7 Speed Vortex
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7 Speed Vortex

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7 Speed Vortex
Local indie popsters mix theatrical fun (they've got stage names!) with quality pop music
KARI WETHINGTON | CIN WEEKLY


This weekend, local band 7 Speed Vortex celebrates the release of a new EP at the Comet. The show sounds fun, and the new tunes infectious; here are all the details.

THE BACKGROUND
"Since we re-assembled as a band a couple of years ago, we've kept a kind of low profile, just trying to write good songs, learn how to play them and play shows with good bands," says vocalist Tricia Suit (stage name "Paris Triger").

But Suit, along with her bandmates Eric Appleby ("Bench"), Mark Messerly ("Weaver") and Bettina Bellucci ("Bebe Neptune"), is ready to take it to the next level with a recording of new tunes.

THE NEW ALBUM
The group's new disc, Favorite Frequency, is the first for 7 Speed Vortex with a new lineup, and features songs written over the past couple of years.

"It's got nine tracks and clocks in at about 20 minutes," Suit says. If you're new to the band, consider it a primer - but old fans will want to have this in their collection.

Recorded and produced by J Reynolds and mastered by Dave Davis, the discs will be hand-assembled by the band itself, for that "personal touch so many CDs lack these days," Suit says.

OTHER FUN STUFF
Local band Meadoe will open for 7 Speed at the release show. "We're looking at it as a 'CD release extravaganza,' so expect streamers, sequins and general mayhem, plus burritos," Suit says.

"Maybe we can consider this Cincinnati's contribution to Live Earth, because global warming is, indeed, very bad," she says. "And the foil those burritos are wrapped in is recyclable."

Hooray for recyclable burrito wrappers and new local music!

THE SHOW: With Meadoe at 10 p.m. Saturday, July 7 at Comet, 4579 Hamilton Ave., Northside. Free. 513-541-8900.

- CIN Weekly


BY C.A. MacConnell | Posted 07/07/2007

The quirky band 7 Speed Vortex relaxes at Biagio's Bistro in Clifton, slowly sharing a bottle of red wine, interrupting each other as if they're at a family reunion. Lights dim. They relax and kick back, discussing venues and their visible connection. No rush to eat or leave.
Paris Triger (né Tricia Suit) says, "Chemistry is not a science."

Weaver (Mark Messerly) says, "The decision to play as a unit was more making sure we got along. We are one of the few bands who will bring a pot luck dinner to a rehearsal."

Bench (Eric Appleby) adds, "We're fortunate that we like hanging out with each other."

"And people give me help when I need it," Bebe Neptune (Bettina Bellucci) says.

Why the peculiar stage names?

When the band started in 1994, the original members were journalists who needed to keep their professional names intact. In 1998, the first incarnation released a full-length CD, Hard Luck Din.

Triger and Bench are original members. The nicknames stuck, but their musical style became less Noise Pop and more charming, mature and curious, with a strong vintage taste, like an aged wine. With a mix of modern Pop and historic lyrics, this band is artsy enough to open for a black and white, WWII-era, retouched photography show. Or play The Comet. Either or. In one word: artsy-tricky.

Vocalist Triger is blonde and bright, wearing a '50s-style white dress printed with a gazillion tiny navy stars. With an eccentric flair, Triger lives in Northside with Bench, her husband of 10 years.

Triger says, "I always enjoyed being the center of attention as a child. I needed my stage. I model my singing style after Debbie Harry and Doris Day. I'm also a fan of the great American songwriters."

Bench (also of Travel and The 50 Shoes) is dark-haired and squinty-eyed. He studied music at Ball State University. Although he played bass for Clifford Nevernew for a decade, Bench wanted to be a drummer, and 7 Speed Vortex gave him the opportunity. An experienced tap dancer, his much-studied rhythmic roots came in handy with the skins.

In 2000, Triger and Bench met Neptune at a local underground play. Basically, they handed her a bass and told her to play it.

Neptune responded, "I don't play bass."

