’s following around Austin. Toohey’s drumming here is spot on, and the more creative he gets, the more powerful the group sounds.

“So Bad” celebrates Love at 20 stepping outside of the box. A choppy guitar cutting in across a danceable bass groove really points to a group that doesn’t always follow their own anthemic formula, which is probably a point for future focus, as spots to tend to get a bit tedious with similar sonic structures. ”Time to Begin” also gives a breath of fresh air to the album, though it has some traceable roots to the band’s sound. Personally, that chorus rings loud like something Jeremy Enigk would have pulled off during his best days of the 90s. You can just imagine crowds with fists in the air screaming at the top of their longs, or at least you should.

Personally, the best run the band has during Time to Begin comes during the last three songs, “Hearts and Fire” and “Things to Come Pt. 1 and 2.” Deep melodies and a sense of patience really reveal the craftsmanship dedicated to creating the record as a whole. Maybe I’m just an old sad bastard, but I love it when the group slows things down, almost to a grinding halt, using the strength Mike Groener’s vocals to propel the tunes. All in all, its a decent piece of work from another hard working band dedicated to keeping the Austin scene going strong. - Austin Town Hall


"Love at 20- Time to Begin"

With the earnestness of Clarity-era Jimmy Eat World and the dance-rock backbone of his former project Clap! Clap!, Mike Groener cleans up nicely with Love at 20. The local quartet's finely tuned debut, originally released as a free download last year, never surpasses standard Urban Outfitters fare, but with more dense, demanding numbers like "So Bad," that will change. - Austin Chronicle


"Love at 20 Premier"

Love at 20 is a band:

Former members of Austin’s “Clap Clap” (Mike Groener, vox/piano/guitar; Louis Lemuz, bass; Mark Toohey, drums) have come together to assemble a newer and more polished (rock) version of their illustrious dance sound. With guitar-driven hooks and lyrics that are dying to be sung along with, Love at 20 desires to be where solid chart-toppers are today (but no auto-tune here, thank goodness). If Maroon 5’s Adam Levine was more into Brit rock bands like Stereophonics rather than Prince, he would have called his band Love at 20.

Love at 20 also has a short film:

In this first installment of their four video vignettes, Love at 20 used their greatest tool to showcase their music; creativity. For their latest single, “So Bad,” the band bases their music video off of the 1932 Fritz Lang classic film, “M.” This short version of the dramatic film matches the daring bass line from the song in such a way that Jaws would be jealous of. - Urb.com


"Nites Show Review"

Love at 20 played their debut show on Friday at The Independent at 501 Studios. Though it was their first show, Love at 20 demonstrated a keen understanding of what it takes to distinguish yourself as a live indie band. The set was tight, and their look was clean and professional. They're going to need a couple more shows to fully grow into their own skin, but I see serious potential with this band. After a brief chat with frontman Mike Groener at the show, I can tell this is one of Austin's most ambitious and driven songwriter/performers. He has a vision and a plan. It's rather refreshing, actually. You'll no doubt be hearing more about this band on my blog. You can download Love at 20's debut album for free here.

You can view more photos from this set on my MySpace and Facebook pages.

All photos by Ajay Miranda. - Nites


"Stuck at 16"

Time to Begin
Love at 20

If you can allow yourself to get wrapped entirely in style and ignore substance, there are moments of Time to Begin that scream crossover potential. The nicely executed "So Bad," with its dance bass and disco hi-hats, has a sound that's modern and sounds like a real rock band. The earnestly rocking quintet has big ambitions, but is prepared to meet them with arrangements that are stylish and detailed. They have wider influences, but in a nutshell they're trying to combine the urgency and hook-friendliness of latter-day emo with the structural sophistication and widened chops of the 90's rock that spawned it. Love at 20 have a good idea of how to make songs dramatic within themselves, constructing them so there's lots of give and take between instruments and the big, signature soaring parts earn their place. They also do a good job of varying styles across songs, ranging from harder rockers to a dance-conscious side to big ol' power ballads.

