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Aimee Allen

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Get ready to abandon typical musical nomenclature like female singer/songwriter - Aimee Allen looms on the horizon as a virtual one-woman army. A quick listen to her upcoming debut album and you understand why. Gigantic rock chords slamming into riotous, street-tinged hip hop beats all blurring under raspy, up-all-night vocals. Loud, righteous, 360-degree noise a full frontal assault on the senses that couldn't possibly come from a chick born in Montana.

Or could it?

Allen melds her punk attitude with wrenching, provocative lyrics. Like on her new album's title song, "Revolution." A taste-test of her remarkable debut affirms that she's well on her way to gathering converts.

Songs such as "Silence Is Violence," and the sexy "If It Feels Right," reflect the range of the precocious Allen's musical sensibilities and maybe even more importantly serve as launching pads for her demonstrative un-PC'ness. "I'm not afraid to speak the truth. If it feels right, say it."

A quick name-check of the producers also proves that the confident Allen is not afraid to go to the bullpen for support. Respected producers such as Don Gilmore (Linkin Park) and Mark Ronson (Nikka Costa) lend their production talents to Allen's unique songs. "I have so many influences," she says. "I wanted to reach out to people who could help me capture the moods I wanted to evoke." Aimee's eclectic guest list reflects the depth and range of her musical moods, and includes Josh Freeze from A Perfect Circle playing drums on "Revolution," as well as several other songs, bassist Mike Elizando, (who has appeared on tracks with Dr. Dre and Eminem) and guitarist Stephen Carpenter of the Deftones. Trust Company guitarist Kevin Palmer also lends a hand on the record, and underground rapper Pharoahe Monch guests on "Oblivion."

Growing up in remote Missoula, Montana, Allen relied on diverse influences to help her through an adventurous childhood. It's a skewed ancestral tree, but you can connect the dots to Allen by tracing what she listened to growing up; Eazy E Beastie Boys --Janis Joplin -- Patti Smith The Pixies. And later Jeff Buckley, Ani DiFranco and Tom Waits. "And I love Ricki Lee Jones," she says. "I have a vivid memory of going through my parent's record collection and discovering her music for the first time."

Even a stint in reform school didn't dull Allen's sensitivity to the lyricist in her. Admiration for songwriters like Jones instilled a deep respect for the words that musicians apply to their craft. She knew at an early age that she wanted to dedicate herself to making a meaningful impact on the music world, launching her fair share of bands in high school, and tearing up the punk rock club and bar circuit in her native Montana, helping to toughen up her musical calluses for the road ahead. She even logged some time as a DJ on the local radio station, spinning rock and punk favorites to an audience that just might be listening to her music one day. Through it all Aimee kept writing. "I have thousands of pieces of paper with random lyrics that I can't let go of."

Allen was 18 when she decided to make her first musical assault outside of her Montana confines. She moved to Los Angeles, and began the hard work of trying to put a music career together. "I just wanted to make some noise," she recalls, but Allen admits to never losing sight of what her underlying mission was. "Music is in my blood. I knew that no matter how hard the struggle, I had to express myself through my music." Completely alone in L.A., she continued to tough it out until hooking up with a band that began to build a credible following in L.A. rock clubs. Aimee was thankful for the attention, but knew she wouldn't be happy until she followed her own vision, wherever that may lead.

New York City beckoned, and Aimee answered, knowing full well she would essentially have to start all over in the toughest music town in the world. Soon, word leaked out about the one-woman army who literally wore her lyrics on her sleeve. It didn't take long for a buzz to build around this Montana born songwriter who refused to abandon her dream. Major labels began pursuing Allen in earnest. She eventually chose Elektra because in Allen's words "they believed in me from the start."

A notorious insomniac, Aimee bunked in a Midtown studio during the entire making of the record. Working almost around the clock, she took in an abandoned cat, her only company on those sleepless nights where Aimee would mine the darkness for songwriting inspiration. "At times I prayed I'd hear voices so that I could have someone to talk to. I always had the walls though I write on walls, they just don't write back," she laughs. "Especially when I can't sleep. Which is all the time." Allen's lyrics, as well as her other 3am philosophies, are scrawled in just about every corner of the production den in bright red magic marker.

And what kind of things go through her mind in the dead of night, when most of the civilized world is fast asleep.

How about a new take on the legendary creed: Sex, drugs, and rock n' roll, for starters?

Says Allen: "Rock n' roll should never come third on any list."

© http://www.friendly-wounds.com/aimee/

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