New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Ike Reilly is a kind of natural resource, mined from the bedrock of music. All the values that make rock important to people—storytelling, melody, rage, laughter—are part and parcel of every Ike Reilly show I have ever seen. One of the best touring acts in the country, Reilly's band takes it as a personal challenge to upend and amaze every room they play in." - David
Carr, New York Times
Libertyville, IL indie rock singer-songwriter Ike Reilly is set to release his seventh studio album, Crooked Love, on CD and digital formats on May 18, 2018 via Rock Ridge Music. (A vinyl version will be released later this year.) Since his major label debut, the groundbreaking Salesmen and Racists, Reilly has been making punk/folk/blues influenced rock 'n' roll records that lean heavily on stories of outsiders with keen details and broad strokes that insinuate a crack in the American dream. Reilly's band, The Assassination, has been called one of the best live bands in America, and the body of recorded work they've turned out has been poetic, rebellious, wholly original, and critically acclaimed.
Still, Reilly and co-producer Phil Karnats (Secret Machines, Tripping Daisy, Polyphonic Spree) felt that Reilly's best takes had never been recorded. The lucidity and rhythm of Reilly's performances that Karnats had witnessed in hotel rooms, backstage, and on tour buses had never been captured. "I wanted to create a setting where Ike could sing and play guitar at the same time, with the band in the same room... no headphones and minimal isolation," says Karnats. "There's always been a freshness to playing the songs together that's hard to harness when recording in the more common, modern, sense where you do rhythm tracks first, then overdubs and vocals last. This time, Ike did his thing and we developed the arrangements based on his vocal approach, cadence, phrasing, intensity and all that. I think, in the end, we ended up with some killer songs that have a strangely unique, slightly off-center, vibe."
Joining Reilly (vocals, guitar, harp) and Karnats (guitar) in the studio were Peter
Cimbalo (bass, percussion), Dave Cottini (drums, percussion, vocals), and Adam Krier (guitar, keyboards, vocals). From the apocalyptic playfulness of "Missile Site," to the weary let's-get-it-on abandon of "Don't Turn Your Back on Friday Night," to the escapist urgency of "Boltcutter Again," to the gnarly, percolating groove drip of "Clean Blood Blues," Crooked Love shows how Reilly has landed himself squarely in the raw, emotional zeitgeist of the times. "Chasing that timeless feel in a time like 2018 can be a tall order but we did it," Reilly admits. "Nobody sounds like this… musically or sonically. It's f*cking authentic. I never made a record before that sounds like this."
Indeed, this collection of succinct, tight-but-loose songs reflects the continuing evolution of Reilly's ever-visceral wordsmithing, as married with a Murderer's Row of backing tracks forged out of the intuitive interplay of his longstanding Assassination bandmates, not to mention the input of a few special guests, too, including guitarist Tommy O'Donnell, pianist Ed Tinley, and saxophonists Mars Williams and Bill Overton, as well as family legacies Mickey Reilly on vocals and Peter
John Cimbalo on drums.
One Crooked Love song that Reilly feels is the lynchpin to the record is "Been Let Down," which moves from shuffle to backstab in the blip of a heartbeat. The album's opener, "Livin' in the Wrong Time," also evokes a certain kind of "real feel," with a cool, steely tone and a psychotically festive sonic twist during its ear-grabbing solo section. Crooked Love shares the timeless quality that records that stand the test of time are able to evoke. "I've always been trying to get that timeless sense all along, but I think this record actually does do that," Reilly concedes. "I know I've fallen into the modern trap a couple of times in my recordings and with some of my lyrics maybe being a little too in the moment at times, but I hope I've been able to achieve something else with the direction and attitude of this one."
Walking that fine line between being topical and universal is another goal Reilly wanted to attain with this album. "I'm not sure if all the songs reflect what's going on right now," Reilly says. "The songs were written under the shadow of all of that, but most people still just need and want love, affection, sex, and the simple pleasures of human contact. I have optimism for society and for its survival, though I am pretty fatalistic in the sense of, 'This is what it is. It's right here, it's right now, and this is it.' That can either drive you crazy or motivate you to squeeze every last drop out of it, you know?"
Press praise for Reilly's music has been extensive over the years. Chicago
Magazine praised Reilly's "outlandish storytelling, underdog combativeness, and slapstick humor," Cincinnati City Beat lauded the "scuffed and noir-ish tales of modern life. ...fusing dirty R&B grooves into his swaggering Pop/Roots sound... Ike Reilly's most amazing accomplishment… is that every new album is his best ever and yet the new one in no way ever diminishes the greatness of his existing catalog." Stereo
Subversion called Reilly a "genre-bending journeyman" and a "rough-around-the-edges Americana troubadour." And The Big Takeover appreciated Reilly's "wordy but focused storytelling in his lyrics, his rock & roll sneer and his rough-edged folk rock sound."
Minneapolis City Pages said, "Equal parts punk rocker, poet, and blue-collar barfly, Reilly's stories are as bizarre and filthy and honest and pure as the people who come out to his shows. His songs reach out and grab people, shake them by the collars, make them jump up and down." Chicago
Tribune admired that Ike "merges his affinity for folk-punk narrative and anthemic guitar chords with hip-hop's vocal cadences and rhythmic drive." Philadelphia Inquirer enjoyed his "street-poet swagger, audacious humor, and industrial-strength hooks." PopMatters.com called him "the best songwriter in America… Hilarious, unsettling, raw… but mostly just rocking." USA Today hailed Reilly as "never less than original… ferociously intelligent… always worth listening to." And Los Angeles Times described Reilly's music as "…barroom rock narrated by a wiseguy who's as comfortable regaling PhDs and poets as he is pimps and porn stars."
Reilly plans to tour in support of Crooked Love and recently announced additional tour dates in support of the album release, including a late-June residency at Rockwood Music
Hall in New York City, and shows in Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia, Asbury Park, and Washington, DC. (See tour schedule below for a list of all confirmed dates.)
To kick off the album release, Reilly is currently in the midst of dual solo residencies in Chicago
(at Old Town School of Folk Music) and Minneapolis (at Icehouse). The remaining residency show dates are included in the list of confirmed dates below. When promoting the residency appearances in the Twin Cities area, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune admired his "hard-to-resist new album" as "a sharp collection of shambling folk-punk blues with Dylanesque echoes," and gave his live show some props for "his facile and funny between-song observations and comments."
Ike Reilly Tour Schedule
May 17th - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk Music
May 18th - Cedar Rapids, IA - CSPS Hall (Legion Arts
May 23rd - Minneapolis, MN - Icehouse (w/Natalie Lovejoy)
May 24th - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk Music
(w/Half Gringa [solo])
May 31st - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk Music
June 16th - Pittsburgh, PA - Kollar Club
June 20th - Cambridge, MA - Atwood's
June 21st - Cambridge, MA - Atwood's
June 22nd - New York, NY - Rockwood Music
June 23rd - New York, NY - Rockwood Music
June 25th - New York, NY - Rockwood Music
June 26th - Asbury Park, NJ - The Saint
June 27th - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
June 28th - Vienna, VA - Jammin' Java
July 20th - Sturgeon Bay, WI - Makers Space (w/Brett Newski)