With the Rock Chick traveling yet again to points West to visit her offspring, I’ve opened up the music lab today. It’s been all music all day so far. I haven’t even made the futile search for the television remote control. With only three NFL games left this year, why bother… I’ve listened to Big Star’s entire catalog this morning. I must say, I’d always heard the album “Third/Sister Lovers” was harrowing, but it may be my new favorite of their’s. Anyway, the holiday season for me was, as usual, harrowing, and I didn’t realize that a newer rock band I like had put out a couple of new tracks. On December 1st the Shelters, Tom Petty’s protege’s, put out the songs “Really Wanted You,” and “So Get Out.”
It was my dear friend Stormin who called me a year and half ago, “I have V.I.P. tickets for Mudcrutch at the Ogden Theater. Get here.” I immediately informed my wife to prep the B&V-mobile for a road trip. We were off to Denver. And yes, I let her drive… she’s a maniac behind the wheel…I actually reviewed that Mudcrutch show for B&V, Review: Mudcrutch, Denver, Co; Ogden Theater 25May16. My friend and I stood in front the stage, arms-length from Tom Petty… He looked right in my eyes and it was like he was staring into my soul. It was a real Tom Petty highlight, in a lifetime of highlights from that great artist. If you haven’t already done so, purchase both Mudcrutch albums immediately. The warm-up band that night in Denver, and I vary on how much attention I spend on opening bands, was none other than the Shelters. While BourbonAndVinyl is focused on more mature artists we’re always on the lookout for new rock bands like Rival Sons or Greta Van Fleet. It turns out the Shelters are another gift Tom Petty gave to me! I am still in shock over his passing.
The Shelters are Chase Simpson on guitar/vocals, drummer Jacob Pilot, Josh Jove on guitar/vocals, and bassist Sebastian Harris. The outfit springs from Los Angeles, and apparently when impressed after seeing them live, Tom Petty gave them the keys to his home studio. Eventually he snuck downstairs, or across the courtyard, I don’t Tom’s setup, and ended up co producing their first album, the eponymous The Shelters. Not a bad career move, impressing Tom Petty enough to have him coproduce your record. Two of the Shelters actually ended up playing on Petty’s great, final album, Hypnotic Eye.
Well, that night in Ogden, the Shelters came out rocking. They really grabbed my attention which is hard for an opening act to do. I loved the guitar work by Jove and Simpson, they had some great interplay. Jacob Pilot was strong on drums as well. They certainly looked like they were having a good time. Both Jove and Simpson took turns on vocals, which I liked. I remember thinking, prior to Mudcrutch coming out and mesmerizing me, that I would need to check these guys out further. I had no idea at the time they were connected to Petty other than the opening slot he gave them. Sadly though, after Mudcrutch came out and put on a 2-plus hour spectacle, I sort of forgot about the Shelters. I did see them in the lobby of the Ogden when I was walking out, signing autographs for admiring female fans… well played, lads, well played.
It was a few months later when the Rock Chick announced she’d made an album purchase. She’s one of my stronger sources of new music, so I was immediately interested. She likes to play a record for me before she tells me who it is… After the first few chords on the sensational opening track, “Rebel Heart,” my shaky memory jolted… “wait a minute, I know this song…” Apparently the Rock Chick had independently discovered the Shelters through the magic of satellite radio. It’s a strong first album. I definitely hear Tom Petty’s influence on some of the crunchier guitar tracks like, “Rebel Heart,” or “Birdwatching.” I also hear a bit of a Beatlesque influence on songs like “Fortune Teller,” or “Dandelion Ridge.” “Ghost is Gone” is a long, trippy track which almost brings to mind another LA band, The Doors. There’s a lot of fuzzy guitar on this album that I really like. They kind of sound like a 60s beach-rock band crossed with The Animals. I sort of want to do that old dance, ‘The Swim’ when they’re playing. You can definitely hear the influences, but they make the sounds their own. The track “Down” is a laid back, crunchy rocker that is another stand out for me. I think it’s a strong rock record and would advise everybody to check it out.
I wondered what their new music would sound like, when I discovered the two new tracks. Especially since Tom Petty wouldn’t be involved in this project, obviously. Well, I needn’t worry. “Really Wanted You” starts off with a great guitar riff. The song rides along that riff and a jaunty drum line from Pilot. I love the harmony vocal on the chorus. It’s a punchy, little rock song. Definitely worth your time. “So Get Out,” the second track, wouldn’t have been out of place on the first album. It’s a slinky organ driven track with a hazy vocal and a tasty guitar solo towards the end. This has that Animals/Zombies vibe that a few of the tracks on the first album had. It has that fresh but nostalgic vibe.
If you like straight up, “nuthin’ fancy,” rock and roll, the Shelters are your band. I recommend these two new tracks and their first album as well. I look forward to hearing more from these guys. If you can, definitely check them out live.