Very Truly Yours
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Very Truly Yours

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"Demo2DeRo: Very Truly Yours"

'One day a girl found a message in a bottle," the Chicago pop quartet Very Truly Yours writes by way of evoking its sound. "The message was from a person she'd never met in a place she'd never been. Every day, the girl would read the message and every night she would write a song. She would imagine all the things the person would do, the things they would see and the sounds they would hear." Eventually, the girl takes all of the songs, puts them in a bottle and throws it into the ocean where she found the original message, but not before enclosing a letter signed -- you knew this was coming -- "Very Truly Yours."

Cute in that "Danger! Kimya Dawson/'Juno' soundtrack" way, guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Kristine Capua, guitarist Lisle Mitnik, bassist Dan Hyatt and drummer Andy Rogers redeem themselves from falling on the wrong side of twee via the undeniable appeal of the gentle, romantic and lilting melodies of songs such as "Every Little Word" and "Homesick."

Formed last August with the goal of crafting what the group calls "end-of-summer-going-into-winter pop," the band made its recorded debut on a split CD with the British pop band the Understudies, and it's gearing up to release its second single this summer. You can sample a healthy selection of its tunes at, or catch the combo live April 9 at the Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake, on Thursday. - Chicago Sun Times

"Very Truly Yours"

I am almost too excited to see the Pains of Being Pure at Heart tonight. I know at some point, I am going to have to stop listening to their album so I don't get too burned out before the show. And, while that time may not quite have come (I mean, the show's not until 9pm...), I can gear up in a different way—by listening to the wonderful openers, Very Truly Yours.

I don't know too much about the band, and what I do know is all second-hand from friends, including my best friend, the Internet. But Chicago pop is hard to come by, which is why I feel it is necessary to say some kind words. Very Truly Yours strike a pure pop beauty that isn't overly saccharine or precious. It is sincere and beautiful with just the right amount of distortion in the background to make it a little messy. I guess think of the Softies fronted by Amelia Fletcher, or Strawberry Story when Hayley Beckman is at her most calm. Made up from three-fourths of contributors to the Chicago band the Lorimer Sound, Very Truly Yours is the perfect simple pop band Chicago has never had.

They just released a great split EP on Cloudberry on January 1st with the Understudies from the UK. They were also just on a WeePOP! comp and are releasing a new song on an upcoming Series Two comp! Wow! Certainly a pop band to watch, and one of the few we've had from Chicago in a long time. And they're only a few months old!!

And don't forget to come to tonight's show! The Pains of Being Pure at Heart with the Depreciation Guild and Very Truly Yours @ Schuba's, 9pm. Tickets are only $8! The show will be put on by my good friends Colour Me Pop! - Qwee! An Indie-Poplog

"Dent May plus cool openers"

I went to Schubas on Thursday night (May 28) out of curiosity more than anything else. The headliner, Dent May, is a singer from Mississippi who plays the ukulele, an instrument you don't see onstage all that often, other than maybe a short novelty number or two in the middle of a concert. The uke is all that May plays during the course of his show, and he grimaces and rears back at times like he's wailing on an electric guitar, even though he's just plinking those little nylon strings. It made for an interesting sight, but I have to say his pop music didn't really connect with me like I'd hoped. It wasn't bad, but something about his voice and his melodies wore thin on me after a few songs. And yet, a number of people in the crowd seemed to love it, calling out requests for some of his songs, so I can see this guy may be destined to attract even more fans in the future.

I was pleasantly surprised by the two opening acts, however — both of them fledgling Chicago bands that showed a lot of promise. First up was My Gold Mask, a duo with Gretta Rochelle on vocals and drums (which she played standing up) and Jack Armondo on guitar and backing vocals. They rocked with the primitive energy you often get with guitar-and-drums duos, with a great full-on vocal attack from Rochelle on several songs. The band's debut recording is a cassette tape... Gosh, you know, I appreciate the retro technology, but I'm trying to get rid of all my old cassettes, not gather more of them, so I just bought the card to get a digital download. Check them out at and

The middle band on the bill was Very Truly Yours, which sounded an awful lot like Camera Obscura — which is a good thing, in my book. Lead singer and vocalist Kristine Capua sings in a pretty, plaintive voice while the band plays swaying pop arrangements that sound straight of the 1960s. THe group has a nice five-song EP called Reminders. The hyperbolic (and, I hope, somewhat tongue-in-cheek) liner notes claim: "Very Truly Yours is America's leading purveyor of what will someday be called the 'time capsule sound.' It's music handcrafted in the here and now for the nostalgic daydreams we're all still working on..." In concert, the members of Very Truly Yours seemed surprised that a modest-size crowd of people was paying attention and actually clapping after the songs. "You guys are so intense!" Capua said, giving the impression that Very Truly Yours hasn't played in front of actual audiences very often so far. Based on how cool they sounded at this show, I hope they're destined for many more shows and recordings to come. Check them out at - Underground Bee

"Very Truly Yours and Co."

