the layaways

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"J'aime bien les chansons de The Layaways." -- La Blogotheque
"...about as melodic and hooky as indie pop can get." -- Absolute Powerpop
"These are songs that you want to take home with you, curl up with, hold them close..." -- The Big Takeover
"Hushed, lush, dreamy, tasteful, moody, shoegaze, dreampop..." -- Sixeyes more reviews

The Layaways, indie rock band from Chicago
The Layaways play indie rock. Or, to be a little more precise, "bittersweet, melodramatic indie pop hooks." Or "moving, refreshingly un-mentalist guitar pop." Or "melodic, garage-influenced shoegaze." The group's catalog includes three albums of original material and a 2009 collection of off-kilter takes on holiday tunes that is threatening to become an indie rock Christmas classic. With a generous policy of free mp3 downloads, all four albums have been embraced by music bloggers, podcasters, and online radio, and terrestrial radio campaigns have resulted in top-30 chartings by dozens of college radio stations. The Layaways are scattered now, with two members in Chicago and one in Colorado, so live gigs are rare, but the group is still together and actively working on new music.

Nathan Burleson -- drums/backing vocals | David Harrell -- vocals/guitar | Mike Porter -- vocals/bass


Contact info (at) the layaways dot com     sign up for the mailing list     follow the Layaways on Twitter

Discography and Free MP3s
Maybe Next Year album cover Maybe Next Year Mystery Farm Records | MFR901 11/25/2009
  1. Joy To The World
  2. O Christmas Tree - free mp3 lyrics and song details
  3. Greeting Card
  4. Silent Night - free mp3 song details
  5. Auld Lang Syne
  6. Angels We Have Heard On High
  7. We Wish You A Merry Christmas lyrics and song details
  8. Away In A Manger - free mp3
  9. Maybe Next Year
  10. Repeat The Sounding Joy
Mastered by Carl Saff at Saff Mastering, Chicago. "O Christmas Tree" mixed by Dan Dietrich at Wall to Wall Recording, Chicago. Cover design and layout by Kyra Jacobs Foster.
The Space Between album cover The Space Between Mystery Farm Records | MFR801 | 11/11/2008
  1. Keep It To Yourself - free mp3
  2. Where The Conversation Ends - free mp3
  3. All Around The World - free mp3
  4. On Any Given Saturday - free mp3
  5. January - free mp3
  6. Come Back Home - free mp3
  7. Note On The Door - free mp3
  8. Too Little Too Late - free mp3
  9. The Space Between I - free mp3
  10. The Space Between II - free mp3
Recorded and mixed by Dan Dietrich at Wall to Wall Recording, Chicago. Mastered by Carl Saff at Saff Mastering, Chicago. Cover design and layout by Kyra Jacobs.

The mp3 version of the album is free -- no strings attached -- but if you like what you hear, you can purchase downloads or CDs using the links above, or make a direct donation to the band via PayPal.
Christmas EP album cover The Christmas EP Mystery Farm Records | MFR601 | 12/19/2006

  1. O Christmas Tree - free mp3 lyrics and song details
  2. Joy to the World - free mp3
  3. Silent Night - free mp3 song details
Special thanks to Dan Dietrich at Wall to Wall Recording for mixing "O Christmas Tree" and to Kyra Jacobs for the nifty cover design.


We've Been Lost album cover We've Been Lost Mystery Farm Records | MFR401 | 12/07/2004
  1. Silence - free mp3 lyrics and song details
  2. The Long Night - free mp3
  3. Lying and Stealing
  4. We've Been Lost
  5. Splendor and Loss
  6. The Answer
  7. Nothing Left to Burn
  8. Just a Dream
  9. Every Time We Try
  10. Bombs Away
  11. Contagious
Recorded and mixed by Dan Dietrich at Wall to Wall Recording, Chicago. Mastered by Eric Masunaga at Modulus DVD, Boston. Cover design and layout by Kyra Jacobs.
More Than Happy album cover More Than Happy Mystery Farm Records | MFR301 | 11/11/2003

  1. More Than...
  2. Let Me In - free mp3
  3. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
  4. Touch the Sky
  5. Is This All - free mp3
  6. Ocean Blue - free mp3
  7. From Chicago
  8. The Truth
  9. Too Far Gone
  10. I Was Wrong
  11. For All the Times We Tried
  12. ...Happy
Editing and mastering by Eric Masunaga at Modulus DVD. Cover design and layout by Kyra Jacobs.



