Love Inks
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Love Inks

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Pop Rock


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Seeing as how both are built of powerful frontwomen, bandmate husbands and a fondness for key-fueled retro-minimalism, Tennis and Love Inks could have followed identical indie paths. The two trios are built much the same, but function in completely different ways.

The two acts did not share a Portland bill in mid-December, nor did they share a single venue. Instead, and fittingly so, the two glimmering young bands played independently of one another, before different-sized crowds in opposing clubs.

Hell, they probably don’t even know each other. Until now.

Tennis (12.12.11 Doug Fir Lounge)

I like when a venue matches a sound. Like drinking wine in a vineyard, there’s a completeness about it that imparts an extremely attractive additional sensory layer. For Denver’s Tennis, the Doug Fir makes a lot of sense. The building’s clean architecture and mid-century modernism go hand-in-glove with Alaina Moore’s soulful, effervescent vocals and partner Patrick Riley’s surfy, vintage guitar riffs.

Tennis is still riding the wave of standout debut Cape Dory. In the midst of a phase many bands lose out in, Moore and Riley have held strong, attracting the production aid of Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney. Tennis tested material from sophomore release, Young And Old—due out next February—on the crowd. And while the new record is not as strong as the first, it’s far too good to warrant the hesitation Tennis displayed in playing from it. Perhaps it’s adapting to the new songs, perhaps it’s getting used to the occasional extra band member on stage, or perhaps Tennis was just exhibiting some good old-fashioned stage fright.

By mid-set, Tennis was in its comfort zone. The band breezed through a woozy version of “Pigeon,” a track that could be snuck seamlessly into any DJ’s set from Prom Night, 1965. Riley upped the volume of his amp for “Seafarer,” a rock ‘n roll meets doo-wop track featuring the scratchy, off-note guitar riffs of punk, but groomed to the softer ways of early 1960’s beach pop. Moore’s vocals were in charge throughout, crackling and commanding like an address from a principal on a dated PA system.

If anything, Moore’s voice gets creamier on Young And Old. The product of a self-described “Motown phase,” the new stuff is noticeably richer and more soulful. Moore leaves her keys with confidence, twirling the mic cord in one hand and the mic itself in the other. Her grip must be tight, because she sings with the composed strength of a downright diva. The piano still features prominently (set to standard, organ and synth modes), but the rest of the band takes on a heavier load.

With “My Better Self,” Tennis flexed its pop sensibilities. The radio-friendly track is a highly sweetened morsel of catchy keys and comatose percussion one might mistake for an Adele piece. Meanwhile, the band reinserted its creative side through “Traveling,” a song constructed out of dueling, dizzying organ melodies and barreling guitar speak that sounded as if it was underwater and coming up for air.

Love Inks (12.13.11 Bunk Bar)

Closer to the river, Love Inks played before a few stray faces at Bunk Bar. The Austin band reminds me of Tegan & Sara and the XX. Vocalist Sherry LeBlanc sings like a down-and-out teenager in detention, disenchanted and whispery, as though stuck in a library. At first listen, she seems tired and uninterested, but it’s the perfect pairing for the group’s hazy, slightly-electronic ways. The whole thing could pass for a dream.

Love Inks has yet to carve out the following Tennis currently enjoys. Yet, opening for White Arrows (the LA psych-pop act that rocked Portland with one of the best MFNW performances earlier this year) is no small potatoes. Impressively, the three-piece can capture your attention using very little in the way of tricks and techniques. In terms of instruments, there’s rarely more than an echoing guitar, a dry drum sample and LeBlanc’s signature flyaway vocals in any given Love In - WWEEK

With badass-sounding tracks like "Skeleton Key" and "Blackeye" off their recently released debut album, the tracklisting for Austin's Love Inks is downright intimidating. Luckily, it takes just one listen to realize that this band is anything but. The trio (comprised of husband and wife duo Kevin Dehan and Sherry LeBlanc, along with their longtime friend Adam Linnell), masterfully crafts infectiously mellow dream pop that's far lighter than these song titles might suggest. They may have the same sparse feel as Warpaint or The xx, but throw in an added dose of Summer Camp's nostalgia, and you'll find that they've got a breathy sound all their own. But don't just take our word for it. Meet frontwoman Sherry and check out their brand new music video below!

What's the story behind your name? [Laughing] This is going to sound really dark and witchy, but there's a chapter in this book called Love Ink that describes in detail the process of burning letters from old lovers and uses those ashes to woo future lovers. I'm not into dark magic at all, but I thought the symbolism was pretty great. I feel like Kat von D sometimes, though, because we have this tattoo-centered name, but it's not like that at all!

