Velo Releases First of Four EPs

Velo-3Last Saturday, we here at Pop Press International teamed up with He^rd Entertainment to throw a blowout party at Empire Control Room and Garage, celebrating the release of Velo’s first EP, Winter. The Control Room, Garage, and Patio stages staggered the set times to give the concert-goers ultimate authority in their experience, theming each stage with a general genre, as one might expect from different showcases during SXSW (I can’t wait). Velo performed in the Garage which featured lush, psychedelic indie pop a la Isaiah the Mosaic and Young Tongue. The Patio was where more roots-influenced bands laid *ahem* roots cc: Wild Adriatic and Emily Bell; the indoor Control Room hosted more straightforward indie rock care of AMA and Patch.

Velo’s three track release displays an obvious inspiration from the Grizzly Bear side of things, where reverb and delay are utilized in a way that retains pop elements and isn’t overtly psychedelic, yielding a more rounded, accessible sound. Live, the band did just that, blending both worlds with a performance that belied the fact that the band has barely gotten their stage-feet wet in this musical iteration. The seasonal EP is a deliberate choice in time and sound, the first of four to be released this year, each representing a different season that will exhibit a different sound and attitude to reflect “the natural cycle of the seasons as a sketch pad, and music as our pen.”

young tongue-5Helping the new band find their sound was the new and most cool “Garage” portion of the greater Empire compound. I guess I haven’t been to Empire in a minute because this stage was new to me, but I’ll be sure to make it back when they open the Garage up again. Their neighbors Cheer Up Charlie’s also recently upgraded their outdoor stage, giving the Red River/7th St. music district a real game-changing potential, especially with SXSW coming up next week (did I say I can’t wait?).

Of the bands that played Saturday, Young Tongue was one of my highlights. I was impressed at how tightyoung tongue-2 and balanced the band is becoming live. There is a moment when you see a band and they begin to transcend their hometown roots and demonstrate talent they can apply on the national scale, that they are no longer simply a “local” band, but an Austin band that thousands over the world can get down with. Austin is known for spawning this type of success and we hope Young Tongue continues to grow their performance and sound into ever-complex territories.

AMA-4AMA is the other band I was really taken by. Their raw energy is obvious and easily accessed. How nice it is to see performers on stage smile and show the goddamned fun they’re having! Hiding behind dark sunglasses or standing in serious repose can’t be too fun for either party, right? That’s why I enjoy watching Blair and Alex bounce around the stage, stomp on some distortion and shred along to the beat. Like a good 90s indie rock band, AMA is loud and careens closer and closer to implosion in an anxiety-riddled ride that always turns out better than expected. Synergy bonds these four. In Doc Martens, lead singer Blair Robbins reminded me of fellow female rocker Courtney Barnett who grunges it up in boots, jeans, and Fender guitars. I’m excited to see where AMA is headed.

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