Lunden Reign — American Stranger
((Not on label) No #, 2015, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-05-10Once upon a time, there were girls in hard rock bands, though they were usually the singers, like Tina Turner or Janis Joplin; it was the guys who wielded the guitars and the chops. Then in the mid-70s, Heart changed all that, with the Wilson sisters commanding one of the most impressive hard rock bands of the day. Then came The Pretenders with Chrissie Hynde, and Joan Jett, and many more that followed their lead. At hand we have the debut album by one such band, with lead singer Nikki Lunden, and primary guitarist Lora G Espinoza-Lunden, both providing the compositions and lyrics along with producer Luis Maldonato, who provides additional guitars on all tracks. The remainder of the band appears to be a patchwork of players on the recording, track depending (two drummers, three bassists, an additional guitarist and a cellist on three cuts), although a quick look at their website shows that they are constantly gigging around Southern California, so there must be a regular live version of the band. Opening with the powerful “Love in Free Fall,” every track here embraces that powerful early 80s jangly power rock ethic that’s irresistible on a number of levels, with Nikki Lunden’s vocals (often dark and smoky, like a female answer to Billy Idol, as on “28If”) and Lora G’s guitars powering every one of the ten tracks here. There are backing vocal harmonies as well, adding a lot of power and punch to the proceedings. The interesting and angular chord progressions and melodies on the title track give this band serious progressive cred without all the symphonic pomp and lengthy excesses, a trend which continues from that point through the end of the album with cuts like “The Light,” “Hear Me,” and “When Love Lies.” There’s a lot of great rock here in a no-nonsense song-length format, reminiscent of those great years that seemed to be gone forever until I heard this.
Related artist(s): Lunden Reign
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more