Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bands I Love: Kevin Devine

I'm always shocked when someone whose music taste I respect isn't familiar with Kevin Devine. Not in a judgemental way, but more of a genuine amazement that so many people have yet to get into his music, despite the fact that he's been around since 2000. KDev started out with his vastly underappreciated band Miracle of 86 in 2000, and then went solo in 2002 with one of my favorite records of all time, Circle Gets the Square. He has pretty consistently been putting out beautiful records ever since.

KDev is hard to pin down in terms of a genre. He could probably best be described as an alternative singer-songwriter, but more akin to Elliott Smith than John Mayer. His lyrics are usually personally cutting and honest, or politically motivated. He has this way of saying exactly what I think and feel about our country as far as the government is concerned, but in a way more eloquently than I ever could. ("Hey, I don't like what the government is doing, yeeeeeeah yeeeeaaaah lalalaaaaaa" That would be my song. Luckily for the world, I'm not a musician.) He has a backing band, and when they play together live, they go by potentially the best name in music: Kevin Devine and The Goddamn Band. I love it. When he plays with the Goddman Band, the live show has so much energy and is so much more rockin' than you would expect from a "singer-songwriter."  On the side, KDev has a sideproject with Andy Hull from Manchester Orchestra, called Bad Books. The combination of KDev and Andy Hull is cosmically beautiful. I feel like they came together to make every emo kid in the world have hope in the world again. Their self-titled record was realsed in 2010 and I can't recommend it highly enough. When I saw them play a live show at Bowery Ballroom in New York last year, I literally had tears streaming down my face.... I don't want to talk about it. Music makes me overly emotional.

The thing about KDev is, when you get into him, you don't just have a back catalog of two records to get into (not that there's anything wrong with that.) But you get four Miracle of 86 releases, one Bad Books album, five previously released solo studio albums, four live albums, six EPs, and as of today, a new studio album, Between The Concrete & The Clouds (click to buy on iTunes.) The album is currently streaming over at Spinner- make your day better and go give it a listen. You won't be disappointed. The best way I can describe the new album, after listening to it all day yesterday and this morning, is an obvious melodic progression for KDev, with classically personal and political lyrical content. Any true KDev fan won't be disappointed. That's a pinky-promise.

For those of you interested in getting into older KDev music, which I highly recommend, here are two music videos of his that I LOVE. First up, "Brooklyn Boy," off of Put Your Ghost To Rest, another one of my favorite KDev records. Just listen to the lyrics of this song. He just like... gets emo kids (aka ME!) I want to take the lyrics from this song and mail them to every ex-boyfriend I've ever had.

I know everyone can't agree politically, but I pretty much consistently align with KDev's political statements in his songs. This song, "Another Bag Of Bones" off of Brother's Blood is just so lyrically dead on for me. See what I mean about him being eloquent? I just want to curl up in his songs and wear them as my armor throughout the day. I respect KDev so much for standing up for what he believes in through his music- you really don't see much of that anymore. Kudos, buddy.



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