The Informants will forever fondly remember 2008 as the year the band arrived. Following the November 2007 release of the band's critically acclaimed debut recording, Stiletto Angel, the Informants quickly established themselves as rising stars on the burgeoning Denver music scene. While Westword was busy including Stiletto Angel among its "Best 2007 Denver Releases," naming the Informants "Denver's Best Bar Band," and honoring them at the 2008 Westword Music Showcase Awards with the "Best Blues Band" award; critics and radio programmers around the world were offering the band a taste of mainstream success. Stiletto Angel's distinctive, universally appealing modern roots sound caught the ear of House of Blues Radio Hour host Dan Aykroyd, who featured the title track as the "Blues Breaker" song of the week and said of the band, "they will not be Denver's little secret for long." He was right. Since then more than 300 radio stations worldwide have added the CD to rotation, including a rare #1 debut at WPTS-FM Pittsburgh. Toss in a couple dozen rave reviews, a recent television feature on the Altitude Network music program On Stage, a radio licensing deal, a song in a surf flick, and a recent semi-finalist nomination by the Blues Festival Guide for "2009 Blues Artist on The Rise," and suddenly the Informants are an international sensation.
Not bad considering that barely two years before the release of Stiletto Angel, singer Kerry Pastine and bassist Mac McMurray first spoke of forming a band after bumping into each other at a nightclub. Within days of that encounter they enlisted pianist Mark Richardson, drummer Paul Christophersen, guitarist Paul Shellooe and the dual sax attack of Kenny Plum and Jonny Love. Since debuting live in January 2006, their invigorating and impassioned performances have become something of local legend. After naming the Informants "Best Bar Band," Westword had this to say on the subject, "Plenty of musicians take umbrage if their group is called a bar band. Still, the finest acts with this label don't need open taps or drink specials to work their magic; their playing is intoxicating enough."
Inspired by the roots music of the legendary juke joints, Richardson would emerge as the band's primary songwriter, composing a set of eclectic upbeat modern roots numbers showcasing Pastine's powerful vocals and sex-kitten charm. While Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Joss Stone and Sharon Jones re-fashioned the sounds of Philly and Motown, Pastine and the Informants have recast the mold of the Memphis and New Orleans vibes. Mixed by Big Head Todd & the Monster's Jeremy Lawton, Stiletto Angel has proven to be more than just an exercise in retro recycling; as one critic put it, "not only are the Informants able to recreate a great vintage sound, at times they also manage to sprinkle in a little bit of modern music, creating something new and alive."
So when will the Informants rest? Not in '09. Having recently shared stages with Koko Taylor, Tab Benoit, Marcia Ball, Firefall, Lifehouse, KT Tunstall, and the Railbenders--not to mention Virginia Governor Tim Kaine (on blues harp at the DNC), the Informants will head into the studio for winter hibernation. Richardson recently revealed in an interview that he has about nineteen new songs ready for Stiletto Angel's follow-up, and has begun writing for the third record. First things first, look for the Informants' second album in spring 2009.
Awards, TV, Radio, & Notable Distinctions
December 2008 - "Sons of Sickness" - "Jump Jack Jump" included in the Chad Towersy surf film.
November 2008 - 'Blues Artist on the Rise' - Finalist - "Blues Festival Guide"
October 2008 - 'Best Blues Record 2008'- "Stiletto Angel" Nominated -"House of Blues Radio Hour"
August 19, 2008- 'On Stage' - One hour television feature on the Informants includes interview and performance footage filmed at Elway's in Denver on July 30, 2008. Seen throughout the Rocky Mountain Region on "Altitude Sports & Entertainment Television Network."
June 25, 2008 - 'Best Blues Award' - Winner - "Westword" Music Showcase Awards 2008
May 2008 - 'Rock Bottom Restaurants' - "Baby Take A Shot" & "Backyard-Bar-B-Que" - Added to playlists for all locations nationwide.
April 2008 - 'Artist of The Month'- ColfaxAvenue.com
March 26, 2008 - 'Best Bar Band' - "Best of Denver 2008" - "Westword"
February 19, 2008 - 'Tuesday Blues' - Thirty minute live television performance, seen throughout Boulder County, Colorado. "CCTV54 Television"
February 19, 2008 - 'Blues Break' Song of the Day - "Stiletto Angel"- "House of Blues Radio Hour 'Blues Break'"- Heard in nationwide syndication, hosted by Elwood Blues, a.k.a. Dan Akroyd.
February 16-17, 2008 - 'Blues Breaker' of the Week - "Stiletto Angel" - "House of Blues Radio Hour" - Heard in nationwide syndication, hosted by Elwood Blues, a.k.a. Dan Akroyd.
February 6, 2008 - 'Monster Energy Drink' Video - "Stiletto Angel" - Directed by famed surfing filmmaker Chad Towersey. YouTube.com
February 4, 2008 - 'Musak' Licensing Agreement - "Stiletto Angel" album used in various formats.
