A lot of bands have come and gone in the Indianapolis rock scene since the year 2000. One that’s still going strong is Shadeland, which will celebrate the release of their fifth full-length album at HI-FI this Saturday.
“It’s had its highs and lows,” says Shadeland drummer Brad Hudgins. “A lot of the bands we were playing shows with quite often have broken up, and we’re the only ones left still playing. So it was harder and harder to get people to your shows at points. But right now, I think it’s a good time for us.”
A self-titled release, Shadeland’s latest album has been many years in the making. In fact, the group first started recording it back in 2015. “Early that year, I had all the songs finished,” says Shadeland vocalist, guitarist, and head songwriter Allen Kell. “With me, it’s always a fiasco because I change them a thousand times. Even before the guys hear a song, it’s already changed. And then once we record them, I’ll still change them.”
This never-ending cycle of fine-tuning tracks is something Kell admits he’s always done, especially considering he’s personally mixed and mastered all of Shadeland’s music from the very beginning.
“I’ve never just been like, ‘Alright. The song’s done. Moving on,’” Kell says. “I have to keep working on it and revising it. I’ve been that way since we started playing.”
An album characterized by emotionally driven songcraft, Shadeland features one track that’s particularly close to Kell’s heart.
“I had this incident driving home from practice,” says Kell of the song “A Stranger Passing By.” “It was slick, and I came upon a girl in a bad wreck. Her neck was clearly broken. I tried to help her. The ambulance hadn’t arrived yet.”
He continues, “It was traumatic because there was nothing I could do, and I still don’t know if she’s alive or not. The ambulance took her away, and that was it. At that point, I was just a stranger passing by. You do your best to help, but sometimes you can’t do anything. All you can do is try. That song means a lot to me.”
In many ways, this album means a lot to the band as well, hence the decision to have it be self-titled.
“It’s basically just a tribute to us and the fact that we’re still doing this,” Kell says. “There’s no deadline or stopping point for your art. If you’re an artist and you like making music, then you’re going to do it forever.”
With several devoted fans young and old in the Indianapolis area, Shadeland is looking forward to their album release show at HI-FI—a shindig that will also feature appearances from Desert Planet, InCalico, and Ballast.
“Indy has been kind to us,” Kell concludes. “We try our best to stay active and just be a part of the scene. Our fan base has certainly been dedicated.”