The Bandit Kings
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The Bandit Kings

Gloucester, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Gloucester, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Rock




"The Bandit Kings (EP)"

The Bandit Kings sound like a country band who skipped the whole Garth Brooks and Tony Keith eras and chose to listen to Patti Smith, early Linda Rhonstadt, and Heart’s Dreamboat Annie instead in equal doses. The sound of the duo’s female lead vocal is timeless and the songs are memorable. The arrangements are tight and there is enough rocking to make Lenny Kaye reminisce. I am wet for more… or maybe I spilled my scotch. Either way, this EP has reawakened my love of twang and the bark of an old Fender amp. For the love of Gawwwwwd, please keep making music. (Joel Simches) - The Noise

"Precious Stones"

Why am I thinking of Kim Wilde and “Kids in America” as I listen to the opening track, “The Jerker”? And is that a good thing or a bad thing? I guess it’s pretty good, at least as a signifier. The Bandit Kings are certainly not transcendent genre-redefining geniuses, but they’re obviously not dumbos—their musicianship is rhyth-mically sharp and the songs are firmly grounded in and informed by melodic values out of both old-timey country rock and modern-day idioms such as commercially oriented post-punk indie rock. It could be a dire mix in lesser hands. Done well, it is the band’s unique selling proposition. The follow-up track, “Motorcycle,” is catchy in a joyfully deterministic sort of way. “GoGoGo” is an appealingly melodic elegiac. “Twist My Arm” has echoes of the archaism of the Band but with an in-your-face rock ’n’ roll attitude. ”Threads” is an incipient classic; a truly inspired anthemic rallying-cry. “Show Me the Stars Tonight” has a countrified Yo La Tengo vibe. “Laredo” is a lovely country ballad in its own right, a welcome addition to the genre. “YTOFM” is full of almost anomalously joyful lowbrow expressiveness executed with the subtlety of high art; a fine feat. The album features inspirational tunes like “Decompression” and “Over,” as well as being jammed throughout with joie de vivre. These musicians are no ironists, camp followers, or genre clowns; rather than treating country as a bad joke, they take the genre, and their work, quite seriously indeed, enough to make even a jaded connoisseur want to really like them, and the care they have put into their debut collection is proof. I am even willing to stick my neck out onto the chopping block—something I’ve done about half a dozen times in the last twenty-six years-—and venture that these guys have the potential to be huge. Not lower-case “h” huge, but Huh-yooooge. I wish them Godspeed. (Francis DiMenno)
- The Noise, Boston

"Epic Hello"

The Kings of Gloucester have developed their own sound. It’s melodic, it bops, rocks, and soothes, it’s subtly unpredictable, and its biggest feature is the double vocal attack of Renee Dupuis and Ann Marie Shamanoski. These two strong female vocalists have different styles that compliment each other—Renee is the perfected studied voice, while Ann Marie adds a colorful delivery of character (note: both can wail). “Find” is a melodic standout that I swore was titled “On a Friday.” The barroom pleaser has the gals (did I mention that these two are very eye-pleasing?) dying to get “The Shirt Off My Back.” Oh yeah, before I forget, there are also three talented guys in the band—the solid rhythm section of drummer Dennis Monagle and bassist Joe Cardoza, and the Man—the excellent songwritin’, co-producing, guitarist Dan King. Recorded at Tony Goddess’s Bang A Gong Studio with Dave Mattacks co-producing, mixed at Q Division by Matt Beaudoin, and mastered by Jonathan Wyner at M-Works—the experience in the product shows. I saved the best for last—the final track on the CD—the title track “Epic Hello” stands by itself as a soothing, sad, emotional journey of desire with a matching melody that is rarely stumbled upon by any rock ’n’ roll musicians. - The Noise, Boston

"Cover Story: The Bandits Kings (by Samantha Goddess)"

To vastly oversimplify, there are two distant poles on the spectrum of music in which women are primary cast members. There are the rockers (Suzi Quatro, the Runaways, Joan Jett) at the I-can-rock-as-hard-as-the-boys-can end, and there are the singer-songwriters (Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro) at the song-crafty, folkier end.

The fertile ground in the middle of that wide musical range is less well worn, and has a vastly smaller population. Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders reign as the most potent example of how powerful the synthesis of Stones-y rock and new wave/power pop can be, and it’s rewarding to find that the sweet spot that they carved out is nowadays comfortably occupied by the Bandit Kings.

When one tries to describe the rich mixture of genres that the Pretenders embodied, it’s easy to end up with a too-long list of descriptors for something that sounds and feels very simple: a rootsy rock ’n’ roll feel, catchy pop melodies with a dash of new-wave hip, and a propulsive post-punk undercurrent. Similarly, the Bandit Kings’ founder and lead guitarist, Dan King, ends up with a fairly wordy answer when asked what bands are the most oft-cited influences for the band he put together. Others are quick to name “the obvious female-led groups like the Bangles, Pretenders, Go-Gos, B-52s,” King says, “and I’d have to say, they’re right, but there’s definitely an undercurrent of R.E.M. jangle, AC/DC power, and L.A. punk harmony in the style of X involved as well.”

The two female front women in the Bandit Kings, Renee Dupuis and Ann Marie, are hugely responsible for delivering on that imposing mission statement. The two share lead vocal duties up front (with Dupuis often on her Nord keyboard) and together become greater than the sum of their parts: a gravelly, growling alto, and a clear-as-a-bell soprano harmonizing together in ways that make the question of “who’s singing lead” feel both irrelevant and hard to discern.

With all five members contributing their own tunes or contributing co-writes, there’s a diversity of styles on the Bandit Kings’ first full-length studio album (cheekily titled in an are-they-or-aren’t-they-making-a-Rolling-Stones-or-a-Pretenders-or-both? reference) Precious Stones. There’s a country-ish ballad (“Laredo”) that the River (WXRV) has on repeat, a wispy, soaring ballad (“Over”), a throaty, sexy come-on called “Motorcycle,” and a roaring theatrical show-stopper (“The Jerker”). Still, the band’s bread and butter consists of the album’s half dozen tunes that are absolutely poppy, but don’t sound twee in the least. The Bandit Kings don’t forget that they want to make you dance, they don’t skimp on the wily guitar solos that make you sit up straight, and they always build the songs around a roots-rock scaffolding that keeps the songs accessible and singable.

The Bandit Kings’ forthcoming LP, titled Epic Hello, is due to be released on November 5. A CD-release show is scheduled for that same night at the Rhumb Line in Gloucester, where the band is based, and will be followed by a Cambridge CD-release show at the Lizard Lounge on November 15. The Rhumb Line, one of the few seven-nights-a-week-of-music-even-in-the-off-season bars in Gloucester, has played more than a cameo role in the band’s story. King, and fellow Gloucester resident Nelson Bragg (percussionist for the Brian Wilson Band and occasional guest of the Bandit Kings on stage and in the studio) started a weekly Monday night affair at the Rhumb Line called Open Jam that has become a local institution and a wellspring of longstanding musical relationships.Open Jam offers a steady, ready-to-roll house band to serve as the anchor for each evening’s entertainment and, since the beginning, it has been known for its open-to-all-players ethos that encourages both local and far-flung talent to make their way inside.

It was at Open Jam that that King met another local guitar player, Dave Brown (former lead guitarist for Billy Joel). - The Noise

"Show Crush: Bandit Kings & Dan Baker"

Tonight at the Lizard Lounge, The Bandit Kings will celebrate their newest release. One thing is consistent about all of the artists on this bill: they have all had either the luck or perserverance, and certainly the talent, to have worked with the best people in the music industry, which is evident if you look at the credits on their most recent recordings.

The first thing you notice about Gloucester’s Bandit Kings is the combination of vocalists Ann Marie, who is 110% rock and roll on stage and off, and the classically trained Renee Dupuis. The combination works perfectly. The next thing you notice is the musicality of guitarist Dan King, with obvious technical mastery yet with the taste and restraint of a player who really loves the songs, and the rhythm section which consists of bassist Joe Cardoza and Drummer Dennis Monagle, who also works with the outstanding Qwill. The epicenter of this band is a weekly open jam at the Rhumb Line in Gloucester, where they really stretch out. Don’t be surprised if they charm you into showing up for one of them. Check out the recent C.D. on Songs post on the title track from the new record, “Epic Hello”.