February 2008 - "Strictly Blues" 'Top 50 Blues Albums of 2007' -"Stiletto Angel" #31 - 'Top 50 Blues Songs of 2007' -"Ding Dong Daddy" #39 - 103.5 FM The Fox, Denver, Colorado, hosted by award winning DJ Kai Turner, a.k.a the Blues Vassal.
January 13, 2008 - 'Greasy Spoon Award for Best Blues/Rockabilly Release of 2007' - "Stiletto Angel" Winner -"6th Annual Hapi Skratch Awards"
December 20, 2007 - 'Best Denver Releases of 2007'-"Stiletto Angel" - "Westword"
June 2007- 'Website of the Month' - "Colorado Buzz Music"
Kerry Pastine- Vocals
Mark Richardson - Keys, Trumpet, Accordion, Vocals
Mike "Mac" McMurray- Bass
Paul Shellooe - Guitar, Vocals
Paul Christophersen - Drums
Kenny Plum - Tenor Sax, Harmonica, Vocals
Jonny Love - Tenor & Baritone Sax, Flute, Vocals
"Stiletto Angel" - Wipe It Off!Records
Released November 6, 2007
What Critics & DJs are saying about "Stiletto Angel"
"These folks are nasty and fun my friend...beware, judging from what Iï¿½ve been hearing, they will not be Denverï¿½s little secret for long." (Dan Akroyd, a.k.a. Elwood Blues, House of Blues Radio Hour)
"Total Joy! This may be the best CD and the best band to emerge out of North America in many a ye...the album everyoneï¿½s been waiting for! And I ain't jivinï¿½!" (Real Blues Magazine)
Stiletto Angel #7 on Real Blues Top 100 Releases for March/April 2008
"On tracks like Stuck On You and Let's Roll the band shows their skill for writing tight, upbeat rock numbers with catchy hooks that could lure even the clumsiest dancer to the floor. " (Scene Magazine)
"...Stiletto Angel is both nationally and locally the best album of 2007." (The Oyster)
"This is hot stuff...No matter where the songs fall on the musical spectrum, they are presented with great energy and obvious dedication." (The Holler, Colorado Blues Society)
"Solid disc from beginning to end...5 star work!" (James Nagel 90.1 FM-Houston)
"Not only are the Informants able to recreate a great vintage sound, at times they also manage to sprinkle in a little bit of modern music, creating something new and alive." (Ol Skool Rodz)
"...a release that can compete on a national level...Nice job!" (Kai Turner, 103.5 FM-Denver)
Stiletto Angel & "Ding Dong Daddy" selected to Strictly Blues Top 50 Albums & Songs of 2007
"...Kerry Pastine makes every note sting, and a muscular crew of bar-band boogie men light a fire under exuberant tracks like the title cut, which is capable of getting any joint jumping." (Westword)
Selected one of Denverï¿½s best 2007 releases by Westword music critics ("Moovers & Shakers 2007")
"... a cross between House of Blues sort of sound -- I keep hearing John Doe and Exene in there. Call me crazy!" (Rick Galusha, 89.7 FM-Council Bluffs)
"...all 13 tracks are well produced and just sound terrific! Buy This CD!" (RockOnColorado.com)
"They are to 50s R&B what the Stray Cats were to rockabilly." (Anonymous Fan Review)
"A party record in the truest sense...bolstered by the powerful, slightly gritty vocals of Kerry Pastine.
Let the party begin!" (Loveland Reporter-Herald)
"...Stiletto Angel is a throwback of an entirely different color...Pastine doesnï¿½t truck with the usual blues mama cliches, but sheï¿½s got a roughened, soulful tone..." (All Music Guide)
" The Informants - Stiletto Angel 'Horn Driven Blues'" - Pacific Street Blues (May 23, 2008)
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IDenver based band, ‘The Informants’ are a sonically full-range band that puts the piano and horns r...IDenver based band, ‘The Informants’ are a sonically full-range band that puts the piano and horns right up front with vocalist Kerry Pastine for a rich mix of Louis Jordan meets Roomful of Blues fun-time blues that are irresistible, at times sexy and exceptionally well arranged. This is a recording of a band that took time to conceive an album as opposed to the regular collection of songs thrown together. When it comes to the history of recorded music these guys ‘get it’ and understand how to take a bit from the past, add a bit from the present and come up with something familiar yet fresh.
No doubt about it, this album wraps around the “sultry” and able vocals of Kerry Pastine.
On the title track singer Pastine uses full-throated approach that swings with a Chuck Berry sass against a pulsating band in high gear. Strategically placed pauses with a taste of Angelia Strehli vocal lines leads the band through a high gear tune of a woman clearly in control of the next sexual conquest who, “just hasn’t gone wrong” yet.
