Louden Swain live in Los Angeles, feature a bona fide celebrity, and recorded their debut album in the Hollywood Hills, but they're not a Hollywood glamour band or everyday television star vanity project. It's true that they took their name from a movie (the 1980s teen flick Visionquest), and their lead singer Rob Benedict is also an actor who plays the recurring role of Richard on TV's Felicity. But Louden Swain see themselves as regular guys from the Midwest who write songs about heartbreak, self-doubt, the folly of vanity, and the frictions within families. And they strongly embody the D.I.Y. ethic of alternative rock. Louden Swain started in the late '90s at Chicago's Northwestern University, where the three students came together over a few beers and soon found themselves playing together as a band. They were David Wendell (guitar), Borja (bass), and singer/guitarist Rob Benedict. The threesome worked on cover tunes and also tried jamming on acoustic instruments. Eventually they moved to Los Angeles where they met up with Stephen Norton (another native of Illinois), who became their drummer. According to Wendell, he and Norton "bonded over Midwestern heavy metal music," but the songs the band soon began to write fell more into a pop/rock vein, influenced by all their favorites -- from the Clash and the Replacements to Weezer, the Foo Fighters, and even the Beatles. The band also took inspiration from such D.I.Y. artists as Ani DiFranco when it came to making an album. While searching for a major label that would accept them, they started their own label, 3 Car Wreckords. In February 2001, they released their album Able-Legged Heroes, which within the next few months would receive attention through MP3 and a network of loyal friends who spread the word. The bandmembers kept their day jobs -- Borja as an environmental engineer, Norton with a job in the music business, Benedict with his acting, and Wendell as an independent filmmaker whose film Smut featured (of course) an appearance and songs by Louden Swain. Their sophomore effort Overachiever arrived in 2003 with their third album Suit and Tie following in 2006. Their 2009 release A Brand New Hurt introduced the song "Medicated," which thanks to its kazoo solo, became a fan favorite and staple of their live set. The raw effort Eskimo was recorded and pressed within two months, hitting the shelves in early 2012. ~ Lynne BronsteinPortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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