How would you describe your sound? Well, we love pop music and I think that's what's coming through in the sound; this pop sensibility in the songs. Everything was very intentional, from the melodies to the lyrics to the way we recorded.

How do you feel, now that your album is out there in the world? It's just exciting to slowly have people hear it and basically be on tour and see the interest slowly increasing. It's interesting because people have a different relationship to different songs.

Can you tell us a little bit about new your video for "Rock On"? A really good friend of mine named Ash made the video. When you hear the track, there's multiple vocal layers and the idea is that there are like 15 women singing the song, and bringing a different kind of energy. We just kind of let Ash go crazy creatively and gave her total freedom. When I saw it and saw the James Dean masks, it was just so awesome.

After recently moving from Austin to NYC, I thought I’d take a break from the live-music thing. Two shows a week for six years was enough (that’s 624 shows, not including festivals). But then I stumbled upon Love Inks and, just like that, my resolution was broken. Their music is rock ’n’ roll with a soft underbelly—catchy and haunting and bluesy and subtle, all at the same time. If you’re not familiar, give them a whirl. Me? I’ll be listening to every song on their first album, E.S.P., until the new record breaks.

Once you’re done falling in love with that song, check out what lead singer Sherry LeBlanc had to say when I got the chance to ask her a few questions.

Where do you call home?

We’re from Austin, Texas. I didn’t realize until we’d toured so extensively that an artist’s location can have such a profound effect on their art. We focus a lot on the power of silence and space in our songs and I don’t think that would have happened if we lived in any other city. When I hear our music now, it’s reflective of the pace of Austin: long, lazy days lying next to water, sitting on porches waiting for the sun to go down.

Dream collaboration with an artist/band:

Yoko Ono, no contest. She inspires me to be a better human and a more innovative artist. Derek’s dream collaboration would be New Order, and Kevin’s sleeping right now, but I’m going to guess he’d say ZZ Top.

Favorite album/artist right now:

I’m geeking out about Magic Spells and Wild Beasts. Also been digging on Dee Dee Warwick.

Song you want to cover:

I think we’re about to learn Ace’s song “How Long,” which is one of my all-time favorites. We covered Cass McComb’s “County Line” on our last tour and that helped me connect more emotionally during our live set. With our minimal setup there’s a restriction to what covers we can do and actually add or bring a new perspective to. We wanted to cover ELO’s “Telephone Line,” but we would have murdered that song (in a bad way). I think the charm is in the intense production.

Band you’d want to cover you:

Ooh, good question! I might die if Patti Smith covered one of our songs. Or Morrissey. Actually, I’d be completely flattered if any other musician connected enough with our songs to want to cover one of them.

Stage look:

Every tour is different. I sit with my best friend, Jackie Young, and we have style inspiration sessions. For this tour, I looked to the movie Urban Cowboy, ’60s female motorcycle gangs and Tina Turner. Last tour was Anita Pallenberg and Stevie Nicks. Being on stage is awesome because it lends the opportunity to be a little more bold with fashion choices.

Plans for 2012:

We’re already working on our new album and hope to record and release it in 2012. And touring, touring, touring. We’ll definitely be all over North America, and I hope we have the opportunity to go back to Europe. - Madewell


13 April, 2012 - Vogue

Super scaled down quite pop project Love Links fresh out of Austin, TX are looking for a label to put out some of their music. But, in the meantime you can go stream what could be a nice little EP over at their bandcamp. And even download this single Wave Goodbye.

They describe themselves as “two boys a girl and an analog drum machine”. And when you listen to their music, that’s about all there is to it. Love when bands can scale things down, and make good music at it’s core. - Independent - smokeDONTsmoke

austin, texas’ love inks are a rather simple affair: their band consists of a boy, a girl, and an analog drum machine. it’s not overly complex stuff, but it’s also emotionally charged and wonderfully simple. these songs tug at your heart strings, and if you can’t crack a smile during any of them, you’re absolutely heartless. someone needs to sign these kids as soon as possible.

you can currently preview their upcoming, self-titled EP on their bandcamp and download wave goodbye below. it’ll be available to download come september. - Independent - Boy Attractions

The Love Inks’ self-titled EP is crafted, spellbound, and bright. Most of the songs barely scrape past the two-minute mark, but the amount of atmosphere and space that the trio from Austin is able to create in that limited playtime is impressive. All the tracks are low key and loose but they all manage to get into some sort of groove, especially the first two tracks, “Blackeye,” and “Wave Goodbye,” which has been making it’s rounds through some of the more obscure and savvy corners of the internet.