‘Tears of a Heartache’ is a slow burning track that sounds like something Otis Redding would have sung. Rather than punching through the next break the bands, stops, holds and waits for the next chorus to present itself in with a simmering broken hearted line.
The Informants have a rich mix of soulful guitar, lulling horns and a fine, fine vocalist. This is not a record that slips easily into a genre other than to say that roots music fans will readily embrace this album and those that got into the ‘jump blues’ craze of the late 90’s will readily appreciate this well made record.
‘Let’s Roll’ is your thumping blues ala’ Exene meets John Doe (‘X’) in a rich duet that is crafted to add something special to the genre. It is easy to see The Informants performing this track at next year’s ‘Keeping the Blues Alive’ presentation. A terrific album that stands up repeated listening in the car or on the home stereo.
Stiletto Angel CD Review-Ol Skool Rodz (July 2008)
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Stiletto Angel is the first [sic] release for The Informants, a Denver, Colorado band that began pla...Stiletto Angel is the first [sic] release for The Informants, a Denver, Colorado band that began playing "Southern juke joint" gems at local venues in 2006.
The hot maple syrupy voice of lead singer Kerry Pastine quickly melted away any doubt I had about a Colorado band playing Memphis juke, and the talents of the masterful musicians playing everything from sax to accordions made me a true fan.
The CD offers everything from sultry slow-flowing despair to fast and youthful carelessness. On one track, the seven-person band serves up some blues that could hush even the rowdiest bar fly and turn him momentarily inward. Another track brings forth hot and heavy rockabilly, complete with vintage aural shadows that deepen and define a sound that reminds me of a less frenetic B-52s tune.
Overall, it's a great mix of talent and genres. Not only are the Informants able to recreate a great vintage sound, at times they also manage to sprinkle a little bit of modern music, creating something new and alive
Band members include Kerry Pastine, vocals; Mark Richardson, keys, accordion, trumpet and vocals; Mike "Mac" McMurray, bass and vocals; Paul Christophersen, drums and vocals; Paul Shellooe, guitar and vocals; Kenny Plum, tenor sax and vocals; Jonny Love, baritone sax, tenor sax and vocals.
Stiletto Angel CD Review - Scene Magazine (April 2008)
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The term "dance music" is too often used despairingly, if only because most of today's music for mov...The term "dance music" is too often used despairingly, if only because most of today's music for movin' and shakin' is monotonous and horrendously insipid. Given the rather dire state of dance music today it’s tough to remember back to a time when even using such a term would be redundant-what other reason would people possibly be making music for.
Denver's the Informants are such a band-a throwback to the swinging rock and roll of the 40s and 50s, a time when a sax solo in the middle of a rock song didn't mean you were ska, and people didn’t have to be afraid to have fun at shows.
On "Stiletto Angel" the band's first full length, the group sounds like they’ve been playing together for longer than their 2007 [sic] debut would belie. The band's lineup of veteran musicians come together to produce songs that are both easy and fun. The mood never gets too serious, which is good because the entire album is centered on the joy one experiences from letting go and having a good time.
On tracks like Stuck On You and Let's Roll the band shows their skill for writing tight, upbeat rock numbers with catchy hooks that could lure even the clumsiest dancer to the floor.
The slower songs do well to showcase vocalist Kerry Pastine's big, bold voice. On tracks like Tears of Heartache and I'll Never Know, Pastine burns and soars, her voice taking center stage to sell her anguish with total sincerity. Throughout the entire record, but especially on the burners, the rhythm section shows of their chops, hammering the beat into place, even if the song is not a boogie.
If the band has a passion for anything other than shaking their respective groove-thing, it's doing it with a cocktail in hand. This is well lubed music all around, and that apparently includes the listener’s too-when not encouraging you to throw back a shot or three, Pastine, the titular Stiletto Angel, is enjoying a bottle from a bucket of longnecks or sneaking a drink by the jukebox. The record conjures up a drive most people usually only find in Vegas, when after staying out all night drinking and dancing they're lured back, maybe even against their will, by a beat for another night of it, knowing real life will always be waiting when the world stops spinning.
"The Informants Play It Down, Dirty and with an Old School Party Style" - The Loveland Reporter-Herald (April 11, 2008)
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At the turbulent crossroads where bop jazz, rhythm and blues and early rock 'n' roll collided, a new...At the turbulent crossroads where bop jazz, rhythm and blues and early rock 'n' roll collided, a new musical form was born. Sometimes called jump blues, others boogie woogie, this music quickly became the ultimate party sound with raw vocals, wailing saxophones and horn sections, and a driving beat that made people move. While that rough and tumble sound was a short-lived phenomenon in the early 1960s, it is back with a raucous vengeance via The Informants.
