If you haven’t already, get ready to fall hard for Love Inks.
As witnessed in this video that feels like a love letter to their hometown, the Austin trio has perfected that rare dichotomy of dark and dreamy minimalist pop that somehow feels right jamming on the stereo on a sunny day.
In the midst of a four-week tour that's taking them all over the USA, Sherry LeBlanc, Kevin Dehan and Derek Brown took the time to share their favorite pictures, stories and songs from the road, giving the rest of us a rare peek inside life in the van.
Spoiler alert: Minneapolis Rules!
Also: These guys love each other almost as much as they love Steely Dan.
Catch them when they swing through town this Saturday, November 2, to play Red 7 — a reunion show of sorts with their road buddies The Blow — before getting right back in the van and heading to Birmingham.
Final hint: The following slideshow is best enjoyed with Love Inks' Spotify playlist Songs That Ruled the Road:
Derek: “This tour is the longest one I've ever been on. I probably overpacked, but I figured better safe than sorry. I always load up on books before we hit the road. My headphones have now been on three tours with me, and a sketchbook is always necessary.”
Sherry: “By the time we're home from this tour ,we'll have traveled more than 13,000 miles. I like this picture because it's a snapshot of our first night on the road. Not much to it, just the back of Kevin's guitar that he played while I fell asleep next to him in a Memphis motel.”
Sherry: “We have the opportunity to see so much of the country. The only downside is that it's all through a van window. This is a dashboard shot of the Pennsylvania hills on our way to New York.”
Sherry: “We usually drive 6-9 hours a day, and I pass the long drives by writing postcards to friends. I picked this one up at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco during our 2011 winter tour. It's a picture of Neal Cassady — the quintessential spirit guide for touring bands. It had one of my favorite Brautigan poems, 'Trick or Treating Down to the Sea in Ships,' on the back."
Sherry: “This tree was the first thing we saw pulling up to the Museum of Fine Arts for our Boston show. Even though I lived in the midwest, I've been in Texas for 20 years. Seeing seasons change blows my mind every time I'm out of the state."
Sherry: “Our show at Boston's Museum of Fine Art was the perfect tour kickoff. Our friend Andrew DeFrancesco snapped this pre-show shot of the band in the empty auditorium. We should probably take a shot at our last show so everyone can see what six weeks of tour does to a person physically. “
Sherry: “I turned the camera on Andrew while we were sound checking. He's a brilliant photographer and the co-director of our newest video for the song “Time.” He's seen us at our best and worst. Most notably, he saw us perform with a band called Pussy Barn in Delaware — one of the worst shows we've ever played."
Sherry: "After the Boston show, we were able to do a quick run through the museum. Andrew snapped this picture of Kevin & Derek in front of the museum's logo. "
Kevin: "MFA Boston, cool light stuff, Andrew and Derek."
Kevin: “Derek in front of a Dan Flavin light installation in Boston. This museum had really great stuff in it and made me wish Austin had a museum this good. Our friend who is a great photographer, Andrew De Francesco, came along with us and snapped some great stuff while we were there. This is one of his shots. If you're ever in Boston, visit their MFA.”
Sherry: “We had a great show in Cleveland. There was a rowdy crowd that was crawling on the sound platform and dancing like crazy. We left the venue around 2am and headed to a motel about 40 minutes outside of the city. As we unloaded everything into the motel, we realized Kevin's suitcase was missing. Kevin and Derek decided to head back to Cleveland around 3am to search for the missing bag. They found a guy sitting on it in an alley around the corner from the venue and drove back to the motel blasting Steely Dan, celebrating this true victory of the road.”
Derek: “This is how I've bonded with Melissa from The Blow. We always have a smoke and discuss how we think the show went. I've really enjoyed getting to know her. We both share a passion for electronic music, and I love to pick her brain.”
Sherry: “Kevin sound checking before our show in Chicago at Lincoln Hall. That shirt has the potential to really spook someone in a dark room. Like headless Phil Collins is coming for you.”
Sherry: “The cover of the Blow's new album is a still shot of one of Melissa's light installations. Their live show revolves around interacting with light and recreating versions of these installations. This image shows Khaela's shadow creeping into the light form while performing.”
Sherry: “We learned an awesome lesson on this tour. Deep in the heart of the Midwest is one of the country's best-kept secrets — Minneapolis, Minnesota. Before this trip, I would have sworn on my life that it was Detroit, but Minneapolis truly has our hearts now. We played at a venue called the Cedar Cultural Center. It's a huge venue with this incredible green room. Instead of a single room, it's a full apartment with dressing room, shower, kitchen, multiple rooms and a turntable with records so you can DJ your own dance party!”
Derek: “This was the morning after our show in Minneapolis. I hadn't realized that there was this housing project behind the venue until then. I snapped this picture of the busses picking up the children for school.”
Sherry: “In Minneapolis, the staff asked us if we wanted to play any intro music before we played. I told them that we would love it if they could play some Steely Dan. The Blow overheard this, and it started an all night music geek-out fest. After we were both done playing, we took turns spinning records for each other. This is a shot of Khaela putting something on. I imagine it's Bowie, but I don't remember. Once the record-playing started, the staff at the venue got into it, too. We tapped a keg, and it turned into a late-night party. The best.”
Derek: “The bathroom wall of the green room in Minneapolis was covered in Simpsons fan art, but this was our favorite. It would make a great tattoo.”
Sherry: “This is Derek and Kevin with Michael Lord, the assistant director of events at the Cedar Cultural Center. The universe rarely throws this kind of a person in your path, so you've gotta hold on tight. I kept telling him he was our good luck totem. In the morning, he had coffee ready for us and found a restaurant that had gluten-free food. On top of all of that, he bought breakfast! “
Sherry: “This was our first tire blowout. We lost two tires in the first 6,000 miles and have been really lucky both times. This one was right after a snowstorm in Denver, but the weather had just let up, and we blew out in an area that had a closed lane. Our second blowout was next to a picturesque mountain lake in Oregon. Not too shabby for a shit situation.”
Sherry: “Another windshield shot on our drive from Minneapolis to Denver. The van is the ultimate room with a view.”
Kevin: “Derek in Nampa, Idaho flexing hard in front of this 280Z 10 Year Anniversary Gold Edition with gold rims. It was the only car in the town center, and I decided I was going to steal it and tour behind our van in it."
Kevin: “Melissa from The Blow sets up her rig either in the middle of the venue or kind of off to the side and has a cool lighting setup. Khaela calls her the captain of their voyage. She's got some great gear back there and is running the lights and music throughout the show. She also has something she calls 'fro power.'"
Sherry: “We're with the Blow for two legs of their tour, but split from them for our West Coast dates. This was after the end of our first run of shows with them. Anna is traveling with them and helping with driving, merch sales and more. She's awesome!”
Derek: “This strange painting of Jesus was in a seedy bar that we played in Spokane. One of my idols is David Lynch, so I was really excited to go to the city where he grew up. It didn't take long to see how Spokane influenced his work. It’s a truly bizarre place.”
Sherry: “After Kevin took the photo of Derek with the 280z, we decided the hard pose with classic cars is a Love Inks staple. This Delorean was parked outside of my friend Mark's place in Seattle, so Kevin went for the hard pose. The best thing about it is the heavenly ray of light coming down. The car gods approve.“