Bench said, "You do now." That was that.

Neptune's dark features, curly brown hair and olive skin, show every bit of her Italian roots. Independent early, she worked as a youngin; this band was her first opportunity to play music.

"It was like an art project," Neptune says. "Everyone was switching around on instruments."

"She gets it. She's a fantastic bass player," Weaver says.

The three met guitarist Weaver (also of Wussy) through friends. Talkative and passionate, Weaver wears an amusing, reddish shirt with a confusing pattern. A graduate of the sound engineering program at Berkelee College of Music, Weaver played acoustic with the duo, Messerly and Ewing. He joined 7 Speed Vortex in order to learn the electric guitar.

Their new album, Favorite Frequency, will hit the streets Saturday. J. Reynolds (of the 4 Track All-Stars) recorded and mixed the disc locally. The music was wholly written as a group. It took a year for the band to collectively pop out "Hello Engine," a track that twists and turns like a woman dancing in a poodle skirt. Tapping around, the result is "Modest Mouse attacked by Grace Kelly's lipstick."

Neptune says, "That's what makes it cool. Thank God we're not writing about the same thing over and over."

Bench says, "Writing as a group is challenging."

Weaver adds, "We trust each other's taste. The sound is not the sound I would've created on my own. That's a fascinating thing. This is the most leaderless band I've ever been a part of."

"We like each other, which helps," Triger kids. "If we're in a car, or a basement together, I very rarely want to kill anyone."

Bench adds, "We like to think that translates on stage."
- CityBeat (Cincinnati)


This energetic, on-again/off-again foursome formed over a decade ago and came back strong last year with a new lineup. With former and current members of Cincy bands like Clifford Nevernew and Wussy, 7 Speed Vortex claims influence from everyone from Springsteen to Guided By Voices, and their playful sound is highlighted by singer Paris Triger's ear-grabbing hooks and the band's loose but effective performance approach.
Dig It: Bands with fun "stage names," bands with fun "stage shows," bands with fun. (MB) - CityBeat


"The local band 7 Speed Vortex pulled a large, rain-soaked crowd to its Friday-night show at Crush. The band’s brass-tacks ap-proach to indie-pop was highlighted by the guitar leads of Mark Messerly, also of the band Wussy." - Cincinnati Enquirer


They have the early-90s girl fronted alternative rock sound, before it turned lame. Sweet sounding vocals that have a bit of power behind them, plus some catchy music…their music is powerful, but not raging or loud.
- Mutant Renegade Zine


Held together by singer Paris Triger's wafting, 4AD-ish vocals and anchored by the gruff, ragged sparkle of guitar…a jangly, reflective and uptempo joyride.
- Cincinnati CityBeat


Discography

Candy in the Middle - cassette
Full-on View - cassette
Drinking Flowers - EP
"Here Come the Bugs" - single
Hard Luck Din - CD
Favorite Frequency - CD

Compilations
Deary Me - Cincinnati Music Volume 3
Darren Callahan - Break Fix Anniversary
Cicada: The Musical Soundtrack

Photos

Bio

Pseudonymous foursome first formed a decade ago, now reformed. Back in '05 with new members and a raft of new tunes that will sail forth in '07.

The members of 7 Speed Vortex cite influences ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Guided by Voices, Rosanne Cash to the Replacements. And while such varied inspirations may not always be obvious, you can hear traces of each, especially in their short, carefully-fashioned pop songs and sometimes shambling playing. Sadly, the repertoire contains no songs about cars, as of this writing.

Over the years, members of 7 Speed Vortex have recorded with The National Trust, Wussy, Clifford Nevernew, Messerly & Ewing and Teenage Blackout. They have never been afraid to pay tribute – to Neil Diamond, Madonna and others – for a good cause. The band’s songwriters Bench and Paris Triger have contributed songs to Cincinnati-area musicals “Gillombardo’s Hams” and “Cicada, the Musical” as well as collaborated with Chicago-based musician/author/renaissance man Darren Callahan on a number of projects.