Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Look Back at the iconic and trendsetting debut from The Pretenders: Pretenders

Pretenders were formed in 1978 with singer Chrissie Hynde on vocals, Pete Farndon on bass, James Honeyman-Scott on guitar and Martin Chambers on drums. They released two LP’s, Pretenders – which charted at #1 in the UK and #9 in the States - and Pretenders II, and one EP, Extended Play. The band enjoyed worldwide chart success with singles including Stop Your Sobbing, Kid, Brass In Pocket, Talk of The Town and I Go To Sleep. The band was constantly on the road and enjoyed heavy MTV rotation.

In 1982 they were dealt a difficult year: a parting of ways with Pete Farndon being swiftly followed by the death of James Honeyman-Scott. Pete’s death came a year later.

Subsequently the band’s line-up remained fluid and the band went on to release the albums Learning to Crawl, Get Close and Packed! between 1984 and 1990.

After a 4-year hiatus came the band’s next release Last of the Independents, followed in 1995 by Isle of View, a live acoustic album recorded over two nights in London with the Duke String Quartet.

1999 saw the release of Viva El Amor, the last album to be released on longtime label Warner Records, and their next album Loose Screw was released on Artemis Records in 2002.

Neil Young inducted the Pretenders into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, and their next release, Break Up The Concrete, came in 2008.

The band have toured the world and performed in front of over 4 million people. Pretenders continue to play together.

Featured Loudini Artists:

Deb Callahan

Philadelphia’s blues and soul drenched vocalist and songwriter Deb Callahan grew up in the Boston area but has been a mainstay on the mid-Atlantic music scene since the late 90’s.  During this time she has gained a reputation for writing creative blues, soul and roots influenced original music and using her powerful, expressive voice to deliver an exciting live show. Her 2002 debut CD “If the Blues Had Wings” was featured as the hot debut in the October/November 2004 issue of Blues Revue Magazine.  Blues Revue referred to her as the next Bonnie Raitt and raved “Philly’s Deb Callahan has the pipes, the songs and the raw talent to graduate to the next level”.

Deb released her 5th CD “Sweet Soul” Sept 1, 2015 on Blue Pearl Records. The CD, produced by renowned producer and drummer Tony Braunagel, was recorded at Ultratone Studios in Los Angeles, CA. Deb and guitar player Allen James  traveled to Los Angeles in February 2015 to record the tracks with an all star studio line-up including Johnny Lee Schell, engineering and slide guitar, Mike Finnigan on keyboards, Reggie McBride on bass, Braunagel on drums and James on guitar. This group of LA musicians have recorded and toured with performers such as Etta James, Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal so it was a truly wonderful experience to play with and learn from each one.

It’s been almost 5 years since Deb’s last CD, “Tell It Like It Is” was released. Shortly after this release, Deb became a mom to her now 4 year old son Elijah. The experience of being a new mom has had a direct impact on her writing and focus in her life. The songs from “Sweet Soul” were written during an overall sweet and rich phase of life. Deb worked with James and Chris Arms (who produced Deb’s last 3 CD’s) to write the original material and with producer Braunagel to find some gems written by others that fit the vibe as well. The mood of this blues, soul, roots CD is upbeat, rockin, funky and fun and explores the theme of love and family with an honest and at times humorous view into both its joys and challenges. This includes the experience of loving a child or partner, the connection and sweetness you feel when you slow down and just be present with ones you love, the pain and difficulty of letting go of a family member, the ups and downs of living with someone, the inner tension about balancing family and career, the energy it takes to keep things running to do a lot of different things in life.

“Sweet Soul” has been receiving some wonderful national and international airplay on blues and triple A radio stations as well as great press and reviews. A few accomplishments include charting at #24 in the Living Blues Magazine Chart in Sept 2015, been in the top 50 National chart from Sept 14, 2015 till the present (March 6, 2016) for Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Blues Album Chart, been in the top 5 chart position from Sept 14, 2015 till the present (March 6, 2016) for the Roots Music Report Top Blues for the state of PA, has been featured in Big City Blues Magazine – Oct 2015 issue on “Soul Diva’s” with Bettye Lavette and many others, top 10 for 2015 list for reviewer Mark Gallo in Blues Bytes, nominated for Best Soul – R & B Album 2015 in Blues 411 2015 “Jimi Award Nominee”.