"There's a lot of misbehaving going on," lead singer Kerry Pastine says with a mischievous laugh about what draws people to the band. "It's the music combined with seven of us on stage. When we first got together it felt like it was a reunion; like we hadn’t seen each other in 50 years. Like twins of another mother or something. I think we connected so quickly that we felt we could be who we are instantly. It's carried over that way onto the stage."
That connection is at the heart of the Denver band which sounds loose and easy while playing it tight and powerful. Pastine, with a naturally bluesy vocal inflection, says she was drawn into the seven-piece band by a mutual love of "tough music," a theme that followed her from the Midnight Cats to the Informants.
"I had just come out of a rockabilly band where it was like 'let's just play it meaner, faster and rougher," she says. “I could do Patsy Cline or Wanda Jackson, those rough gals who were backwoods and barefoot. It was hard living. ...I like things that are really raw and dirty and gritty. I like that painful stuff. I feel it."
When initially approached by bassist Mike "Mac" McMurray, she compiled a list of tracks she was interested in singing. Coincidentally, McMurray had listed some of the same artists on his list.
"We both had a lot of the same things on there, like Ruth Brown," she says with another laugh. "We were right there."
With a full horn section and slapping bottom end, biting guitar and Pastine"s impassioned vocals, The Informants are making friends across the globe (including from Russia, Norway and Finland) via Internet outlets, but more importantly up and down the Front Range. The Informants have also found a fan in Blues Brother and actor Dan Akroyd who frequently plays songs from the band's debut album "Stiletto Angel" on his radio show. He hasn't sat in with the band yet, though Pastine says it "would be great if he did."
Until then, The Informants will just keep bringing the party the way the do best: loud, fast and rough.
"It's like the best party you've ever been too. Parties can be kind of lame, but not if we’re there," she says. "The music's either happy and energetic or grindy and naughty. It's music that pushes people right over the edge. It keeps them in the mood they want to be in."
Stiletto Angel CD Review - Real Blues Magazine (March/April 2008)
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Here's a big jolt of good-time music from the U.S. southwest (Denver, Colorado to be exact) and it’s...Here's a big jolt of good-time music from the U.S. southwest (Denver, Colorado to be exact) and it’s precisely the kind of honest-to-goodness rejuvenating rockin' boogie blues that the world needs in 2008. Can we save the world with great music? You better believe it!! The Informants are a young group in terms of band existence but they’ve got that sound that comes from absorbing all the right music of the last 60 years. (All anyone has to do is listen to the kings & queens of rock 'n' roll, blues and soul of the 1950s-1970s to realize that something important is missing from 98% of post-2000 music; talent, joy, creativity, honesty for starters). So, let's call The Informants pro-active as they've decided to deliver the goods to music fans everywhere and we should all be eternally grateful! Fronted by the tough and talented vocals of Kerry Pastine, a singer who has none of the flaws or phoniness that infects 99% of female rock/blues vocalists. She's got a tough and unique sound that's 100% her own. While she acknowledges her mentors, she never tries to imitate or create a bogus identity. (I have a soft spot for great female vocalists but readers know how I detest the Janis Joplin/Etta James and Koko Taylor copycats, which unfortunately account for 98% of those female singers we get to hear). Kerry has a voice that could be described as a cross between Wanda Jackson, Toni Price and Betty James, which means she’s a treat to the ears! I’m always afraid that given the steady diet of crud music and accompanying music media hype that people under 40 will be totally cut off from the REAL music but The Informants brand of rockin' blues offers a big antidote to all that and, in turn, hope for the future of good music. The Informants are a BIG band by today’s standards; 7 members starting with the aforementioned Pastine on vocals, Mark Richardson on piano, organ, accordian, trumpet and vocals, Mike McMurray on bass/vocals, Paul Shellooe on guitar/vocals, Kenny Plum on tenor sax/vocals, Johnny Love on baritone & tenor sax and vocals, Paul Christophersen on drums [sic]. What’s interesting is that the back cover shot of the band leads me to believe that we’ve got a multi-generational outfit here -- while 3 members appear to be in their twenties, the remaining 4 range from their thirties to their forties. That makes me feel good as I see a 'torch' being handed down.