Reviews and Press

Maybe Next Year released 11/25/2009

"The album mixes vocal and instrumental tracks, layering folk-rock harmonies on acoustic guitars, and adding some heavier neo-psych sounds. 'Auld Lang Syne' channels the mood of the Long Ryders, while the throbbing bass line and subliminal lead guitar of 'Silent Night' suggests the end of a long night of egg nog. The backward guitar of 'Away in a Manger' adds a contemplative Eastern tinge, and the album finishes with the short, meditative instrumental raga 'Repeating the Sounds of Joy.' This is a sweet treat, deliciously musical without being overbaked for mass media consumption."
-- Hyperbolium

"...it's a smooth blend of indie folk tinged with just a bit shoegazey, psychedelic keyboard flourishes to make it sparkle. Perfect listening to accompany whatever holiday preparations you may be making today."
-- Bag of Songs

"...long time 3hivers The Layaways added seven new Christmas songs to their EP, which makes...a Christmas album! They infect a lovely version of 'Away in a Manger' with backwards guitar which adds a bit of psychedelia to [the] carol."
-- 3hive

The Space Between released 11/11/2008

"This Chicago trio have certainly turned my head with this record (their 3rd, I believe) . All 3 of them write songs but most are done by guitarist David Harrell and bassist Mike Porter. At times the sounds gets a bit jagged like Spoon while others it more melodic and I was reminded of Galaxie 500 a bit. Either way they have not forgotten the importance of songwriting (imagine that) and thus, THE SPACE BETWEEN is well worth checking out."
--Dagger Zine

"One of the most brilliant things about music is the ability express a mood or articulate a feeling that you just can't put into words yourself. Chicago indie rockers, The Layaways, do just that for me. I think La Blogotheque expressed it best when they said, 'J'aime bien les chansons de The Layaways.' Moi aussi. Their bittersweet, melodramatic indie pop hooks tap into a kind of universal woeful lament that anyone can relate to at some point in time in their lives."
--The Obsessive Compulsive Music Disorder

"...the Chicago trio of Nathan Burleson Mike Porter and David Harrell make modest, moving, refreshingly un-mentalist guitar pop that if they had mod-pretensions would have the Yellow Pills anglophilic faction hooked and strung out."
--KDHX Radio Blog

"...the band offers up dreamy sort of melodic rock that's nearly aquatic in its sound...that is, you could picture yourself drifting along in a little boat towards a pleasant island retreat with this lovely album as your soundtrack."
--A Future in Noise

"...melodic, garage-influenced shoegaze."
-- RCRD LBL

"...their latest disc, The Space Between, is about as melodic and hooky as indie pop can get.

If you want some touchstones for their sound, Spoon and Earlimart come to mind, with the former an apparent influence on opening track 'Keep it to Yourself,' at least in its spare, tough open. But then comes the chorus, and it's bright and melodic as any power pop can aspire to be (it also helps that Harrell and Mike Porter are warmer vocalists than Britt Daniel). 'All Around the World' shares its title with an Oasis classic and shares the band's affinity for 60s pop as its jaunty beat and swirling chorus would make The Spongetones proud. The moody 'January' recalls Joe Pernice as well as Colin Blunstone, and 'Come Back Home' is where the Earlimart comparison comes into play. Another standout is the gentle 'Too Little Too Late,' a wonderful rainy day song. So don't make my mistake and put this one on layaway -- get it on your music player of choice now."
-- Absolute Powerpop

"The Chicago trio, The Layaways, a perennial favorite 'round these parts, return after dropping their festive Christmas EP more than two years ago. Their laid-back, '60s era sounds are absolutely delightening. Yes, they're so good that they induce spontaneous neology. On 'Keep it to Yourself' they flavor their guitars with just a pinch of fuzz, a dash of reverb, and a sprinkle of backwardness. They turn up the jangle on 'All Around the World' and their tag-team vocalists provide a subtle depth to this new full-length, available, by the way, in its entirety on their site in full share mode. Good peeps them Layaways boys. I hope they don't mind me adding my favorite track, 'Come Back Home.' It evokes a hot, languid California Summer circa 1967. Dig it."
-- 3hive

"Launching off a sonorous, rubbery guitar line that, melodically, echoes the hook from the Kinks' 'David Watts,' 'Keep It To Yourself' has the big-drums/big-chords bash and concise melodicism of some Nuggets-era -- um -- nugget, with a welcome helping of shoegaze drone. The song itself is pithy and unadorned, but the presentation is cool, full-bodied, and impeccably controlled -- not a note or sound is out of place.

