Lovedrug
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Lovedrug

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Alternative

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I AM LOVEDRUG: The Making of an Album
Posted by James McQuiston on December 15th, 2010 No Comments Printer-Friendly

Alt-rock outfit Lovedrug’s campaign for fans to fund their new album is a far cry from a handout. Just two weeks into the 60-day campaign, the band has already given contributors over a dozen songs, videos, and downloads, including a brand new Christmas EP.

All restricted content is available with any and every pledge, even the most entry-level amount of $15. All such bonus material is in addition to Exclusives supporters can pledge toward, such as framed original lyric & song notes, custom recordings, the supporter’s name in the album credits, acoustic living-room performances, or a private show in the band’s rehearsal space.

With Lovedrug promising to deliver much, much more over the remaining 6 weeks of the campaign and beyond, peeks inside the studio and recording process, supporters will receive approximately two albums worth of bonus material throughout the campaign.

I AM LOVEDRUG is in partnership with UK-based fundraiser Pledge Music and band charity partner Mocha Club.

For more information visit www.IamLovedrug.com.

Currently label-free, Lovedrug released various material in 2010, including EP-PART I and EP-PART II out now on Vinyl, CD and/or digital format at Lovedrugmusic.com. The final installment EP-PART III will be released in January 2011. - Neufutur Magazine


A couple of covers for you from Lovedrug. First, Stevie Nicks’ Dreams and then Def Leppard’s hair metal classic Hysteria. Oh yes.

The Stevie Nicks cover is from an album of covers, which is rarely a good thing. But it is done in a dreamy pop style with hints of early REM in the guitar. Very nice. But the real winner is the Def Leppard cover, which moves from bombastic, hair metal to a full-on pop love song. Complete with acoustic guitar solo. Fine effort.

Lovedrug – Dreams (Stevie Nicks Cover)

Lovedrug – Hysteria (Def Leppard cover)

Blurb: You may recall the recent I AM LOVEDRUG campaign in which close to 700 generous supporters donated to Lovedrug in exchange for exclusives ranging from pre-release albums to cover song requests. As a result Michael, Jeremy, Thomas, and James now have the opportunity to work on the band’s first independent full-length release! As a result of the numerous cover song requests during the I AM LOVEDRUG campaign the guys decided to choose the 10 best covers and release them as a Best of I AM LOVEDRUG album! The Best of I AM LOVEDRUG album is available now for pre-order through http://freefallmediagroup.net/lovedrug/band-shop/. The pre-order comes with three instant downloads including “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, “Talk To Me” by Stevie Nicks, as well as bonus track “Insatiable” by Darren Hayes, which is ONLY available during pre-order. - Acid Ted


Lovedrug releases the 2nd part of the EP series “EP II” and expands on what the band displayed on the first set of tunes. The music industry is changing and not being a fan of EP’s, I wish they released this all in 1 full album, but the EPs are good as long as they release more songs than a full album. I can see why they released these in EP’s though, as the vibes form the 2 so far are a little different but fit together better. Channeling their inner Southern vibe and also taking some influences from King Of Leon, the band creates some of the best music to date.

This 7 song EP is a little darker and slower yet more intricate in the same way. “Dead In The Water” open the album well, keeping the vibe of the first EP but adding elements of a more raw experience. “Faith” maybe in fact my favorite Lovedrug song since “Salt Of The Earth.” This song has the beauty the band hasn’t endowed in some time. The lush chorus and the breathy sounds of the music create a great chorus. When the breakdown in the bridge comes, I can only picture this live as I can see the crowd really getting involved. Next is “Southern Knell” which is even more southern sounding (no pun intended). This acoustic based song has all the ambient tones behind the song and another heartfelt song. There is almost a country vibe to this one (think Crazy Heart). “Elastical” is the harder of the bunch of songs and gets more into the grit we know from previous albums. They always have that garage band sound and that’s what makes them so great.

The EP ends very well with a fantastic cover of The Pixies “Where Is My Mind.” The band is too perfect for this song and does the rendition very well. Making it their own they nail all the classic parts of this song with the additional of making it their own. I’ve heard Pixies covers before but this one just sound natural.

I’ll honestly say after hearing the first EP, was really looking forward to this one but it surpassed my expectations. If you still don’t know Lovedrug, you are sorely missing out on some great music. The band proves you don’t need to over produce your record. This sound like the band live and the raw energy is definitely captured on these 7 songs. Just do yourself a favor and pull up your Itunes, type in Lovedrug and just take a listen. I bet you 10 bucks that you buy their songs. - Melodic.net


Ohio indie rockers Lovedrug have recently released a slew of cover songs to preface their new album Best of I AM LOVEDRUG. The album will feature a wide range of covers of the likes of Third Eye Blind, Fleetwood Mac, Def Leppard and then some. Check out a few preview tracks.

