Vintage Trouble—The Bomb Shelter Sessions

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Some bands were just meant to live in another era, and the Los Angeles-based quartet Vintage Trouble is one of them. Ty Taylor, Nalle Colt, Richard Danielson and Rick Barrio Dill not only create a soulful blend of blues and R&B, but they look like they stepped out of the 1950s. Dressed in fedoras and trousers help up with suspenders, it’s hard to believe that these guys are part of a modern band, but with a resurgence in just about every era of music, it’s fitting. And these musicians are talented as hell.

The four-piece’s debut happened on accident. After forming in 2010, the gritty soul troupe recorded an album’s worth of music at Downtown Los Angeles’ Bomb Shelter Studios in the course of three days. These tracks were meant to be demos and ended up being pressed into CDs, which the band aptly entitled The Bomb Shelter Sessions. Vintage Trouble self-released the record (with the help of manager Doc McGhee) in the UK in July of the same year, but waited until late April of 2012 to officially release it here in the US. In the meantime, the group has dominated overseas, charting at number one “R&B Album” and number two “Rock Album” on Amazon UK as well as the country’s “Top 40.”

But this success is no surprise. TBSS comprises twelve soulful tracks that the band describes as “live-wired, straight-shootin’, dirty-mouth’d, pelvis-pushing juke music.” This statement is proved as soon as the needle drops. “Blues Hand Me Down,” the album’s opener and single, is an energetic, charismatic tune that attests to the fact that Taylor and his gang live in the wrong decade: “Papa was a blues man, gave me the blues hand me downs / an alligator shoes man, gave me the blues hand me downs / moonshine drinking, doin’ everything but thinking, blues hand me downs,” Taylor frenetically howls atop rock ‘n’ roll blues instrumentation. It’s this dynamism that attracts Vintage Trouble’s fan base, tastefully dubbed the “Troublemakers,” and what distinguishes the band from others in the soul revival.

 

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The album continues with tracks that range from blues (“Nobody Told Me”) to R&B (“Gracefully”) to Americana (“Nancy Lee”) and closes with the epic eight-minute-fourteen-second long “Run Outta You.” The song is a soulful R&B number that begins with Taylor bellowing and breaks into a two-minute long instrumental bridge that features a wailing guitar solo halfway through the track. After listening to the album, it’s hard to believe these songs were recorded as demos and builds anticipation for a sophomore filled with intentional tracks.

Vintage Trouble is currently on tour in the US and making its way back to Europe in the summer, with stops at the Lightning in a Bottle and Sasquatch festivals, as well as a slew of international festivals.