son of the velvet rat
Gig Seeker Pro

son of the velvet rat

Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Logo Magazine"

Formed in 2000 as “an experimental reaction to the predominance of angst-ridden testosterone rock” by Austria’s Georg Altziebler, Son Of The Velvet Rat reach back to the skeletal bedsit ruminations of Nick Drake, the bottomless pain of Leonard Cohen and the mordant reflection of Tindersticks and Morphine. How this crepuscular mood was captured is as important as how it was created; in this case much of it was recorded through a small tube amp, the effect of which is akin to setting a microphone at one end of the Mersey tunnel with the gain turned up full to capture the sound of the man crooning a mile way at the other end. Though hampered by one idea recurring several times over, there’s some dark majesty at work here.

Suzie Q
- Logo Magazine

"One Times One"

By My Side is a mood album, music I envision myself needing to hear at particular moments or places in time. The simplistic ballads are mystical, enlightened, and the haunting music is at its paramount. The penetrating pieces are beautiful, romantic, fragile, and magical. Dark melancholy permeates the lyrics laced with recurring themes of alienation and loneliness. Thoughts of disconnection and isolation accentuate the prophetic, foreboding song writing. The gloomy, echoing tunes are simplicity at its best.

Son of the Velvet Rat was formed in 2000 as a solo project of the Austrian-based singer/songwriter Georg Altziebler, along with the musical talent of Robert Kres on violin and harmonium. It was originally intended as an experimental reaction to the predominance of the angst-ridden rock of today. Essentially Altziebler filters the misty, dreamy romanticism of Cohen and Drake through the 60-bpm, lo-fi indie rock. By My Side is their first full-length release, featuring minimalist ballads combined with reflecting vocals, disheartening orchestrations, and idyllic lyrics. The singing was done primarily on a small Fender tube amp, and the produced sound is one of a distant, eerie, chambered effect. The instrumentation and harmonica evoke lush melody full of hypnotic, classic clarity. The music is clean, stark and the candor of it intensifies the isolation of sound.

By My Side opens with “Leaving you,” a simple ballad devoid of overproduction, cooing “and this is you without me by your side/this is the future black but open wide.” The most endearing, beloved track of the album, “Phantom song,” relies on chilling harmonics and beautiful guitar interplay. Intriguing lyrics serenade “somebody smoked my paper wings, so I must fall.” “Your Sweetest Smile” consists of a dreamy ballad that has an ocean-like hypnotic effect. “Holes” vocalizes of trust and betrayal, “I wish your tongue would feel like pain/and cut my tongue in two/ I would not have to speak no more, I’d leave it up to you.” Their cover of Joy Division's “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is an entrancing version, though stripped of the energy that many Joy Division fans loved about the song - this rendition is different in virtually all aspects.

The album has a defining element of simple clarity. Each track has an appeal of natural beauty, a hauntingly, lonely, cryptic beauty. Ghostly, mysterious tracks of love, longing, and isolation are apart of the appeal of the alienated sound. By my side is a peaceful, endearing disc that I will treasure for ages. I give thanks to Son of the Velvet Rat; they have left a ghost note on my enchanted soul.

-Christine Beals 04/30/04

- One Times One

"Performer Magazine"

Son Of The Velvet Rat - By My Side
Reviewer - Rian Rochford

Thirty seconds into the album it's easy to imagine that you would hear these exact sounds seeping from a basement of a gothic cathedral as you happen to walk by. By My Side provides sounds that, although dark and brooding, seem to lure you further into an exploration of love, or perhaps just to pick deeper a little at its wounds. Son of the Velvet Rat's first full-length album is lo-fi indie rock singed at every seam to bare minimalist arrangements that somehow manage to contain an array of emotion. SOTVR is the solo project of Georg Altziebler, frontman of Bloom05, hailing from Graz, Austria. The term “solo project” can be taken quite literally here as Altziebler played all the instruments on the album, only taking a helping hand in backup vocals by jazz singer Ingrid Moser. Much of the atmosphere and overall antique feel of the album comes from most of the vocals being run through a small Fender tube amp. Organ, light guitar licks, E-bow, and brooding vocals paint a landscape that echoes the dark romanticism of Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake. With lyrics like “A phantom in my bed / No cross at hand / but hope to give away / and charms to trade / in return he makes the colors fade” from “Phantom Song,” Altziebler paints stark imagery amid themes of love, loss, and longing. Covering Joy Division's “Love will tear us apart” Altziebler slows things down a bit, and changes the tone to have more of a country feel. Although an overall melancholy enterprise, By My Side serves to be more comforting than depressing. The spaces between the layers of instruments on the album create an ambient-meets-folk experience. Altziebler has crafted a sincere, if moody, personal album. This is definitely a good pick for fans of more atmospheric, 60 bpm and slower, indie rock.
- Performer Magazine

