LA indie-rock outfit Rilo Kiley downloaded nine tracks onto a handful of CDs in 1999 and passed them out at their first shows. The effort was known as their self-titled debut album and has been out of print for just over 20 years. Members of the band have since moved onto other projects — vocalist Jenny Lewis was slated to tour with Harry Styles before the pandemic — but the group has now uncovered their debut effort and announced plans to reissue the album on vinyl and digital platforms in coming months.
After Rilo Kiley garnered the group attention, the band went on to release four other acclaimed records including their 2001 major-label debut effort Take Offs And Landings. But before they had ever recorded their songs, the four-piece arrived on the LA scene in 1998 and played their inaugural show at the now-defunct Spaceland in Silverlake. Comedian Dave Foley coincidentally attended the group’s first show and recalls pushing the band to record an album:
“January 1998, I was a young man, young compared to now, hanging out in LA’s alt. rock club scene. One night in particular, I found myself at Spaceland, at the bar drinking when a band started playing. They were good, so good that I stopped fighting for the attention of the bartender and turned to see who it was. On stage was a very young, delightfully unpretentious group named Rilo Kiley. Between songs they were charming, smart and funny. During songs they were brilliant. After the set I introduced myself and learned that this was their first public performance. I was astonished. They invited me back to their rehearsal space for Thai food and to hear some songs they didn’t have room for in the set. Dreamily, I filled my belly with noodles and my head with one great song after another. I was in a full on, pop music fan swoon. Having decided to force myself into their lives, I suggested (insisted) that I should fund a demo recording. They relented. I also tried to talk them into changing the band’s name. They were unrelenting. A lot of years have passed. I remain proud to know Rilo Kiley and grateful that I had the opportunity and ability to be of some help”.
Watch Rilo Kiley’s 1999 “Frug” video above and see their self-titled album cover art and tracklist below.
6. “Teenage Lovesong”
Rilo Kiley is out 10/2 via Little Record Company. Pre-order it here.
Some of the artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.