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Chicago, IL | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Chicago, IL | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Pop New Wave


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Review: The Five 5ides of Time - mtvghosts"

Brian Wilson’s techniques and pop sensibility continue to infiltrate the current music landscape, more than half a century after the formation of the pivotal Beach Boys. Even in the band’s most melancholy moments, Wilson’s compositions still create a warm hearth for the lovesick and nostalgic of the West Coast to crawl under. These same sensations ring true for mtvghosts’ new record, which is the band’s third piece of music and most elaborate to date. With The Five 5ides of Time, the rock-pop outfit evolves beyond the rock ‘n’ roll sentiments of their previous efforts and explodes with potent vocal arrangements and flu-season hooks. The band was (unsurprisingly) influenced by several early Beach Boys records, according to guitarist and vocalist James Matkovich, who was kind enough to speak about the new release over email. While mtvghosts’ 1st LP, “Tri-Pop”, was a strong debut, 5ides of Time finds the band polishing and refining their sound.

Primary songwriters Donnie Love (lead vocals) and Matkovich (multi-instrumentalist) offer up consistency and intrigue with every track of the record. The synth and guitar hooks stick to the pavement like gum. These licks are only strengthened by the band’s perfectly synched harmonies, which bounce and sashay across the speakers. The range and humorous tone of the vocals aren’t just strikingly pretty, they offer a tongue-in-check sneer that leaves you wondering how seriously the band takes themselves. The pacing of the songs is also central to the LP, with the speed going from six-shooter radio tune to sentimental tropical ballads. Sound engineer Chris Lee does the band justice by mastering the layers of the tracks into solid and cohesive movements. The sugary vocals and glamorous instrumentation do not overpower each other, but rather, strike a fine balance between the two strongest components. The rhythm section remains minimal and underused, but this allows for the listener to soak up the strongest pop-chunks of the album.

The sonic versatility is indicated by the variety of bands that come to mind when listening. Bits of Talking Heads, The Strokes, Of Montreal, Hunx and Queen click with synapses upon further inspection. Matkovich said that Ween and They Might Be Giants proved to be where some of the material was drawn from. However, the unique voice and style of the band remains intact.

Lyrically, the record is ambiguous and conceptual, following a malleable romantic tale. “Donnie created this vague, conceptual love story for The Five 5ides of Time. He wrote it down in a notebook one night and shared it with me, but I admittedly forgot most of it,” Matkovich explained.

The central character to the album, known as “The Diver,” is referenced repeatedly. Love seems intrigued by The Diver. “How do you survive?” he asks on “Gypsy Diver”, one of the album’s most sensationally catchy tracks. The Diver is also “his [Love’s] rival” and someone who is “playing with me”. What’s so fascinatingly confusing about the LP is whether Love is enamored with The Diver, or The Diver is something he must overcome to reach his romance, as opinions on the aquatic explorer shift dramatically.

The most concrete theme of 5ides of Time is vulnerability, which comes through as Love becomes increasingly self-critical. He’s “rotten, maybe sometimes” on “Todash Crimes.” His romantic car ride on “Gypsy Diver” finds the vocalist being “shook up and turned over like a two-liter”. His love being “left at the side of the road” on the track “I’m Seeing Stars.” On “Time on the Side”, he relays how he’s “talking all the time” while “running out of time”. The gooey relatability is kept in check with Love’s snarky pitch shifts and the backing vocals’ theatrical baritones and cereal-box falsettos. With that said, lines like “Why is it so tough to cry?” suggest deeper ideas, like the influence of masculinity in romance. Love’s writing perfectly matches the compositions, whether it’s the Yo Gabba Gabba synth jams or blunted, guitar-driven rock songs of the record.
The Five 5ides of Time is a new age pop record, one that transcends periods of rock music and its sentiments; as well as toying with the appeal of a simple song structures. The band is clearly an avid student of Brian Wilson, but the comparison to the Beach Boys only goes so far while slowly melts into the back of your mind. The Five 5ides of Time wears it heart on its sleeve, remaining flamboyant and obnoxiously exciting.

Listen to/support MTV Ghosts’ new album via Bandcamp.

