Featured Loudini Artists: Alex Vans, Henry Chadwick, and Ed Roman
Alex Vans had a really, really terrible idea for a business. He got a bunch of dudes, gave them instruments, and made them play stoner rock guitar riffs under smooth vocal pop hooks. He then had the shitty idea to record those sounds onto obsolete physical records and drive around the country in a van trying to sell the records in beer soaked taverns in front of surly bartenders. It was a truly horrible idea. And predictably, he failed miserably. If the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then you can count Alex Vans as among the truly mad. A mad-genius perhaps? No. But the new EP does kick ass.
Why? Because Alex and his new band, Bad Business, got back up, licked their wounds, and made a fundamental change. They realized that if you want to make the kind of top 40 music that lets you retire at 35, you can't write from your heart. You gotta stick to the formula. You have to follow the data. “You think Meghan Trainor makes all that sweet, sweet coin because she’s singing about her feelings?” Vans remarked in a recent interview. “No, she’s got a team of analysts in Korea crunching algorithms faster than Hillary Clinton cashes checks from Goldman Sachs.” In that defiant spirit, they ditched their flannel shirts and skinny jeans in favor of power suits and suspenders. They dropped their guitars and picked up their expo markers and whiteboards. Then they realized how not fun that is, grabbed their guitars again, ditched the formula, and cranked out the most righteously rocking EP of 2016. “Buy American: Vol. 1” is the result of this truly revolutionary paradigm shift.
Sure, it's all a bit tongue-in-cheek, but that doesn't cheapen the bite of songs like "Velocirapture (Clever Girl Version)," which barrels ahead with all the speed and ferocity of a of a T-Rex chasing down Jeff Goldblum, and "Break My Spell," where Vans screams his frustration in a raw, ragged howl. Recorded over the course of a year in D.C. and Brooklyn, the self-produced Buy American: Vol. 1 nods to stoner-rock influences like Queens of the Stone Age and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Andy Valenti, Mike Douaire, Erik Estrada, John Daise, and Adam Ashforth all pitched in, creating an EP of pure, punchy rock & roll that never takes itself too seriously. Rest assured: fans of past Alex Vans albums like DJ Booth will still find plenty of familiar appeal here, from Vans' melodic instincts to his work as an explosive lead guitarist. If those past albums were failed businesses, though, then Buy American is something new: bright, bold, and ready for the boardroom.
Where to begin? Things have been happening. All kinds of things. Things you wouldn't believe, and some things you would believe. Believe it or not, all of them are true. Truly.
Guest At Home EP
I suppose I should start with the update on my new EP. I released my first single last month, "Alright", and people are actually listening to it. Not to "toot my own horn" as they say in the business, but as I'm writing this it has over 20k streams on Soundcloud and almost 30k Spotify plays. That is, as they say in the business, pretty cool. I'm choosing to assume that means people are enjoying it. If you have listened to it and/or are listening to it now and/or are about to listen to it I thank you sincerely.
I put a music video out for "Alright" as well, which I'm proud of and i believe to be a humorous and compelling piece of musical cinema. Thanks to the kind and talented folks at Element Productions here in Santa Cruz for their excellent work. This ain't the first time we've worked together. The kind and talented folks at Element Productions used to be the kind and talented folks at 3 Cameras Later productions and we worked on 2 videos for my old band My Stupid Brother, "She's A Freak" and "Robot Song", both of which are youtubeable. My how the time flies, how the people grow, how the flowers bloom, how the leaves fall and then we're right back at it if you know what I mean...I'm not sure i do.
My 2nd single and title track, "Guest At Home" premiered at the Huffington Post and again at Paste Magazine along with an interview. I have grown both fond and proud of this track and I'm happy it's out there in the world ready for the likes of your ears to listen to and hopefully enjoy.
I, along with the scraggly bunch of rock n' roll stallions who are known as Battlesnake, recently strapped on our respective instruments, plugged in to our respective amps, smacked our respective drum set and crooned into our respective microphones at an exclusive, local EP release show at Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz on Sunday, May 8th. The people that showed up got a copy of the EP before it will be available elsewhere a little later on. Thanks to all who came and made the night what we call in the business, a very good time.
In other news...
I spent some time with the Coffis Brothers, the band in which I drum, in an amazing studio in LA called Barefoot Recording. We were joined by our long time producer extraordinaire Andy Zenczak, and engineer wizard Cian Riordan. We spent a week tracking 17 songs (we'll see if all of them wind up on the album,) mostly live and to tape. It was a truly unforgettable trip and experience. The recordings are sounding, as they say in the business, very good.
More to come on all fronts.
Until then, stay classy... and thanks for stopping by... But mainly stay classy.
Ed Roman is an Award-winning singer/songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist from Shelburne, Ontario, Canada. Blurring the lines between pop, rock, folk, and country music genres, Ed’s uniquely crafted songs have received regular rotation on more than 100 terrestrial radio stations across North America and more than 400 stations, worldwide. Ed is a 2014 Artists Music Guild Award Nominee, a 2014 International Music and Entertainment Association Award Winner, a two-time 2015 IMEA Award nominee, a 2015 and 2016 Josie Show Awards nominee, an Akademia Awards Winner, and a two-time Indie Music Channel Award winner. Ed has performed at the Red Gorilla Music Fest during SXSW, The Millennium Music Conference, and SS Cape May, and he has toured both New York City and Philly. Recently, this Top 100 MTV.com and #1 Reverbnation artist traveled to Jamaica to deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to the island, while shooting the music video for “Jamaica.” Ed is also a Heart Songs for Veterans artist, donating money to help veterans with his single and Top 10 Yallwire.com video,, “Lay One Down.” His last album, Letters From High Latitudes (an homage to his Ontario home) was a critically-acclaimed vehicle for Ed’s socio-political, earthly-conscious and globally-aware messages. This earthy, funky and magical mix of music has earned Ed Roman airplay chart recognition and won over legions of fans around the world, known as “Ed Heads.” Now, Ed has returned with a brand new album, Red Omen, produced with renowned producer, Michael Jack. The album, featuring the first single and video, I Am Love, is out June 7, 2016.