Trevor Sensor to perform with Halfloves at the M-Shop

The Iowa City-native band Halfloves will perform at the M-Shop Saturday night.

Gabby Lucas

For fans of Midwest-native music, a night of genre-bending and mellow indie rock is in store this weekend. 

Trevor Sensor and Halfloves will perform at the Maintenance Shop at 8 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Halfloves, a five-piece art rock band from Iowa City, have been hailed as “the best currently active rock band in Iowa” by the Iowa Informer. However, frontman Jeff Roalson said he feels his band doesn’t fit into one label. 

Drawing heavy inspiration from Radiohead, Roalson said the ability to consistently evolve their sound is the key to Halfloves’ dynamic. 

“[Radiohead] obviously have, like any great band, their own sound, but each album they are able to reinvent themselves,” Roalson said. “I think that’s something that, and I’m not saying that we do it perfectly, but we definitely at least aspire to try to write something new and not get into that rut of doing the same thing over and over.”

For fans of other Iowa-based outfits such as treesreach, the Envy Corps and the Fuss, the members of Halfloves are multi-instrumentalists who come from a myriad of different musical backgrounds. This allows them to work together to create complex, textured and never-the-same live shows. 

“We all kind of have some different influence and sensibilities of specific stuff that we like,” Roalson said.

Roalson said they always like to be as creative as possible with their arrangements and play different instruments within the same set. 

“That kind of flexibility gives us, on one hand, a lot of options,” Roalson said. “I think what we really try to figure out is how to use both a lot of musical possibilities in combination with intentionally limiting certain aspects or zoning in on certain things that we’re trying to do.”  

Material from Halfloves’ newest album “Dazer” will be the main focus of their upcoming show. While high energy in some respects, Roalson said their live performances aren’t afraid to get moody, spacey and downright raw when necessary.

“I guess you could call us a rock band, but I don’t know,” Roalson said. 

Trevor Sensor, armed with a gravelly voice often compared to that of Tom Waits or Bob Dylan, is an Illinois-native, Iowa-transplant solo artist who describes his unique blend of folk punk and indie rock as “venting music” and “a way to get shit out.” 

With a style similar to Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver and Daniel Johnston, Sensor said his music is emotionally charged and characteristically personal.

“I don’t really know if I can really compare it to other people because people vent in different ways than I do,” Sensor said. “It’s overall pretty aggressive music. It’s a good way to scream a little bit with how you’re feeling.” 

Known for his intellectual and atmospheric lyricism, Sensor said his upcoming sophomore album will explore emotional vagrancy and other similar themes. 

“If I could wrap up everything within one word or so, it would be exile,” Sensor said. “It would probably have to be something about getting your teeth kicked in a little bit.” 

Sensor said the new album reflects on the past couple years of his life, which he spent “drifting around the country, seeing a lot of things and wrestling with the malaise of working life.”

Sensor grew up interested in music and said he always wanted to devote his time to making art. Sensor said he feels he got lucky with his musical career, which he decided to take a break from for the past couple of years. 

“I’ve been kind of away from music for a while, and I’ve just been doing a lot of manual labor jobs and stuff,” Sensor said. 

Despite the polarizing dichotomy between music and manual labor, Sensor managed to find inspiration.

“I think out of that has come a lot of getting to really experience what it’s like to be a working adult in this country and how boring that can be,” Sensor said.

Sensor said he expects to tease a few new songs at the upcoming show.

Tickets for Trevor Sensor and Halfloves are $12 for non-students and $8 for students who present their student ID at the door. There will be a $2 cost increase on the day of the concert.