Everything You Need to Know About The Rosebuds

If you happen to be an indie and rock music fan, you will surely be familiar with The Rosebuds. Although they are not the face or forefront of the indie and rock music genre, this band did make a noticeable impact on the music industry.

The Rosebuds, in our opinion, are one of the most underrated Indie Rock bands there is. To truly appreciate these iconic artists, we need to look at their history. The best thing about The Rosebuds is that they’re more than just music!

We are as excited to tell you about them as you are to know about them. So, let’s jump straight into business and see what The Rosebuds are all about.

How It All Started

Two amazingly creative and like-minded human beings known as Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp met each other at a college they shared in Wilmington, North Carolina. According to Kelly Crisp, she used to be a stand-up comedian for an art group at the college. Ivan Howard started coming to all of their shows where Kelly performed.

He liked her voice and the fact that she was very comfortable on the stage. Ivan asked her to join the band Rosebuds as a vocalist, but she refused. Nevertheless, Howard knew what she was capable of and made her join. They both, along with their enlisted drummer Jonathan Bass created the band we know today as The Rosebuds.

music crowd

Jonathan Bass was later replaced by Alphin Stove as their main drummer and was later brought back when Alphin left the crew. They also signed drummer Lee Waters for their album “Birds Make Good Neighbors”.

The band thus originated in Raleigh, North Carolina, in the United States. Their songs mainly catered to indie rock music with a hint of the folk genre. They were active and released several albums between 2001 and 2014 with irregular intervals.

The songs were not major hits but boy, do fans of indie and rock music find them magical and appeasing in every manner. Merge Records found the Rosebuds’ tape in 2003 and published “The Rosebuds Make Out” as the entire first album in October of that year.

After the release of the album, Alphin departed the band and was substituted by Jonathan Bass for their 2003 tour. In April 2005, The Rosebuds Unwind, which is a six-song EP, was published, quickly followed by the “Birds Make Good Neighbors” in September of the same year.

For performances and tours, The Rosebuds were accompanied by Logan Matheny and Matt McCaughan, as well as Rob Lackey on drums. After that, the “Night furies” album was released in 2007, and the “Life Like” album followed in 2008.

The American Laundromat Records compilation “Dig for Fire” – is a homage to Pixies. The Rosebuds covered the Pixies’ “Break My Body” in 2007. The production also included contributions from the bands’ OK Go, British Sea Power as well as They Might Be Giants.

The band performed another song for the American Laundromat Records in 2008. “Just Like Heaven”, a homage to The Cure, used The Cure’s “The Walk” on this occasion. The Brunettes, Dean & Britta, and The Submarines were among the artists that collaborated on the project. In 2010, lead vocalist Ivan Howard joined the super-group GAYNGS to produce and perform. On June 7, 2011, Merge published The Rosebuds’ fifth full-length album, “Loud Planes Fly Low.”

Apart from numerous singles, their last album came out in 2014, after which both Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard parted ways to pursue solo careers in different places. The band is regarded as one of the state’s true treasures, as well as Michael Jordan’s historic stint at Chapel Hill and the recent legalization of sports betting in North Carolina.

Let us show you a small briefing about all the albums released by them, after which we will take you on a trip through all of their songs. The albums that they released over the years are:

  • The Rosebuds Make Out
  • Birds Make Good Neighbors
  • Night of the Furies
  • Sweet Beats
  • Life-Like
  • Loud Planes Fly Low
  • Love Deluxe
  • Christmas Tree Island
  • Sand+Silence

The Rosebuds Make Out

The first album was released by rosebuds in the October of 2003. It wasn’t their rise to fame, but a lot of songs became popular among indie-rock fans. This did provide them with the boost and enthusiasm necessary to take further steps in the industry and make themselves known to record labels like Merge Records that released this first full album with a total of 11 songs.


Many songs in this album were well known and are still praised for their simple lyrics yet touching music. Songs like Back to Boston and the Makeout song were a lot more popular than other songs in the album. The other songs include longer running songs such as “Wishes for Kisses”, “Drunkards Worst Nightmare”, “Big Heartbreak”, and the “Waiting for the Carnival”, while the album also included minute-shorter songs such as “What Can I Do?”, “Boys Who Love Girls” and “Kicks in the schoolyard” while the longest song at 5 minutes run time was the Makeout song as mentioned earlier.

