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  Issue 26 - Feature - The Loved Ones

Loved OnesThe Loved Ones
Rock And Roll Sure Ain’t Dead
By Travis Naegle

            Remember when rock and roll was awesome? Remember when guys would get up on stage and just play music without special effects and props and costumes and giant scenery behind them? Just when you thought that you couldn’t go see a band without being overwhelmed by some cheesy schtick and $45 t-shirts, you read this cute little magazine and discover your new favorite band. All the way from Philadelphia come The Loved Ones, a four-piece rock and roll band that pulls no punches with their new record Build And Burn, satisfaction guaranteed.

Here’s a band with quite a bit of history. All current members of The Loved Ones have a punk rock resume that would make any kid jealous; to say that the band is seasoned would be an understatement. Singer/guitarist Dave Hause used to sell merch for Kid Dynamite before playing guitar in the hardcore band Paint It Black until 2004. Soon after, he was on tour with The Bouncing Souls as a roadie, which started a long-lasting relationship between Hause and the aforementioned group. Drummer Mike Sneeringer played with Jade Tree Records’ Trial By Fire until 2003, and both guitarist Dave Loved OnesWalsh and bassist Chris Gonzales played in The Explosion until early 2007. From playing in hardcore and punk rock bands to touring with a successful live act, the guys have a track record like no other, yet they maintain a straightforward rock and roll sound. The Loved Ones released their debut full length Keep Your Heart in 2006 on Fat Wreck Chords and will release its follow up, Build And Burn, on February 5th, 2008.

“The thing about the new record is that it’s not all dressed up”, says Dave Hause, “We didn’t go overboard with production because we weren’t at all interested in this trend of glossy sounding records. We wanted it to sound like us jamming in a room. That felt like the obvious next step in a natural progression”. Hause’s old friends and tour mates Pete Steinkopf and Bryan Kienlen of The Bouncing Souls co-produced Build And Burn with engineer Bob Strakele. The record definitely has a different sound than its predecessor, but it works to the band’s advantage throughout each and every track. “Pretty Good Year”, the album’s opener, is as sing-along inducing as any track from Hot Water Music’s No Division. “That song was the first song we wrote after Keep Your Heart…it’s about the stress of touring and working at home and maintaining that balance”, says Hause, “At first, I just had that Tom Petty sounding hook written,Loved Ones and when I brought it to practice, we wrote the song in 10 or 15 minutes, and that was that”. Fans of the band might feel a little wary about the acoustic guitar in “Brittle Heart”, the album’s centerpiece, but fear not; the song channels just as much energy from Alkaline Trio as it does Counting Crows. The track “Selfish Masquerade” features members of The Hold Steady, and its slower tempo is exceptionally complimentary to the rest of what is shaping up to be a classic record. The real payoff, however, comes with “Louisiana”, a simple, blues-based rock and roll anthem complete with a juicy guitar solo and one of the catchiest choruses to ever be laid to tape: “They’re pounding nails in Louisiana/Down in Biloxi and Alabama”. Hause explains, “I was actually watching a Spike Lee documentary about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina called When The Levees Broke. It’s really long, and it’s rough, but you see these people lose everything, and they still find hope in rebuilding the city and rebuilding their lives. That lyric kind of symbolizes their situation and motivation”. The song is certainly the standout track, if not single-worthy, but the entire record is unforgettable. These songs and many cuts from 2006’s Keep Your Heart will make for a remarkable live set. The Loved Ones are set to begin their East Coast tour on February 7th, Loved Onesand a West Coast run is planned for early spring.

There aren’t enough honest, soulful rock and roll bands around these days. The Loved Ones made a bold and powerful statement with Keep Your Heart, one that proved that this kind of music is still relevant and valid amongst an infinite number of bands with more concern for makeup and gimmicks than solid songwriting. For any listeners fearing a sophomore slump, you’re in luck; Build And Burn is just as powerful and cohesive as band’s debut. Keep an eye out for tour dates on myspace and thelovedonesband.com, and don’t forget to pick up Build And Burn in stores on February 5th.

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