Dan Baker & the Breakdown is the brainchild of Chelsea singer-songwriter Dan Baker. His latest recording “Sad Song Junkie” was recorded with some of Nashville’s top session players, and he’ll be performing with some of the best local players at this show. “Sad Song Junkie” debuted at #1 on the Euro Americana chart, and Baker was named #2 songwriter of 2010 on 3rd Coast Music Magazine’s Freeform Americana Roots chart, right behind Josh Ritter. In addition to those accolades, we’ve noted before that he’s a hell of a nice guy.

Also on the bill for this show is Rockport’s Brad Byrd, who released his most recent recording, Mental Photograph, in September on his own Elusive Tiger label. The list of credits on this recording is very impressive. Brad was also the subject of a recent C.D. On Songs column, where his song “New York” was described as tense and solemn before giving way to a churning, powerful energy. - Boston Band Crush

"Boston band Crush: Show Crush: Bandit Kings (CD release)"

The Bandit Kings are gearing up to unleash their first full length recording, Precious Stones, onto the world tonight at TT’s. They play a style of country jangle rock that’s modern and old-timey at the same moment, as if some wide eyed young country act made their first trip to the big city, walked into a Pretenders show and immediately found their calling. Their songs are heartfelt, drifting ballads that mix in just a little bit of rock to remind you that it’s 2010.

They’ll be bringing along some friends to help them celebrate. The BFs will close the night out with authority; John Powhida International Airport brings one of the strongest voices in the city to the stage (seriously, JPo should be a superstar), and Fireking will get everything started with their hard charging rock. - Boston Band Crush

"CD on SONGS: GoGoGo"

When someone tells us to "GoGoGo," we usually expect to be in a warzone and have grenades or thermal detonators exploding all around us. Now the problem with this is that the Bandit Kings are going to get your ass killed in the warzone. No, I don’t think we’d have any problem with them being reliable soldiers, but their version of "GoGoGo" is so easily enjoyable that you might pause to look around and savor the blue sky or an attractive patch of grass on the ground and get yourself blowed up by the enemy. But you’ll be happy, right?

The snappy pacing of the track is brought about by a crisp, “do they really surf in the country?” drumbeat that tumbles along the road briskly, gathering some moss and ringing guitar chords along its trip. Twin vocals captain the melody on its journey, and while they never, ever seem to part, they are equally strong – like if Simon and Garfunkel weren’t two dudes but instead two women. Much like S & G, this track’s melody comes as a set of intervals – you can pick either one and it will work. But good luck picking just one.

The melody and pacing keep this track go-go-going for the entirety of its three minutes in your speakers. The thing is; the track builds up enough momentum that you will probably want to come back for seconds, thirds, and so-forths. "GoGoGo" is like a pleasant breeze that refreshes and gives you a little push all at the same time. - Boston Band Crush

"CD on Songs- The Bandit Kings - Laredo"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
CD On Songs: The Bandit Kings - "Laredo"
Posted by Richard Bouchard
Once again we welcome our right-hand man, Richard Bouchard, who has stepped in to help out while our left-hand man, C.D., is in the hospital with new baby Emilia. C.D., who changed his first diaper EVER today, sends his love and promises to be back soon, but in the meantime let's hear what Rich has to say about "Laredo" by The Bandit Kings, who play tonight at the Plough & Stars in Cambridge. -AW

The Bandit Kings - "Laredo"
[download it!]
I’ve got a soft spot for old timey country rock and roll, so the Bandit Kings are right up my alley. Finding the perfect ratio of old and new is key for a band like this; remaining faithful to the sounds that came before while adding but being original enough to keep people interested can’t be easy. The Bandit Kings have struck that balance.

“Laredo” is a twang heavy ode to another time and place, a reminder of everything that came before. Lead vocalists Ann Marie and Renee Dupuis both have voices that bring us back to the dawn of country rock, whisky soaked and raspy in just the right places while never crossing into the overpowering. The song is a rare treat that could have been tossed aside as a boring anachronism in less capable hands.

Some bands trying to find their sound in this genre see fit to just add a slide guitar to their existing bar rock setlist and call it a day. With “Laredo” the Bandit Kings prove that they understand where their sound comes from and that paying homage to the souls who paved the way takes more than superficial effort.