Press Quotes for Sweet Soul

Monster Truck

The term Rock n' Roll gets thrown around pretty haphazardly. One can go as far as stating it’s been bastardized to the point of being unrecognizable, ironically shouted on stages worldwide, and classified dead or MIA by the very musicians that once upheld its standard. 
Enter Monster Truck. There's something comforting about a band name that delivers exactly what you expect to hear. Born in 2009 from the ashes of various Canadian Indie bands, Monster Truck began as a sonic affront to the very industry its members were bred from. After feeling more like cogs in the music industry machine, Jon Harvey (bass & lead vocals), Jeremy Widerman (guitar & vocals), Brandon Bliss (organ & vocals) and Steve Kiely (drums & vocals) broke free to forge their own path, answering only to themselves. “It was admittedly a bit selfish from the get-go as we only were looking to please ourselves,” laughs Widerman. Their unabashed approach to making and performing music became infectious. “We just wanted to mix all of our favorite hard rock, punk and classic rock favourites into something raw and basic,” states Widerman, almost as if to suggest that no one had done it to his liking yet. The band was doing something right. A ground swell of regional fans quickly began rushing to any local venue to see the band perform live. Rock n' Roll is clearly not dead.Offers began to pile up for Hamilton, Ontario’s prodigious sons, and the band soon realized they had to make a decision to jump in hip deep and take the record label and tour offers more seriously. “The decision was probably easier than I'd like to admit,” adds Widerman, suggesting they were probably all kidding themselves thinking they weren't willing to make sacrifices once again in an attempt to make music for a living. What started as a fun and albeit ‘selfish’ musical side-project, quickly gained momentum and took on a life of its own. Monster Truck self-released a self-titled EP produced by Gus Van Go & Werner F (The Stills, Preistess, Hollerado) in 2010 and followed up with The Brown EP (2011) produced by Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Cancer Bats, Three Days Grace) on Indie powerhouse Dine Alone Records. The Brown EP aggressively showcased the band’s ability to keep a firm grasp in the classic roots that enabled them, while staying contemporary and true to their vast influences. Singles “Seven Seas Blues” and “Righteous Smoke” became runaway hits reaching Top 10 on Canadian Rock radio and true to their notorious maxim “Don’t F*ck With The Truck”, the band hit the road with a vengeance. Tours included a 2011 cross-Canada sold-out run with The Sheepdogs. Additional tours followed in 2012 when Monster Truck was handpicked to open for Slash on his North American tour, as well as sold-out dates in support of legends Deep Purple.
After an unexpected, yet highly successful year of relentless touring, Monster Truck returned home hell bent to record a full-length album. Over the course of 2 months, the guys put together 12 original songs showcasing not only their determination to continue churning out heart-pounding rock tracks, but that also highlighted another dimension to the band’s songwriting and performance. The result is their debut full-length LP aptly titled Furiosity.

Produced once again by JUNO-nominated Eric Ratz at Vespa Studios in Toronto and Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC, Furiosity showcases Monster Truck’s ability to seamlessly integrate influences from grunge and punk era greats that they love so dearly with alt-sounding vintage rock. The resulting album remains anchored in grooves, yet propulsive and volcanic, fueled by frontman Jon Harvey’s colossal vocal delivery. 

The album impressingly runs the gamut from crushing first single "Sweet Mountain River" which features a highly infectious chorus juxtaposed against a killer riff, to tracks like “The Lion” and its definitive old-school, boogie-rock vibe. “While the bulk of songs were written and executed in fairly quick fashion, tailoring the pace and fine tuning the transitions took longer than usual,” says Widerman of the writing process. “We really wanted the songs to take the listener on an exciting journey.” Gems like “Old Train” featuring epic gang vocals were in fact kept under wraps from the producer and the label until the band reworked them to their liking while “Power of the People” -- a Rage Against The Machine inspired track -- is a commentary on a society in turmoil and an anthem for those who wish to band together and make a difference. 

The band intentionally challenged themselves with “For The Sun”, spending more than a year playing the song live in order to perfect it. Slower-paced and with thought to ensuring every moment was well-crafted and building in intensity, Widerman spent 2 days in the studio just recording the intro and solos leaving other members of the band to wonder whether he would ever be satisfied with the end result. Finally, last minute addition “My Love Is True” shows a more soulful side of Monster Truck, and is another shining example of how even a down tempo song can shake you to your core. 

The constant show regiment and recording process is sharpening the band’s delivery and there's no doubt that anyone still interested in original and authentic rock music will be compelled to pay attention. Monster Truck will continue doing what they do best, steamrolling from town to town leaving legions of fans in their wake. 

Alex Vans
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.

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