Taking nothing away from David Harrell's understated, slightly processed vocals, I think his guitars are the stars here, presenting alternately as zipped-up-tight rhythm, circular synth-like lead lines, and droney dissonance. When the three sounds combine in the second half of the song, we definitely arrive in one of those 'the whole is greater than the sum of its parts' places. It can't be easy to make something this basically simple sound so fulfilling; it if were, everyone would do it."
-- Fingertips

"A new record from the ambitious threepiece from Chicago. Leaving their gaze influenced past one step behind, the new and (free) album shows more relaxed (american) indie rock ambition."
-- The Last Pop Song

"Midwest rockers, The Layaways, blend different sub rock genres into one tidy package. From indie rock (Keep it to Yourself) to 60's pop (All Around the World) they mix it up while keeping a consistent sound throughout the album. An upbeat album with a few mellow tracks, it has enough variety to keep it fresh."
-- WRUV Radio

"The artist of the week this week is The Layaways. Hailing from the windy city, this Chicago band just released their third album, The Space Between. Made up of David Harrell, MIke Porter and Nathan Burleson, The Layaways have a unique sound with great drum fills and airy vocals that will make you tap your feet and sing along. With their classic Chicago and consistent album rock, The Space Between is full of harmonies and tracks that are reminiscent of early rock and roll."
-- VIC Radio

"Cool mellow indie band"
-- Teenormous

The Christmas EP released 12/19/2006

"Hushed, lush, dreamy, tasteful, moody, shoegaze, dreampop, all these words come to mind when listening to Chicago's The Layaways. And now Christmas-y can be added to that list as the band have dipped their toes into the voluminous Christmas music ocean and immediately snagged something worth eating. Here it is, hope you've got your fork."
-- Sixeyes

"...this is honestly one of the best versions of 'Silent Night' I have ever heard. The drums and bass lay down a simple backbeat which allows for the main melody to be voiced on the guitar. The guitar tone is gorgeous and helps lend a dreamy feel to the song. You know what? I don't think my words could possibly do this song justice. Please go download it and listen to it for yourself -- this is a song that simply must be heard."
-- Free Christmas Music

"Be sure to grab the poptastic 'O Christmas Tree!'"
-- Shake Your Fist

We've Been Lost released 12/07/2004

"The Layaways have the dreamy, drone-y Jesus-and-Mary-Chain Britrock schtick down pat -- not an easy thing for a local band to pull off. This is the CD release party for their latest, We've Been Lost, whose songs will have you gazing at your shoes in blissful content for most of the set."
-- Time Out Chicago (Recommended Show)

"The greatest value to We've Been Lost? Simply being what all good albums should strive for: A wonderfully crafted recording built around tasteful songwriting and musicianship without sounding heavy handed."
-- PopMatters

"The Layaways make fine indie pop. Hushed vocals interweave with understated buzzing guitars. The whole LP is a revelation from the start. It reminds of the Radio Dept in that the band seem to have similar musical influences. This isn't retro music though. There is enough new here to make this a very 2005 LP."
-- Lostmusic

"Catchy Guided by Voices-like rockers who lay it on sweetly and sincerely, just like Lionel Richie."
-- WRUV Radio

"The Layaways favor a less noisy approach to their brand of moody Indie-pop, preferring to craft swirling melodies with classic Indie-rock changes that appear exactly when they should. Opening track 'Silence' recalls Jesus and Mary Chain the most, and it's by far the most rocking song on the album. It's pretty much perfect, with a hooky chorus that sticks to your brain immediately. As good as 'Silence' and the rest of the songs on 'We've Been Lost' are, 'The Answer' is THE song here, and the one that probably will have you stuck to the repeat button for a while. It's gorgeous, dreamy pop with hooks galore and some nice harmony vocals on the chorus that seem to announce that it's summer, you're in love, and everything is right with the universe. Who doesn't want to feel like that?"
-- Indieworkshop.com

