Velcro Stars
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Velcro Stars

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"Hiroshima's Revenge Review"

Bands take note: Wicked sweet cover art might be all that stands between you and a potential fan base. Consider the Tennessee indie pop rock group Velcro Stars. As I tore through Wonka HQ’s disgustingly massive collection of death metal looking for records to review, I found “Hiroshima’s Revenge.” The packaging eschews the atypical plastic jewel case in favor of brown cardboard and a black, blue, and white paint job. The artwork, which depicts a massive being (God?!) throwing bombs at a skeleton, has a handmade, intimate quality to it. Included with the album is a folded pamphlet containing more tasty art, this time coupled with a poem. The fold-out features a military man dropping bananas that turn into bombs on cities before he slips on a peel labeled “Cinnimon Jews” and blows up. I have no idear what the hell it represents, but I am sort of (by which I mean not really) sure that the art isn’t anti-Semitic, so that’s cool.

But while Velcro Stars’ artwork is good enough to get their “feet” in my “door” (that sounds gross!), it’s their Pixies-tinged tunes that keep them in my heart. Opener “Same Every Day” delivers powered-up pop a la The Rentals and the aforementioned Boston rockers Pixies. “Here and now/We are young and proud,” sings the nasally group, and they certainly sound like it. The group quickly transcends these obvious comparisons,though, with the title track.

Musically laidback and lyrically melancholy, the song “Hiroshima’s Revenge” has more of a Pavement-with-organ feel, but Velcro Stars are more than just a ’90s indie rock tribute band. They’re a solidly catchy pop band in their own right. Follow-up tracks “All That I Do” and “Not So Easy” serve up a double dose of sugary promises of fidelity to lovers, infectious and peppy. These songs and more make excellent use of horns and xylophone. The glut of extra instruments is never masturbatory; everything is complementary.

The only snag against “Hiroshima’s Revenge” is the running time. 48 minutes is just a little too long for this album, and the 15 songs presented here could’ve easily been in the 10 to 12 range to avoid sounding repetitive. But when later album cuts like “Pretense” do begin to sound redundant, the band switches lead vocalists from Shane to Rebekah Spresser. Pretty much everyone but drummer Andy Spore gets a little bit of mic time. Even though “Hiroshima’s Revenge” could stand for some editing, ultimately it is a good indie pop rock release. Frolicking and loose, Velcro Stars are a band to watch in 2007. [By: Joe Pelone]
http://www.wonkavisionmagazine.com/reviews/?p=237 - Wonka Vision Magazine


"Velcro Stars Velcro Stars “Hiroshima’s Revenge”"

On first listen, I enoyed the new record by Velcro Stars… enough. I thought they were pretty good at loud pop, but wasn’t really blown away or anything. Around track twelve on their new album Hiroshima’s Revenge, (”Cinnamon Jews”), it all finally connected and I realized that these five people might be some of the brightest pop visionaries on the scene today. I’d read press releases that compared the group to Pavement, Blake Babies and Superchunk, but none of those seem to fit. They aren’t as defiantly slapdash as the former, they certainly aren’t as meandering and tuneless as the most popular Superchunk material… and the Blake Babies comparison just doesn’t make any sense. Nope, Velcro Stars exist in their own damn league, and it’s time for these cats to expound on it.

Hiroshima’s Revenge delivers on the promise of their peformance at the 2006 Athens Popfest, and while only a small crowd was on hand to witness said show, seemingly every member of that lucky crowd was uniformly blown to bits by the set. I wasn’t one of those priveleged few, but after hearing the almost effortless vocal melody of “Same Everyday”, I can’t imagine a Velcro Stars show not becoming one gigantic dance party.

The record stirkes a healthy balance between almost-midtempo pop puntcuated with a throbbing organ and great harmonies, (”All That I Do”, “Hole In The Sky”), as well as creamy rockers that always teeter on the edge of falling apart from the joy the musicians seem to radiate, (”Distraction”, “Another Winter”). Hiroshima’s Revenge also strays from ever feeling as samey as the average forty-eight-minute pop record might thanks to the members habit of microphone swapping.

Frankly, Velcro Stars might be one of the best indie pop groups out there today. There’s simply no question about that, folks. With a bit more exposure, this group could deservedly blow up and make the heads of today’s indie kids explode Scanners-style. Don’t say I didn’t warn you… they’ve got it. - RetroLowFI http://retrolowfi.com/


"Velcro Stars"

The Velcro Stars take a tried-and-true approach to solid pop rock in the mid-'90s indie camp, with catchy numbers that recall the straightforward tunes of the Rock*A*Teens, Blake Babies and Superchunk, although at times the Tennessee five-piece can be more daring than any of those groups. - Flagpole (Athens,Ga)


"Velcro Stars CD release @ Caledonia, Grimey's, Grand Palace"

I have turned a spotlight on Velcro Stars here before, but I'm happy to do it again. They're a quintet from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and they've spent the last year or so building a growing and enthusiastic fanbase here in the southeast. When I saw them play in Athens about a month ago I understood why. Basically, they induce shit-eating grins of a magnitude well beyond hygenic levels.