Someone will sign The Love Inks, but not soon enough. - Independent - Seizure Chicken

(English translation below)
Comme si Portishead pataugeait à la surface de l’Atlantique encaissant les brûlures de mille soleils californiens en lieu et place de l’asphyxiante noyade dans les noirceurs d’une rade de Bristol. On pourrait pondre un paquet de phrases du genre, tant la musique de Love Inks revêt les traits de multiples formations d’hier et d’aujourd’hui, et c’est sans doute ce qui fait son charme, familier mais néanmoins mystérieux.

Leur premier EP sobrement intitulé Love Inks est disponible ici, en attendant une sortie physique sur Hell Yes!

As if Portishead was splashing about the Atlantic surface taking the burning of Californians thousand suns where the drowning is suffocating in the darkness of Bristol harbour. We could say loads of things alike, so much as Love Inks music dresses into the multiple bands from now and then, which is in any doubt what is charming, familiar but nevertheless mysterious about them.

Their first EP soberly titled Love Inks is available here, until the physical release on Hell Yes! - Independent - Delicious Scopitone

It is a rare feat for a band’s name to actually describe their music; moreover, for said music to be interesting. While Love Ink’s name is pregnant with coital connotations, so is their music. The band accomplishes what takes other bands a bevy of instruments to do with just vocals, a guitar, and a drum machine. With ephemeral vocals reminiscent of the vague longing of grouper to the snappiness of Nancy Sinatra, Love Ink’s music can perform multiple duties: invoking both the female and male principles, the band’s music is hermaphroditic in its universal sexuality.

You can listen to their new E.P here. Spread the Love Ink! - Independent - Sick of the Radio

It's nice to see that the voice is beginning to be used as an instrument again. We've seen it with Dirty Projectors and more recently with Pat Grossi (Active Child); taking both these examples into account, we can all agree that a great voice can make the difference between a pop song, a blues song, a big song or a small song. Even without all the make-up of rapid note-switching and perfect pitch, just the voice, how it sounds overall, just that can mean so much more than anything else. No frills.

Austin's Love Inks seem to fit in with this view. It's hard to find much on this female duo, other than a good number of links to their self-released (through BandCamp) ep, Love Inks. Type this name into google, and I tell you, you'll be hard pushed to find any particularly insightful piece on the pair. Doing my research, the most I could find was a bizarre three lines on dontdiewondering: "Was spitting as a black cat crossed the entrance the other day, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine a career would come out of it. But there he was crossing the entrance and there I was spitting and all of a sudden - a career blossomed." Intriguing, sure, but where's the insight?

(I was evidently swallowed whole by this intrigue.)

All I can truly stress about Love Inks is that their sound is so pleasantly sweet and simple, you wouldn't ever want anything to change. You almost wish nothing happens to them, that they remain this strange & elusive outfit no one really talks about, no one properly blogs about and no one looks to master. But, on listening to the pop subtleties of 'Blackeye', how could you not want them to do well? It'd be like denying two of the cutest kittens you'd ever seen a hug. That's just wrong.

The ep is essentially made up of five simple pop songs. But, coming back to what I was saying about the effect of the voice, some of the tracks don't come off quite so pop-like. 'Rock On', favouring the lower of the two voices, comes off like a southern take on New York 1980s post punk. Needless to say, it's pleasing to the ear. Closing track, 'Too Wild' ('re too wild, you're too wild...), seems to fit in with the whole dream pop aesthetic; a less complex Memory Tapes perhaps. I like it more though. Simplicity is often underestimated nowadays. It fluctuates, this understatement and right now, I reckon the beatmakers, like Love Inks, who favour this simplicity, are humming beneath the radar.

But then maybe they like it there. - Independent - Lucy Tesco, Rough Trade


Blackeye/Don't Go: 7" single released March 2011
E.S.P.: Full-length album released May 2011
Rock On/Be Brave: 7" single released September 2011
Generation Club: Full-length album coming September 2013
Time/Generation Club: 7" single coming October 2013

Blackeye, Rock On, Wave Goodbye and Skeleton Key are tracks from E.S.P. that regularly receive international air play.

Blackeye won listeners' choice on BBC 6 in May 2011, surpassing votes for tracks by bands such as the Streets and the Smith Westerns.

Skeleton Key was featured as KUT's song of the day and Wave Goodbye is currently being featured on multiple international specialty/syndicated shows.