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Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
Band Rock Pop


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



"Where Are the People"

“The strength of Where Are the People lies in its uncanny tunefulness, its strength of melody and its wily habit of creeping through the tiny cracks in the wall we all erect to protect our emotions. To be able to do this lyrically is one thing -- to be able to do it melodically is what makes Velvet so captivating.” - Encore Magazine - Amanda Sawyer - Encore Magazine

"Velvet Topping"

“It's hard to believe it took a band that wasn't the Replacements to make a record to top Tim, but they did it. Guitar pop with an emotive singer that has a bit of rasp, and lots of lyrics flowing from his poison pen.” - Bee’s Knees - Bee's Knee's

"Velvet at Firebelly"

“…songwriting is the cornerstone of the group. Don’t expect cookie-cutter words with one-line grabbers, though. The group takes writing seriously.” - Currents Entertainment Guide - Currents Entertainment Guide

"Power Pop With A Velvet Touch"

Power Pop With A Velvet Touch
Chapel Hill’s Velvet At Black Cat Burrito

The Chapel Hill-based band Velvet returns to the Black Cat Burrito in Boone on Friday, August 25th in support of the band’s great new album The Juggernaut.

By Jeff Eason
During the past two decades, a large number of serious American musicians have abandoned the pop format and left its carcass to be plucked by the Britneys, Jessicas and Mariahs of the world. That’s too bad because there are still a lot of listeners who like well-crafted songs, meaningful lyrics, catchy choruses and the occasional soaring vocal harmony part.

The new Chapel Hill-based band Velvet is single-handedly trying to revive the thinking person’s pop genre with clever songs, unique arrangements and well-played instruments. Velvet’s new album, The Juggernaut, is probably the best pop album to come out of North Carolina since the heyday of Let’s Active, the dB’s and Don Dixon’s band Arrogance.

Velvet will perform at Black Cat Burrito in Boone on Friday, August 25th starting at 10 p.m. Tickets are available at the door.

One of the things that gives The Juggernaut such a classic pop vibe is the fact that most of the recording was done at Mitch Easter’s Fidelitorium in Kernersville on the same analog equipment used to record the Let’s Active recordings of the 1980s. The original recordings were made during 2003 but have just been finalized after a painstaking mixing process the end result of which is pure pop magic.

Velvet includes the slightly-older-than-graduate-student trio of Jay Manley, Jane Francis and Kevin Campbell. For The Juggernaut, the trio utilized the percussion skills of Doug Edmunds and Zsolt David. Francis and Manley serve as the group’s songwriters—two topnotch ones at that. Francis’ song “Juggernaut” is one of those achingly beautiful pop ballads with a tunefulness that belies its slightly warped lyrical message.

Francis’ voice is another weapon in the band’s arsenal that “tricks” the listener into thinking he or she is hearing a light love song when the lyrics are generally about more interesting aspects of modern life. She’s got a certain “Karen Carpenter” tone (in this case that’s a good thing) that perfectly conveys strength, longing and frailty all at the same time.

“I love Aimee Mann and Chrissy Hynde,” said Francis. “But before I listened to them, I listened to Ronnie Spector and Karen Carpenter. I have all the old Carpenter singles on vinyl. Her voice on some of those song just makes me cry.”

The cohesiveness of the Velvet product is the result of Francis and Manley having worked together for the past decade. The two originally met in Wilmington, North Carolina in the mid-80s. Ten years and a few bands later, they bumped into each other and decided to try to form a new musical combo. Originally, Velvet was Manley’s vision of what jazz fusion and alternative rock would sound like as played by a 60s power trio such as Cream.

Today, a vast array of influences can be heard in Velvet’s music, even if the outcome is totally original. Despite the marvelous female vocals, “Girl Fan” could easily be an early David Bowie composition while “This Is For You” drips with the punchy power pop patented by the Pretenders.

The Juggernaut is Velvet’s second album with Where Are The People? serving as the band’s full-length debut. The band has also contributed a cover version of the song “Bad Machinery” to the Let’s Active tribute album Every Dog Has Its Day. Additionally, singer and songwriter Jane Francis has a solo album called Skeletons For Tea.

The Juggernaut had its release earlier this month and so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s been very encouraging,” said Francis. “The album was picked up by XM Radio and we’ve got feature stories and reviews coming out in the music magazines Harp and Magnet.”

In conclusion, Velvet’s The Juggernaut is the best pop album to cross this reviewer’s desk since King Radio’s 2003 disc Are You The Sick Passenger. Highly recommended for fans of 80s underground pop or new bands such as New Pornographers.