"...when they get together to write music, it's magic."
-- Somewhere Cold

"An untamed growl of guitar noise lays at the heart of this pop confection, like a bit of crunchy frog sealed within succulent Swiss chocolate, as it were. It's a simple song, but the vibe works well for me, a vibe constructed through a combination of an appealing melody and a knowing ability to romp through some of the choicer specimens in rock'n'roll's sonic back catalog: from Jesus and Mary Chain-esque squalls of sound to Yo La Tengo-ish understated vocalizing to (this is the kicker, for me) a Cars-like use of catchy synthesizer riffs."
-- Fingertips

"The Layaways have the shoegaze and blissful dreampop down the way it should be. They have the elements I previously mentioned of what made the JAMC my favorite band. The one thing impresses me the most is how they find a way to not lose the vocals behind the guitars and bass. If I would have The Layaways earlier, they most likely would have ended up in my 2004 top ten. A must listen if you are into Darklands or 80's 4AD releases."
-- Mystery and Misery

More Than Happy released 11/11/2003

"A nice Jesus & Mary Chain-happy Beach Boy vibe comes slipping out here, a little less dark, and a little sparser. The vocals are smooth, yet yearning, and the mix of acoustic guitar with a nicely distorted electric gives the songs a depth that shines through the lightness of the melodies. There's also a beautiful flow of slight shoegazed moodiness that rolls through. I'm thinking The Church, Ocean Blue, Kitchens of Distinction, and then a dash of Elliot Smith...all mixed and buried under a generous helping of darklands and Stoned and Dethroned by the JAMC. These are songs that you want to take home with you, curl up with, hold them close--and pray that they are still with you when you wake up."
-- The Big Takeover

"...this is brilliant enough for me to want to play on this week's show."
-- Richard Milne, WXRT Radio Chicago

"Making a purchase on layaway almost seems quaint in this age of ever-expanding credit limits and easy ATM access. Essentially Chicagoan singer/guitarist David Harrell and a few guests (mostly on percussion and harmony vocals), The Layaways also sound like remnants of an earlier time. More Than Happy seethes with various psych pop, new wave and post punk influences; the closest equation I can come up with is The Jesus and Mary Chain minus a lot of distortion. Fortunately, Harrell's pastiches sound charming rather than antiquated, and this album is less a case of trying to spot each influence than trying to keep track of all the hooks."
-- Splendid

"Want to be the first on your block to know the coolest emerging bands in Chicago? Look beyond the obvious and check out four bands that started beyond the confines of the fashionistas...The Layaways' sound isn't punk; it's new wave -- new wave for 2003, at least, with hints of shoegazer and 1960s garage rock thrown in for good measure."
-- Chicago Sun-Times

"For those seeking respite in the thoughtful songwriting and pop sensibilities from days gone by, search no further than the Layaways new CD. Tapping into a diverse pool of musical influences, these 12 tracks evoke the spirit of early Beatles, R.E.M., and the best of the Cure..."
-- PopMatters.com

"The Layaways are a new band from the Chicago area, and they've just come out with an exciting debut album on Mystery Farm Records called More than Happy. The project, which is pretty much the brainchild of David Harrell, comes off as a carefully layered exploration of pop music with an emphasis on guitar and vocal melodies..."
-- Left Off the Dial

"...when I listen to The Layaways new full-length release More Than Happy it takes me back to those days of Alt Rock bliss. The Layaways bring that kind of New Wave Alt Rock feel into the new millennium with a touch of 60's sensibility."
-- South of Mainstream

"The Layaways' sound is very current ... in a retro sort of way. Everything '80s is now cool, and Harrell has tapped into that with a sound that's a little bit new wave and a little bit indie shoegazer."
-- Daily Southtown

"We have a new 'local' CD (local by way of Chicago). A great CD by a band called the Layaways. More Than Happy is the first recording masterminded by David Harrell (who you'll find roaming around Jacksonville every once in a while) doing most of the instruments and vocals. This album is for those of you who couldn't wait for those two hours on Sunday on MTV called 120 Minutes. Not the one hosted by Kennedy, but further back when David 'I wish I was Morrissey' Kendell was hosting. For those who were hip enough back then, you know what I'm talking about. It was all Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine...It was mindblowing music, mindblowing innovative videos...nothing like you'd see on MTV today. Anyway, this disc is getting constant play in the store so come on in and check it out."
-- Revolution Records, New Releases Newsletter


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