Members: Dan Keyes
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Something happened in the intervening years since you last heard Young Love. Sure, Dan Keyes is still masterminding music that sets dancefloors ablaze, but since the release of 2007's excellent Too Young To Fight It, there's been a shift, a subtle but assured transmogrification in Keyes that manifests itself in each carefully chosen chord, each deliberately delivered lyric. "It's different," Keyes says. "It's older. As a songwriter I've matured. I have a more focused, clear idea of what I want to do musically and lyrically." From the sound of One of Us, what Keyes wanted musically and lyrically was a record that is at once energetic and contemplative, moving audiences seamlessly from a dancefloor packed with strangers to a room filled with friends.
That Keyes writes such emotionally adept music comes as no surprise. Keyes has been writing songs since the age of 11, and has been immersed in making music since he started his first band while in high school, the hard-edged indie pop outfit Recover that signed with Fueled By Ramen. After Recover went on hiatus in 2005, Keyes struck out on his own. Keyes has packed a lifetime of experience into his adult years: he's lived on both coasts and a few spots in between, moved to New York with little more than a suitcase and a few demos, and traveled all over the world with Young Love. Upon returning from touring behind Too Young To Fight It, however, Keyes was met with the more challenging issues of adulthood. The social circles Keyes documented on that album had been altered immutably. "There's lots of heavy things that have gone on over the past couple of years," Keyes says. "It's heavy times. Friends getting married, friends having kids, friends passing away."
Though the experiences that inspired Keyes to write much of One of Us are specific, the emotions he conveys are universal. Even the album's title is meant to construct a sense of community. "It's something I say all the time, when I'm describing somebody. When we play live, or when I'm working with another artist or writing songs for someone else or doing an interview, I like for everyone to feel like they're a part of it. We're all on the inside."
Along with Keyes' newfound perspective, audiences will also hear an expansion of Young Love's sound, given Keyes instrumental experimentation. Having composed many of his songs on the acoustic guitar over the past several years, Keyes started writing on several different instruments, chief of which was the bass. "For the first half of the record, I wanted it to be groove-influenced, and if you want a song to be groove-influenced, you should probably start with the bass." Written largely on the back of a tour bus, Keyes and company headed to the Los Angeles studio of John King of the Dust Brothers (Beck, Steve Earle, The Rolling Stones), an experience Keyes, who was born in LA, describes as amazing.
Along with former Recover producer and constant Keyes collaborator Rory Phillips, Keyes set to work creating the binary aspects of the album, from the light-hearted, beat-heavy tracks to the deeper, darker ballads. "It's kind of like Side A and Side B," Keyes says of the emotional terrain covered on the record. "The first half is groove-oriented, and the second half takes a slightly darker, more rock path."
Indeed, album opener "Unafraid," an anthemic tune about embracing the uncertain is flecked with spangling, U2 guitars, a driving beat, and infectious handclaps. "It could be about success â [but] that's not what it's about. It can be about anything in life where you have to overcome that fear. Once you do the world opens up." "Black Boots," matches thick synths with squalling guitars, the perfect marriage of what Young Love does best, complete with a message of hope and harmony. That same spirit of community is captured on "Turn It Up," which paints a picture of driving around with friends so viscerally you can almost hear someone call Shotgun. "Down On Me" signals the start of the album's darker side, while the brooding "Can You Hear Me" is written from the perspective of a schizophrenic individual, frustrated with his inability to communicate his thoughts.
After the escapist tales and seedy fantasies of Too Young To Fight It, Keyes turned inward to mine his emotional life for inspiration, and has successfully blended all the expectation of a night out with the realizations of the next day. "Overall it's a lot more positive than the last record. It's not just about partying and having fun. The last record was more of a diary. I think there's a lot of hope and freedom and liberation on this record." Tour Dates:
Apr 10 - New York City @ The Studio At Webster Hall
Apr 17 - New York City @ The Studio At Webster Hall
Apr 24 - New York City @ The Studio At Webster Hall
Apr 27 - Los Angeles, CA @ Spaceland
Apr 28 - Los Angeles, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
May 2 - East Rutherford, NJ @ Bamboozle/Meadowlands
Thurs 5/7 - San Diego, CA @ UC San Diego
Fri 5/8 - Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
Sun 5/10 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill
Tue 5/12 - Portland, OR @ Berbati's Pan
Wed 5/13 - Seattle, WA @ Nectar Lounge
Fri 5/15 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
Sat 5/16 - Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar
Tue 5/19 - Houston, TX @ Walter's On Washington
Wed 5/20 - Austin, TX @ Mohawk
Fri 5/22 - Miami, FL @ Vagabond
Sat/5-23 Tampa, FL @ Orpheum
Sun/5-24 Orlando, FL @ The Social
Wed 5/27 Washington, DC @ DC9
Sat 5/30 Philadelphia, PA @ North Star Bar
Sun 5/31 Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
Tue 6/2 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
Thurs 6-4 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
Fri/6-5 Detroit, MI @ The Shelter
Sat/6-6 Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen