Vetiver Brings Warmth Back to Forefront

vetsIt’s been a little bit since we’ve heard from Vetiver, but they’ve always been a personal favorite of mine, so I’m happy to hear new music coming from the Cali band.  Andy Cabic, the man behind the music has completed the work on Complete Strangers, the group’s new album (or his new record, really).  This single is the sort of infectious folk-influenced pop songwriting that I find rather endearing; there’s a nice bobbing bass line working beneath, with slide guitar working in and out of the song itself.  All the while, Cabic excels with his genial vocal delivery; it’s every bit an afternoon in Cali. Easy Sound releases the LP on March 24th.

Dreamy Pop Number from Pure Bathing Culture

It’s been a pretty busy week all around, and I almost let this one slip though my hands, that is until I saw that Pure Bathing Culture is comprised of members of Vetiver, a band we think highly of here around the house.  They’ve compiled four new songs that they recorded with Richard Swift, and that EP should come out on May 22nd via Father/Daughter Records.  While there’s a definite element of haziness at work here, I really love the quality of the vocal, with just a hint of raspy/smoky quality.  It will be interesting to see what a full length effort sounds like, but for now, this EP is doing just fine!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/03-Ivory-Coast.mp3]

Download:Pure Bathing Culture – Ivory Coast [MP3]

Vetiver – The Errant Charm

Rating: ★★★½ ·

As soon as you come across The Errant Charm by Vetiver, there will be two things that stick in your mind, at least if you approach things in a certain way.  For one, the color scheme of the album sort of seems to hint at finding a warm place in a cold background, or even a sterile one for that matter.  Two, the title reflects finding one’s way by not going the traditional, or expected path.  After spending hours with the record, surely you’ll see where this all fits into the motifs of the record.

Everyone seemingly uses the acoustic guitar nowadays, stripping the sound of on-stage performances in favor of more intimate feelings.  Such is the way you’ll begin on “It’s Beyond Me,” which begins by wrapping the acoustic guitar in hints of atmospherics, but just after the 1 minute mark, things lift up, albeit just a bit.  The gentle shift in mood of the song matches that of the cover, going from one point and blending it into the next.  You’ll really have to spend time with the details here, as they definitely hold a great deal of the musical meaning. For instance, “Worse for Wear” tramps on, with its hollow drum beat, muted strumming, but again, the melody shifts, going in what one can assume is a bit of an unexpected change.  The Errant Charm is full of such moments, making it a joy for those who listen closely.

There’s even some peculiarities in Vetiver‘s approach this round.  On “Fog Emotion” there’s evidence that the group have responded to current themes, kind of giving off that faux-80s groove, but, like the fog mentioned in the song, a mellower meandering track finds its home, moving the song away from known cliches, as the band clearly intends to make the sound their own.  All this moves into what one can deem as the orange area of the album cover, offering up The Errant Charm‘s two hottest tracks.  “Right Away” is a short and simple track, with really nothing special to it, other than the fact that the harmonies presented have a tendency to hang in your mind long after the song has ended. Even more special is the way it tails off, changes a bit, but maintains its lasting impression. “Wonder Why” has a bit of a moving stomp to it, so it’s easily going to find itself labeled one of the more upbeat tracks present, but it’s the momentary touches that grab you, such as the female vocal accompaniment during the chorus, or that piano kicking in and out of the track. This is the type of track that makes you want to go back again and again.