I really should be studying for an exam I have later today. However I made the mistake of showing up to work instead. So I really should be working right now. However I’ve just found this rad band called Very Truly Yours and decided to skip altogether all the annoying things and let myself be distracted for a while.

This frisky fivesome hails from the windy city; Chicago, Illinois, and cite their influences as Heavenly and The Aisler set amongst others. They’ve had a split CD out on Cloudberry Records, b/w The Understudies, as well as songs on compilations from Series Two Records and Weepop, and just recently a self-released EP. Or perhaps that’s an old one, not quite sure.

tinyAnyway, it might be interesting to add that Lisle, the guitarist, also records as Fireflies, and singer Kristine also appears as Tiny Microphone. She was also in a band called The Starlette Canvas. And some of them were also in a band called The Lorimer Sound. That band is named after a street in Brooklyn NY, which incidentally The Besties lived in and wrote a song about, 79 Lorimer Song. A “lorimer” is “a maker of bits, spurs, and metal mounting for bridles and saddles; hence, a saddler” if you’re into that sort of stuff.

Enough of this prattle already, and now for some songs. First up, Very Truly Yours, and then some samples of Fireflies and Tiny Microphone, as well as The Lorimer Sound. Cracking stuff indeed. -

"Very Truly Yours "Reminders""

VTY make jangle-rific enchanting indie pop music that made me so happy I wanted to dance with everything I have, including vegetables, a colander, and hubcaps for a car I don't own. They also did a split tiny CD with the English girl group Understudies (who have a classic 60 girl group sound, but tougher) who had a bit more oomph than VTY, but together they were as perfect a match as chocolate and peanut butter! My fave 3" CD of the year! Though I'm still shaking my laptop trying to get it out of the slot. - Rocktober

"Live Twee or Die"

With their jingle-jangle melodies, vintage cardigans, and puppylike stage personas, Very Truly Yours seem harmless, maybe even a bit precious. But in their own way, they're rebels.

"I wouldn't say our music is revolutionary or anything," says singer-guitarist Kristine Capua, "but it's certainly different. Aside from us, I can't even think of another straight-up indie-pop band from Chicago. Maybe they're all in hiding, I don't know. But our style of music has just never really fit in here."

When Capua says "indie pop," she means something more specific than pop played by indie bands. To borrow a turn of phrase from KRS-One, if pop is something you do, then indie pop, or twee, as it's sometimes called, is something you live. It's music custom-made for cult devotion, with a philosophy rooted in the DIY tradition of punk but an aesthetic indebted to the Rickenbacker guitars, la-la-las, and lovelorn lyrics of the mid-60s.

Initially popularized by early-80s Scottish bands like Orange Juice and the Pastels, indie pop soon found its niche among bookish daydreamers and hopeless romantics on both sides of the pond—in the late 80s the flagships of the scene were Sarah Records in the UK and K Records in Olympia. Twee devotees still recognize one another by their retro thrift-store couture and have built secret societies around hard-to-find seven-inches and handmade fanzines—though they acknowledge the Smiths and Belle & Sebastian as wellsprings, indie pop's most beloved pioneers, like Beat Happening, Heavenly, the Field Mice, and Tiger Trap, are much more obscure. And the fans, who seem to prefer their heroes on a modest scale, jump at any opportunity to share their passion with others in the know.

Indie pop has waxed and waned over the years, but right now it's enjoying a significant revival in the States. Labels like Magic Marker, Cloudberry, Bus Stop, and Slumberland are carrying the torch, and New York City's Popfest—where, back in May, Very Truly Yours was the sole band representing Chicago—is one of a growing number of annual indie-pop events, which includes gatherings in San Francisco; Athens, Georgia; and Northampton, Massachusetts.

The midwest has been passed over by this revival, though, at least so far. Chicago hosted the not-entirely-twee Cardigan Festival in the mid-90s, and there was a Chicago Popfest in 1997; some of the earliest stateside indie-pop labels were based in the area too, like Picture Book Records in Barrington, Sunday Records in Rolling Meadows, and Parasol in Champaign. But those labels are defunct now—except Parasol, which has moved on to other things—and the city has become an indie-pop desert. Of the Chicago bands that Capua knows, only Canasta might qualify as twee, and even that would be a stretch.

