Washington, DC-based Olivia Mancini and the Housemates came together in the spring of 2005 when a group of friends – Kristin Forbes (bass, vocals), Edward Donohue (guitar), and Jonathan Roth (drums) – agreed to help Olivia (vocals, guitar) put together some songs she had been working on. Naming the group was easy: The three musicians lived together in a house in Arlington, VA. Over the next year, the group grew to include honorary Housemates Dan Swenson (trumpet, organ, vocals) and Randy Scope (guitar). Two years later, the Housemates are still a band. But they are no longer housemates. The group has scattered to other parts of the city, and to other cities altogether.
Nevertheless, they have been busy. With Randy in the producer’s chair, the group just released its first studio album, This Kind of Life. Featuring songs ranging from alt-country to ’60’s pop revival to dirty rock and roll, the album is sure to entertain. Olivia Mancini and the Housemates are having fun, and you can’t help but have fun with them. A tight rhythm section, lush backing vocals, a splash of trumpet, a dash of noise guitar, and a sprinkling of sounds impossible to pinpoint are a swiftly moving vehicle for Olivia’s voice, a fine instrument in its own right. Olivia pleads, teases, sneers, and soars in equal measure, but always makes sure you are right there with her. The Housemates may have started as friends, but they have become a damn good band.
But they are friends first, and they’re never too involved in their own projects to help each other out. June saw the release of Randy and Olivia’s Washington Social Club’s sophomore effort, Bigger Than Your Boyfriend. Ed’s Donny Hue and the Colors (featuring Randy, Dan, and Olivia) released the critically acclaimed Folkmote in July. Jon and Dan continue to record and tour with Meredith Bragg and the Terminals. Dan’s Holy Attack, now with Olivia on guitar, is working on its debut LP, engineered by Ed. Meanwhile, Kristin (ex-Travis Morrison) rocks regularly with her own Kristin Forbes Band.