Written by Caleb Brennan - Ys Album's a Sucker

"Review: mtvghosts - 'Tri-Pop'"

Tri-Pop is the product of a years’ worth of recordings by singer/guitarist Donnie Love, who said that it was not necessarily created with a thematic element in mind. But as with any art, it’s open to interpretation. “For me, the music has always been a diary of sorts, one that I could take liberties with.” he said. “Whichever recordings I happen to throw together, there seems to always be a way to string them into some sort of humanly plot.”

This personal nature in itself could, of course, be seen as a theme, and as a diary, Tri-Pop reads as a groovy and technicolor documentation of love and lust. In “She’s Really Mine,” the track’s title is echoed by the question, “How can you be sure boy?” and “I was almost too shy,” like little nagging thoughts in the back of the mind of a head-over-heels lover.

If there’s one track that could serve as mtvghosts‘ statement of purpose on Tri-Pop, it’s the chimy and damn near adorable “Ghostille.” The minute-and-thirty song grooves with the help of a squirming synthetic pipe organ that feels like it’s on the verge of swinging into a “Play Ball!” cheer. It’s odd, familiar and oddly-familiar, like a warm instance of deja-vu.

With its creepy-crawly melodies chiming in a nearly spooky slink, it’s fantastically fun. Choral “oohs” and “bops” beg for a sing-along; others require a shoulder shimmy. Creating something so playful while maintaining personality, uniqueness and intimacy is delicate balance, but there’s no doubt mtvghosts have hit that colorful sweet spot. - Local Loop Chicago

"BENT NIGHTS: mtvghosts"

After watching them cut up onstage at last months Glitter Creeps blow-out at The Empty Bottle ( April 20 ), I still can't figure out local punk-poppers mtvghosts. Fronted by vocalist Donnie Love, who performs in drag ( well, he is pretty ), the band wallows in '60s pop while demonstrating a deft art-rock edge. I can't tell if this is meant as a joke or heady art, and I suspect this bunch likes it that way. The new [album] Five 5ides of Time ( available on Bandcamp ) didn't really clear things for me.
The opener, "Daylight on the Square," is awash in whooshes of OOOOOOOOOhs and AAAAAAAAhs, and sounds like a great vintage '60s summer single from The Association ( "Cherish," "Never My Love" ) or The Dave Clark Five ( "Happy Together" ). "Daylight" is sweet, goofy and innocent but "I'm Seeing Stars" takes all that fizz and turns it on its head. Worthy of oddball nut Ezra Furman, "Stars" is quirky, bouncy and engaging to a fault and calls to mind Paul Simon at his most playful ( "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard," "Allergies" ). "Gypsy Diver"—which is catchy, melodious and airy—is really a wicked little joke. The song is not an actual song but a hook repeated like a loop, and it made me want to swat Love on his fanny for his impish mischief.

If the album comes off like something from another era, the band's onstage wallow in subversive comedy was for the here and now. Love flounced and frolicked about like an emancipated cheerleader but with deadpan, baby faced guitarist James Matkovich standing next to him, they looked quaint and absurd. As Love flashed his panties and whipped his hair back and forth, doing his best That Girl impersonation ( Marlo Thomas would have been envious ), Matkovich glared at the audience blankly while puckering up and providing those aforementioned AAAAAAAAhs. To say the least, mtvghosts are clearly the fun we did not have back in the 1960s. - Windy City Media Group

"The Five 5ides of Time"

If you're still skeptical of the psychic phenomena of life on Earth, you might need to re-adjust your antennae. On their new album The Five 5ides of Time, MTVghosts makes the experience easy: flow through the multidimensional realities of their psychedelic, baroque pop masterpiece.
Intergalactic textures, strata of harmony, lyrical curtains unveil the hidden landscapes.
Just accept it. There's so much beauty surrounding you... in this time and space. Now imagine all the possibilities. - Disappearing Media


Dystopio (EP) - (2013) 
Tri-Pop - (2014)
The Five 5ides of Time - (2016)



With its creepy-crawly melodies chiming in a nearly spooky slink, it’s fantastically fun. Choral “oohs” and “bops” beg for a sing-along; others require a shoulder shimmy. Creating something so playful while maintaining personality, uniqueness and intimacy is delicate balance, but there’s no doubt mtvghosts have hit that colorful sweet spot.

Band Members