Wednesday, April 6th, 2005
Whither Velocity Girl? Yes, smartasses, I know they broke up back in 1996, but that wasn’t the end of the story. Three of them, including the “Girl” in VG Sarah Shannon, regrouped as Starry Eyes for about three minutes (but long enough for me to get a copy of their self-titled EP), then split again. Shannon went on to release the very low profile Estheraho EP in 2001 and then a full self-titled album in 2002. That record’s adult-contemporary Bacharachian-influenced sophistication was a far cry from VG’s fuzzed out and scrappy power pop, but still quite decent and a fine showcase for Shannon’s vocals. As for the rest of the band, guitarist Archie Moore went on to play bass in The Saturday People and the rest of them… well I dunno.
But that still doesn’t explain why I’m asking “where are they?” almost nine years after their initial split. Well some may remember going through Excellent Online’s Flirt compilation a couple years ago and doing a double take at seeing Velocity Girl in the tracklisting. After seven years, the band had quietly reunited and recorded a track for the compilation and was reportedly working on material for a new album. Much rejoicing ensued from those of us who are, whether we want to admit it or not, stuck in the 90s. And then… nothing. The only thing resembling a VG info site hasn’t been updated in some nine years and their old label SubPop still has their minisite for Gilded Stars And Zealous Hearts up. I know Archie is a member of the Indiepop mailing list, but there’s been nary a peep there, either. Perhaps someone in the Beltway chapter of my extensive network of international spies has some info? Um, Kyle, I’m talking about you… But if someone has heard bad news about this reunion, um, don’t tell me. Okay, tell me.
I’m probably one of the few who liked their later albums more than the earlier ones – the wall of guitars on Copacetic have their charm, but I like the tighter songcraft of Gilded Stars. Plus you get to hear Sarah’s voice more… For the record, Sarah Shannon was my #1 college rock crush for most of the 90s. She was like a more wholesome Liz Phair (and who could actually sing). I still have their cover issue of Alternative Press circa 1994, which had the most swoon-worthy pics. Ahem. But in the absence of news, I’ll just point you at this Spike Jonze-directed video for “I Can’t Stop Smiling” off of Simpatico and the ‘comeback’ single from the aforementioned Excellent compilation.
And while not necessarily “missing in action”, Billboard reports on what former Belle & Sebastian cellist/singer Isobel Campbell is up to. And speaking of B&S, Gorilla Vs Bear points us at You Ain’t No Picasso, who are hosting a complete Peel session Christmas party by the band.
Prefix has part one of a two-part interview with The Decemberists. Part two should be up before the week is out. New City Chicago also has an interview (via LHB). My copy of Picaresque is in the mail. Or will be shortly.
np – The Wrens / The Meadowlands