Pretty Fort

A Little Lie: How Streaming and YouTube are bringing Halfloves to the Brink of National Recognition

Parker Reed // @reedcommaparker // June 10, 2019

There are a handful of groups from Iowa that are just on the cusp of becoming something greater beyond the border of the Hawkeye state. Music streaming has opened the door for any group to get any song heard by just about anyone in the world. In just the last six months, both Holy White Hounds and The Fuss saw their songs get added to major Spotify playlists, instantly shooting their visibility up (figuratively) ten-fold.

And now there’s a new member of this club.

Iowa City-based dark-pop band Halfloves have seen many accolades thrown at them over the years. From “the best currently active rock band in Iowa” (Iowa Informer) to “one of the most prominent bands in Iowa today” (Little Village), it’s safe to say they have their place in Iowa’s scene. However, all of that hype is based mostly around a single LP.

Yeah, Halfloves haven’t yet released a follow up record since their self-titled debut in 2016. Come February, the band released the first single from their upcoming sophomore album, titled “A Little Lie,” which found its way into a segment titled “Reviewing Your Music” on the popular music-based YouTube channel The Needle Drop. With over 2.5 million subscribers across a main and side channel, host Anthony Fantano has quite a reach and influence on online music culture.

“I don’t know if it was directly linked to the Fantano video or not, but it was about a week after that Fantano review that I woke up one morning and was on [the backend website] for Spotify artists … and I had a notification that said we had been streamed over 15,000 times in one day,” said frontman Jeff Roalson. “The song was at like [5,000] before.”

Viewers of the aforementioned video (which settled into over 118 thousand views) will notice a strong observation made by Fantano, and frankly many other listeners who took a chance on the track.

“None of us were surprised at all that a major component to most people’s reviews or discussions … is ‘Oh yeah, it sounds like Radiohead,’” Roalson said.

Criticisms or not, it caught the ears and curiosity of thousands of listeners and was presented to thousands more through Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” playlist which individually curates a weekly playlist that analyzes a lister’s history and compiles a group of songs specifically for that account.

“I think it was something that we were very self aware of before we had released the song. Radiohead is probably the band around which all five of our music styles and background converge the most,” Roalson said. “Thanks for making us clickbait, Fantano!”

While no finite details have been confirmed by Halfloves regarding their upcoming sophomore album, they did confirm that it has been mastered and it will come out in 2019. The band followed-up “A Little Lie” with “Small Hours,” a track which received much less Radiohead comparisons, last week. Both tracks are available to stream now.

Hear our full interview with Jeff Roalson and keyboardist Trevor Polk in June’s episode of Pretty Fort Interviews. A monthly series where we have laid-back conversations with artists we consider to be Iowa’s best.

“Be the best, everywhere, all the time, to everyone,” Polk said.

Read more cool stuff
© Pretty Fort, 2019