Just as the press release reads for The Errant Charm, it’s clearly a piece constructed for wandering off on your own path, finding your own place in the musical landscape of your soul.  Whether you want that color to be bright or warm, you’re bound to find the songs Vetiver has put together as fitting for your own travels about, even if those travels only take place in your mind.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/9542.mp3]

Download: Vetiver – Wonder Why [MP3]

New Track from Vetiver

Seeing as we’re huge fans of Sub Pop, we’ve known this one was coming for sometime, but we hadn’t gotten a chance to hear anything new. Then today out comes “Can’t You Tell,” the first single from the new Vetiver record, The Errant Charm, coming to you on June 14th.  This song has less of a traditional feel for the band, adding a little bit of bounce in their step, at least in comparison to their folk stylings on past efforts.  Similar to bands like the Fruit Bats or Foreign Born, they’ve added a bit of a pop element, perhaps seeking out a happier vibe for us all. Give this one a listen.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Vetiver_-_Can_t_You_Tell.mp3]

Download: Vetiver – Can’t You Tell [MP3]

The Clientele @ Mohawk (3/1)

Date 3/1/10
Location Mohawk
Doors 7pm
Tickets $10 @ Frontgate

Why not start your week off right with a Monday night set by UK band The Clientele at Mohawk.  Solid opening support will be provided by Vetiver.  It starts a little early so you kids with jobs should be able to make it out.

Update: Michael Kingcaid and his new band The Broken Bottle Casualties will be the 1st opener and Vetiver will play second.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/01-retiro-park.mp3]

Download: The Clientele – Retiro Park [MP3]

2009 Top 50 Albums

bestof2009cover_albums

Creating a Top 50 Albums list is never easy.  You have to battle with what you think the world believes, and what you truly believe in your heart, to be solid jams.  We have even more trouble because we have to three writers, all who have different ideas, and we have to make those ideas fit into a neat box.  Well, we got it done, and honestly, our criteria was based on two things: how great we thought the album was, artistically speaking, and how long we listened to it without getting bored.  That’s it. It’s fool proof; you might not like it, but it’s our list, so here it is… Read more

Vetiver – Tight Knit

vetiver-tight_knit-album_art

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Andy Cabic and Co. return with a loud whisper this outing with definitely their strongest album they have recorded to date.  Vetiver’s new release Tight Knit warms your ears through the cold days without all the embarrassment.  Having been part of the freak-folk scene in New York for awhile, Vetiver rubbed elbows with some of the heavy-weights on the music circuit today like Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom which soon led them to a tour with Vashti Bunyan. Fast-forward to 2009 and Vetiver are now signed to Sub-Pop with some indie credibility and major promotion/distribution to follow. I was reading a couple weeks ago in the Austin Chronicle about bands set to break-out at this year’s SXSW Music Fest and Vetiver were listed.  HAAAAAAAAAA! They probably think this is Vetiver‘s first album. I mean, it’s not like they haven’t been making waves on the last two efforts. I’d say To Find Me Gone was their “break-out” album, but I guess they aren’t big enough considering they aren’t playing in arenas right? Pfft…scoff-scoff, nose up and pinkies out suckas.

Tight Knit has a dreamy floating quality to it through-out that normally would sound like  a lot of fluff to someone who hasn’t heard the album yet, but take a gander at it and you’ll see. The warmth of the vibraphone being used in the opener “Rolling Sea” immediately calms your nerves and gently rocks you back and forth. Zzz……….ahhhhhhh. Lap steel guitar makes it’s first appearance on the album in “Sister.” The layer of the instrument twists and pulls, breathes in and out, making you tap your feet and skip down the street. The skipping soon picks up to hopping when the opening rhythm chords of “Everyday” begin. The chug-a-lug feel comes to a nice vocal break-down and goes right back into the hopping. If there were a song which made you feel like the first day of spring had arrived, this is the one.

Cabic has a whispering way of singing that soothes your skin, his delivery is like the breeze– not forceful, not un-noticed, just a hammock away from day-dreaming. Though there are bar room stomper songs like “More Of This,” he never loses his velvet luster. You think the singing could easily give way to screaming and howling, but it’s just not in his nature.

The album is consistent from beginning to end. It never trails off boring you with a better half of the album than the other. Maybe this is Vetiver’s break-out album and I’m a jaded jerk-off. Maybe I’m just a music dork that has way too much time on his hands. Maybe you need to get off your ass and buy this album.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/everyday.mp3]

Download: Vetiver – Everyday [MP3]