- Boston Band Crush

"Band Celebrates Full Length Album"

A trip to Nashville and the idea of playing [guitar] behind two female lead vocalists led to the spawning of a Gloucester band that is releasing its first full-length album next week.

The Bandit Kings were born early this year, shortly after Gloucester native Dan King, a [guitarist], recorded music with local band KMBG and returned from visiting a producer friend in Nashville.

"I had a lot of songs kicking around and I was curious to hear them with female vocals," said King, also a member of local cover band SAFETY. "The idea was to have female double lead vocals, something you don't really hear. It was a new concept for me and the songs were written in a different style from KMBG and SAFETY. I started making calls to if anyone was interested in doing something, and we got a great group together."

The Bandit Kings is an all-original band, playing all its own material, except for longer shows where it will perform some cover songs, King said.

The band's first full-length album, "Precious Stones," was recorded live at Tony Goddess' Bang-A-Song Studios off Rogers Street, and is a little bit country and whole lot of rock 'n' roll, according to band members.

The disc features King's original tunes, with lyrical collaborations from bandmates Ann Marie and Joe Cardoza. The first single, "Show Me the Stars Tonight," combines a country twang with rolling guitar and conspiratorial song play by lead singers Ann Marie and Renee Dupuis. Also on the album are fan favorites "Threads" and "Over," both emphasizing moody harmonies and homages to love, heart-crush, and moving on.

The Bandit Kings formed in Gloucester in March and have been playing regular gigs around the North Shore and in Boston ever since.

Their hit song "Laredo" was featured and re-played on WXRV 92.5, The River's Homegrown show, just a month after the band recorded it at Bang-A-Song Studio.

Besides vocalists Ann Marie and Dupuis, who also plays keys, the band features Dennis Monagle on drums, Cardoza on bass, and King on lead guitar. Ann Marie, Monagle and King are also members of the band SAFETY.

The band already has an EP out, available on iTunes and CDBaby, but will celebrate the release of "Precious Stones" on Dec. 9 with a show and party at TT the Bear's Place, 10 Brookline St., in Cambridge.

The show will start with Fireking at 9 p.m. The Bandit Kings hit the stage at 10 p.m., followed by John Powhida International Airport, and, last but not least, the Bandits' good friends The Boyfriends, featuring Joey Unis, Ryan Alto, Max Aprans, and Evan Hiltunen of Gloucester, will round out the night.

Tickets for the show are $8 at the door. Show starts at 9 p.m.

Besides the new album, the group also has new representation on the West Coast. Lovestruck Productions has already secured the band's first West Coast tour date, Feb. 4, at The Mint in Los Angeles. With this show and recent placement on the Getty Images Publishing roster, band members hope Lovestruck will help them reach the next level.

"When you think we're a band based on the opposite coast, in Gloucester, in Boston, it's great to have someone working for us on the West Coast, working in Los Angeles where the record studios and movie studios are," King said. "It takes a lot of the load off us, allowing us to concretate on making music here.

The band holds a weekly gig as the house band at The Rhumb Line's famed Monday Night Open Jamm in Gloucester and are booked through the winter at multiple venues.

The Bandits Kings' next local show is set for Friday, Dec. 10, at The Rhumb Line on Railroad Avenue. Fans can also catch band members joining King as he hosts The Rhumb Line's Open Jamm on Monday nights. - The Gloucester Times

"Meadow Music Fest on Tap Sunday in Rockport"

Dan King, lead guitarist for Boston-based Rock/Pop group, Bandit Kings, has performed at the festival off-and-on since its inception. It's been 10 years, however, since he last performed as a solo artist at the festival and is thrilled to return this year.

"I'm glad we got the call this year, my mom is from Rockport and grew up right down the street from the Meadow, so in that sense, it's special going back there," King said.

Bandit Kings, whose music has been featured on radio station 92.5 The River, formed in January and features lead singers Ann Marie Shimonoski and Renee Dupuis; Dennis Monagle on drums, and Joe Cardoza on bass.

King said the group's music is "Jangle" Rock, a subset of the folk rock genre influenced by Bob Dylan and early Beatles music as well as more modern performers such as Tom Petty, REM, and the Pretenders.