"Delusions Of Adequecy"

Listening to By My Side, the debut solo album by Son of the Velvet Rat, one cannot help but try to match the musical timeline and puzzle pieces. Is this Austrian – real name Georg Altziebler – influenced more by Leonard Cohen’s morose poetry or Nick Drake’s sensitive melodies? Is Altziebler’s dramatic vocal persona a direct descendent of Bryan Ferry? Each artist brings particular talents, abilities, and personal attributes to his songs, and Altziebler is neither derivative nor completely devoid of similarities to the other three. By My Side possesses warmth, concern, sadness, and stark reality in an organic beauty that rests comfortably along the best work by Cohen, Drake, and Ferry.

This album of alienation opens with a troubling rumble quieted by Altziebler’s desperate but hopeful lyrics: “Can you see me / I’m standing at the gate / I call a friend and say / I know it’s late but / See I’m so confused / I need a place to stay / I hope he understands / I’m on my way / Sha la la la la la la I’m leaving you.” Altziebler’s voice is neither raspy nor slick. His quiver gives the deep tones an aural wisdom as he finishes “Leaving You” by addressing the left person’s perspective on the matter. The gentle organs that raise “Leaving You” feature less prominently on “Play a Ghost Note on My Soul,” as Altziebler hits your heart and memories with stripped, high singing. His stern, slow guitars balance the exposing lyrics and voice. As the song nears its end, it crawls, but Altziebler’s singing won’t let go of the listener.

“Phantom Song” combines a harmonica with lush singing and declarations of “I’m not afraid” slowly, somewhat confidently. Ingrid Moser joins Altziebler on background vocals, and “Phantom Song” sounds like the best song Ferry didn’t record for his most recent solo album, Frantic. It’s a gorgeous ode perfectly performed by Altziebler. Following the troubling instrumental, “Lunapark” (luna park is the international term for amusement parks), Altziebler offers the sad, romantic “Your Sweetest Smile.” He recalls Cohen based on lyrical and vocal choices, especially the important pauses. If the melodies fluctuated more, one could be forgiven for mistaking “Your Sweetest Smile” for a Tim Hardin cover. The guitar and harmonica are perfectly emotive on this Altziebler original.

“Holes” has a 60s feel and more vocal interplay between Altziebler and Moser. The song’s French flair supports its Cohenesque lyrics: “I wish your tongue would feel like pain / And cut my tongue in two / I would not have to speak no more / I’d leave it up to you / And I’d be still like I was born / A cold and bloodless stone / You’d be cold and bloodless too / And I could be alone.” Altziebler’s most desperate song is “I Just Don’t Know,” with the vocals distant and close at different parts. It’s a twisting narrative with an uncertain lyrical conclusion. “Pavé” is a short, direct instrumental befitting a suspenseful scene in a cinematic thriller.

The big surprise on By My Side is Altziebler’s reinvention of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” I proudly admit that I love Paul Young’s 1983 cover of Joy Division’s classic on his own solo debut album, No Parlez. Young’s lush, romantic version was considered sacrilege by most reviewers, probably more so because of his typical pop-soul repertoire than the mere act of reworking a seemingly untouchable song by Ian Curtis and his mates. For his part, Altziebler has stripped the song down to its bare essence, without Curtis’ angst and Joy Division’s rumble, equally avoiding Young’s electronic sheen. Altziebler’s recording is much slower than the original performance of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and sounds like an intimate café confessional. The entire arrangement is significantly different from Joy Division’s version and lowers the emphasis on the chorus. Such moves by Altziebler show his guts and creativity. It’s a superb interpretation of the post-punk opus.

By My Side wraps up interestingly with “Are the Angels Pretty?” and “Reach Out,” the latter a menacing instrumental with a dangerous beat tempered only minimally by higher tones as it brings the album to a quiet close. The second to last track, “Are the Angels Pretty?” sounds like a dreamy one-off venture with Ferry singing and Drake strumming. While the voice recalls Roxy Music’s lead singer, the lyrics point toward the English folk genius: “Did you know where you were going / Can you see where you are / And is it really a cool place to be / Is it like you expected it to be / And are the angels pretty?” The song’s melody is gentle and simple, like something Drake would have recorded on Five Leaves Left or Bryter Layter.

