After 10 years and three albums, the four members of Lovedrug packed their bags, said goodbye to family and friends in Canton, and moved to Nashville eight months ago. They recorded their new album, Wild Blood, there, and now they're hoping the city that's chewed up and spit out artists by the pickup-load over the years will be a little more kind to them. "We needed to change the scenery a little bit," says frontman Michael Shepard (pictured left). "It's a fresh start. We'll see where it leads us."
Wild Blood, which comes out this week, follows a trio of EPs the indie-rock band released in 2010 and 2011 — each simply called EP, parts I, II, and III (apparently the band was so wiped out making all this new music, they didn't leave any energy for naming their records). The fan-only EPs were such a hit, Lovedrug went straight to their core followers for the new album. In November 2010, the group launched the "I Am Lovedrug" campaign, gathering feedback and donations from fans to help fund recording of Wild Blood.
"We knew there was a chapter closing after the last album," says Shepard. "We needed to reconfigure and reinvent what we sound like. During the break, we recorded some demos and showed them to close friends to get their feedback. So we thought, Why not do that on a larger scale and involve the fans?"
From the shimmering U2-like march of the title track to "Dinosaur"'s sigh-and-shake to the climbing ballad "Ladders," Wild Blood is a tighter LP than 2008's The Sucker Punch Show. There are no giant leaps here — just 11 insanely catchy songs that aim for the cheap seats. "There's naïveté and purity when you make your first album," says Shepard. "That's what we wanted to do with this album: We wanted to make it feel like our first record again."
THE MAYOR'S BIG MOVE: It's a good time to be a Cleveland rapper. First, Diddy said to Machine Gun Kelly, "Yo, make a record on my label." And now Ray Jr. has been signed to Def Jam Records. The Unofficial Mayor of Cleveland, as he's known to fans, will release his debut on the legendary hip-hop label sometime this year. Details of the LP are coming soon. In the meantime, Ray Jr.'s latest mixtape, Elected, was recently released as a free download at livemixtapes.com. So go get it — it's worth it.
RECOUNT! The Cleveland metal band Deadiron will release their debut album, Out of the Rust and Ruin, with a special show at Peabody's on Saturday. The quintet recently finished second in Project Independent, an online metal showcase that pitted more than 350 groups against each other for a two-month, all-expenses-paid nationwide tour. Like in the 2000 presidential election (or at least that's the best analogy we have at the moment), Deadiron actually had more total votes than any other group in the month-long contest, but lost the final-round tally.
No big deal, because their new album (which was partially funded by Kickstarter contributions) kicks more ass than anything we've heard by the 10th Hour, which won the contest. Showtime is 7:30 p.m., but like most Peabody's shows, there's a million bands playing that night. So you probably don't need to get there too early unless that's your cousin up there starting things off. Best of all, you can pick up a free ticket to the show at peabodys.com.