The Roosevelt
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The Roosevelt

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The Roosevelt's debut EP is a bit like the FDR Memorial: A lot of people out there will say, "There's a Roosevelt memorial?" while others will keep trying to persuade their friends and family to check it out. The comparisons pretty much end there. Our 32nd president led the country through the Great Depression and most of World War II. The Roosevelt are just trying to make a name for themselves in the D.C. music scene. Their self-titled debut should help move things along.

The band – Jon Mosher on guitar/vocals, Sam Mitchell on guitar, Scott Remley on bass and Chris Carney on drums – have put together a solid collection of songs with impressive production values. Opener “Coney Island” slowly builds expectation, especially through Mosher’s lyrics. It’s not the kind of song that immediately pops, but well-crafted lines about “fireworks making movies in the sky” and a strong chorus grow on you. Songs like “Codeine Cure” and “Start It Over” are faster to catch on, especially with the nice sing-along chorus in “Codeine Cure” that buries itself deep into your brain and doesn’t let go. “Mary” slows things down a bit to show off some smooth drum and guitar work. But it’s with “Elliot” that the band really shows its potential.

During DCist’s Three Stars (***) discussion with the band, I compared “Elliot” to the Radiohead b-side “Permanent Daylight.” Mosher, being a fan of the band, mentioned that he tries to steer clear of writing songs with a Radiohead-like quality, and “Elliot” definitely isn’t a rehash of “Permanent Daylight.” But the band managed to capture the frantic nature found in that song and make it their own, especially when Mosher croons “sing like you used to for me again” and the band speeds things up.

The Roosevelt, whether they intend to or not, wear their influences on their sleeve. Album closer “Start It Over” is very reminiscent of Pavement or Stephen Malkmus’ solo material, with its rambling guitar lines and Mosher dropping the f-bomb and lines like “you’re too far to throw, you’re too light to leave it all behind” as casually as Malkmus would sing “show me a word that rhymes with pavement and I won't kill your parents and roast them on a spit.” Sounding too much like your influences can bury a band into a niche category, but The Roosevelt never come across that way. Instead, they give the impression of being both fans and musicians, which is what makes the EP so much fun. - DCist


One of the more enjoyable CDs to find its way into the office lately – local or otherwise – is the self-titled debut EP from D.C.'s the Roosevelt. It's refreshingly straightforward, winning us over with catchy, memorable songs, forgoing the overstylized sounds that many young bands seem to be employing. It's classic American pop/rock – Wilco before getting weird, Elliott Smith in those rare moments when his pop acumen overshadowed his misery. This just goes to show that good songs remain the most reliable gimmick around. - Washington Post


Discography

The Roosevelt | EP (Portable Wicker, 2006)
Tranquilizers (internet-only single release, 2005) -- available at www.theroosevelt.net; aired on ShutUp! (WLOY Baltimore) and Wander Radio Podcast #3

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Bio

The Roosevelt was formed in late 2005 out of a series of solo recordings by front man Jon Mosher. Beginning with a handful of rehearsals in a pre-War apartment building in Northeast Washington D.C. (from which the group takes its name), the foursome quickly adopted those songs as their own, each adding his own flavor and style from personal influences. Listeners can hear traces of folk, punk, Americana, indie-pop, and plain old rock-’n-roll; all blended in a way that is at once playful and haunting.

Jon Mosher leads the group on vocals and guitars, joined by drummer Chris Carney, lead guitarist Sam Mitchell, and Scott Remley on bass. Within a few months of formation, the group had earned the attention of underground D.C. press for their presence and “polished songs with memorable hooks.”

In June 2006, The Roosevelt traveled north to Brooklyn, N.Y., to record its debut release with producer John Davis of The Bunker Studio. The result, entitled “EP” and released on D.C.-based Portable Wicker Records that fall, blends sparse indie-pop and alt-whatever-you-want-to-call-it roots with artfully interwoven rhythms and melodies. As one reviewer noted, “they give the impression of being both fans and musicians, which is what makes the EP so much fun.” The Roosevelt plans to tour the East Coast in late 2006 and early 2007.