|NOW HEAR THIS 2004||Can’t figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters’ music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.|
|< back||forward >|
|::|| Best Band to Best Radiohead and Jeff Buckley References |
THE VELVET TEEN
Santa Rosa is a town most noted for being overshadowed. Just 50 miles north of San Francisco, it’s large enough and far enough away to still be considered “The City” by folks further up the coast, but not nearly far enough to escape the real city’s gravitational pull. It’s a phenomenon repeated around the country—there are countless towns with energetic music scenes, but local bands still move to bigger cities to get any national attention.
But just as the San Andreas fault lurks just outside Santa Rosa, The Velvet Teen is simmering under the cultural radar, poised to pounce. Elysium, the band’s second album, is set to hit the shelves and airwaves in July. Since the 2002 release of its first full-length, Out of the Fierce Parade, the band has toured with Death Cab for Cutie, Cursive and others. The Velvet Teen helped kick off San Francisco’s 10th Anniversary NoisePop festival, found much love while touring Japan, and have already set up a web page on MTV.com.
So you could say they’re ready for liftoff, and it’s long overdue. All three members of The Velvet Teen have done time in multiple other bands and side projects, sometimes juggling several at a time. The band even formed as a secret side project (called The Secret Band, appropriately enough) five years ago to explore other songwriting styles.
To compare the Velvet Teen to other bands, even as I’ve done above, just doesn’t do it justice. Singer Judah Nagler’s voice is awe-inspiring; without even considering his soaring vocal range, it’s a rare delight to hear a man capable of harmonizing with his guitar’s feedback during shows. Together with the rhythmic teamwork of drummer Logan Whitehurst and bassist Josh Staples, the band creates thoughtful and intricate movements in every song from rockers like “Into the Open” and “Radiapathy” to the softer but no less masterful “Penning the Penultimate”.
The Velvet Teen makes dazzling and moody rock that busts down any small town sound. Make sure you catch them in your local dive bar, if it’s not already too late.