A band has to be either quite confident in their credibility or have an uncanny ability to laugh at themselves to take on a song by Darren Hayes, Savage Garden frontman. When it comes to a Savage Garden cover there’s only one direction a band can take it: up, and that is where Lovedrug goes with it. They take it up into the clouds and far beyond what one might consider the realm of possibility when it came to this song. Lovedrug unmasked the potential in “Insatiable” and managed to distort it into a techno-indie song with ironic panache.

In fact they turn hokey into hip in a number of places on this album. They seal Def Leppard’s love anthem “Hysteria” with a soft indie pop kiss, and Stevie Nicks’ “Talk to Me,” which originally has the same amount of depth as a Ke$ha lyric, sounds a bit more sincere from frontman Michael Shepard’s comforting and cutely broken voice.

Thankfully they take on some more legitimate originals like Harry Nilsson, Fleetwood Mac, and My Bloody Valentine, which balance out the band’s fun dip into ’80s synth pop, arena rock, and misguided 90s slow jams. Lovedrug shines the brightest on their take of “Dreams.” Their version of the song is more like a renovation than a complete reconstruction. Opting for electronics over acoustics, Lovedrug recreates the silky ambiance using an atmospheric synthesizer. The band also adds an upbeat guitar line that saves the song from over indulging in a complete blending of instruments, proving that just a little bit of ambient sound goes a long way. Then, on My Bloody Valentine’s “Only Shallow,” they create a dreamy wash of noise and crunch. With these tracks to go on, Best of I AM LOVEDRUG looks like a promising album indeed. - Covermesongs


There have been casualties. A pair of ceramic owls and the glass window between the band’s practice room and lounge area fell prey to Lovedrug frontman Michael Shepard’s mercurial moods. The band went through eight musicians on their first two albums and three EPs. But the storm seems to have passed as Lovedrug prepare to record the follow-up to 2008’s The Sucker Punch Show with the same lineup — a band first.

In addition to personality conflicts, the band struggled through a brief tenure with a major label after their 2004 debut LP, Pretend You’re Alive. Shake-ups at the record company stalled plans for their follow-up, and band and label eventually parted ways. Fortunately, Lovedrug were able to take their work with them and returned to their old indie label, for 2007’s Everything Starts Where It Ends. Combining pretty, atmospheric settings with terse indie-rock punch, the sweet-and-crunchy combination made the CD a fast seller, piquing anticipation for The Sucker Punch Show. Shortly before recording the album, however, Shepard replaced his bassist and guitarist, and dealt with legal difficulties, including a short jail stint.

When he got out, he recruited Jeremy Gifford (guitar) and Thomas Bragg (bass), and they immediately started writing and recording The Sucker Punch Show. The shadowy, piano-heavy album is draped in dark and decadent metaphors. Songs range from the drowning, broken-fingered narrator of “Dying Days” to the gang beating that opens “Broken Home,” and “Blood Like,” where Shepard sings, “I’ve got a little problem with my own head.” The swelling, expansive backgrounds of prior albums are replaced with a constricted, pugilistic rumble as sharp-cornered as anything they’ve created. Audience response to the disc was less than enthusiastic.

“It’s like if you’re trying to flip one person off in a crowded room,” says Shepard. “It’s not going to work out too well, and people are going to take it the wrong way. That’s kind of how it felt. I was just pissed off.”

“Everyone’s allowed to put out a selfish album every once in a while,” adds Bragg.

Matters weren’t helped by the fact that by the time they turned in the album, their indie label was going bankrupt. It offered minimal promotional support and shipped a mere 6,000 CDs to retailers. It was dead in the water before it even left port.

But attitudes in the cozy practice-space lounge are upbeat these days. Without a label, the band has taken its time writing, and the whole atmosphere is more carefree. They’ve posted five demos on PureVolume that display a return to their more ethereal sound, with a crisp, crackling attack. Shepard credits the two years they’ve had to grow together as musicians. “That’s why the new material we’re writing is coming across so well,” he says. “It feels like we’re in a great new headspace now.”

