Thursday, May 29, 2008

Vetiver "Thing Of The Past"

Artist: Vetiver
Album: Thing Of The Past
Label: FatCat
Release date: 13 May 2008
Genre: Rock
Style: Folk Rock
RIYL: Devendra Banhart, Michael Hurley, Vashti Bunyan

01. Houses
02. Roll On Babe
03. Sleep A Million Years
04. Hook & Ladder
05. To Baby
06. Road To Ronderlin
07. Lon Chaney
08. Hurry On Sundown
09. The Swimming Song
10. Blue Driver
11. Standin'
12. I Must Be In A Good Place Now
Total running time: 46' 36"

[Vetiver - Open MySpace Standalone Music Player]

[Vetiver: live at the Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA.

"Having just released a new album of covers, A Thing of the Past, Andy Cabic of Vetiver sat down with us to chat about how the album came to be, as well as what it was like working with Michael Hurley and Vashti Bunyan.

They're performing an unreleased, brand new song, "Another Reason to Go," from their untitled upcoming album of originals."]

"Generally for a rock band of at least semiserious intentions, the time for a covers album is when it has grown established and a little confused: its 4th or 5th or 10th record, say. Third is a little soon.

But Vetiver, from San Francisco, is basically a folk group with amps and drums, and covering other people’s songs isn’t a grand statement; it’s a folk ritual, a means of dissemination and cross-pollination. “Thing of the Past,” its third album, renders faithful versions of very obscure songs in their own style, which is Vetiver’s style anyway: late 1960s and early 1970s settled, meditative, West Coast electric folk-rock. The record is super studied, but never bloodless. And it’s much better than that sounds.

Andy Cabic, the band’s leader, doesn’t just choose, for example, a lesser-known Neil Young song. Instead he’s chosen a song whose original iteration contained possibly Mr. Young’s most obscure guest appearance: “Houses,” from Elyse Weinberg’s album “Elyse” (1968). Vetiver’s version is sweet and centered, careful and musical, a balance between larking and scholarship. I can’t quite understand how the band pulled it off.

Such is the case all the way through the album. “To Baby” by Biff Rose; “Lon Chaney,” by Garland Jeffreys; “Hurry on Sundown,” by Hawkwind; “Sleep a Million Years,” by Dia Joyce. (Who is Dia Joyce? I looked her up online and found almost nothing.) Somehow this is not a precious or pretentious record; these versions are delicate and sturdy at the same time. And the band recruits a few of its singer-songwriter heroes, Vashti Bunyan and Michael Hurley, from its favorite era. Mr. Cabic’s voice sounds contemporary with theirs, a little like Doug Yule’s, from the Velvet Underground.

Vetiver centers itself on slow, reliable grooves and drones; it finds the meat of a song and doesn’t grandstand. And yet the record so clearly follows Mr. Cabic’s pleasure principle that it short-circuits the good reasons not to make something like this." [New York Times]



Info said...

If you want to know more about Garland Jeffreys and his music and help support this great artist, check out his website at or his MySpace page at for music, videos, photos, blog, CDs for sale, concert information and more. Garland is still touring and recording.

Lyrics for some of Garlands' songs (including Lon Chaney) can be found at his fan site (

bobbysu said...

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