ONLY SIBLING’s debut full-length Get Well Soon (Other People Records) has an introspective self-awareness that sets it apart. Striking a balance between volume and subtlety, aggression and melody, the album explores the challenges of pursuing a passion while trying to maintain the many other aspects of life. The album dropped officially today, August 14th, and to celebrate, we have teamed up with the band to give you their special list of 10 records they listened to during the writing and recording of Get Well Soon.
The members of Only Sibling—Alex Basovskiy (vocals, guitar), Jordan Torres (guitar, vocals), Damian LaRocco (bass), and Alex Allen (drums)—met in high school and bonded over their shared love of ‘90s alternative, shoegaze, and emo. Bringing those influences together to make something distinctly their own, they soon released Only Sibling’s 2016 debut EP, What Keeps Me Up At Night. The EP opened the door to signing with Other People Records and the band began pouring themselves into the new material that would become Get Well Soon.
Only Sibling are particularly good at pulling together a lot of different influences into something that’s really satisfying and familiar but still has it’s own identity. Get Well Soon was recorded by Cory Coffman of Gleemer and he definitely did a great job of bringing out some of the band’s more shoegaze-leaning elements and creating a lot of dynamics from song to song without ever sacrificing the big guitars. Hear for yourself.
For fans of some big, catchy, ‘90s influenced stuff—think The Posies or Doughboys but filtered through some more contemporary punk and emo bands, sort of in the ballpark of Gleemer, Ovlov, or Superheaven.
Here’s Only Sibling’s list of 10 records they listened to during the writing and recording of Get Well Soon!
Jessica Lea Mayfield – Make My Head Sing…
This record got a lot of play in the van around the time we wrote Get Well Soon. I always loved the contrast of the soft vocals and super fuzzy guitars. This record really shows that you don’t need to be heavy to be heavy, if that makes sense. I think that dynamic ended up influencing us in our song And I Hate It.
Song: Party Drugs
Gleemer – Anymore
To say we listened to just this record isn’t fair, because we love all of Gleemer’s stuff. For the sake of not repeating bands, though, we picked this record. I’ve always loved how effective and deliberate their songwriting is. It feels like every note choice and every drum fill is perfect. When it came time to recording the record and the label suggested Corey, it was a no brainer. It felt super natural to work with him, and we definitely improved upon the record a lot while working together.
Song: Cooler Pt. 2
Now, Now – Saved
This is probably the most pop-driven record on our list, but I love the simplicity and catchiness of it. I don’t think you’d end up being able to tell, but I definitely took inspiration from this record in terms of song structure.
Song: Set It Free
Samiam – Billy
Samiam has always been an inspiration of ours. Whether or not it comes across that way, I’ve always wanted to capture their raw energy in our music. Definitely a favorite of ours for their guitar work.
Hovvdy – Taster
I had to put this record on the list because it ended up always getting played on the tours surrounding the recording of Get Well Soon. It’s simple, subdued, but so memorable. This band has the perfect vibe to me.
Big Bite – Big Bite
Probably the best current rock band if you ask me. Rocks your socks off. Makes me want to use a tremolo on my guitar. That’s all I really need to say about it.
Song: Relentless Healing
Pedro the Lion – Control
I struggle with writing lyrics, but David Bazan has always inspired me with how clear of a picture his songs paint. This whole record is a direct window into David Bazan’s psyche at the time, and I love that. We were listening to this record a lot around the time of writing Get Well Soon, and I think it ultimately shows in the fact that the songs are more transparent than our previous stuff. The songs don’t tell stories quite like Pedro the Lion, but they’re not as obscure as they used to be.
Song: Second Best
Weezer – Blue Album
Weezer may be an easy band to hate, but they’re the masters of writing catchy rock. I tried to take a similar approach to Rivers Cuomo when it came to writing melodies and structuring the songs. I don’t think the songs ended up sounding like Weezer, but we ended up having a simpler, more up front sound as a result. I used to get clowned on by the rest of my band for liking Weezer (wether they’ll admit that or not), but somewhere along the way they ended up becoming a favorite of ours.
Song: The World Has Turned And Left Me Here
Joey Bada$$ – 1999
Being from New York, we all have an affinity for NY rappers. We live on Staten Island where everyone loves Wu Tang, so it’s an added bonus that this record is in the same vein of that style. This was another van favorite.
Swervedriver – Mezcal Head
I’ve always loved Swervedriver because of how well they walked the line between big rock and atmospheric parts. They definitely ended up in the back of our minds when it came to all of the guitar work on Get Well Soon.
More about ONLY SBLING:
As Only Sibling gained momentum, Basovskiy began feeling torn between everyday life and his devotion to music. “A lot of this record ended up being about trying to figure out my relationship with everyone around me,” he explains. “It’s about trying to really think about why you do the things you do, and when you might be the problem.” He was fresh out of college with a degree in finance and no interest in it, and music was becoming a point of contention with his parents and causing the deterioration of his romantic relationship. But Basovskiy couldn’t turn off the bone-deep need to express himself through songwriting. “There’s an intangible feeling that I get from playing music that I’m constantly chasing,” he says. “Even though it causes conflict and doesn’t offer any stability.”
Get Well Soon captures the essence of this feeling: the unburdening of pent up frustration through loud guitars, pounding drums, and shouted lyrics. The band recorded the album in Fort Collins, Colorado with producer, engineer, and Gleemer mastermind Corey Coffman, whose ability to blend shimmering atmospherics with cathartic volume paired perfectly with their evolving sound. “We all love ‘90s rock and we wanted to make things a bit more streamlined with this record, but we also wanted to incorporate that shoegaze-esque guitar sound,” Basovskiy says. “Corey got that vibe immediately and made it really easy.”
The album’s opening salvo of “Screen Door” and “Loser” wastes no time in demonstrating Only Sibling’s knack for seamlessly merging various elements of the alt rock canon into something unique. The former a fuzzed-out barnburner and the latter a boiling mid-tempo shout-along, both songs lay out Get Well Soon’s lyrical stakes as Basovskiy takes stock of fraying interpersonal relationships and incongruent priorities. With its effects-drenched guitars and Allen’s driving beat, “My Violet” is an ode to making music that also confronts the fear of not being able to achieve certain other goals, while “And I Hate It” looks at the cost of focusing too narrowly on those benchmarks. On “Native,” Only Sibling take a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the cliches of being in a band while acknowledging their own indulgences—like the track-closing guitar solo that’s part knowing wink and part genuine adrenaline rush. Basovskiy interrogates his own instincts across the upbeat hooks of “Selfish,” then turns that examination into taking responsibility for the fallout on dynamic closer “Corner of The Bed.”
But it’s on Get Well Soon’s mid-album standout “Mt. Holly” that Basovskiy comes the closest to finding clarity. Centered on a roadside accident that the band witnessed while on tour, the song examines the instantaneous changes that can alter the course of a life, or take it away. This stark example of unpredictability highlights that Get Well Soon isn’t just about finding a way to make art, it’s about finding a way to make the most of life.