Tracks like the wide-eyed teenage love song, “We Were Owls,” with its ringing, Edge-like guitars and thundering drums, and the bluesy, droning slow-burn “Ladders,” are impressively tight. Shepard has downplayed the piano, transposing songs conceived on the keys to guitar. They’ve already written more than 30 songs and plan to use these demos — and their performances at the SXSW music festival in Austin next month — as a springboard to a new deal. Several labels have already approached them.

“I like to hear a song that makes me groove, that I can sing along to,” says Shepard. “I think that’s coming out more with the new material, so it does seem a little bit more accessible. But I can’t really get away from the ethereal side of what Lovedrug is either — the metaphors and the airiness. We’ve been through the gauntlet and come back to a place where we’re really concentrating not about the business so much, which is where I think we stumbled a bit, but just on writing a ridiculous amount of material and making the best album possible. It just feels like a new beginning.” - Cleveland SCENE


For nearly a decade, Lovedrug has been combining terse, bristling indie-rock propulsion with textured atmospheric backgrounds reminiscent of British acts such as South and Elbow. In that time, the Alliance, Ohio quartet has seen its share of ups and downs. The band has released three albums and three EPs, endured a brief spin at Columbia that ended without anything being released … and then watched its label, The Militia Group, go bankrupt just as it was releasing 2008’s The Sucker Punch Show.

Along the way, frontman Michael Shepard has gone through at least eight musicians, and survived a 20-day jail stint with a 7-foot-tall cellmate, Godzilla (who fortunately was a big fan of Lovedrug’s onetime tourmates, Yellowcard). So with Lovedrug about to record two consecutive albums with the same line-up, the outlook is starting to improve.

Guitarist Jeremy Gifford and bassist Thomas Bragg joined just two months before recording Sucker Punch Show, Lovedrug’s third album. They barely knew each other before they had to start writing songs together. Since then, however, they’ve had time to grow into a well-oiled unit just now hitting its stride.

“It’s evolved into this very solid thing. We all have great chemistry with each other,” reports Gifford. Freed from label obligations, they’ve hit the practice space with a vengeance, writing 30 songs — and judging from demos posted on their MySpace and PureVolume pages, they’re among the best songs the band has ever written.

That’s welcome news to fans who were disappointed with the dark, claustrophobic tone of Sucker Punch Show. Lyrically consumed with ideas of confinement and affliction, the music’s hard edges and foreboding environs sucked the air out of the tracks, creating a bitter, biting sound anguished enough for grunge.

“I was just pissed off, and it was like purging,” confesses Shepard. “It was inevitable that some people were going to be offended or not like it.”

Those not already scared off will find a tighter, crisper Lovedrug on the recent demos. Shepard has turned increasingly to the guitar, even transposing those songs conceived on piano to the six-string. Tracks like the teenage love paean “We Are Owls” and the brisk, shimmying “Pink Champagne” are as unrepentantly catchy as anything the band has written. It’s as though the group has pulled up the blinds and thrown up the windows: The songs really breathe, and it’s easier than ever to be swept up in their energy.

“Just playing music for the amount of time we’ve all played music, you kind of inevitably trim away some of the fat when it comes to writing,” Shepard says. “I like pop music, and over the years that’s just become more evident. I like to hear a song that makes me groove, and that I can sing along to. That’s coming out more with the new material we’re writing, so it does seem a little bit more accessible.”

Indeed, the new material is so engaging that their friends feel no compunction about sharing their true feelings. “They’re like, ‘Wow, this stuff is really good. I really didn’t like your last album,’” reports Bragg.

Lovedrug has passed along demos not just to their friends, but labels as well. And while they’ve generated plenty of interest, the members aren’t in any hurry. Aware of the missteps they’ve made before, they’re taking the time to get it right now. Lovedrug is scheduled to play several shows at SXSW and hope to finalize a record deal some time after that, get a producer and then head into the studio. Meanwhile, the group is concentrating on re-engaging its fans and showing them a better time, fueled by Lovedrug’s renewed spirit.

“It just feels like a new beginning,” says Shepard. - Pittsburgh CityPaper


Lovedrug is an Ohio-based indie rock band. Their debut Pretend You're Alive brought critical praise to Sunny Day Real Estate. While comparisons are warranted, Lovedrug has definitely carved out their own sound. Frontman Michael Shepard's voice is unmistakable and full of emotion and swagger. The band often integrates piano, quiet and loud sections, and most notably memorable melodies that stick to your ribs.

I loved the dark, moodiness on Pretend Your Alive and their expanded sound on Everything Starts Where It Ends. But, I wasn't drawn in by the samples I heard from their last release The Sucker Punch Show and it was not as well-received. Now, after a break from their record label, the band is working on new material and a fresh start.

