Text in englischer Sprache verfügbarThe indie pop duo Tennis pair swooning '50s pop melancholy with smooth-and-easy '70s soft rock in a beguiling, calming fashion that matches the sailing trips that provide them with inspiration. They formed on a months-long excursion and do most of their songwriting while bobbing on the seas. Patrick Riley helms the guitars and keys, Alaina Moore handles vocals and keys, and they often produce their own records in burnished, mid-fi tones. The band's 2010 debut album, Cape Dory, laid out their sonic template meticulously and they stuck to it for the decade that followed, with occasional tweaks like the more muscular sound of the Patrick Carney-produced Young & Old from 2012 or the more sophisticated song structures of 2020's Swimmer. Moore and Riley met while students in Colorado, and after graduating college they bought a sailboat and spent seven months sailing along the Eastern Seaboard. Post-adventure, they moved back to Colorado, and after getting settled began recording tracks that had a modern lo-fi feel but a sweet '50s pop heart. The songs were inspired by their trip and the discussions they would have about music while on board their boat (the Swift Ranger). Tennis' first single, "South Carolina," was released in the summer of 2010 on Fire Talk Records, to be quickly followed by their second single, "Baltimore," for the Underwater Peoples label. The rest of the year was spent playing shows (including a Daytrotter session in September) and recording their first album. Cape Dory was released in January 2011 by Fat Possum. The band toured tirelessly that year in support of Cape Dory, playing shows across the U.S. as well as jaunts through Europe and Russia. Following their seemingly endless tour schedule, Tennis quickly regrouped and began work on their second full-length. The album Young & Old was written and recorded in a relatively short three-month span. Produced by Black Keys member Patrick Carney and featuring drums by new bandmember James Barone, the record was released by Fat Possum in February 2012. The group soon switched labels, signing with Mumford & Sons member Ben Lovett's Communion Music, before releasing the Small Sound EP on Communion in late 2013. The trio returned with their third album, Ritual in Repeat, in the autumn of 2014. More accessible and diverse than previous efforts, the record featured songs produced by Richard Swift, the Black Keys' Patrick Carney, and Spoon's Jim Eno. Soon after the album's release, Barone left Tennis, and Riley and Moore began working on another album. Finding themselves blocked creatively, they set sail on another journey by sea, traveling from San Diego south past the Baja coast to the Sea of Cortez, where they docked and worked on music for four months. Once back home, they decided to start their own record label, Mutually Detrimental, and in late 2016 released two songs from their upcoming fourth album. The duo handled production chores themselves this time out and were joined on many tracks by their tour drummer, Steve Voss of the band Tetherball. Yours Conditionally was released in early 2017 as the group set out for a long North American tour. They found time to record more songs, too, and issued the five-track We Can Die Happy EP in November. Tennis spent a year touring behind the album and EP, then took to the seas -- specifically the Sea of Cortez once again -- to begin writing another batch of songs. Once back in their Denver studio, they finished them off and added a wider range of instrumentation, unique time signatures, and more storytelling in the lyrics. All the instruments were played by Moore and Riley, save some strings provided by Josh Zubot and occasional live drums from Voss, who also served as assistant engineer. They also brought in renowned mixer Claudius Mittendorfer to handle that demanding task. The result was their group's fifth record, Swimmer, which was released on Valentine's Day 2020.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 9. September 2014 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.
After a second album that added some decidedly mid-fi punch and pop to their lo-fi, lilting sound, Tennis' third album, Ritual in Repeat, continues down the same path. Working again with the Black Keys' Patrick Carney on about half the album, the band's sound is muscular and straightforward, with James Barone's drums driving the songs along powerfully and Alaina Moore's unique voice out front and center where it should be. Richard Swift is also on board as producer, and the songs he worked on have a little more of the first albums' dreamy quality, but also a stripped-down and focused feel that really works well. A third producer, Spoon's Jim Eno, is on hand to helm one song, the fuzzy ballad "Bad Girls," and he adds some of his band's sparse drama to the already strong track. All the shuffling of producers and slight variations of sound help to keep things interesting, and make it fun for indie rock trainspotters, but ultimately the album's success hinges on two important factors, the songwriting and the performances. Firstly, Tennis don't slack off at all in the writing department, turning in a batch of charmingly sweet midtempo tracks that have a swooning beauty, a couple end-of-the-night ballads that might lead to swelling hearts and a tear or two, and a few uptempo tracks that show once again that the bandmembers certainly aren't introspective wallflowers. The quality is easily on par with anything they've done yet, and a few tracks (like the slinky almost-disco "I'm Callin'" and the thundering "Night Vision") show some expansion into previously untapped areas. Secondly, Barone's on top of his game throughout the album, always providing the backbeat the songs call for. Patrick Riley's guitars are perfectly utilized and the whole band does a tremendous job of arranging the songs for maximum levels of interest without overloading them. Best of all are Moore's wonderfully expressive, pleasingly weird vocals. Tenderly quiet on the ballads, idiosyncratically tough on the faster songs, she gives the songs an extra boost of originality that puts Tennis head and shoulders above other bands doing much the same kind of thing. When you put together the sympathetic production, the strength of the songs, and the power of the performances, it adds up to another great record by a band whose members are in complete command of their thoughtful, tender, and sneakily hooky sound. © Tim Sendra /TiVo