They play an energetic brand of pop music that may well be impossible to ignore. Nashville media have compared them to The Features, Superchunk, and Pavement but I'd say if anything they build on these influences rather than mimic them. Keith Pratt appears to handle the majority of the vocal duties, although other members take the lead as well. Rebekah Kidd, the keyboardist and lone female member, provides a welcome diversity to both lead and harmony vocals.

To make a long story short, I imagine these guys are going to be among the Murfreesboro bands making big waves in 2007 - Cable and Tweed www.cableandtweed.com


"NASA made Velcro, TN made Velcro Stars"

I love when a recommendation hits the mark. Rich over at Cable & Tweed sent the Velcro Stars record my way, and I gotta hand it to him. This is good stuff. Though Rich and I agree on a lot of stuff music-wise, I think he’d agree that his taste falls a bit more poppy than mine. This is a band that we can agree on completely. This is nothing ground-breaking or super original; it’s just really good indie pop from Murfreesboro, TN. I don’t know too much about the ‘boro. I’ve been there once, for a Phish show way back in 1998. I know MTSU has a great music program, and I guess that’s why bands like this one get started there.

NashvilleZine compares the group to Pavement and Superchunk, and I guess that’s not too far fetched. I’d say they’re not quite as quirky as Pavement, but they’ve probably listened to Crooked Rain Crooked Rain a few times. Anyway, they’re definitely worth checking out. - Kiss Atlanta www.kissatlanta.com


"Velcro Stars - "Hiroshima's Revenge" cd"

This disc was originally released on the Grand Palace label (the collective in Murfreesboro that's a label, record store, and more, which the Stars happen to be a part of), but after impressing the folks at HHBTM with their great live shows and kind demeanor, they were signed! This is basically the same album as the original release, with the only differences being pressed discs, a handy informational insert, and much clearer silk-screening on the packaging (a compact cardboard case) - the original five-panel screened insert featuring the song's titles amongst assorted artwork is thankfully still included. The band's music generally falls on the lighter side of indie rock, incorporating boy/girl vocals and sounding like a mixture of bands like Rosebuds, Small Factory, Ether Family Presents and Madder Rose. The songs are usually calm, even during the more upbeat ones, though they'll have occasional bursts of Superchunk-ish energy/noise in a few songs like "Distraction", "Cascade" and "Same Every Day". Quite a fine debut from this young band! - Indie Pages www.indiepages.com


"Star Power"

Murfreesboro’s Velcro Stars prove they’ve mastered a thing or two on their full-length debut

Velcro Stars have been playing the bars and clubs of Murfreesboro and Nashville since 2003, during which time they’ve changed their name (remember Velma vs. Daphne?), replaced multiple drummers and had their share of painfully bad shows. But they’ve played some swell ones, too, only Velcro Stars are most often completely at the mercy of their audience. An enthusiastic crowd eager to sing along in big, off-key choruses is the Stars’ best friend, but uninterested audiences often get an uninteresting version of the act. The band’s latest, Hiroshima’s Revenge, marks both their first full-length and their first real chance to prove that they can stand on their own 10 feet.

Co-released by Athens label Happy Happy Birthday to Me and Murfreesboro’s Grand Palace Records, Hiroshima’s fits right at home on the twee-pop leaning roster of the former. The meticulous craftsmanship of the album’s impressive artwork and packaging comes courtesy of the silkscreen faction of the latter.

The album opens with the band—Keith Pratt and Shane Spresser on guitar and vocals, Rebekah Spresser on keys and vocals, Danial Norman on bass and Andy Spore, who also plays with How I Became the Bomb, on drums—showing all their cards on “Same Everyday,” an up-tempo number with quirky vocals from all three vocalists, and a simple but inescapably catchy melody. That’s the formula for Hiroshima’s biggest successes, and there are several of them.


Live favorites “Cascade” and “B-Side of Love” make appearances, and neither disappoint with their big unison vocals. “Distraction,” a frenetic, power chord-driven rocker, breaks up the mild lull in the middle of the record with a healthy dose of volume and crunch. Given the rather provocative album title, you might expect angry political undertones, but “Distraction” is the only song with any such message. (“It’s just a distraction / We don’t love our enemies,” shouts Pratt. He’s talking about Bush, man!) The album’s gem is “Pavilion,” one of two songs on the record sung by Shane Spresser. Here the band revisit the mission statement set forth on “Same Everyday” with a chorus melody that perhaps surpasses anything the Stars have ever written, coupled with the record’s strongest vocal performance.