Recently, I got the opportunity to listen to some of their new work. I'm happy to say that Lovedrug is as addictive as ever. The band appears to be thriving without pressures from the record label. The five demos have a more upbeat vibe than their older material and they all sound like they'd be fun to see performed live. Lovedrug may have tweaked their sound a bit, but for the most part they sound like the same band with maybe a dash of growth. To compare it to their previous work, the new songs aren't as dark as Pretend You're Alive and closer to the best of Everything Starts Where It Ends.

"Pink Champagne" exudes the positive vibe that carries through all of the new work. On "Dead in the Water" Shepard sings: "I might be down. But I'm not dead in the water". I don't know whether it's meant to reflect their current situation, but it plays like an aggressive comeback anthem. The upbeat track showcases excellent instrumentation including some great rocking out on the piano. It sounds like the band is really having some fun.

"She's Disaster" is not only the most memorable of these tracks, but it could also be one of the band's best to date. It's a bluesy, mellow gem with some interesting lyrics. The song's slow burn, eventually peels away to reveal a head nod-inducing clapping section. As usual, Shepard's vocals are enthralling and they really drawn you into the song.

It's great to hear Lovedrug's new songs, which I'm hoping to hear again on an upcoming release. In my opinion they're all as good as, and in some cases better than, their solid catalog of indie rock tracks. They recently announced they'll be performing at the 2010 South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin.
- BlogCritic


Discography

"Pretend You're Alive" (2005)
"Everything Starts Where It Ends" (2007)
"The Sucker Punch Show" (2008)
"EP-PART I" (2010)
"EP-PART II" (2010)
"EP-PART III" (2011)
"Best of I AM LOVEDRUG" (2011)

Photos

Bio

Lovedrug released their first EP, the Lovedrug EP, with the follow-up EP, the Rocknroll EP, coming in mid 2004. After signing to The Militia Group, an indie-rock label, the band released their first full-length Pretend You're Alive on July 27, 2004. The album was produced by Tim Patalan, and featured dark, guitar-driven art rock. The album became the label's fastest selling debut ever, selling close to 20,000 copies in the first few months of release. The record and band were thus up-streamed to major label parent Columbia Records at the end of 2005, though the re-release of Pretend You're Alive, and accompanying radio single for "Spiders", were undercut by tremendous corporate purging that plagued Columbia Records throughout 2005 and 2006.

Lovedrug toured heavily from 2004 through early 2007, including support dates with The Killers, Robert Plant, Switchfoot, and Coheed & Cambria, Matchbook Romance and several headlining runs, establishing a sizable American following. By late 2006, Lovedrug had a new album’s worth of material and, to avoid continued upheaval at Columbia, returned to The Militia Group to release Everything Starts Where It Ends, again produced by Tim Patalan, on March 7, 2007. The album was well received, selling close to 30k albums in several months on the back of Japanese and North American touring, including two headline runs and tours with Sparta, Blue October, and The Plain White Ts. The video for “Ghost By Your Side” was added to regular rotation on MTV and the college/indie single “Happy Apple Poison” charted in the top 10.

The band's third album, The Sucker Punch Show, was made with iconic 90's rock producer Michael Beinhorn (Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mew) at the Red Bull Studios in Santa Monica, CA. Though the October 28, 2008 release coincided with the bankruptcy and collapse of The Militia Group in North America, the album was especially well received when re-released in Europe on June 2, 2009 with Make My Day Records, landing at #6 on the Visions summer chart, garnering broad radio play for the single “Only One”. The Euro version of The Sucker Punch Show included a full-length alternate version of the album entitled "Sucker Punched (Alt. LP)". The band toured Europe in June and July, playing a number of club shows and festivals with Kings of Leon, Nine Inch Nails, Silversun Pickups, and Eagles of Death Metal.

March 2010 saw EP - Part I, the first installment in a series of three EPs collectively logoed "+/-", coinciding with the band's appearances at the South By Southwest conference in Austin Texas and a number of surrounding touring dates including Bamboozle at Giants Stadium. EP - Part II followed on June 13, 2010, along with another 3-week headlining tour in the USA. In November the band announced I AM LOVEDRUG, a fan-driven campaign in partnership with PledgeMusic to fund the recording and setup of album #4.

The band reached its goal over the holiday, released the final EP PART III in January ’11, and head into the studio in March & April with producer Paul Moak in Nashville. After releasing 'Best of I AM LOVEDRUG', a collection of cover songs from the PledgeMusic campaign, the band is will release the first single of the upcoming original album in September.