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The Velvet Teen

The Velvet Teen is yet another band to emerge from California's agricultural hinterlands with a distinctive approach to indie rock (count Grandaddy, Dieselhed, and Holiday Flyer among the others). The unusual trio hails from Santa Rosa, a smallish city about an hour and a half north of San Francisco. Since forming in 2000, they quickly cultivated a devoted following throughout Northern California and beyond. The first quality of Velvet Teen's sound likely to catch your ear is the trio's lovely harmonies; lead vocalist Judah Nagler carries the baton throughout the band's songs, while Logan Whitehurst and Josh Staples provide shivery counterpoints on choruses. Nagler, also the group's chief songwriter, has a distinctively untethered tenor that suggests images like a balloon rising toward the sky and which has earned him appropriate enough comparisons to the likes of Jeff Buckley and Thom Yorke. The songs themselves range from stately poignant pop ballads to more uptempo emo-tinged indie rock songs.

The project started as Nagler's solo recording project, before the other members signed on and The Velvet Teen was born. The trio released a three-song EP, The Great Beast February, at the beginning of 2001. They then set to work recording their debut LP, Out of the Fierce Parade, at Seattle's hallowed Hall of Justice recording studio. The album came out on Slowdance in early 2002.