They seem to take themselves rather seriously. Besides romantic subjects, the major song preoccupation on Time to Begin is the business of fame, not something Love at 20 really have to worry about applying to their own lives as of yet. Sometimes it helps to write some songs about smaller topics, or at least include more specific details. The lyrics on this record are broad to the point of being terrible. Love at 20 sound a lot like Weezer, even more so when they're trying not to do so, and the comparison isn't flattering. This band sounds more like the post-reunion, autopilot-pop Weezer of the green album onwards, only they don't have any sense of humor about themselves or the generous hooks needed to redeem their extreme seriousness. The last several songs on Time to Begin, from the maddeningly vague industry commentary "Time to Begin" through the Lifetime Original Movie romance of "Hearts and Fire" and "Things to Come," utterly undo whatever good works the rocking first half may have held. The lyrics are dreadful, and the music is aimed right for the junior-high dance floor. Were I considering marriage to the author of "Things to Come," I think I'd be too embarrassed to go through with it.

They're not powerful enough musically to tackle these topics head-on, and the lyrics lack the sophistication to mock themselves or at least add an original perspective. It's much harder to appreciate the qualities of the rhythm section, the unpredictable use of backing vocals, and the touches of guitar effects and keyboard when the central focus is so unintentionally silly. Of course, you're only 20 once, and there's a certain equally unself-conscious audience on whom this sort of stuff impacts like a angst-seeking missile. The music is much developed beyond any of their immediate competitors. To really shine equal thought must go into making the words match better.
Posted by Western Homes at 8:43 PM - Western Homes


"Free Music from Former Clap-Clappers"

While Missions has garnered some blogger buzz early on, I'm personally more excited about Love at 20. Their dark, hard-charging alt-rock/post-punk is more in my wheelhouse. This band is much louder and more layered than Missions, but they seem to share a certain spaced-out quality, expressed by this band in its grand, anthemic choruses. Love at 20 sounds like Alkaline Trio with more layering, distortion, and modern-day angst. I can also hear a hint of Muse in there.

Also, "Love at 20" might be the best name for a band I've heard in a while; it's catchy, memorable, and (in an abstract way) describes exactly what the music sounds like: the musical musings of a 20-something trying to find love (and dealing with complicated feelings and consequences that arise).

Love at 20 hasn't played a show yet, but they've already recorded a full-length album, called Time to Begin. This band features two ex-Clap! Clap! members: vocalist/guitarist Mike Groener and bassist Louis Lemuz. Drummer Mark Toohey fills out the trio. Groener produced the album, which sounds awesome. It's a professional-sounding recording all the way (which is something you're never sure you'll get from an unsigned band). The songs are diverse but cohesive as a whole. This band sounds like the real deal. I've been disappointed before by bands who had awesome albums and lackluster live shows. I hope this band doesn't fall into that category.

Love at 20 is scheduled to play their first show two days before Valentine's Day 2010, which seems appropriate. The show also has Missions on the bill and will take place at The Independent at 501 Studios, just east of I-35. - Nites Blog


"Forever 20"

Due to the sheer large number of members in the now defunct Clap! Clap! (RIP) The world (well, at least Austin) is just going to have to deal with the phrase “formally of clap! Clap!”. The latest incarnation features TWO members of the group (Mike Groener and Louis Lemuz) as well as a killer drummer (Mark Toohey, who was not in Clap! Clap!) The band is Love at 20 and they make a clean type of mathy, indie rock with plenty of skilled falsetto not unlike current U2 opening act Muse. Instead of clapping, dancing and partying like Clap! Clap!- Love at 20 seems more appropriate for reading the Twilight series all the way thru and drinking… alone. Taking memos from Sonic Youth, Catherine Wheel, Stone Roses and Jimmy Eat World, Love at 20 has produced a very slick sounding full-length record titled Time to Begin, which hits shelves early November. Lyrically the single for the track So Bad is theatrical, amorous and shows a slice of life at a dive bar. It is out now and features a remix from ANOTHER post Clap! Clap! band we’ve previously told you about called Missions. The blending of the two distinctly different yet uniformly dark projects is just what the doctor ordered. Be sure to grab that below…

