Lovett
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Lovett

Asheville, North Carolina, United States | INDIE

Asheville, North Carolina, United States | INDIE
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Not that this band NEEDS me to push their music…founder and namesake Ben Lovett has to be well connected. After all, he’s produced records for Audio I.V. faves Hot Water Music and Heartbeats, AND written over 12 film scores in the past few years. As the singer and songwriter for what he calls a ‘traveling circus’ of musicians, Lovett has created a sinister stew of indie-folk/rock with the band’s debut LP, Highway Collection.

From the record’s opening “Woo!” of “The Fear”, Lovett takes you on a journey to a simpler time, where melodies whirl around you like a warm summer wind, and genre lines blur into the hot hot heat of sun-baked asphalt. Start to finish, Highway Collection screams “Road trip!” Channeling folk-rock legends like Dylan, Petty, and Browne, each song is infused with sincerity, a subtle grit, and signature ease most bands struggle to capture to tape.

Standouts include would-be-single, “Heartattack”, the quirky, “Same Old Song” and closer, “Ghost of Old Highways”. New listeners should also check out the Steam Punk video for “Eye of the Storm” which features an extended cut of the song, and some pretty amazing green screen work. After a pretty solid debut at this year’s SXSW festival, it shouldn’t be long before Lovett is making splash nationally. This is a record everyone should listen to at least once, but I’m warning you now, once you hit the gas on Highway Collection, there’s no turning back. - Audio IV


Certainly, we’ve been inundated with endless tacky and tedious Valentine’s Day ploys leading up to today. So, can we for just a moment, forget the Jane Seymour’s Open Hearts Collection and waxy chocolate used to conceal nasty nougat and get back to what’s truly important here? Yes, I’m talking about sweaty sexuality.

Luckily for us, Lovett hasn’t forgotten what drives sales of those inane Hallmark cards: sexy girls, desperate dudes and the ol’ bump and grind of classic shake rag. And for a guy who cut his teeth scoring motion pictures, Heartattack demonstrates that, as a songwriter, arranger and performer, Lovett is ready to throw down with today’s indie rock heavies. Of course, the clip for Heartattack (the latest from his self-titled tour de force) doesn’t hurt Lovett’s cause. Boasting more entangled limbs than all-you-can-eat night at Red Lobster, and featuring blink-and-you’ll-miss’em cameos from indie film actress Amy Seimetz and country star Dierks Bentley, as well as the abominable snowman, this is as close to a V-Day sure thing as most of us will ever get. - My Old Kentucky Blog


Ben Lovett is a musician and composer for movies (“Last Goodbye,” “The Signal”) and TV who has a new album, “The Highway Collection,” that features musicians from, among other acts, the Avett Brothers and The Mars Volta. But that’s not the reason he’s being featured here. This is:

The video for Lovett’ “Eye of the Storm” is the work of director Christopher Alender, who loaded up on the special effects while working on a shoestring, and Soapbox Films, the credits for whom include a lot of heavy hitters (material for Toy Story 3 and Tron: Legacy, a video for Broken Bells, and that epic Muppets version of “Bohemian Rhapsody”). Spinner has a piece today about the making of the video, but check it out for yourself — it’s got the steampunk thing going, weather effects (lots o’ lightning and ominous clouds), and an atmosphere that really fits the song.


American Cinematographer has an article explaining how Alender and his cinematographer Craig Kief put this thing together using bluescreen and collages. And green fluorescent tape to make those outlines on the captain’s lapels, but you’d have guessed that. (Sure you would) If you’re interested in the technical end, the article’s a good read. - Nerdist.com


Musician and composer Ben Lovett is no stranger to writing for film -- his award-winning work has been featured in 'The Signal' and 'The Last Goodbye' starring Faye Dunaway, to name a few -- but for 'Eye of the Storm,' it was Lovett who hired a filmmaker to bring his work to life. Director Christopher Alender used state-of-the-art special effects on a shoestring budget for the video, and the result is an eye-popping work that resembles a steampunk take on Frank Miller's 'Sin City' set to Lovett's haunting, acoustic-based song.

"Chris approached me with this idea for the film as an extension of the metaphor," Lovett tells Spinner. "The lyrics in the song deal with a difficult relationship through the portrait of a ship sailing through the heart of a storm."

The video, as described by the director, tells "the story of a lonely captain who has to unshackle himself from a troublesome past in order to move on to the next chapter in his life." To create the lush imagery, Alender exaplains, the process was a painstaking exercise in trial-and-error. "Simulating clouds and water vapor from scratch is extremely labor and computer-intensive and we just didn't have time or money," he says. "To make the different weather conditions, we ended up taking more of a collage approach, poring over thousands of photo sand videos of clouds to get every little piece exactly how we wanted it to look."

