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Rilo Kiley

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Rilo Kiley sound like your first kiss and your last broken heart. Hopeful sounding hooks and honest lyrics sit alongside purging ballads about the tribulations of love lost, an irresistible dichotomy that's brought this quartet from friends living rooms to the opening slot on Superchunk's tour. From the Dawson's Creek soundtrack (not to be held against them) to headlining the Great American Music Hall.

Jenny Lewis and Blake Sennett are the creative force behind Rilo Kiley, sharing songwriting, guitar and vocal duties. Rounding out the foursome are Pierre deReeder on bass and Dave Rock on drums. The result is shimmery folk-pop that just begs you to love it.

It's Lewis' sweet, unadorned vocals that garner the most attention. The former actress (she co-starred with Fred Savage in the 80's cult classic The Wizard and with Angelina Jolie in Foxfire) sings effortlessly about dying relationships, unrequited love and two full-lengths worth of conflicting emotions. Her voice is the icing on Rilo Kiley's melodic pop cake. And while she's got the pretty girl sound down pat, Lewis isn't afraid to say "fuck" and get a little riled up. She even affects a slight twang on several country-tinged tracks inspiring comparisons to Lucinda Williams. Even if you've never listened to Rilo Kiley, Lewis' voice may sound familiar to you hot new indie album junkies. She's the owner of those angelic vocals on your favorite Postal Service songs, her sometimes side project with Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel). Though Lewis takes the lead on most Rilo Kiley tracks, Sennet sings enough to shake it up a little and the alteration makes the groups sound more intriguing. It also saves them from being pigeonholed as a girl-fronted indie pop band, a boundary that other pop-oriented bands like Rainer Maria and Dressy Bessy have a hard time breaking through. Sennett's vocals are easily likeable if somewhat typical. He plays the emotion-heavy, sensitive singer-songwriter card more often then not, but he plays it well and provides a well-balanced break from Lewis' preciously feminine vocals.

Though the band resides in Los Angeles, their most recent release, The Execution of All Things on Nebraska's Saddle Creek label, initiated them into the much-lauded Omaha music scene. Their name is now dropped among the critically acclaimed likes of songwriting prodigy and current Winona flame Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes and Desaparecidos, New Wave dance-rockers The Faint and airy-folk duo Azure Ray. The tight-knit songwriting community fits Rilo Kiley's talented upward trajectory and the association has no doubt contributed to the success of their most well-executed album to date.

Rilo Kiley create music that's damn near irresistible. Their happy melodies abstain from being sugary, their smart lyrics are personal without being pretentious and their sound is accessible without being trite. Here's to Southern Californians that make music like Nebraskans and child actresses who grow up to be songwriting folk divas.