Ivan Howard was the main vocalist and guitarist in this album, while Kelly Crisp played the keyboards. Billy Alphin and Jonathan Bass both were in charge of the drums, and Tyler Kendall played the cornet. The album has received a solid 7.3/10 by Pitchfork Media and a 4 out of 5 stars by All-Star Music.

Birds Make Good Neighbors

The second album was released by The Rosebuds two years after the first one in September 2005. This album was released under the label of Merge records in CD format. The Vinyl version came on the market a couple of weeks later, courtesy of Goodnight Records. It has received a rating of 78/100 on Metacritic.

Here’s the list of tracks that were released with the album.

  • Hold Hands and Fight, with a run time of 2 mins and 48 seconds
  • Boxcar, with a runtime of 3 mins and 39 seconds
  • Leaves Do Fall, with a runtime of 3 mins 53 seconds
  • Wildcat, with a runtime of 2 mins and 39 seconds
  • The Lovers’ Rights, with a runtime of 2 mins and 22 seconds
  • The Bluebird, that runs for 4 minutes and 26 seconds
  • Outnumbered, that runs for a total of 2 mins and 57 seconds
  • Shake Our Tree, with a runtime of 2 mins and 43 seconds
  • Let Us Go, with a runtime of 3 mins and 54 seconds
  • Warm Where You Lay, with a runtime of 2 mins and 53 seconds
  • A 4-track Love Song, with 4 mins and 16 seconds

The songs in themselves are based on pure indie and rock music. Here are the roles of the artists involved with the creation of the album.

In “Birds Make Good Neighbours”, the vocals were handled by Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard together while they also played the guitar and the keyboard in different songs. Lee Waters was in charge of the drum play, and Wes Phillips was behind the stand-up bass sounds. The album was rated a solid 8 out of 10 by Pitchfork Media and was quite popular at its time of release.

Night of the Furies

playing guitar

This was the third full-fledged album by the indie rock Rosebuds band. This one failed to garner as much attention and was unable to fulfill the fandom’s expectations, but there were a few songs on the album that hit our hearts differently. “I better run” and “When the lights went dim” are our favorites.

This album was also released under the Merge Records label and had a total runtime of about 38 mins and 30 seconds. It was released in the April of 2007 under the indie rock genre.

The album was rated a 7.7 on the Pitchfork Media, which was less than the last one. Other songs on the album included “Get up, Get out” and “Silja Line.” It also included classics such as “My Punishment For Fighting” and “Cemetery Lawns.”

In addition to these, the last two songs were “Silence by the Lakeside” and “Hold on to This Coat” followed by the song of the album, i.e., “Night of the Furies”.

This cannot be counted as the major release in the many albums produced by The Rosebuds, but it did have its fair share of affection and attention from the indie rock fandom.

Life Like

“Life Like” was the album released after “Night of the Furies” in October 2008. It had a total of 10 songs with a total run time of 33 minutes and 19 seconds. Pitchfork Media awarded It a solid 7.2/10, and it was produced under the label of Merge Record as always. Here is the list of songs that were released in the “Life Like” album.

  • Life Like
  • Cape Fear
  • Border Guards
  • Bow To The Middle
  • Nice Fox
  • Another Way In
  • Concordia Military Club
  • Hello Darling
  • Blackhole
  • In The Backyard

These songs run for under 4 minutes except for the “Concordia Military Club”, which runs for 4 mins and 54 seconds. Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard collaborated on the vocals, and they also performed guitar and keyboard in several tracks. The drumming was handled by Lee Waters, while the stand-up bass sounds were handled by Wes Phillips.

The track’s lyrics, all written by Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard, are an example of their creativity and their twisted sense of visualizing life and its various facets. They created music out of passion and to leave behind a legacy rather than for fame or greed.

Loud Planes Fly Low

This is the second last album released by the indie rock crew, The Rosebuds, before they went on to disband and stop making music. Pitchfork Media didn’t rate this album while it gained an A-rating from the AV club. The songs in this album are particularly longer, with each song running a little far over 4 minutes with 10 songs in the album.

