The Moanin Dove
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The Moanin Dove

Band Rock Funk


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The best kept secret in music


"Mp3 of the Day: Dead Man's Daughter"

At first glance, the three members of San Francisco band the Moanin Dove have two important things in common: semiformal vests and big, curly brown hair. If that were enough to peg the band's sound, it wouldn't be far off: the trio's fashion and songs alike point to artsy 70s FM rock. The Dead Man's Daughter features ample saucy keyboards (Rob Shelton plays Fender Rhodes, melodica, and piano and isn't afraid to solo), foot-tapping basslines (James Riotto is into jazz and plays an upright), and bandleading drums (Joshua Korr takes the first step into the song's various sections). The track also features a healthy instrumental interlude, a six-minute running time, and grandiose lead vocals courtesy of Riotto. Seventies rock, indeed. The band just released its debut recording, a five-song EP, and will be playing Bottom of the Hill on Dec. 21. - Nate Seltenrich - East Bay Express

"The Moanin Dove EP Review"

Upon listening to The Moanin' Dove's self-titled EP, it is easy to imagine these tracks coming from a long-undiscovered vault from the late '60s. The vintage instrumentation, vocals and luscious long-grooves are a bit of a throwback; witness the distinct Rhodes piano and Allman-esque slide guitar on "Sweet Mabelline." It's obvious that this Oakland group is comfortable with their instruments, and have culled from jazz, funk and jam bands alike, but want to rock. Rock they do, and the EP has a lot of promising moments, a harmony vocal breakdown in "Dead Man's Daughter" is particularly interesting, a haunting chant.

I have a feeling that The Moanin' Dove's live show is where the band shines. There's an energy that the listener feels, almost as an undercurrent on the EP. These guys want you to dance, to put "some soul in your boogie." And since they are playing a veritable smorgasbord of dates in the upcoming weeks, I would recommend you take them up on it.

- Amanda File - Owl Mag

"The Moanin Dove EP Review"

What comes to mind: celebration/graveyard exposition, voo-doo-witchcraft, ancient ritual, English school bus ride, non-stop real funk, laid back love daze, vital mission safari, ascending/descending groove, a real life experience, a gypsy band, electric shock.

Overall: well worth the listen, a party unto itself

- Keith Savage, December 2006 - The Hotel Utah

"Doves Moanin In Bay Area"

You may have seen their posters around Mills' campus inviting you to their shows: three smiling lads, with curly hair and mish mashed vests, poised in front of a vibrant bougainvillea covered wall, looking for all the world like something out of a late 1960's high school yearbook. You can almost imagine the caption: "The Moanin' Dove, Lincoln High's very own garage band! Which Dove is your fave?"

In actuality The Moanin' Dove, alive and kicking in real time, are three young men barely into their 20's who attended college together at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. Their band, The Moanin' Dove, has been creating a buzz in Bay Area night clubs and college campuses alike. They've played such popular SF venues as The Make Out room and the Hotel Utah, and in Oakland, The Uptown and the Starry Plough.

While the trio are all music majors, each member of the Moanin' Dove comes from a distinctly different musical background. Rob Shelton who plays Fender Rhodes keyboard and melodica brings a strong blues element to the band with his technique and lyrical style. James Riotto who plays stand-up and fretless basses, has studied jazz technique. Josh Korr brings an incredibly danceable classic rock back-beat into the mix.

The simultaneous tension and overlap between these three genres picks up and progresses from where the great music of the '60's and 70's left off. The Moanin' Dove stress that their process of creating music more light-hearted than it is academic. "Humor deflates pretension and I think that is one way the Moanin Dove gets across in general. We are serious musicians but you don't have to take us seriously" said Josh Korr

There is no front man for this band: Shelton and Riotto switch off on vocal responsibilities, with Korr jumping in to sing on occasion from his seat behind his drum kit. Their lyrical content ranges from the dark to the absurd. Certain lyrics like those in "Path of Fire" were inspired by Korr and Riotto's love of Russian Literature. On "Dead Man's Daughter" Riotto sings the chorus in Arabic, which he majors in alongside music in school.

The ocean has been a recurrent theme in their more recent songs.

"We all grew up on the ocean and this has had a profound impact on our development. I think the ocean becomes a metaphor for the sacred power of women. The ocean is something that makes life possible. It is at once beautiful and terrible in its power" Korr said.

