Spotlight: Voxtrot Member Ramesh’s Royal Ambitions with New LP The King

Ramesh_at_Holy_Mountain_062014-5“Yeah, whatever happened to that band?” A common lament among music aficionados, especially those tuned into alternative label bands that might only make an album or two before succumbing to the enormous difficulty of sustaining a musical project. Visibility and popularity play a huge role in the public’s concept of who’s making music. It’s a fact I forget and consequently find myself in disbelief to see the complete shock on friends’ faces when I mention that an artist formerly of a band has a new project or a new record. Such has been the case with Voxtrot member Ramesh, who recently released his solo album The King on Austin Town Hall Records. Ramesh’s record is out now for order, and he’ll play a show at the Belmont on September 18th. (Tickets here.) Although a solo effort, the record aspires to the status of indie pop royalty with complex arrangements that required a full band to pull off at the release show earlier this year.

Ramesh_at_Holy_Mountain_062014-3More than a few friends I talked with were giddy with elation at the prospect of new material from a member of Voxtrot. I couldn’t quite understand it, as Ramesh has been quietly kicking around since the 2010 disbanding of Voxtrot, trotting out a song here and there. Not to mention the fact that half of the band, Jason Chronis and Matt Simon, still play together in a band, Tele Novella, which we’ve well documented. Still before that, there was Belaire. The point is: Voxtrot is still around. Maybe not in the exact way you want them to be but, hey, what is? Bottom line, these purveyors of indie pop have continued to produce excellent pop gems with a variety of folks and under myriad monikers. The King, Ramesh’s debut solo full-length is full of addicting, whispery crooning, beautiful strings, lush synths, and pop-perfect percussion. All qualities listeners valued in Voxtrot.

Ramesh_at_Holy_Mountain_062014-1What has changed is that no cultural wave of popularity exists to carry the music of these folks right up to your doorstep, or inbox, or straight into your iTunes–you get the picture. No, to find these songs from these bands, you have to be paying attention. It’s going to require a little work. It’s going to require investment, active participation, and conscious thought. If you want to find meaningful music, you might have to look for it. One of the less talked about but painfully obvious reasons why the music industry is currently in a crisis over sustainability for record labels and artists stems from the listening public’s passive participation. Streaming services don’t exactly fairly compensate artists or labels, which is an issue derived from a whole host of exacerbating issues. And it all comes back to conscious action.

Ramesh_at_Holy_Mountain_062014-4If we want music we love, we’re going to have to invest in it. Rather than wait until Pandora or Spotify decides to play a song for us on a channel, we need to go to the record store, keep up with labels, attend shows, and purchase music from bands. We are investors in this culture, and we’ll get out of it what we put in. The human cooperative effort. We are all the stakeholders. The reason you might not have heard about Ramesh’s new project has nothing to do with the quality of the music and everything to do with the fact that a PR firm or major label isn’t actively trying to sell it to you. Do we really want a sales pitch? And if we don’t, isn’t it up to us to find the music in which we want to invest, effectively negating the need for incessant advertising and commercialization of music? If you were a huge Voxtrot fan, then you ought to know about Ramesh’s solo album by now, and probably you should’ve bought it. After all, even if you don’t like it as much as your beloved Voxtrot, it’s through encouragement and support that artists improve and flourish. Maybe that record that floors you is still two releases out. Don’t stress; it’s never too late to get involved. Ramesh will play The Belmont this Thursday night, and we hope to see you there.

About author
Bryan Parker is a writer and photographer living and working in Austin, TX. He is the founder of blog Pop Press International and print journal True Sincerity and recently released his first book, a volume on Beat Happening in the 33 1/3 series.

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