Prior to their newest album Sky Alive, Louden Swain’s 2012 album Eskimo had solidified their reign as indie darlings in the Los Angeles music scene. The release of Eskimo - the band’s 4th studio record - yielded a year marked by an American and European tour, and included instant classic shows in New York, London, Chicago and Berlin. While videos for the singles “Eskimo” and “Gamma Ray” posted impressive numbers on YouTube, the song “Worlds Collide” was featured in the CW series “Supernatural”. Indie Rock Café said about the album “With that kind of talent helping them out, it’s nearly impossible not to end up with some great tracks”.
The four friends and longtime bandmates had a lot to be excited about. Lead singer Rob Benedict, bass player Mike Borja and drummer Stephen Norton started the band in 1997. Early on the music catered to the time - they were a Green Day-esque garage rock band. The new millennium added influences from Wilco and My Morning Jacket.
But their core purpose never changed—make music that you enjoy.
With the addition of lead guitar player Billy Moran in 2005, they were finally able to not only make the music the wanted to, but with a new layer of sound that matched the epic visions they were hearing in their head. Those epic visions manifested themselves in A Brand New Hurt (2007) and Eskimo.
But 2013 brought a new challenge that they would have to overcome.
In October, lead singer Benedict (also an actor with an impressive resume including “Waiting...”, “Kicking and Screaming”, “Supernatural”, and “Felicity” to name a few) suffered an ischemic stroke, caused by a tear in his carotid artery. This unlikely occurrence put not only Rob’s future, but also the band’s, in question. But Rob started making a surprisingly quick recovery, fueled by practices with the band. At first he could play but had a hard time enunciating lyrics, but they kept on. “It was the one thing I could do that felt good, and was good for me.” said Benedict. By January 2014, he was back to full health, much to the amazement of the doctors. His “therapy” had produced 16 new Louden Swain songs that were ready to record.
The result is Sky Alive - Louden Swain’s 5th full length album - a 12 song symphony of pain and triumph. It is an album about not only surviving but also re-connecting with life. The band has never sounded so full and passionate. The album is the closest yet to capturing the energy and pulse of their live shows. As always, the lyrics have that biting wit, catchy choruses, and instantly memorable melodies which have become the Louden Swain signature. The band produced Sky Alive themselves, and the finishing touches were added by mixer Jon Kaplan (Parachute, Augustana, Gavin DeGraw) and mastering by Gavin Lurssen (Bruno Mars, Queens of the Stone Age, Sheryl Crow).
Louden Swain is a band that has paid its dues, from its roots as a garage rock trio to their emergence as a Americana college rock quartet, they have persevered in a music scene filled with passing fads and bands of the month. They thought they’d seen it all - but last year’s tragedy proved differently. As a result they are a band that is grounded and sure of themselves. And from the new perspective they’ve gained - they are born anew, and anything is possible. The Sky is Alive for Louden Swain.