Anyhow, music time! "Stuck On You" opens up in bouncing barrel-house fashion with nice piano-work from Richardson and riffing saxes backing Kerry Pastine's tough and brassy vocals. This is excellent music and this tune should be a mega-hit with shaggers in the Carolinas. Plum is an excellent tenor sax man who blows hot blasts. "Stiletto Angel" gives a tougher sound (think Wanda Jackson fronting for Link Wray!) as Shellooe shows us he's a killer picker with lots of barbed-wire guitar. Another dance-inducer. Pastine is one of the finest caucasian female vocalists to emerge in years and she proves it on "Tears of Heartache", a slow, scorching torch song that is just freakin' awesome. Mesmerizing. If this tune gets played on radio there'll be tens of thousands of new Informants fans. Shellooe is right behind Kerry laying down soul-tingling guitar and the horn section has me down on my knees yelling "Tell The Truth!" Wow! "Baby Take A Shot" is a cool little ditty that sounds like a Savoy Records hit circa 1958. God, this is great stuff! This is my idea of a dream band and after 45 years as a music fan I have to say The Informants are one of the very best bands I’ve experienced. The sax-work on "Baby Take A Shot" is just stupendous. "Monday Morning Blues" is the very first non-original tune (10 of 13 tracks were written by band members) and it's an excellent pick. Pastine has a voice that you’ll never get tired of. She can sing and I'm inclined to say she’s a natural. "Monday..." is another one the shaggers will go nuts over. "Let’s Roll" is a fast-paced jumper featuring oodles of great sax and guitar (Shellooe sounds like he listened to lots of Houston-based guitar kings like Johnny Watson and Little Joe Washington). "Ukulele Johnny" is more of a surf-rock influenced tune and proof that these guys have more than just a couple of aces up their sleeves. Shellooe goes nuts and this must be a live showstopper (I can see Go-Go Girls!). "I'll Never Know" slows it down to a Chicago-style West Side slow burner and Pastine shows her stuff while Shellooe puts on his Otis Rush, Buddy Guy/Magic Sam 'hat'. Wow! "Backyard Bar-B-Que" is a killer-diller (“I got Magic Sam on the radio the bar-b-ques on and I'm ready to go!") that has to be one of the finest original blues tunes of the last decade. Shellooe propels things with the toughest guitar I've ever heard since Matt Murphy retired. This is one that should become a big-time blues standard (Mark Richardson produced this excellent album and his work is far above most of the so-called 'star' producers). They do a great job on "Jump Jack Jump" (a 1950s hit) before the piano-heavy "You Got Me Hooked" a track that sounds like mid-1960s Atlantic thanks to Richardson's gospel-inflected pianistic skills and the Ray Charles-like horns. "Ding Dong Daddy" gets a really cool southern rockabilly treatment with a pseudo-vocal group chorus that's far-out. Shellooe burns the strings on this one. I had both my feet flying in different directions while listening to this sweet thing. "Work It" is the closing track and it's a perfect closing tune (and show closer?) as Richardson straps on the accordion and the band rocks their asses off. The sequing into various instrument solos is a blast with drums, bass and then guitar getting the spotlight. I can Pony, Mash-Potato and Jerk to this one (and I had to grab my baby so she could shimmy for me!). Total Joy! This may be the best CD and the best band to emerge out of North America in many a year and they can (and will!) rejuvenate every music lover who listens to this delight-filled 13-track fireball of an album. 6 bottles of Thunderbird for the album everyone's been waiting for! And I ain’t jivin'!
Stiletto Angel CD Review - The Holler, Colorado Blues Society (Feb/March 2008)
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The Informants, Stiletto Angel, 2007, Wipe It Off Records INF002 This is hot stuff from a fairly ...The Informants, Stiletto Angel, 2007, Wipe It Off Records INF002
This is hot stuff from a fairly new, Denver-based band. The Informants are a 7-piece combo playing behind Kerry Pastine, a powerhouse vocalist with more attitude than you could find in an urban middle school-and she sounds like she means every word of every song, whether heart-broken, seductive, angry, or excited.
Stiletto Angel offers a mix of styles, which I will summarize rather loosely: slow blues (“Tears of Heartache,” “I’ll Never Know”), barrelhouse blues (“Stuck on You,” “Baby Take a Shot,” “You Got Me Hooked,” “Backyard Bar-B-Que”), Louisiana (“Work It”), rockabilly/jump (“Stiletto Angel,” “Ding Dong Daddy,” “Let’s Roll,” “Jump Jack Jump,” “Ukelele Johnny”), honky tonk (“Monday Morning Blues”).
No matter where the songs fall on the musical spectrum, they are presented with great energy and obvious dedication. Everything is tighter than the proverbial drum, including the production and engineering, done at Notably
Fine Audio in Denver.
Ms. Pastine’s colleagues, all of whom provide backing vocals, are: Mark Richardson (keys, accordion, trumpet), Mike “Mac” McMurray (bass), Paul Christophersen (drums), Paul Shellooe (guitar), Kenny Plum (tenor sax), and
Jonny Love (tenor and baritone saxes). If compelled to pick one song that I prefer to the rest, it would be “Tears of Heartache,” written by Mark Richardson. Ten of the 13 tracks are band originals.
Go see The Informants and pick up a copy. You can also get one at
Denver-area stores and on-line at Mile High Music Store, iTunes, Rhapsody, and Napster.
Stiletto Angel & Informants Reviews - Westword Magazine 2007-2008
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"Westword Music Showcase 2008"- Westword (May 1, 2008) The Informants are nominated in the "Blues..."Westword Music Showcase 2008"- Westword (May 1, 2008)
The Informants are nominated in the "Blues" category for Denver's "Best Blues Act" along with American Relay, Erica Brown Band, John-Alex Mason and Lionel Young.
"Best of Denver 2008" - Westword (March 27, 2008)
The Informants- Best Bar Band
"Plenty of musicians take umbrage if their group is called a bar band. Still, the finest acts with this label don't need open taps or drink specials to work their magic; their playing is intoxicating enough. Witness the Informants, which boasts killer brass, a driving rhythm section, a lead singer (Kerry Pastine) capable of starting any party, and songs such as "Stuck on You" (from the album Stiletto Angel) that sound just as good to a designated driver as the folks along for the ride."
"Moover's and Shakers 2007" Best Denver Releases - Westword (Dec. 20, 2007) - Michael Roberts
The Informants, Stiletto Angel (Wipe It Off! Records). It's easy to underrate music that operates within well-established genres instead of trying to rewrite the rules. Still, the Informants hardly paint by the numbers. Lead singer Kerry Pastine makes every note sting, and a muscular crew of bar-band boogie men light a fire under exuberant tracks like the title cut, which is capable of getting any joint jumping.
"Stiletto Angel CD Review" - Westword (November 8, 2007) - Michael Roberts
Most retro groups either tinker with vintage sounds so music lovers can hear them from a new perspective or stick to the verities. The latter course is generally less rewarding, but such combos can still succeed if the musicians are good enough and their affection for the form comes through loud and clear. The Informants is such a band.
Stiletto Angel, which is being celebrated during a CD-release event on Friday, November 9, at the Skylark Lounge, doesn't offer anything particularly novel; its jump blues and boogie-woogie numbers connect the dots in the expected ways. Luckily, Kerry Pastine, formerly of the Mean Eyed Cats, is a feisty, consistently potent vocalist, bassist Mike "Mac" McMurray and drummer Paul Christophersen make a killer rhythm section, and guitarist Paul Shellooe and a brass-and-reed crew consisting of Kenny Plum, Jonny Love and Mark Richardson juice up entertaining pastiches like "Stuck on You" and "Let's Roll."
With players this strong, why change anything?
Stiletto Angel CD Reviews Various Publications 2007-2008
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"The Colorado Beat Goes On!" - The Oyster (February 21, 2008) - JR Wolfe I'm the type of music fa..."The Colorado Beat Goes On!" - The Oyster (February 21, 2008) -
I'm the type of music fan that will see any band of any genre at least once. If they're good, twice and if they blow me away, they're going to think I'm a stalker. The Informants fit that last category. There just are not enough toes and fingers to count how many times I've seen the Informants because their concerts are so insanely entertaining.
Every member of the band adds tons of musical and spontaneous and visual energy to the show. Sultry singer Kerry Pastine shakes her money maker like a caged go go girl. Mighty Mac looks gangster cool, Paul Shellooe is the six string guitar slinger and Jonny Love is the Robin Williams of the group. You never know what he’s going to say or do next. One minute Jonny is cracking jokes, playing his sax solos lying on top of the bar, dancing on someone's table or jitterbugging with a customer or Kerry. The man is certifiably insane on stage and that's a good thing.
The Informants' music is infectious and guaranteed to take any place it's played, be it a casino, bar or blues festival, and instantly turn it into a party. Although it didn't take them long to go from opening act to headliner. The band learned their craft and paid their dues playing in other groups before co-founders Mac and Kerry joined forces and recruited them for the Informants. Bassist Mike "Mac" McMurray, drummer Paul Christophersen and sax players Jonny Love and Kenny Plum sweated it out together in Sol-Fed-Joe. Keyboardist/trumpet player Mark Richardson was in the Dalhart Imperials and guitarist Paul Shellooe was in Dirty Pool.
On their debut album, "Stiletto Angel" the Informants have successfully captured their juke joint boogie stage energy in the studio. The covers are well chosen, Wynona Carr's "Ding Dong Daddy" and Margie Taylor"s "Jump Jack Jump" display the rockabilly chops Kerry cut her teeth on when she was in the Mean Eyed Cats. Mark and Kerry sing a duet on Rick Darnell & Mario Delgagarde's "Monday Morning Blues."
The remaining ten songs are originals composed by Mark Richardson, four of them were co-written with Kerry Pastine and "I’ll Never Know" with Paul Christophersen. "Stuck On You" and "You Got Me Hooked" shows off Mark's barrelhouse bordello piano. "Ukulele Johnny" fuses surf music with roots rock. "Work It" is peppered with some of that exotic New Orleans flavor. The horns are on fire on "Let’s Roll," "Backyard Bar-B-Que," the title cut and the party anthem "Baby Take a Shot" rock with heady stew of jump blues, vintage R&B, soul and rock n roll. "Tears of Heartache" music sounds like early Al Kooper led Blood Sweat & Tears. On both it and "I'll Never Know" Kerry’s aching vocals are the essence of heartache and despair.
