Countdown to SXSW: The Velvet Teen

by Marie Carney on March 6, 2015

Josh Staples, Judah Nagler and Casey Deitz of The Velvet Teen

Josh Staples, Judah Nagler and Casey Deitz of The Velvet Teen

Maybe it’s weird to be excited to stalk your favorite local band to Texas, but what can I say? I’m pretty weird and I have a long history of practically stalking The Velvet Teen. So what if it’s been almost 5 years since they’ve released any music? Unfortunately, that has kind of been their pattern since I discovered them in 2001, so why would I lose my faith now? The real question is, how do I convince you to have the same faith that this is where you should spend your precious SXSW time? I think the only way is to take you through, step by step, of how this band has changed, and been great every part of the way.

In 2000/2001 The Velvet Teen was a young band from Santa Rosa CA doing many shows in the area, mostly opening for others, and self releasing the fabulous EPs Comasynthesis and The Great Beast February, which were later combined into an album of sorts. So, imagine you are in college, a rebellious classical music major, and you go to see some shitty pop punk band your friend likes in a coffee shop and opening for them you hear this. The soaring noise/pop/rock sounds of The Velvet Teen. Listening to it now it sounds great, but so raw and young. Which makes perfect sense really.

Then you follow them, show to show, opening for many people you will care about later and be sad you left as soon as The Velvet Teen was done. You will go to so many the band starts to recognize you and say hi, which of course, is terrifying. and you wait for that album they keep talking about. Then Out of the Fierce Parade finally comes out in 2002, it’s still your band, a little more polished and a little more heavy rock, but still great. They release a single for “Radiapathy” and you hope the world will see in them what you do.

But the world doesn’t, and you almost lose track of them until one day in 2004 in Amoeba Records you see a new album, Elysium. It has a sticker on it saying no guitars were used in the making of this album. At first you are reticent, but then it turns out to be one of your favorite albums of all time.

Then silence again, and you go on with your life, but you still have an eye out for The Velvet Teen. It is a couple years before they reappear with a quite different sound. I buy the GyzmKid EP and the title song blows my mind. The album it is from, Cum Laude!, is just as noisy and dissonant and fierce and wonderful and oh so different.

It takes another four years for the next release from The Velvet Teen to reach your ears. You’d just almost forgotten about them. This time you don’t by the cd, but you download it. And you love how the No Star EP mixes their early pop-ness with the dissonance and fierceness of the last album Cum Laude!. This is where it all should have lead and is just right.

Now, four years later, you’ll go to Austin Texas and wait expectantly for the next piece of the puzzle, to know what the next step in The Velvet Teen’s musical development is, and what surely will be the next piece of your musical life.

If you’re going to South By, you have five chances to see them, so no excuses:

March 19th @ 3:00 – The Flowerbooking/AV Club Party at Cheer Up Charlies (use the link to RSVP)

March 19th @5:15 – Topshelf Records Party at Soho Lounge (RSVP Link)

March 20th TBA – Brooklyn Vegan Day Party at Red 7

March 20th @ 10:00 – Official SXSW Showcase at Red 7

March 21st @3:30 – Shiner Party at The Highball

If you’re not going to be in Austin, they are playing next week in Oakland and Santa Cruz!

March 10th at 1234 Go Records in Oakland

March 11th at The Crepe Place in Santa Cruz

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