- Mountain Times


“Velvet’s future is intensely bright” - – Cape Fear Live

"New material"

"The freedom of being DIY seems to have given their new material room to breathe: it's the most embracing work they've recorded yet."
Grayson Currin- Independent Weekly
- Independent Weekly

"Sounds Velvet"

“Now here are Velvet, a North Carolina pop band with obvious roots in Mitch Easter and Let's Active, or at the very least, Game Theory. The songs on Where Are The People? don't quite jangle like most Eighties-era bands' material resonated, but that doesn't stop Velvet from throwing a few meaty hooks our way nonetheless. ... Velvet's sound is straight eighties pop, college radio-ready with a contemporary feel. The production here is mighty clean for a low-budget indie album, with Velvet obviously putting the time in to get the multi-layered and textured sound they wanted.”
- Jersey Beat
- Jersey Beat

"Velvet Far Beyond"

“Similar in style to Matthew Sweet and Jason Faulkner, Velvet makes power pop…with songwriting skills far beyond the ability of their more popular peers.”

- Splendid
- Splendid

"Juggernaut reviewed"

“…direct and artistically aggressive. This lack of indie-rock posturing might be refreshing for musical newcomers or progressive scenesters looking to get their ears out of their behinds.”
–The PhiLLer

A mating dance of art and pop, with mod verve and retro nods, The Juggernaut springs to life from the creative vision of Jay Manley and Jane Francis Velvet’s principal songwriters. This album assimilates the influence of Aimee Mann with the versatility of The New Pornographers yielding full yet powerfully raw songs. Now say you were to drink this CD…buttery-rich analog sounds (thanks to Mitch Easter’s Fidelitorium) and honeyed vocals integrate exotic, yearning guitar riffs. A wonderful balance of purple-ripe melodies and southern pop growl linger over socially conscious lyrics “…effortlessly enjoyable.” -High Bias

“As a band, Velvet is at its best when the trio stays sassy and guitar-crazy, embracing arrangements that write their own hand claps, and songs that burst with sunshine. As a record, "Juggernaut" doesn't do any work to define the genre from which it arises. But that certainly isn't its goal. The album's beauty is its carefully erratic quality, its ability to point in countless directions over 40 minutes, but still feel incredibly unified and tidy. As good a definition for "indie pop" as any other: the neatest messy rock music on earth.” –Durham Herald-Sun

Since 1995 Velvet have been making their own intelligent, guitar-driven, melodic indie-pop music a la The New Pornographers, Aimee Mann, The Pretenders and have two CD’s , appear on three compilations alongside Bill Lloyd, Ani DiFranco, The cowboy Junkies and have music featured in five movie soundtracks, the latest is Jonathan Landau’s The Last Summer. The title track Juggernaut, has already been recognized by the 13th annual Billboard World Songwriting Contest placing among the top entries!

- mixed


"The Juggernaut" Double Decker Bus Music
XM Radio "This is For you" No. 1 single CH. 43
WXYC "Juggernaut" Chapel Hill, NC
"Where Are the People?" Eskimo Kiss Records
The track "Elephant Kiss" featured on the compilation "Coast to Coast" Jar Music (Germany)
"Every Word" CD compilation for Let's Active tribute
"The Juggernaut" Double Decker Bus Music



Principle songwriters Jay Manley (guitar/vocals) and Jane Francis (bass/vocals) joined by Hungarian drummer Zsolt David, craft more than just smart pop songs with fascinating structures. Manley and Francis bring a lifetime of musicianship to Velvet and seamlessly assimilate a batch of influences including The Beatles, Ravi Shankar, The Pretenders, Guided By Voices, Aimee Mann, Jeff Beck, with hints of Jimi Hendrix, and Pat Metheny.

Since its beginnings as a Wilmington-based art-rock outfit in 1995, Velvet’s artistry and career continue to be upwardly mobile. The bands work is featured in Daniel Kraus’s debut film Jefftowne and MTV bought the rights to use the groups songs in its reality-based programs. Velvet also appears on the Let's Active tribute released by Australian label Laughing Outlaw Records and on the German Compilation Coast to Coast, where the bands work was placed alongside Ani DiFranco and the Cowboy Junkies. Two tracks from The Juggernaut are on the soundtrack of Jonathan Landau’s new film, The Last Summer and more recently, the band has been film scoring for Carrboro based film director Nic Beery.

Lately, the band had been studying and assimilating North Indian classical music into their songwriting. Manley, who has been studying Hindustani vocal for over two years now, brings ragas and melodies to guitar. Velvet is currently recording songs at their home studio for the next release. Stay tuned for some singles!