To support the full length, the band will be releasing four video vignettes, each of which will feature a new up and coming Austin director paying homage to their favorite filmmaker. This sounds interesting and I look forward to seeing how it plays out! - Party Ends


"Love at 20"

When I think of Love at 20, i think years of experience that led to this point of honesty and extreme sincerity. The mind and soul of Love at 20 is none other than Mike Groener, ex member of one of Austin's loved dance party bands, Clap! Clap!.

After playing out that time in his life, he found him self settling into finding out where he wanted to go, and in the process, got there musically. With influences from Death Cab to Depeche Mode to Cursive, also with bands beyond the first 4 letters of the alphabet, Mike drew from his life experiences in lust and love.
Lust in the glimmer of Fame and Fortune as he explains the process of "believing your lies because we like what you're wearing' spotlighting on the vast world of materialism and showing all the meaning behind the curtain. Also showing lust after another, as he dives into in the first single being released October 6th, So Bad, where he explains his need/want for an individual.
To the moment in the middle, exclaiming, if you love her don't let her go, in Let her know and in Set Me Free [my personal favorite] waiting for love to fall together in the beautiful picture it was meant to always be.
Then love, being in that moment and the truth within feelings of knowing that he has reached the pinacle of true love and running with it, instead of running away with fear, as he commits to portraying that moment with Hearts on Fire and Things to Come I, with the musical explosion in Things To Come II.

Lyrically, I've always been impressed by his songwriting. And it always seemed to dig deep in my soul where i feel that picture he was trying to paint with words. Feel it, and not just see it.

Musically, he is no stranger to the prototype of composition. But he took that knowledge and spread it all across the board. Not able to pin point the project to just one type of sound, Time to Begin dips in every mini genre, bridge, and chorus of everything I have ever loved from indie/guitar rock.

Basically, if you have no soul, this will not be your cup of tea.
But if there is a slight glimmer, and that twinkle in your hope, you'll find comfort in this music moment titled, Time To Begin the debut LP of Love at 20, who's release is set for November 2009. - Sailor Legs Blog


Discography

So Bad Single- 10/6/2009

Time to Begin LP-1/15/10

Photos

Bio

Love at 20 is the new project from former members of Clap Clap.

Clap Clap received MTVU's "best new band" award

Performed ME Television Special and KVRX radio show

Featured on "Real World Austin"

Members of Love at 20 have produced and engineered acts like: The Sword (Austin), Iron Age (Austin), Nate Grace (Pitchfork Forkcast), Bluu Suede (American Idol Top 12 Finalist) and Cursive (Omaha, NE)

"If Maroon 5’s Adam Levine was more into Brit rock bands like Stereophonics rather than Prince, he would have called his band Love at 20."- urb.com

"Love at 20 demonstrated a keen understanding of what it takes to distinguish yourself as a live indie band. The set was tight, and their look was clean and professional"- nitesblog.com

"debut LP compensates for the corporeal experience by revealing surprisingly intricate compositions"-Austin Chronicle

"Love At 20 is not a fad band that will disappear into the masses. It has the sincerity and talent to stand on it's own. "Time To Begin" contains the type of music that has the longevity to stay with you for years ahead."- sailorlegs.com

"Love At 20 combines their old band's inclination toward the dance floor with propulsive guitar fireworks and Groener's pent-up, Rivers Cuomo-esque croon."- AV Club

To support the release of "Time to Begin" in early November, four video vignettes will be released, each of which will feature a new up and coming Austin director paying homage to their favorite film maker.

Regional and nation touring will follow the LP release and 2010 will bring wide scale touring and promotion