Citing influences as broadly varied as Thelonious Monk to Tom Waits, Stevie Wonder to Tortoise, Led Zeppelin to Fela Kuti, The Moanin' Dove's sound defies easy, immediate labeling.

"At this point, as we haven't recorded an album yet, you just have to see us play to get a real feel for our sound" said Korr.

With multiple dates coming up in the Bay Area in November and December, this shouldn't be too hard to do. As yet unsigned to a record label, the Moanin' Dove are currently weighing the various offers that have been presented to them.

"We meet people all the time after we play a show who come up to us and offer us free time in their recording studios, and there are a few labels that have shown an interest" said Korr.

The Moanin' Dove managed to slip into Thursday Night Special the other week as well. Thursday Night Special is a bi-monthly music showcase put on by grad students in the Mills music program. It usually features improvisational and abstract pieces by Mills music students.

[CS1]"[The Moanin' Dove] sound really different from the other music I heard tonight. It was catchy but also kinda out there. I really liked them" said junior Jennifer Arbios after a recent Moanin' Dove performance at Thursday Night Special.

Besides talent the Moanin' Dove are undeniably charismatic. There is something decidedly Muppet-like about the Moanin' Dove's stage presence, their voluminous mops of curly hair flopping in unison. You'd be hard pressed to find a single t-shirt in these boys' closets as the trio dress like college professors from the 1970's: corduroy and tweed blazers, suit-vests, dress shirts, paisley ties and leather shoes. While fashion-wise the trio have a similar aesthetic, their personalities and physicality are distinctly different from each other. Shelton, is tall and Anglo looking with an ever present mischievous twinkle in his eyes. Korr, is affable, outgoing, and cherub faced like a young Bob Dylan. Riotto with his strikingly handsome Mediterranean/Middle Eastern features, has an articulate and sincere demeanor.

The Moanin' Dove relocated from Massachusetts to the East Bay last Spring hoping to find audiences more receptive to their sound.

"In Massachusetts we would try to play...rock'n'roll shows, and no one really had any... significant response. I mean, we were working our asses off. We had a reputation for being musicians, for being people who worked hard at music, but no one supported us in any tangible way. Then we came out here and like the first time we played out he - Mills Weekly

"Not Groanin'"

Swirling funky drums, psychedelic Rhodes organ, and a nice fat bass are this band's meat and potatoes. Songs like "Put Some Soul In Your Boogie" and the catchy "Sweet Maybelline", from the groups eponymous EP, must be laced with something funny, because the kids just can't get enough of them.

-Hiya Swanhuyser
SF Weekly - SFWeekly


The Moanin Dove, self-titled debut EP (2006)--SOLD OUT!


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Moanin Dove is edgy and dark, a sonic collision of history, literature and rock on the modern canvas. This trio distinguishes it's bold sound with a unique cast of characters. James Riotto (vocals / upright and electric basses) developed his raw swamp groove in the basements of a Rhode Island youth with (drummer / lyricist) Joshua Korr. Riotto blends a pop sensibility to their underground sound with his high tenor vocals. The duo linked up with Rob Shelton (Rhodes / Vocals / Melodica) at Hampshire College in Massachusetts in March of 2006. Shelton complements the acoustics of his band-mates with searing electric Rhodes, growling baritone vocals and mischievous compositions.

The Moanin Dove formed in a recording studio at Hampshire College and immediately recorded an EP as part of Shelton's Senior Thesis. In May of 2006 the band moved to San Francisco and used this recording to link up with like-minded local musicians and establish a presence on the SF scene.

The Owl Mag The Moanin Dove's live show is where the band shines. There's an energy that the listener feels, almost as an undercurrent? - Amanda File
The Hotel Utah (CD Review) What comes to mind: celebration/graveyard exposition, voo-doo-witchcraft, ancient ritual, english school bus ride? -Keith Savage

Encouraged by the undeniable response of the crowds to their live show and a sold out EP the group is heading into the studio with producer Sep Valizadeh (Crown City Rockers) to begin production of a second EP highlighting the bands refined underground pop sound. The Dove is most often compared to groups like Soul Coughing and the Cold War Kids with the occasional Doors reference thrown about.

At this early stage in their career, the Moanin Dove's goals are two-fold.
First: To make accessible through pop/rock compositions the elements of their sound that are distinctly avant-garde. Second: To travel and tour extensively in order to expose their music to as many people as possible.