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OriginWashington, D.C., United States
GenresIndie rock, indie pop, shoegaze, dream pop
Years active1988–present
LabelsSlumberland Records, SpinART, Ché, Primary, Sire Records, Darla, Tiger Style, File 13, Manifesto, Rainbow Quartz, Rocket Girl, Frontier Records
Associated acts
MembersKurt Heasley
Past members
  • Harold "Bear" Evans
  • Ken Heitmuller
  • Mike Glasgow
  • Dana Cerick
  • Alex Hacker
  • Archie Moore
  • Beth Sorrentino
  • Jay Sorrentino
  • Paul "Pablo" Naomi
  • Art Difuria
  • Bryan Dilworth
  • Mike Lenert
  • Dave Frank
  • Michael Deming
  • Rich Costey
  • Robert Andreano
  • Thom Monahan
  • Aaron Sperske
  • Trevor Kampmann
  • Torben Pastore
  • Jason Falkner
  • James "Fuzzy" Sangiovani
  • Steven Keller
  • Mickey Walker
  • Gerhardt Koerner
  • Don Devore
  • Mike Musmanno
  • Don Piper
  • Michael Johnson
  • Tim Foote
  • Mike Hammel
  • Matt Horn
  • Tommy Joyner
  • Steven Keller
  • Chris McAllen
  • Trish Scearce
  • Mario "Pel" Lopez
  • Mark Scott
  • Ariel Pink
  • Dan Horne
  • Jesse Gallagher
  • Spenser Gralla
  • Noah Bond
  • Doug Tuttle
  • Matt Werth
  • Alex Craig
  • Travis Roseberg
  • Chris Colley
  • James Richardson
  • Reed Smidebush
  • Evan Mui

Lilys are an American indie rock band formed in Washington, D.C in 1988. The only constant member is Kurt Heasley, with the line-up changing regularly. Several of the band's tracks have been used in television advertisements, and the band's biggest hit was one of these, "A Nanny In Manhattan", which reached No. 16 in the UK after being used in a Levi's advertisement directed by Roman Coppola.[1]

Heasley collaborations and productions[edit]

Heasley has collaborated with other acts such as Nobody, appearing on the band's 2005 single "Fancy", a cover of the Kinks song.[2] and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, singing "Tschuss" on their 2003 album And This Is Our Music. He also contributed "effects" to Poole's "Snowcicle" on the band's Alaska Days album, and performed on Apples In Stereo's 1995 album Fun Trick Noisemaker, and Neko Case's 2009 album Middle Cyclone.[3] He co-wrote the Twitch Hazel contributions to their 1997 split double-7-inch EP Kramer's Beach. He has also produced recordings by other artists including The Asteroid#4 (Apple Street: A Classic Tale Of Love And Hate, King Richard's Collectibles), The Ladybug Transistor, and Mazarin and co-engineered Echo Orbiter's Laughing All The While.

Musical style[edit]

The band's music has shifted style several times in its history. The early recordings, including debut album In The Presence of Nothing, were strongly influenced by My Bloody Valentine.[1] They then moved through dream pop before settling on a new style that has been described as mod revival and a particularly strong influence from The Kinks, and other 1960s bands such as The Monkees and The Zombies leading to the 1996 album Better Can't Make Your Life Better,[4][5] Later releases included elements of psychedelic rock and a return to their earlier shoegazing sound.[1] The band have gained a reputation for sounding very similar to other artists and bands over the years, with Michael Sandlin of Pitchfork Media going as far as saying "You might say Lilys frontman Kurt Heasley is a world-class thief",[6] but as one journalist put it "I know we're supposed to hate bands that sound too much like other bands, but the difference with the Lilys is that they do it so blatantly and so shamelessly that it's somehow rendered okay."[7]

Robert Christgau described the band's sound as "amplified watercolors".[8]




  • "February Fourteenth/Threw A Day" (1991), Slumberland
  • "Tone Bender" (1993)
  • Tone Bender EP (1994), Summershine - first 2 singles re-released as EP
  • "Returns Every Morning" (1996), Ché
  • "A Nanny in Manhattan" (1996), Ché
  • Which Studies the Past? EP (1996), Sub Pop
  • Services (For the Soon to Be Departed) EP (1997), Primary
  • "A Nanny in Manhattan" (1998), Ché (UK No. 16)
  • Lilys/Aspera Ad Astra Split (2000), Tiger Style, split EP with Aspera Ad Astra
  • Selected EP (2000), File 13
  • Well Traveled Is Protest Lilys/Big Troubles Split 7" (2012), Speakertree Records

Compilation appearances[edit]

  • "Claire Hates Me" appears on Neapolitan Metropolitan (3 x 7-inch EP box set) (1992), Simple Machines
  • "Excelsior Plainslide" appears on Ten Cent Fix - A Jiffy Boy Records Compilation (1993), Jiffy Boy Records
  • "Strange Feelin'" appears on Sing A Song For You: Tribute To Tim Buckley (2000), Manifesto
  • "Dreams Never End" appears on "Slumberland Records - The First 20 Years" (2009), Slumberland Records


  1. ^ a b c Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 836-837
  2. ^ Mosurak, Doug (2005) "Still Single, Vol. 3", Dusted, 2005, retrieved 24 December 2009
  3. ^ "Here's Neko Case With The Weather". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  4. ^ Howard, Brian (2003) "A Man Up Archived 2009-12-04 at the Wayback Machine", Philadelphia City Paper, 22–28 May 2003, retrieved 23 December 2009
  5. ^ Lewis, Catherine P. (2006) "Lilys Everything Wrong Is Imaginary", Washington Post, February 3, 2006, retrieved 23 December 2009
  6. ^ Sandlin, Michael (1999) "Lilys The 3-Way Archived 2008-10-21 at the Wayback Machine", Pitchfork Media, April 20, 1999, retrieved 24 December 2009
  7. ^ Chang, Vickie (2006) "Sounds Just Like Awesome: 90s rockers the Lilys ripped off pretty much every band ever", OC Weekly, July 6, 2006, retrieved 24 December 2009
  8. ^ Murray, Noel (1999) "Rock Steady: Three bands stay true to rock 'n' roll, with mixed results", Nashville Scene, May 20, 1999, retrieved 23 December 2009

External links[edit]