Throughout "Stiletto Angel" the rhythm section is tighter than a mosquito’s ass, the horns play with sass, Paul's guitar ignites on his solos and Miss Kerry's vocals show off that she's much more than the band’s young eye candy. She takes every song and purrs her personality into it like nobody has ever done before. In my humble opinion, "Stiletto Angel" is both nationally and locally, the best album of 2007. It's been stuck in my car's CD player since November and I'm not tired of cruising to it yet.
Loveland Reporter-Herald (Nov. 23, 2007) - Glenn Burnsilver
It's safe to say they don't make music like this anymore-and that's the real fun. Hailing from Denver, the Informants pick up where the hopping 1950s R&B bands left off. A party record in the truest sense, "Stiletto Angel" (Wipe It Off!) packs boogie-woogie piano ala Lloyd
Glenn with Joe Houston-like sax grooves. And it's all bolstered by the powerful, slightly gritty vocals of Kerry Pastine. Let the party begin.
RockOnColorado.com (Oct. 30, 2007) - David Barber
The Informants' debut CD Stiletto Angel rocks pure retro 1950s style. The clear star of the album is vocalist Kerry Pastine, a real life Stiletto Angel. Her vocals shine on every track. The piano mastery (Mark Richardson) and horn section (Richardson, Jonny Love and Kenny Plum) provide a comfortably plush background for Pastine's vocals to stand out against. Many tracks sound like the might have been recorded in the 1950s, only with better equipment. The Informants have really captured that boogie woogie juke joint essence. The rhythm section (Mike "Mac" McMurray in bass and Paul Christophersen on drums) keeps time like an expensive pocket watch and the guitars (Paul Shellooe) are perfect. Not too much or too little for any given track. From the light-hearted original "Backyard Bar-B-Que" to the oldie "Ding Dong Daddy" all 13 tracks are well produced and just sound terrific! Buy This CD!
All Music Guide (Jan. 2008) - Stewart Mason
From the band name, album title, and retro-kitsch cover art, one would be forgiven for assuming that the debut album by the Informants was the latest in the now past its peak garage rock revival. In fact, Stiletto Angel is a throwback of an entirely different color, a rocking little jump blues album filled with stride piano, funky tenor sax honking, a stomping rhythm section, and--best of all-Kerry Pastine’s sly sassy vocals. Pastine doesn’t truck with the usual blues mama cliches, but she’s got a roughened, soulful tone that even puts over potentially sappy material like the melodramatic ballad “Tears of Heartache.” But she’s at her best on material like the stomping opener and the more playful “Backyard Bar-B-Que,” where she can alternate between flirty come-ons and finger-wagging feistiness. Without her, The Informants would be just another jump blues revival band, indistinguishable from the porkpie-hatted twits who were all over the place for a few months circa 1998. Indeed, even with her, there’s still an occasional whiff that the Informants have decided to play dress-up with their favorite old style of music rather than creating something new that’s based on beloved old forms. Still, as costume parties go, one could do much, much worse.
Mile High Music Store (Dec. 2007) - Flat Toe Moe
“BBQ beans with hot greasy pork, hot spicy sweaty girls, and cold long neck beers ... Good golly, it's time to juke, jump, jive, swing and boogie woogie my big flat toe all over the dance-floor!”
Band Profiles- Various Publications 2007-2008
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"What We're Doing This Weekend: The Informants" - Rocky Mountain News (April 4, 2008) - Alex Neth ..."What We're Doing This Weekend: The Informants" - Rocky Mountain News (April 4, 2008) - Alex Neth
The Informants do blues the way it was meant to be done - at night, in bars, with a slinky backbeat, tasteful guitar work and a gal at the mike (the powerhouse Kerry Pastine, formerly of The Mean Eyed Cats) who can bring it. Their first release, 2007's Stiletto Angel, got a glowing review from none other than Elwood Blues himself (aka Dan Aykroyd) on the House of Blues Radio Hour, who said: "Beware, judging from what I've been hearing, they will not be Denver's little secret for long." If it's good enough for Elwood, folks, well . . . you know. We caught up with them before their Saturday-night gig at Ziggie's to find out what recent weekends have brought to Informants-land.
* What did you do last weekend?
"We celebrated! Westword named us 'Best Bar Band' in the Best of Denver 2008 edition, so naturally we played a couple of fine drinking establishments. Friday was our debut gig at the funky little blues watering hole in the Boulder Outlook Hotel. Sunday, we really turned it on at our home club Lincoln's Road House. There is nothing like an Informants' Sunday afternoon show at Lincoln's; a hair-of- the-dog day for a packed room of partyers keeping the weekend alive just a little longer! Truly the most fun of any gig we play."
* What do you have going on this weekend?
