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Meet The Shelters, Tom Petty-approved rock'n'roll

Being helped by a major rock star has brought American quartet The Shelters big expectations, but they’re up for the fight

The Shelters knowa guy named Tommy. Tommy’s an older dude, been around the block a few times. He’s exactly the kind of man you want in your corner – had a few hits himself over the years. He’s helped The Shelters out, shown them how to fine-tune their songs, offered advice when they’ve asked for it. Cos no one knows the music biz like him. But then he should. The man The Shelters call ‘Tommy’ is Tom Petty.

“I went to school with Tommy’s stepson,” says guitarist and sometime singer Chase Simpson. “I was never really aware of who he was when I was young, he was just my friend’s dad. I’d pick his brains about music, he’d be super supportive of what I was doing. He’d let us use his studio. We knew it better than he did.”

Petty did more than that – he co-produced The Shelters’ self-titled debut album, a record that cherry picks the best bits of British Invasion-era 60s pop (The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who), filters them through a gauze of sunny 70s Californian rock and power pop, then updates them for today.

“A lot of guitar bands come from a really heavy, deep-sounding place,” says vocalist and guitarist Josh Jove. “The music we love has a real fun approach. Not so much ‘I wanna cry’ as ‘I wanna dance’.”

Simpson (26, slacker haircut, dress-down T-shirt) met Jove (28, blond greaser quiff, vintage denim) a few years ago when the latter relocated from his native Florida to Los Angeles to try to carve out a career as a studio musician. They soon put together The Shelters, bringing in drummer Sebastian Harris and bassist Jacob Pilot. Their MO was simple: song power. “You’re only as good as your tunes,” says Jove. It’s an approach that set them apart from the rest of LA’s trend-driven music scene.”

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