*Update! Two tracks from Yuletide Swank are featured in the online "CHAD VADER" Holiday Video Card from YouTube this year. Chad Vader is the short comedic film series that's become an internet hit with over 50 million downloads to date.
After colliding at a favorite neighborhood watering hole in Madison, Wisconsin one summer evening, guitarist Dan Hicks and vocalist Courtney Collins instantly bonded over their mutual love of old-school power pop. They closed the evening with a pact to start a band that would pay homage to the bands that inspired them during their formative years, and yet shed new light upon their favorite genre of modern music. The duo started writing together and then set about finding the rhythm section that would complement their music, which they dub "arena pop." Drummer Dave Ross entered the scene and wholeheartedly agreed to join the expedition. The lineup was completed with the addition of Arena Venus's newest member, bassist Andrew Yonda.
Hicks' roaring power chords and classic arrangements are augmented by Yonda's melodic and insistent bass lines. Yonda's knack for pop is only complemented by Ross' precise but big beat, which provides the foundation for the playground that is Arena Venus. Collins ties it together with her protean contralto, bright melodies, and multi-entendre lyrics which are usually delivered with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
The band's debut EP, "Plucked," was released in July 2003. "Plucked" has been reviewed as a "smart, catchy disc," with "gritty guitars" and "sultry, dreamy legato" vocals. Over the summer of 2004, Arena Venus took a temporary departure from power pop to record a Christmas CD, for release in November 2004. "Yuletide Swank" combines lounge, rockabilly, and traditional stylings - upright bass, vibraphone, Christmas bells, rocking guitar, organ, and smooth female vocals make this Christmas cd both retro and fresh.
To purchase COURTNEY COLLINS'S solo CD, Violet Night, or her Christmas CD with Jeremy Ylvisaker, J. T. Bates, and Michael Lewis, go to: http://cdbaby.com/all/arenavenus
And also visit www.CourtneyCollins.com and www.DannyParis.com for more projects from members of Arena Venus.
"Let's get this out of the way straight off - this is the best Christmas album I've ever heard - anywhere. Brilliant arrangements and sublime musicianship...with a pristine recording and mix, delivering one of the best albums of the year." - Rick's Cafe, South Central Wisconsin's Regional Music News
" ...Yuletide Swank is pure pop pleasure. It's a fun ride for a broad audience of holiday music lovers. Take a seat in the lounge, and enjoy!" - Carol Swanson, Christmasreviews.com
"The band candy-coats its usual guitar rock edge and gives yuletide favorites an 'indie lounge' feel that goes down as smooth as spiked eggnog at your holiday party." - Rob Thomas, The Capital Times
"Arena Venus could likely succeed in any genre, the elements from each of the individual players are that in tune and that cohesive." - Christine Holm, The Badger Herald