Album Review
Into It. Over It./Koji - IIOI/KOJI Split Album Cover

Into It. Over It./Koji - IIOI/KOJI Split

Reviewed by
Into It. Over It./Koji - IIOI/KOJI Split
Release Date: November 23, 2010
Record Label: No Sleep Records
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
The title of this split is IIOI/KOJI. Do you see that? Do you see how good those two names look next to each other? It's like Into It. Over It. (Evan Thomas Weiss) and Koji (Andrew Koji Shiraki) were born to create this split so their names could be written next to each other in big bold letters on the covers of 12" records. Well, the complements that Into It. Over It. and Koji lend each other don't end there. The two artists, who happen to be best friends, are both capable of writing acoustic and full band songs and fit together perfectly on this split.

Both artists have the tendency to pen intricate, deep slower-tempo/acoustic tracks, songs that let you into their emotions and let you peek into their minds a bit. They can also speed things up just a bit and create a little more rocking numbers in full band settings. Into It. Over It. takes the first side of the split and opens things up with "Wicker Park". Weiss' vocals are soft and inviting as he starts out in a low-fi quality. The song slowly builds up and by the end, listeners are exposed to a calming drum beat which is pacing a doodling guitar and layers upon layers of Weiss' warm vocals. The song is, for lack of a better phrase, stunningly beautiful.

"Humboldt" is one of those more rocking numbers as Weiss begins with a wonderful set of lyrics: "A split-second decision making process / I'm taking breaks from back-breaking posture / I'm heading down a spiral staircase turned around." The uptempo songs that Into It. Over it. writes are essential to his overall composition; without the riff-heavy parts of "Humboldt", a song like the airy, guitar-led "Ravenswood" just wouldn't be as appreciated. "Pilsen" picks up where "Humboldt" left off, while IIOI's final song, "Logan Square", is calming and more in the vein of the opener. I've already let this song lull me to sleep multiple times and it's a track like this that legitimizes the comparisons between Weiss and Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard.

It is certainly worthy to note that both sides of this split were recorded together at the same studio, with a slew of guest musicians from La Dispute, Castevet, and Cloudmouth. Those guest musicians shine on IIOI's side, especially in "Humboldt", the clear standout in my opinion. Weiss and Koji are said to have a very close friendship, as this split was labeled with the tagline "These are two best friends. This is what they made together." on No Sleep's webstore.

Koji's side of the split is similar to his recent Some Small Way EP. "Most of Everything" immediately shows his raspy, instantly lovable voice as he stabs listeners with "It was like seeing my face for the first time." It's nearly impossible to listen to Koji's intra-personal lyrics and not be hit with some sort of emotion, especially with how he delivers them.

Constructed much like the first side of the split, Koji has two rockers sandwiching the calmer "Matches". It's quite simply absurd to hear these two musicians one after the other, as just when you think you've heard one beautiful melody, another one comes up that obliterates your opinion of the first one. This is an absolutely awesome thing. The back end of the sandwich, "Shift", is the strongest song on Koji's side, as his vocals are again the concrete strength accompanied by frantic guitar parts. Koji's side is perhaps a little more predictable than IIOI's, a little more like what we're used to hearing from a singer/songwriter, but his raw talent and unparalleled passion make Koji equally as captivating.

Now, the real question with this split is, "What the hell is going on here, No Sleep and Run For Cover?" These record labels continue to find talent. Pure, raw, how-have-you-not-been-in-my-iTunes-my-whole-life sort of talent. Two months ago, I had heard a bunch of nice comments about these two musicians and now they are dominating my most recently played list. This split, along with Koji's EP and Into It. Over It.'s work with Stay Ahead of the Weather, are the perfect releases to round out 2010, and I'm sure I'll be listening to them throughout 2011 as well. They are the essential lighter side to the whirlwind scene that No Sleep and Run for Cover have created this year, and I can only hope that we'll continue to see these guys put out music.

It's obvious that Into It. Over It. and Koji are here to stay. Hop on board before the train starts moving too fast.

Recommended If You LikeBest friends being awesome together, Saves the Day, Dashboard Confessional, Death Cab for Cutie, No Sleep and Run For Cover bands.
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Bare Essentials1. Wicker Park
2. Humboldt
3. Ravenswood
4. Pilsen
5. Logan Square
6. Most Of Everything
7. All Below
8. Matches
9. Shift
10. Giants Sleeping
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Run Time: 29.8 minutes
Buy This.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 24
07:00 AM on 12/23/10
Fight to get it back again.
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drewinseries's Avatar
This split is awesome. Great review. Can totally agree about having Logan Square take me away to sleep at night.
07:24 AM on 12/23/10
Registered User
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dontdrivenaked's Avatar
This split is fucking awesome. The Stay Ahead of the Weather EP is rad, somebody please review that too. Evan Weiss does not get the credit he deserves, this guy is the fucking man. Everything he touches turns to gold.
08:15 AM on 12/23/10
Old Fears New Frontiers
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circletheworld's Avatar
Chicago Scene Ftw!!!!
08:35 AM on 12/23/10
You Will Always Have My Attention
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cscwell107's Avatar
So good.
09:13 AM on 12/23/10
Forest of Noise
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Hereformusic's Avatar
I agree with the IIOI Death Cab comparison, I also hear a bit of Punchline too. Love this release.
09:45 AM on 12/23/10
Super Nothing
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x1wingdangel's Avatar
saw these guys together in some house not to long ago, it was my second time seeing IIOI, he was great both times, and Koji blew me away. Great review, great album.
09:55 AM on 12/23/10
No Closer To Heaven
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Jaytothesyg's Avatar
Awesome..Only way to describe
11:11 AM on 12/23/10
Castle Builders
Been fly since I was a young larvae
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Castle Builders's Avatar
Wow that sounds awesome. I've been listening to a lot of Koji recently. He's gonna have another split with La Dispute coming out soon. If anyone knows where I can get the Koji song "all my life" that's on his myspace let me know because I can't find it anywhere.
11:24 AM on 12/23/10
Registered User
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grimis16's Avatar
love the split, Weiss makes gold everytime
12:38 PM on 12/23/10
Settler / Jimmy
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onetwentyseven's Avatar
Such a great split, definitely one of my favorite albums of the year.
12:50 PM on 12/23/10
Thomas Nassiff
retired staff member
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Thomas Nassiff's Avatar
This split is fucking awesome. The Stay Ahead of the Weather EP is rad, somebody please review that too. Evan Weiss does not get the credit he deserves, this guy is the fucking man. Everything he touches turns to gold.
That was supposed to go up with this batch but I was too tired to finish it. Soon, though.
12:53 PM on 12/23/10
Regular Member
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oceanic_sunrise's Avatar
I got this in the mail yesterday as a Christmas gift for a family member and the packaging is really nice.
03:05 PM on 12/23/10
Up all night, and down all day
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thesollopsist's Avatar
So many splits lately.
03:07 PM on 12/23/10
Welcome to the Blue Hell
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brenByah's Avatar
That was supposed to go up with this batch but I was too tired to finish it. Soon, though.
Glad to know someone's reviewing Stay Ahead of the Weather, I'd hate to see that fly even more under the radar.

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