Saturday, October 2, 2010

New Bandcrush: Vegas With Randolph

Sorry for my relative silence recently: I've been doing brave battle with the Manuscript that Never Ends, which is, finally, inexorably, drawing to a close. I promise.

But I have loads of catch-up to play here: bands which have sent me CDs, new releases by Paul Collins & Dwight Twilley, and a few observations I've been stewing on. At some point I will even hep you guys to my overarching theory about the failure of Big Star distribution and the subsequent cut-out-binning of same in a few specific regions and thus the relative overabundance or paucity of power pop in particular regions. Seriously.

But today, I want to talk about my new bandcrush: Vegas With Randolph from Fairfax, VA.

Now, I openly admit that part of me will always be thirteen where music is concerned: I have a remarkable ability to turn off my inner grownup when the song is catchy enough. But dig this adult love song, which positively shimmers. IMHO. (How much do we love that she's there all the time?)

(Well, hell. I can't figure out the letterbox thing. DOuble click it and watch it at the youtube, I guess.)

The peculiar name of the band references a trip that never happened: a jaunt to Vegas with a bunch of high school buddies (including one named Randolph, natch, who promised to make the trip colorful): as the trip approached, Randolph backed out. So they called the band after "the great misadventure that never was." The actual Randolph does wear his VWR t-shirt, they assure us in a recent interview.

They've been a band for about five years, but the songwriting partnership at the center of the band, John Ratts and Eric Kern, have been friends of many years' standing. They record in their home studio and self-produce; they're focused on writing and recording now as opposed to playing out much, though dates are promised once the second full-length CD is out this fall. (Kid C, I can crash on your couch, right?)

They cite as influences bands like Fountains of Wayne, so you know they're on the right track. And VWR has been known to hit that kind of tough balance FOW does in their best stuff: ironic self-deprecation without sneering. Consider, for example, the charmingly confessional "Marisa":

And indeed, who among us is not? Hell, I'm a straight woman, and I love her.

Probably my favorite VWR song is one that embodies all too well why you all have seen so little of me recently. No video for this one (yet), but it's on FB at their page, and on iTunes and Amazon and every place we look for music. I offer a sample lyric from the sublimely energized "Some Time to Live":

he gets up every morning at 6:30
so he can beat the traffic
try to get to work early
he starts in on the first thing
but soon gets interrupted
by the time he's had some coffee
he's discovered fourteen others
well he's not back to that first thing
by the time his friends are leaving
so another time this week
he'll be staying through the evening again

he don't mind going early
he don't mind working late
he don't mind all the effort he gives
but he just wants some time to live

well they're not sure how it happened
but they barely see each other
with the groceries and the drop-offs
and the trying to be a mother
there's a meeting and a party
and a possible connection
then a visit to the doctor
for a bronchial infection
and the air conditioner's busted
so the baby's always crying
yeah they're both so busy running
that they feel their life is flying away

well they're fine with the cooking
and the driving and the parties
and there's nothing they won't do
for their kids
but they just want some time to live

The only complaint: sometimes this one cuts a little too close to home, you know? But as soon as I heard this song, I immediately went out and bought everything they've released. Because I'm just that kind of geek.

And it would be remiss not to mention that they have kids' songs, which, of course, my kids love (though, thankfully, they are past the sippy-cup stage).

We'll keep you posted here about any VWR news we get, too. Enjoy!