2/17/2005

 

Velella Velella

In this part of the country, the local live music scene consists mainly of generic punk and bad hair metal (not counting the endless gaggle of awful cover bands). So, it was to my delight and surprise one crisp evening last fall when my love and I ventured out into the trenches of Spokane nightlife and ended up at the B-Side. Now, we were actually there to see the headlining act all the way from Athens, GA (whose name I can't even recall at this point) because they were hyped in the local rags as being somewhat shoegazey, and that sort of excited me. However, it was the opening act from Spokane that stuck with me, and they 're still a favorite.
They must have been called in at the last minute after another band didn't show up because when they announced themselves as Velella Velella, I noticed the name was clearly not on the handbill. The duo took to the stage and started tinkering around with the beats from an old K-mart Casio keyboard which was mic'd up and distorted to sound like a troupe of Jazzercising manatees. The other guy began churning out rumbly bass noises on an old Korg synth, and just when the din became unbearable, they hit the play button on a little clamshell portable CD player and the pre-recorded beats kicked in, forcing the audience to nearly drop thier PBRs and head toward the stage. They played a set of wonderful and sublime experimental pop and free jazz, complete with real vibes and surfy guitar and distorto-vox and old record samples and you name it. Their sound fell somewhere near Stereolab, Trans Am, and Beck, but was mainly quite original. I was amazed to find out they had only been performing together for a couple of months and that this was only thier 2nd live performance. I was so impressed that I approached them after thier set and told them how much I dug thier sound and how amazed I was to hear something so utterly electronic and original coming out of boring old Spokane. They were nice enough to give me a sticker! A few months later, they released the fine (but way too short) album By The Wind Sailor which can be found for purchase on thier impeccably designed website, along with muchos free mp3s.
Sadly, as all good Spokane bands eventually do, V. Velella has since moved westward to the greener pastures of Seattle, and according to thier site, they have been quite successful over there, gaining airplay on KEXP with this super groovy track. Like, right on!
Velella Velella - Telephone Poles For Sale
4.24 MB, 128 kbps, 44 kHz

Comments:
I was going to tell you about this band. I went to the small room at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood a few months ago and two bands from the Northwest were playing. I couldn't for the life of me remember this band's name but now that you saw them I'm so happy because they reminded me of Orange Television. Another great Northwest band to check out.
 
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