"The film is an interesting mirror to the song," Lovett explains. "The recording of 'Eye of the Storm' is all organic instrumentation with a single synthesized element, whereas what you see in the movie is nearly the perfect reversal of that." - Spinner.com


If I had to name my favorite performances at South by Southwest, Lovett would definitely be on the short list. I walked quite a ways off the beaten festival path to catch their set at Lovers Ball, and it was absolutely worth it. Somehow they squeezed ten musicians behind Ben Lovett's enigmatic visage, and the intimate atmosphere was perfect for all of the amazing sounds coming from the makeshift stage. The small room was adorned with splashes of pink and and millions of confetti hearts, and the audience packed themselves in as tightly as possible while still leaving enough room to dance. I'm not sure that I could even categorize their music definitively, other than to say it combined elements of indie rock, americana, pop, and a healthy dose of experimental. The musicianship of the group was top notch, and it was clear that it was a collective artistic effort rather than "just Ben Lovett's backing band". He definitely led the group and sang all of the lead vocals, but the horn section did double duty on all sorts of percussion and backing vocals and the guitarists rotated between guitars, basses, ukuleles; I think I even saw a mandolin at one point. Every band has a one-song litmus test, and Lovett's is definitely "heartattack". If you listen to the first song of his live performance (see video below) and enjoy the hell out of it like I did, then you will not just want more, but need more.

Be sure to check out his incredible steam punk-inspired video for "Eye of the Storm" below. It was done on a shoestring budget, but you certainly can't tell by the video alone. I can't seem to find any information on Lovett's upcoming tour dates, but there are a lot of teasers for upcoming performances on his Facebook page. If you're a fan, be sure to show your support online so that he knows he's got hungry audiences. His debut album Highway Collection was just released on iTunes and is available for purchase here. I was lucky enough to snag a copy at the show, and it's fantastic cover to cover. Love love Lovett. - Best New Bands.com


Delving into the greatest philosophies, story telling and capturing the depth of life in harmonies, soul, heavy downbeats, heavenly choirs, and an undeniable rawness, Lovett masters carefully carving the image of truth and reality with an eclectic style of music that touches the heart from nine different angles.

Ben Lovett, famous for composing musical scores for films, such as The Signal and Last Goodbye, is releasing the debut album for his compelling musical project, Lovett. The album, Highway Collection, is to be released in all of its exceptional glory on March 15. The album features contribution from a variety of artists, including The Mars Volta, Cursive, Ponderosa, The Avett Brothers and Money Mark, to name a few.

“All The Time” starts the album with an avalanche of energy that pushes the album into the youthful and invigorating essence. With a howling choir, upbeat strumming and beating, and catchy chorus, the first track embeds itself into the grooves of your brain so deep, Lovett’s style will be unmistakeably engraved into your mind forever. The momentum is passed as “The Fear” begins to play. Though, the track has more depth in the lyrics, the backing vocals of at least dozens of individuals expresses inspiring strength and power, sounding of a revolutionary spiritual anthem. Eventually, all of the energy climaxes into Lovett’s vibrant and exciting single, “Heart Attack”, that induces a provocative attitude and vindictive nature. The first few tracks are full of such vigor and innocent drive, sounding of hope and good nature.

Lovett then takes a more slower and darker approach with two Southern-influenced tracks, “Two Lovers” and “Live A Moving Train”. Both tracks have strong country and folk influences musically, and in terms of lyrics, tell the story of growth, love, and pain. Lovett’s voice is heavy and mournful, sounding as if it wreaks of whiskey and an infinity of chain-smoking cigarettes, captivating and undeniably alluring.

Even though in comparison to any other artist, “Eye Of The Storm” and “Ghost Of Old Highways” would be suitably acceptable if featured on their debut album. However, Lovett’s first seven tracks are so remarkable, the expectations simply increase as Highway Collection progresses. Unfortunately, the two tracks do not exude the energy and passion from the previous songs, feeling misplaced and closing the album out with an awkward funk until it loops again to “All The Time”, during which you will probably find yourself running to the top of a hill and singing at the top of your lungs.

The magic of Highway Collection is that the album is so eclectic, it sounds as if Lovett created ten different albums and placed the best tracks into one CD. You can honestly hear the influences of The Avett Brothers, The Mars Volta, and Cursive, with hints of inspiration from the iconic Beatles and The Flaming Lips, satisfying every range of music, craving and desire that surfaces about your mind during the fraction of any given second. - Red River Noise


From leotard dancers with a boom box to rappers, performers are choosing to move from the sidewalks to the center lane. Lovett, a circus of rock, pop, and fun, celebrated their first SXSW with a sporadic parade down 6th Street on Friday afternoon. The band, which released their debut album earlier in the week, performed songs from Highway Collection while marching down 6th. Considering that most Austin stages can be a little tight for this 12-piece ensemble made up of members from the California coast to deep Southeast, Lovett found the street their most spacious venue yet. - CNN