Velcro Stars have crafted the record of which they’ve long hinted they’re capable. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally time for the Velcro Stars to start swimming in a bigger pond. —Matt Sullivan

- Nashville Scene


"Velcro Stars CD Release Party at The Boro"

Friday night January 19, the Velcro Stars played to a packed house at the Boro. They were celebrating the release of their new and first full length album “Hiroshima’s Revenge”, a joint release from Grand Palace Records (Murfreesboro,Tn) (MySpace) and Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records (Athens,Ga).

If Saturday night was any indication of the growth of this band from their inception in 2001 (then known as Velma vs. Daphne), Velcro Stars have risen (many apologies for the pun). The band is a lot more polished these days, but has managed to hold on to the comfortable dissonance that weaves in and out of the harmonies of vocalists Keith Pratt, Rebekah Spresser and Shane Spresser.

I popped “Hiroshima’s Revenge” in my CD player on the way to the grocery Saturday morning. I was pleased to see that crowd favorites “All That I Do” and “Cascade” made the cut along with the nostalgic and dreamy “Hole in the Sky” as well as the unapologetic “Pretense”. Keith, Rebekah, Shane, Daniel Norman (bass) and Andy Spore (drums) have done well. - Nashville feed www.nashvillefeed.com


"Athens Popfest '06 Reviews"

The small minority of folks who caught The Velcro Stars were, I would say, uniformly blown away. This band was the best discovery of the night for me, and one of the most impressive indie-pop groups I’ve heard in a long time. Too bad they weren’t booked for later in the evening so more people could see them. - RetroLowFi www.retrolowfi.com


"Live Reviews"

Velcro Stars turned up the energy with their addictive indie rock from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Lead singer/guitarist Keith Pratt’s voice was young, but the directness of his style drilled the song into listeners’ brains.

Rebekah Kidd added some pop with her keyboard and blues with her pedal steel guitar and vocals. Guitarist Shane Spresser also sang a few tunes, adding variety to the set. Backed by drummer Andy Spore and bassist Danial Norman, the group was well composed and precise.

-Review by Alex Adan - Performer Magazine


Discography

Hiroshima's Revenge - 2007 Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records and Grand Palace Records

Photos

Bio

Velcro Stars is comprised of five members who all grew up in small southern towns in Tennessee.

Shane Spresser, Keith Pratt, and Danial Norman all grew up in Columbia, located about an hour south of Nashville. Shane and Keith met in the summer of 1996, though both grew up in Columbia, they had never met. They instantly bonded over their mutual love for 60's pop music. They also related in the fact that both had come from broken homes, and neither really had a family life. As a result, they started hanging out together, listening to records, and writing songs. Later that year both moved to Murfreesboro,TN to go to college. After a few semesters they both dropped out and decided to form a band. Murfreesboro, Tn turned out to be a hot bed for musicians, due to the fact that the local college was the number one recording indusrty school in the country. Basically, everybody played guitar and everybody had a band.

Shortly after they decided to form a band they met Rebekah Kidd. Shane and Rebekah started dating and were eventually married. Rebekah had grown up singing and playing music with her two sisters. They had a family band for a little while when she was a child, and she grew up singing and playing country standards. In high school she started playing flute in the marching band. Already being a skilled pianist and flute player it was only natural for her to join the band. Also, she had an intense love for 60's pop as well.

With three singer songwriters/melody makers in the band they decided it was time to add some rhythm. This is when Shane ran into long time friend Danial Norman. Danial had moved away to east Tennessee in 1996 to go to college. They lost touch for four years, but when they met up again, after Danial moved back, it was as if no time had passed at all. They started talking music, like they had so many times before, and Shane mentioned he needed a bass player for a new band he was forming. It turned out Danial had picked up bass while he was at college. Two weeks later he moved to Murfreesboro and joined the band.

After going through several drummers and none sticking the band was contacted by Andy Spore. Andy grew up in east Tennessee in a town called Oak Ridge. Like Rebekah, Andy played in the marching band in high school. Andy was one of several drummers that tried out for Velcro Stars over a two week period, but once he started playing everyone in the band knew instantly he was going to be the drummer. Having grown up listening to 60's pop and 90's indie rock, Andy knew exactly what the songs needed. He played tastefully, unlike so many other drummers they had tried out.

Since then Velcro Stars has recorded their debut album entitled Hiroshima's Revenge. it was released in February 2007 by Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records(Athens,Ga) and Grand Palace Records(Murfreesboro,Tn). They have received several glowing reviews for their record. The band has also toured the southeast extensively and plans to tour the entire country in the coming months.