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Versus



Since 1991, New York-based Versus has been making almost indescribably excellent rock music. Versus doesn't depend on gimmicks or fads; they have faith (and rightly so) in the power of the well-crafted song. Hook-filled, hyper-catchy melodies provide an alluring background for tender tales of love and failed relationships, highlighted by guitarist Richard Baluyut and bassist Fontaine Toups's shared vocal duties, which often intertwine into soaring harmonies. James Baluyut (he's Richard's baby brother) wrings sprawling epic moments from his guitar, and drummer Patrick Ramos sets the whole blend on a beat that begs for dancing. Sometimes soft and tender, often loud and raucous, Versus consistently creates the kind of great music that inspires dazzled listeners to form their own bands. Whether you want to curl up under the covers and cry about the injustices of life and love or throw out your arms and skip through your favorite neighborhood, Versus is the perfect soundtrack.

After numerous, increasingly awesome releases on Teenbeat and Caroline Records, Versus found a new home on Chapel Hill's Merge Records, which released the band's Afterglow EP in February, 1999. After that came a concept EP, Shangri-La (which dealt with various permutations of the phrase "shangri-la" in popular music), and then the band's fifth full-length, Hurrah! (2000), which features the rollicking "Eskimo" and the weirdly ironic "I Love the WB."