"We're interested in doing a lot of original stuff," King said, adding he and others in the band write their own songs. "We're just having a blast."
(Jonathan L'Ecuyer) - The Gloucester Times


Epic Hello (Full-Length CD)
Live in Los Angeles (Full length, download only)
Precious Stones (Full length CD)
Show Me the Stars Tonight, single (92.5 WXRV The River)
Over (single)
The Jerker (single)
Laredo, single (92.5 WXRV The River)
EP (four songs)



The Bandit Kings are an alt. country/rock/pop band with two female lead vocalists, a vintage jangle sound and modern rock rhythms from the Boston/North Shore area. Described by reviewers as an alt. country/rock/pop band in the tradition of The Pretenders, Heart, The Bangles, REM, with hints of Lucinda Williams. The band features Ann Marie on lead vocals, Renee Dupuis on lead vocals and keyboards, with Dennis Monagle (drums), Joe Cardoza (bass) and Dan King (lead guitar).

The Bandits debuted in March 2010 and have since played multiple clubs in Boston, Los Angeles and around New England—including the TT the Bears, the Plough and Stars in Cambridge, LA's The Mint, Molly Malones and Saint Rocke; and the House of Blues in Boston. They are the house band for a weekly Open Jamm at the Rhumb Line in their hometown, Gloucester, MA . The Bandits recently celebrated the release of their sophomore LP, Epic Hello this past November at the Lizard lounge in Boston (an event sponsored by The Noise and the North Shore’s Gimmesound).

This twangy-heavy group is hitting their stride after a recent guest spot on Sirius XM radio’s Having Words with Meg, (national hour long show hosted by The Loft’s Meg Griffin) and enjoying the November cover of one of Boston’s oldest music magazines, The Noise—Boston.

RADIO: Meg Griffin's Having Words Sirius XM Full Program on the Bandit Kings with Producer Dave Mattacks 1/12
Singles Carnival, Laredo, Blue Sky Sundown, and Show Me the Stars Tonight have been featured and replayed on 92.5 WXRV The River, Evo Rad and many more.

The Bandit Kings are represented in the West/SouthEast by Lovestruck Productions and by Boston Entertainment Works in the NorthEast. Managed by Victory Agents.

• Rumblefish
• Parma Music Publishing.

The Bandits interpretation of the alt. country, jangle rock guitar sounds, mashed-up with the harmony and unison of the ethereal Renee and the throaty Ann Marie, make for a powerful musical attack: "both have voices that bring us back to the dawn of country rock, whisky soaked and raspy in just the right places while never crossing into the overpowering." Along with King, Monagle, and Cardoza's modern and classic beats. The band covers hot b-sides (the Pixies, the Pretenders, Jeff Buckley, etc.) but play mostly original work.

[The Bandit Kings] are no ironists, camp followers, or genre clowns; rather than treating country as a bad joke, they take the genre, and their work, quite seriously indeed, enough to make even a jaded connoisseur want to really like them, and the care they have put into their debut collection is proof. I am even willing to stick my neck out onto the chopping block--something I’ve done about half a dozen times in the last twenty-six years--and venture that these guys have the potential to be huge. Not lower-case “h” huge, but Huh-yooooge...” (Francis DiMenno, The Noise-Boston)

The BKs latest album, EPIC HELLO was released November 2011 and features new singles Carnival and Epic Hello.
"The title track “Epic Hello” stands by itself as a soothing, sad, emotional journey of desire with a matching melody that is rarely stumbled upon by any rock ’n’ roll musicians."

• Co-produced by Dave Mattacks;
• recorded by Tony Goddess at Bang-A-Song Studio in MA;
• mixed at Q-Division in Somerville;
• and mastered at M-Works in Cambridge.

First single, Show Me the Stars Tonight, combines a country twang with rolling guitar and conspiratorial song-play by lead singers, Ann Marie and Renee Dupuis. Call it Alt. Country, Jangle Rock, Cowpunk, Rock/Pop/Indie, the album is full of surprises and thoughtful originality, from the angry roar of The Jerker, to the steady mantra of GoGoGo. Also on the album are fan favorites Threads and Over, as well as radio hit Laredo all emphasizing moody harmonies and honest homages to love, heart-crush,