In played in full, the “Loud Planes Fly Low” album runs for 41 minutes and 20 seconds. One of the unique things about this album is that it had an inspirational and motivational touch —many people saw it as music that could ignite hope.

This is a very bold claim, but believe it or not, these songs bring back hope when it is nowhere to be seen. The songs include “Go Ahead” and limitless “Arms,” which are our favorite and honorable mentions.

It also contains indie classics such as “Second Bird Of Paradise” and “Come Visit Me” along with the “Without A Focus”. The remaining ones are lined up as “Waiting For You”, “Woods”, “A Story”, “Cover ears”, and “Worthwhile.” All of them are epics ballads of the indie rock genre. The album was released in June of 2011, almost four years after the last release.


This was the last album released by the legendary indie rock crew Rosebuds and one of the best ones indeed. Although it did go quite unnoticed, the songs were well appreciated by the fans of the genre worldwide.

The album was released in full on August 5, 2014, under the label of Western Vinyl, with a total runtime of 40 mins and 17 seconds. The music in this album was a tad bit different from the others. It was a bit experimental while displaying the indie rock vibe in an intact form.

In this album, the duo Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard never once fail to keep the emotion of hope alive throughout every lyric in the entire album. To those having a hard time, these songs could mean a tether, support to stand by. That’s quite an amazing feat of consistency right here if you ask us.

The songs that were a part of this final album are included in the list given below.

  • In My Teeth
  • Sand+Silence
  • Give Me a Reason
  • Blue Eyes
  • Mine Mine
  • Wait a Minute
  • Esse Quam Videri
  • Death of an Old Bike
  • Looking For
  • Tiny Bones
  • Walking

All of these works from the amazing duo, i.e., Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard, and their crew will always have a unique and never-fading mark on the indie rock genre.

They have, throughout their journey, taught us how to keep hope high and have a different and livelier perspective about the life that we live. Their music shall always be kept alive, and we hope that they come back again and give us amazing tracks as they did for over 14 years.

Apart from all of these, The Rosebuds are also known and remembered for their singles. A few of them include “Whisper”, which was a single released on October 31, 2013, and was the last single ever released by them.

Another one was “Where the Freaks Hang Out,” which was also released earlier on the same day. A few other honorable mentions for singles are “Brad Cook is Not Your Man” and “4track Love Songs”, released in 2010 and 2002, respectively.

After the album’s release, Ivan Howard has taken his part of the story to continue it on the west coast by pursuing a solo career. On the other hand, Kelly Crisp decided to live on the East Coast to work as a writer.

Inspiration for the Lyrics

When asked in an interview, Kelly Crisp had to say that there were many things that helped create the songs that they put out. A significant influence on the lyrics was from the humorous side of Kelly, as she used to be a stand-up comedian before she joined The Rosebuds.

She says that after the launch of their albums, many other artists take a break to find inspiration in a lot of things. What she did was completely different. She used to go back to being a stand-up comic and, through her experiences, generate inspiration for the lyrics of upcoming songs. She further adds that Ivan always supported the idea and encouraged her to do what she did best.

Get inspiration for writing lyrics

One of the reasons Ivan Howard chose her for The Rosebuds is that she was quite comfortable on stage. Her style and sense of artisanship impressed Howard to such an extent that he went out of his way to convince her to join Rosebuds even though she had refused. She says that Howard made her do it. She wouldn’t have been a part of the band if Howard hadn’t made her join even after her refusal.

She further added that Howard was the one who believed that she could do it. She never thought she would be able to. Nevertheless, Howard made her join, and according to her, he was right, and the rest is just history.

Is There Hope for a Return of the Rosebuds Band?

The question is still unanswered since both of the main vocalists and lyricists of the group, i.e., Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp, have parted ways to take care of their solo careers, as mentioned in the beginning. What do we think about the return of the group?

Well, all of their songs have taught us a lot about having hope in our dreams, and we do dream about both of those legends coming back to give us more delightful and uplifting music.

Are we going to see them anytime soon?

Not particularly, but we can hope for a comeback from them at any point in time as both artists are well and good and live in the pursuit of their happiness at their chosen places. We hope to be able to get to see them again someday!