What do you get when you combine a film composer with pop sensibilities with three years of songwriting and help from over 150 collaborators? The answer would be the debut album from Athens GA’s Lovett, Highway Collection. The mastermind behind the project, Ben Lovett (no, not the same Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons fame), spent years involved in the hustle and bustle on the production end of various film scores and records, and even won accolades for his work on the 2008 film The Last Lullaby .While living in LA, Lovett lived and ran a production company/studio with Brian Burton, better known as super producer Danger Mouse (Broken Bells, Gnarls Barkley, MF DOOM). Highway Collection showcases Lovett’s abilities as songwriter, producer, and frontman with a little help from the friends he has made working in studios over the years.
“The Fear” is the opening track on the record, and it gives the listener a pretty decent idea of what’s to come on the rest of the record. Acoustic guitar complemented by subtle melodies on keys and electric guitars build throughout the song, culminating in a chorus of over 100 music camp kids by tracks end. Lovett’s vocal stylings are best described as a cross between Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips and Brendan Benson, best known for being a hand-picked member of Jack White’s super group The Raconteurs. “Heartattack” is easily the most upbeat, danceable tune on the album, with a catchy hook driven by a wall of a horn section and Lovett’s voice pleading “gotta let your love take control.” The highlight of the album is its fourth track, “Black Curtain.” It casts somewhat of a melancholy and dark mood, driven by slide guitars and a Hammond organ or two, and deals with leaving your past behind, but wanting to reminisce about those times a bit too much. The aptly titled “Same Old Song” is just that, a track that could have easily been pulled off of any number of pop/rock records from the 90s. From here, the record sort of slips into a coma of down-tempo, despondent tracks until the 9 song album comes to a close with “Ghost of Old Highways,” which attempts to pick the record back up before it closes out. - Gravy & Biscuits


Lovett plays clean-sounding, well-rounded rock music with a Southern twist. Composer, producer, and frontman Ben Lovett is renowned for writing award-winning scores for films like "The Signal" and "The Last Lullaby", but has been focusing on the band's personal work as of late. "Highway Collection" is a dynamic compilation that is much different from Lovett's former releases. "Eye of The Storm" is full of acoustic guitar, haunting violins, the weeping cello, and eerie falsettos, creating a dark atmosphere much like the music video itself. The video, full of impressive and out-of-this-world special effects, was Lovett's first experience with acting in front of a blue screen. Directed by Chris Alender and shot by Craig Kief, the video tells a story of a lone skycaptain letting go of the things he loves and driving his ship straight into the eye of a destructive storm. The fast-paced and even danceable track "Heartattack" is full of trumpets, trumbones, tambourines and hand clapping, giving it a 1920's swing feel with a rock 'n' roll edge. It's safe to say that Lovett doesn't lack diversity.

The highly anticipated album "Highway Collection" comes out today, just in time for SXSW, and should be nothing short of a modern-day masterpiece. Read out full interview with Ben Lovett HERE.

-Jenna Putnam - The Deli Magazine - LA


Discography

(2011) Highway Collection
(2011) The Fear - Single
(2011) Heartattack - Single
(2011) Eye Of The Storm - Single
(2010) My Super Pyscho Sweet Sixteen 2
(2009) My Super Pyscho Sweet Sixteen
(2008) The Last Lullaby
(2007) The Signal
(2006) The Breath Of New Color
(2005) Last Goodbye

Photos

Bio

Highway Collection may be Lovett’s debut album, but if it doesn’t sound that way, there’s a good reason. After producing an impressive collection of albums and award-winning film scores for other artists, helmsman Ben Lovett recorded the songs on the upcoming Lovett album while traveling around the country, recruiting friends and collaborators across the US to help create and expand the vision of his songs.

Sonically, immediate comparisons have been drawn to The Flaming Lips at their spacey best combined with the lyrical dexterity of The Shins and melodic depth of a modernized, Strawberry Fields-era Beatles. The live shows, which are known to involve everything from toys and instruments to choirs and the audience itself, are a continued extension of the evolution of the Lovett songs, enlisting different members for each live performance in 2010, before finally settling into an Asheville, NC based supergroup in 2011.

Lovett recently completed a triumphant performance run at SXSW. The traveling band of twelve members, referred to as “the circus” blasted through 8 performances in 3 days, culminating in a parade down 6th street during the middle of the festival that caught the eye of photographers and landed the band on the front page of CNN's SXSW blog.

The band's self-released first single, “Eye of the Storm,” showcases Lovett’s uncanny knack for storytelling and production with its haunting vocals and acoustic guitar expertly melded with somber cello and violin into a lush watercolor of sound. The song’s visual counterpart, directed by Chris Alender of Soapbox Films, is a stunning steampunk masterpiece that became a viral sensation, generating over 2 million plays in its first month. But Lovett quickly flipped the table on anyone expecting a slow burning ethereal album and knocked us sideways with “Heartattack,” a wild, danceable, upbeat barn-burner of a love song packed with enough energy to peel paint and stomp through stage floors. The video for "Heartattack," a colorful panorama of stylized party action, shows us all 12 of Lovett's circus at their swaggering best.

Keep an ear out, the circus is coming to town.