Tennis... according to Merriam-Webster is, a noun, often attributive | ten.nis | \'te-nes\ : an indoor or outdoor game that is played with rackets and a light elastic ball by two players or pairs of players on a level court (as of clay or grass) divided by a low net, or, in our case (thankfully)... one of the most exciting bands to come out of Denver in the last decade. Sure, they're known for getting hitched, buying a boat and cruising up and down the Eastern Seaboard writing songs that would eventually be the band's debut album Cape Dory, but let's face it... Tennis (the band) has done so. much. more.
There's something so perfectly subtle and innocent, yet edgy at the same time that emanates from the band's aura. Everything from the album teasers we've seen over the years (remember the hotline number they had us calling on repeat a few summers back?), to the music videos, and through the look and feel of the album artwork over the years. It all just feels right and fits perfectly together like a well-thought out puzzle.
The husband and wife duo of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley consistently manage to evolve their sound in such an intricate way around every single piece of music that the band manages to muster up at just the right time. The band's new album, Yours Conditionally, which is due out March 10 on Mutually Detrimental via Thirty Tigers, is the band's fourth, and highly anticipated full-length album.
Yours Conditionally feels like a grand culmination of the Denver-based band's catalog. Over the last few years, Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore have managed to put together an extensive and diverse catalog of easy going pop songs that spoke to an often overlooked generation through upbeat, rhythm-heavy pop ballads that rarely grow tired. Backed by the one and only Jim Eno (Spoon, Future Islands, Telekinesis, and much, much more.) as producer, the band was able to let their wings spread and create something unique, fresh and memorable.
"At my request, we rented a cabin in Fraser, CO. Proper studios always feel a bit like a man-cave to me. I wanted to work in a more neutral space. We brought our own gear and gave ourselves two weeks to work. Our experience working with producers in the past gave us the confidence and understanding we needed to take the project on ourselves."- says Riley (describing the studio setting)
I'll be honest, it took me a few listens to really grasp the album, but after the third or fourth listen of, "In the Morning I'll Be Better," the album's first track -- I was hooked. It gave me that warm fuzzy feeling, like when you first get a tattoo and all you can think about is getting more tattoos, and then soon enough you're running out of space on your arm, so you decide to get a triangle tattooed on it. Which triangle? Isosceles, obviously. But, you see that short spiral I just went down? Yours Conditionally made me do that from start to finish, over and over again. Every time I listened, I found myself discovering something new. Something that made me feel a different way after each listen. There was something that kept pulling me back in some sort of Godfather style. I couldn't stop listening to it for a week or so.
After the albums first track comes "My Emotions are Blinding," an emotional (no pun intended) track that's full of Moore's elegant, yet youthful vocals backed by Riley's cascading guitar licks that feel like they go on forever, and ever. The consistent drumming matches perfectly with its rhythmic brother on bass. It's catchy. It's harmonious and tells a story that feels like the band is putting on you to decide what it means.
"Baby Don't Believe," is a brooding track full of lo-fi channeling choruses and, wreaks of some sort of '70s Laurel Canyon influence that I can't quite put my finger on. Give the album a few spins and see what sticks.
Overall, this album is a confident and refreshing take on a band that is full of so much potential. Watching this band grow, develop and evolve has been an absolute pleasure, and as always, I can't wait to see what's next.
Plus, The band just released a commercial for the album starring Zosia Mamet ("Girls"), you can watch/share the video here.
The band currently kicked off their tour this week which will take them through the end of March. They will be playing their hometown show on March 4th at The Bluebird Theater.
February 21 Phoenix, AZ Crescent Ballroom
February 22 San Diego, CA The Irenic
February 24 Los Angeles, CA The Roxy (SOLD OUT)
February 27 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
February 28 Seattle, WA Neumo’s
March 1 Vancouver, BC Biltmore Cabaret
March 3 Salt Lake City, UT The State Room
March 4 Denver, CO Bluebird Theater
March 7 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock Social Club
March 8 Madison, WI High Noon Saloon
March 9 Chicago, IL Thalia Hall
March 10 Detroit, MI The Magic Bag
March 11 Toronto, ON Horseshoe Tavern
March 14 Cambridge, MA The Sinclair
March 18 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
March 19 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
March 21 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
March 22 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom