TWINS on SPIN.com
CBS Sports’ Sweet 16 city rankings by bands/music:
16. Ames, Iowa (Iowa State). Who they name: Modern Life Is War, Leslie and the LY’s, and (sort of) the Mountain Goats. Who they’re missing: The Poison Control Center, and the full stable of the previously mentioned Maximum Ames Records, including a new album April 1 from self-proclaimed power-poppers TWINS. Plus, Pennyhawk and Wolves in the Attic. Nearby Des Moines’ Max Jury recently opened for Lana Del Rey. Watch TWINS’ “Babe City” video below.
Tomboys on Parade review | punknews.org
Babe City Review | KRUI Radio
Our newest Track of the Week is by Twins, a group of self-proclaimed “power pop brats” from the not-so-far-off-land of Waterloo, Iowa.
“Babe City”, the first single off of their forthcoming albumTomboys on Parade, is an energetic track that perfectly encapsulates the tone of the album. That band channels their inner Costello with powerful yet bright guitars that let up (only slightly) for the song’s chorus. ”Do you know her name?” the band croons together, creating a harmony reminiscent of the Beach Boys but with a bit more attitude.
Twins’ new album Tomboys on Parade is out on April 1st via Maximum Ames Records. You can learn more about the band and pre-order the album here, and like them on Facebook. And while you’re waiting to hear the full album, check out the music video to “Babe City” below.
Tomboys on Parade Review | By Aaron McNally for the Pulse
In the wake of the noise surrounding the Beatles 50th “Ed Sullivan Show” anniversary, it would be easy to wax nostalgic about the continuing influence that the Fab Four has on contemporary artists, artists like Waterloo’s Twins, who are about to release their first full-length album, “Tomboys on Parade,” on Maximum Ames Records.
Resist that tendency.
Sure, the first track on the album features a vocal harmony almost identical to the one the Beatles used on “Twist and Shout.” Certainly, the second track starts with a riff and groove incredibly reminiscent to that of the Beatles’ “Taxman.” And, obviously, the title of track 9, “Ardsley Lane,” just sounds like it already is a Beatles’ b-side. I won’t bother to talk about Harper’s slightly pseudo-British accent on that cut.
Remember when Bob Dylan released an album titled “Love and Theft,” but he just stole that title from a book of the same name? Well, Twins are every bit as urbane as that.
And as unafraid. Backed by Maximum Ames records, the same regional powerhouse that has established acts like Gloom Balloon, Twins bills itself as “Iowa’s premiere power pop brats.” I wonder what House of Large Sizes would think of them being the “premiere.” But this lively troupe of punky balladeers can easily plow through any idle gossip about irreverence. Their irreverence is their flavor, as in the following lyrics to a song called “Big Boots”:
“He was made from whiskey, on a motorbike, to terrorize our streets at night.”
If Graham Parsons had tried to work with Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys on a record, it might sound like this. (A song ironically titled “Babe City” points in this direction.) But neither elder had as much energetic rage as this young group.
This record is definitely post-punk, but with a deep appreciation for their pop sources from the ’50s and ’60s. Its thrashy harsness is tempered by a romantic sweetness.
It seems like nostalgia. But it’s more of an emblem of what’s to come.
TWINS Live on Live From Studio One
Babe City | Featured on Music.Defined
Twins new album Tomboys On Parade will be out shortly from Maximum Ames Records, on April 1st. For now you can check out this new video they premiered last week on Powerpopaholic. It reminds me a bit of “Happy Days” on speed, or maybe “Three’s Company” if Jack Tripper was played by Har Mar Superstar and Mr. Roper was Jarvis Cocker.
Babe City | Premier on Powerpopaholic.com
So who are TWINS? The Waterloo, Iowa, foursome grew up on records from the likes of fellow Midwesterners Cheap Trick (Rockford, Illinois), Raspberries (Cleveland, Ohio), Shoes (Zion, Illinois), Luxury (Des Moines, Iowa) and Poison Control Center (Ames, Iowa), and they take their job of carrying the Midwestern power pop torch very seriously. The bands first proper release Tomboys on Parade drops on April 1, 2014 — April Fool’s Day. So here is a debut advance single to whet your appetite.
Tomboys on Parade review at Rid-Of-Me.com | By Bryon Dudley
The latest offering from Maximum Ames Records, Twins’ Tomboys on Parade, is a straight-up power pop record from the Cedar Falls-based band, who’ve now fully transformed from their earlier incarnation as Teddy Boys into an incredibly super-focused melody machine. There seems to be something in the sandwiches up there in Cedar Falls that produces great pop music, and between Dylan Sires and The Neighbors and Twins, I keep seeing the last name Sires quite a bit. I have no idea how many Sires siblings there are, but each of them seems to be making some great Iowa music that’s pretty damn easy to listen to, in all the right ways.
Tomboys on Parade follows in the tradition of bands like Big Star, wearing the pop heart on its sleeve, while always remembering to rock. A lot of pop music, for me, can fall into the “square” category really quickly, so it’s impressive when a band can maintain that balance. Cheap Trick can do it sometimes, The New Pornographers do it frequently, Sloan does it a lot, The Apples in Stereo, Fountains of Wayne, and a slew of others – Twins does it well, too. Right when you think “hey, wait a minute, is this song kind of square?”, they throw a curveball at you that keeps things interesting, often by using well chosen lyrics.
Songs like “Teach Each Other,” the album opener, have tons of little melodies interacting, and the whole record has a nice emphasis on vocal harmonies (always a sucker for those) and fuzzy guitars. “Babe City” features a stellar vocal performance, and has kind of a 50’s rave-up feel to it, and “Thankful” wouldn’t be out of place on a Lovin’ Spoonful album.
The rhythm arrangement on “Long Way Down” is pretty cool, with a Fender Rhodes electric piano interacting with the bass and drums in interesting ways, and I love it that they left some amp buzz in the mix (overly clean pop records can get annoyingly sterile). There’s a great little acoustic gem in the form of the track “Ardsley Lane,” an album highlight, showcasing Twins’ arrangement skills and showing off their strong songwriting skills by going toe-to-toe with a song that would make The Kinks smile (assuming the Davies brothers are smiling these days).
If you’re into solid, classic-style songwriting, lend this one your ears.
Album review: TWINS, “Tomboys on Parade” | Rid of Merid-of-me.comAlbum review: TWINS, “Tomboys on Parade”Bryon Dudley / 2 mins ago April 2, 2014The latest offering from Maximum Ames Records, Twins’ Tomboys on Parade, is a straight-up power…
Tomboys on Parade review | DMCITYVIEW.COM
I am nakedly, unabashedly, undoubtedly a fan of Twins. The music has a happy-go-lucky, early ’60s throwback feel to it that is undeniable fun. But Twins is not simply a kitschy nostalgia act. These guys — Sires brothers Luke, Harper and Joel, along with bassist Devin Ferguson — are genuinely accomplished songwriters and musicians, and “Tomboys on Parade” is a beautiful-sounding album. Mixed at Cedar Falls’ Jealous Dog Studios, “Tomboys…” captures Twins’ hopelessly optimistic sound in the best way possible. The band’s Beatles-esque four-part harmonies sound crisp and clear, and the guitar work of Harper and Joel Sires is sharp and clean. “Babe City,” the first single from the album, is potentially the poppiest of the tracks, but opener “Teach Each Other” is a perfect introduction to anyone new to the band’s sound. Twins is a band that I’ve enjoyed live every time it’s come to town. It’s nice to have a portable version to call my own.
Tomboys on Parade review | Little Village Magazine
My passion for music started to deepen when I discovered The Beatles in sixth grade. For the first time, I wanted to know everything about a band. This love of The Beatles opened the door for my appreciation of bands who were clearly influenced by the Fab Four. Often grouped under the genre of “power pop,” I was a sucker for bands like The Smithereens, Urge Overkill and Game Theory.
Recently, I’ve discovered Twins, a band that is carrying on the power pop tradition. The Cedar Falls band is back with their sophomore effort,Tomboys on Parade, released by the fantastic Iowa label, Maximum Ames Records.
Tomboys on Parade brings what can only be described as a survey of power pop, covering British Invasion bands like The Kinks and The Faces, as well as bands like Badfinger, Big Star and another Midwestern power pop band, Cheap Trick.
Over the course of three consecutive songs—“Teenage Lethario,” “Hello World” and “Big Boots”—the band flips into an ‘80s anglophile tip, digging up the bones of XTC, The Police and Elvis Costello and the Attractions.
But Tomboys on Parade is much more than just recycled guitars and harmonies. Twins no doubt spends a lot of time listening to the over four decades of music produced by power pop bands, but the results are impressive—sublimely polished nuggets of pop, washed in harmonies and falsettos, packed in backbeat and propelled by galloping guitars and sparkling arpeggios. The album is a damn fine slice of pop pie, and the vinyl version will spend a lot of time on my turntable.
Tomboys on Parade review | powerpopaholic.com
Twins “Tomboys On Parade”
Twins wave their power pop flags high, and produce a rocking happy-go-lucky style of music that’s easy to fall in love with. “Teach Each Other,” follows the Big Star tradition of intricate melodies, memorable riffs and clear harmonies. “Long Way Down” has another catchy riff, with enough quirky vocal styling to keep it interesting.
“Thankful” is downright bizarre lyrically and vocally the harmonies remind me of The Loving Spoonfuls. “Babe City” also has a optimistic, almost inebriated approach with heavy riffs and “ba, ba, ba” choruses. Even the Kinks-like ditty “Ardsley Lane” is a joyful acoustic gem. Like the video we posted last month, this is an infectious fun party album. Highly Recommended.
Band Bomb Shell tour kick off review | Chad Taylor
TWINS are, I’m not afraid to admit it, one of my favorites. I really dig their sound and how it has progressed and tightened over the past year and change. The first three or four times I’d seen the band, their live show had been in various stages of disarray, but the past couple of times the band has been firing on all cylinders.
TWINS sound is a delightful mix and match of so much stuff that it’s almost an illusion. Their sound bounces between power pop, some mid-career Beach Boys surfer sound, 60’s doo wop, and something that’s either a clever aping of very early Beatles, or a clever aping of early Oasis aping early Beatles, depending on how many more influences you want to shoehorn into the band.
Setting out on tour in support of their new album, Tomboys on Parade, TWINS finally feels like a complete band. They’re clearly proud of the work they’ve done on this new album, and now they’re completely confident in their live act. They’re an act that’s been getting progressively better for the past year, and now they’re clearly ready to shine.
Scene and Heard: TWINS, Christopher the Conquered, and Tim Schweigerbandbombshell.comWritten by Chad Taylor “I’m making this all up as I go you guys. So don’t take any of it too serious.” If Patrick Tape Fleming is Des Moines’ Lou Reed, then Chris Ford might just be it’s Andy…
iowavesmusic.com tour kick off review | David Murphy
I got my first taste of the “business” side of the scene back in 2008. For a couple of years, I was booking shows for the Des Moines Social Club and I pretty much knew about a quarter of what I should’ve in order to be truly successful. When the first official space opened on Locust Ave, I booked mostly locals, but occasionally I would get a request from a touring band, and I did my best to be accommodating. I was hamstrung a bit by running a space that was trying not to do a cover charge and also by having a small room looking for more of a coffee shop vibe. The touring bands had to take a guarantee, but I always felt we were more than fair in what we offered, but sometimes had to play to crowds who were more interested in hanging out than they were the bands. It was an uncomfortable vibe at times, but I feel like most of the bands enjoyed themselves. At minimum they were happy to get a paycheck and almost always played well. Except once.
I booked a band from somewhere in the Midwest. I want to say Minneapolis. Might’ve been Madison. If I were better at holding grudges, I would remember. They were to play at 9pm. At 9pm there were three people in the bar. They decided not to play. This blew my mind. While I wasn’t happy with the turnout, we did what we could. Sometimes things just go south. It’s not like their paycheck was tied to the door. They were getting their money whether there were 3 or 300. I mean, I get it. I have access to my traffic numbers and my heart sinks a little bit when I click on a piece I am proud of and see how many (or rather how few) have actually read it. But sometimes you just have to make art for the sake of making art.
Now, I understand that writing and performing are two different things, but I think that’s what held me back for so long. I feel (or at least hope) that I have stopped writing for the attention it brings and started just writing. Sometimes, I half-ass things, but that’s because I half-ass things. It’s who I am. But here I am, half drunk on bad scotch, writing about two shows I saw two weeks ago, just so that I can write. No one needs my take on these shows at this point, but I just want to write about them. Even if the people who do read it hate it, so what, I wrote something.
I think that’s why I had such an enjoyable time catching both Twins at Vaudeville Mews and The Giving Tree Band at Wooly’s, because while there were some obvious differences: the size of venue, a “hometown” (Twins are from Cedar Falls, but whatever, they’re from here) show versus being on tour, etc., both bands did something that I respect beyond just being solid musicians. They performed. They proved that sometimes when you believe in what you’re doing and the art you’re making, it doesn’t matter if there are 50 of your friends crowded up front singing along, or 50 people who like your band, but not enough to stand anywhere near that stage.
My night actually started at Wooly’s. The Giving Tree Band were slated to go on at 7, but at a quarter after, they hadn’t. Now, I understand that this is a common occurrence, but standing around in a venue that holds 800 with 1/100th of that actually in attendance made me feel really awkward. I felt bad that a quality touring band was going to play to such a sparse crowd and that the show wasn’t going to be able to overcome the lack of crowd. So, I did what any coward would do. I left. I decided that I didn’t need to talk about the Giving Tree Band. So, I hauled ass the 10+ blocks just in time to catch Twins at Vaudeville Mews.
All ages shows are such hit and miss sometimes, with shows starting at 5, there has to be at least a portion of the population that see such an early start time and just bail. Twins had a solid crowd. Not a sellout or anything, but a solid crowd. Most importantly they were an engaged crowd. The most important thing is that Twins had an engaged crowd. The people that came to the show came to see them and to be a part of their live show. Twins fed off of that, bantering with the crowd whenever they could. It doesn’t hurt that Twins might be the best live band in the state. I would say they are the best live band from the UNI area (funny enough is that the only other band that I think touches them from that area is Dylan Sires and Neighbors, and they’re all from the same family. Well, I thought it was funny…)
While the rest of the band holds their own and the quartet are an in sync power pop machine, the live show is driven by the manic antics of Joel Sires. He twirls and spins and his expressive face is captivating. Whether he is singing or simply as back up, he still seems to lose himself in the performance. They played for about an hour, mostly tracks off their newest album Tomboys on Parade, and with time to spare they hit some of my favorites off of their seemingly criminally ignored first album Funny Faces.
After Twins set, I was able to run back across the river to Wooly’s to catch at least part of the Giving Tree Band. Sadly, the room hadn’t filled up much more than when I left, with maybe three dozen people total. Maybe even more egregious was that all of those people chose to sit at the tables towards the back of the room, so there was a fifty foot divide between band and audience. At one point, I went to the front and leaned on the stage, but after a few seconds, I again felt super awkward being in such an empty room. I have been at small shows before and I have been to shows by myself before, but when it is a room the size of Wooly’s, it is really noticeable just how alone you are. I began to drift through the room, a bit lost and distracted. When I finally settled I noticed two things: there were guys at the back of the room who likely paid money to go to a live show and then played cribbage, which seems pretty assholy to me, and Giving Tree Band weren’t fazed at all.
I would’ve figured the lack of vibe in the room itself would be noticeable, and maybe it was at the beginning of the set, but by the time I caught them, they were in a solid groove. Their music is roots-rock and really fun. In a different timeline, they’re Avett Brothers popular, as they really hit that same harmony and charm while playing bounce-able, enjoyable music.
What I think was most evident about both Twins and The Giving Tree Band is that they seem like the type of bands that just love to make music. That the art itself is what drives them. I have seen Twins and The Giving Tree Band play to big crowds before, and it doesn’t seem like their style or ability changes much in front of a packed house or just a roomful of friends. However, I am a little embarrassed by the turnout for The Giving Tree Band and I hope they are willing to give Des Moines another shot, and I hope Des Moines gives them one, as well. Their energy and ability seems really up the alley of many people in Des Moines, if they could just get a shot. They might be the perfect band for a Simon Estes Amphitheater type show as their jam tendencies would speak well to the outdoor showcase (they played 80/35 in 2010, so they have played that type of show to that type of audience).
Back in 2011 I saw a band I really liked with like five other people. They were awesome. I put them as one of my favorite performances of the year, and one of the five other people gave me guff for it because there were only five people. I just felt like they were extra special that night. It’s just a special feeling when the great ones hit a high level, and you know that it is for themselves as much as the audience.
TWINS on Daytrotter
Getting older – if you’re still anywhere between 25-50 – should mean very little. There are more and more reasons why you can’t sleep in, but there are also more and more good excuses to play golf, if you’re into that sort of thing. Your waistline might not be as attractive as it once was, but that’s just the way that time deals with us people, cutting us down to size. Time goes for our bellies – plying us first with cheap beer and then with expensive pours of IPAs or imports – and then it goes for our joints. We have more people to answer to, but we need not feel that everything’s garbage and that we’re getting shit on. The sky is not falling and if we make the effort, we have even more opportunities to party with babes and kill it in the game of life.
The Iowa band TWINS – led by the Sires boys Luke, Harper and Joel, along with bassist Devin Ferguson – seem to shotgun a minimum of two tallboys before they do anything. They work up a sweat just thinking about how much damned fun they’re going to try to get themselves into that night and the night after. They think about girls (harmonizing prettily about them, actually) and turning their amplifiers up as loud as they can go, thereby achieving small fractions of epic nights. Some of them are married men and yet, there’s no stopping their boyish thoughts and fantasies about women and rock and roll.