Few albums focused on loneliness and lost love have hit as accurately with the immediacy of Son of the Velvet Rat’s By My Side. Almost completely solo, excepting Moser’s occasional background vocals, Altziebler has crafted a warm LP of gritty songs about life’s worries and darkest hours. His words, his melodies, his voice all complement one another and simultaneously welcome listeners into his world while soothing their emotional scars. By My Side is not a collection of depressing singles; rather, it’s a fluid, cathartic, aural masterpiece. To his considerable credit, Altziebler never wastes anybody’s time. He hits you with each note on first listen. That’s the best entry Son of the Velvet Rat could have made.

- Sahar Oz, 6/25/2004

- Delusions Of Adequecy


In the darkly beautiful and minimalist tradition of Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, and Tom Waits, Son of the Velvet Rat has produced a haunting meditation on loneliness and longing. The band is the solo project of Austrian Georg Altziebier, who employs stripped-down instrumentation and hushed vocals. Audible breaths and the scratch of Altziebier’s fingers on his guitar create the uncanny feeling that you’re in the studio with him.
Altziebier’s lyrics emanate directly from his heart and their honesty and urgency give the songs a gorgeous hue. “Your Sweetest Smile,” with its quiet acoustic guitar and weepy harmonica, is a good example. Knife sharp lyrics contrast the warm melody: “I have a dream that I keep dreaming/ a dream as cold as the sea/ I see you kissing somebody/ that doesn’t look like me/ but you save your sweetest smile for me.” The bitter irony Altziebier presents works wonderfully against the tender instruments. An added touch is the faint sound of wind, which emphasizes the feeling of love slipping through one’s fingers.
Altziebier filtered his voice through a Fender tube amp, which takes it into the background. The effect is especially interesting on “I Just Don’t Know.” In the beginning the song sounds like something on AM radio – distant, and with poor reception. Then the song comes in closer with crisp sounds, like Altziebier stepped out of the radio and into the room.
This is music for the scorned and the lovesick. While some may turn to loud, angry music to resolve such feelings, Son of the Velvet Rat seeks out those who prefer their emotions expressed through painfully simple and quiet means – getting right to the heart of the matter without distraction. Altziebier has opened a vein and let us all witness the beautiful sadness flowing from it. Katrina Martin Davenport

- Sponic


Johnny Cash singing the tunes from Leonard Cohen's debut; Will Oldham mimicking Thom Yorke trying to whisper through Celtic folk tunes, Austria's Son of the Velvet Rat is in fact a solo project cracked from the scary-smart brain of songwriter Georg Altziebler. The music here burns so slowly that you'll blacken your thumbs just plucking the disc from its tray. By My Side is full of gorgeously minimal torch songs and noodling dirges, generally performed with acoustic guitar, harmonica and melodica. There are exceptions to the rule, though those few tracks only up the darkness quotient, pointing once again to Altziebler's uncanny ability to trudge along at a pace that would make Codeine proud. Lyrically, the stories are simple, but never fall prey to cliché, honest and straightforward without pandering to the lowest common denominator.

By My Side is bedtime music for the chronically depressed, the terminally unloved and the proudly melancholy. It's the sound of cigarette-stained hardwood floors, aged and yellowed lampshades and rusted utensils in a kitchen drain -- but it somehow retains a sophistication that rivals the Tindersticks and Nick Cave, and for that reason it must be heard.
-- Mike Baker
- Splendid


Playground, 2006
Alphasuite, 2004
By My Side, 2003
Spare Some Sugar For The Rat (EP), 2003


Feeling a bit camera shy


SON OF THE VELVET RAT is the solo project of the Austrian-based singer/songwriter Georg Altziebler . Formed in 2000 (together with Robert Kres on violin and harmonium) as an experimental reaction to the predominance of angst-ridden testosterone rock, Son of the Velvet Rat essentially filters the dark romanticism of Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake through the pop songcraft and the aesthetics of 60-bpm, lo-fi indie rock.
"BY MY SIDE", the first full-length release, features minimalist songs layered with brooding vocals, melancholic orchestrations and poetic lyrics that are laced with recurring themes of alienation and loneliness. The singing was done mostly on a small Fender tube amp and the distance this produced made room for atmospheric depth of field.The instrumentation recalls crossover Country artists like Townes van Zandt and Tim Hardin but the use of the melodica and harmonica also evoke chansons of the ‘50s. Diverse mini-organs and E-bow add a certain lushness to the sound.