"Another rowdy Saturday night at Ziggie's. The Informants played there for the first time a couple months ago, and it was wonderful - such a great audience that really 'gets it.' The new Ziggie's is finally living up to its potential since it changed ownership. We have a rare Friday night off this week; every now and again it helps recharge the batteries, so look out, Ziggie's might be like partyin' with the Energizer Bunny!"
"Informants Bring Juke Joint Style to the Snake" - Summit Daily News (Nov. 22, 2007) - Leslie Brefeld
KEYSTONE -- According to lead singer Kerry Pastine, the seven members of the Informants band will have fun on stage whether an audience shows up or not.
“We can’t wait to see each other ... It makes it so contagious,” Pastine said.
The group’s lineup includes Mark Richardson on keys, vocals, trumpet and accordion; Mac on Fender bass, Paul Christophersen on drums and vocals, Pauly “Six String” Shellooe on guitar and vocals; Kenny Plum on tenor sax; Johnny Love on baritone and tenor sax and flute; and Pastine.
The lead singer said each member of the band picks up a little of the work that goes along with a rock band, and in so doing gains a feeling of ownership. They have been playing together since 2005 and recently released an album called “Stiletto Angel.”
The group used their recording studio time to its fullest by recording all the parts at the same time instead of the usual separate tracks for different instrumentation. “We do four or five takes, pick the best one, and what’s next?,” she said of the process.
Pastine described the group’s music as “swinging, juke joint boogie stuff” in the style of the ‘40s and ‘50s. They will play Friday and Saturday at the Snake River Saloon.
"Who's Making Noise?" - Colorado Music Buzz (October 2007) - Jessica Moffet
An altruistic crowd of curious families were determined to groove to the Informants' juke box boogie music at the "It's All Good" Motorcycle Benefit for women with breast cancer on September 9th at the In The Zone bar in Golden. Why the excitement? Finally, a revival of America’s best 1950s and 1960s Rock, R&B, Gospel, and Soul dance music combined has returned to Denver, thanks to this band. You’ll “funk and sweat” as if you’re a cast member in John Waters’s Hairspray movies. Various bands play such styles, but hardly any bands tap into all uplifting influences in one show, if not per song.
Lead singer Kerry, daughter of a 94-year-old Big Band 1940s-era musician father, attributes her love of music not only to her father but also the legends of Wynona Carr, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and Ruth Brown. Ironically, she is self- taught and never professionally sang before a crowd except in a high school choir until ten years ago. Bassist Mac discovered Kerry as she sang for Rock-a-billy band Mean Eyed Cats several years ago. Coincidentally, the Cats and Mac's band Sol~Fed~Joe were on the downfall at the same time, and soon after that, Mac asked Kerry to join him and other band members for a new musical adventure with a taste of Wynona Carr's "Jump Jack Jump!" Keyboardist Mark writes songs daily and collaborates with Kerry-enough to create two CDs in one year.
There are a few benefits to seeing the Informants live...First, they play originals most of the time. Second, their new album will be released this fall. Lastly, you can jitterbug to the Informants-at Herman's Hideaway on Friday, November 2nd for a possible CD release party. Wynona Carr's spirit will be grooving with you.
DJ & Fan Reviews (2007-2008)
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"These folks are nasty and fun my friends...beware, judging from what I've been hearing, they will n..."These folks are nasty and fun my friends...beware, judging from what I've been hearing, they will not be Denver's little secret for long."(Dan Akroyd, a.k.a. Elwood Blues, House of Blues Radio Hour)
"They are to 50s R&B what the Stray Cats were to rockabilly." (Anonymous Online Fan Review)
"...[Stiletto Angel] is a release that can compete on a national level, not just Denver. Nice job!"
Kai Turner (103.5 FM The Fox, Denver)
"Solid disc from beginning to end...5 star work!"
James "The Blues Hound" Nagel
(90.1 FM KPFT, Houston)
"... a cross between House of Blues sort of sound -- I keep hearing John Doe and Exene in there. Call me crazy!" (Rick Galusha, 89.7 FM-Council Bluffs)
"...[Let's Roll] just kind of says, 'that's what I need to get jiggy with it and shake 'em up a bit!' "
Mama Kat (89.3 FM KUVO, Denver)
45-120 minutes per event requirements.
Performances are designed mostly of original material, with cover material carefully chosen to compliment band's unique sound and style. Some cover songs are fairly obscure, others well-known.
Informants' Original Songs
From "Stiletto Angel"--Wipe It Off! Records, 2007:
Stuck On You
Tears of Heartache
Baby Take A Shot
I'll Never Know
Back Yard Bar-B-Que
You Got Me Hooked
New in 2008:
All Night Long
Don't Talk Betty
I Need Salvation
Roll It Home
Baby Call My Name
Knock Upon My Door
Nothing But A Bad Break
Crime Scene Queen
Give It Away
I'll Never Love Again
There are no upcoming dates at this time.