Formed in August 2008 from the ashes of a band called the Lorimer Sound, Very Truly Yours had managed only a handful of sparsely attended gigs before February, when they landed a slot opening for Brooklyn indie-pop heroes the Pains of Being Pure at Heart at a sold-out Schubas show. Jennifer Reiter, half of the indie-pop promotions group Colour Me Pop, had a hand in setting up the concert.

"I'd been dreaming about a band like Very Truly Yours since I moved to Chicago six years ago," she says. "But it's just very difficult for a band like them to get on bills in Chicago with artists that are like-minded or share a similar musical knowledge and background."

Capua, 25, got into indie pop in college when an old bandmate introduced her to Heavenly; Very Truly Yours guitarist Lisle Mitnik, also 25 (and Capua's boyfriend), followed a more traditional path, progressing from the Beatles to the Smiths to Belle & Sebastian. The rhythm section—bassist Dan Hyatt, 39, and drummer Andy Rogers, 33—is old enough to remember when the genre-defining C86 compilation came out in the UK. But whether they were around for Chicago's previous indie-pop bubble or not, they all agree that the present lack of a local scene is a hardship. There's an audience here, but it isn't a cohesive community—and the absence of other bands is a big problem too. "If we ever really want to grow in Chicago," Capua says, "we have no one to really latch onto and build a fan base with."

That made nabbing a gig with a Pitchfork-approved national act like the Pains of Being Pure at Heart even more crucial. Reiter understood that, and helped Very Truly Yours onto the bill as a sort of parting gift to the band. In May she moved Colour Me Pop to the greener pastures of London.

Reiter had been trying to promote indie-pop shows and club nights here for years, without much success. "I knew it would take a while to build up a following in Chicago," she says, "but I didn't anticipate that there wouldn't actually be an indie-pop community to tap into. . . . I just got tired of being the most enthusiastic person in the room."

Very Truly Yours have an uphill climb ahead of them if they hope to rekindle Chicago's old affection for indie pop, but their new pals the Pains of Being Pure at Heart have inspired them by example. Though the Pains got an initial boost from Brooklyn's relatively supportive scene, they quickly transcended their niche to become a band that can fill midsize venues all over the country and even abroad.

"I don't feel like we'd ever have to blow up like the Pains did in the past year," Mitnik said in early May. "But they played Popfest last year and weren't really anybody, and now here they are touring the world. I don't really have any lofty dreams that that would be us. But playing Popfest certainly represents the best opportunity we'd have to reach that wider, sympathetic audience." (Popfest organizer Clyde Barretto was already sympathetic: in 2007 he released an EP by Mitnik's solo project, Fireflies.)

The past four months have been the busiest in the band's brief history. Hoping to fill out their sound, in March they recruited Katie Watkins, 26, from local folk-pop duo Katie & Pat to play keyboard and sing backups. April was dominated by the recording of a new EP, Reminders. And in early May, they finalized plans for a weeklong tour—six shows in six cities, culminating in a prime-time slot at Brooklyn's Cake Shop on the final night of Popfest.

By the third day of their 1,000-mile journey they'd been humbled by an equal parts unruly and apathetic crowd at a dive bar in Akron. They were playing right before the bar's karaoke night was scheduled to start, and people didn't want to wait—a few of them started chanting "You suck!" through an open window behind Rogers's head. "I'm really looking forward to a more receptive audience," he said with a laugh.

"Best-case scenario for Popfest?" said Watkins. "The venue is packed, the sound is pristine, and we play flawlessly and get signed to a label. Worst case? Everyone hates us. But even if they did, twee kids are way too nice to say so."

After a final warm-up show in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Very Truly Yours rolled into New York City on Friday, May 15—a couple days before their show. The band's east-coast gigs had drawn modest but enthusiastic crowds, but those were small potatoes compared to Popfest, whose lineup included cult heroes like Rose Melberg (Tiger Trap, the Softies) and reclusive Swedes the Radio Dept.

Very Truly Yours were in their element, rubbing shoulders with indie-pop devotees from around the world and dancing to DJs spinning Tullycraft and Black Tambourine. When they took the stage at 9 PM on Sunday night, after an exhausting weekend of camaraderie, it was for a tightly packed crowd of kindred spirits.

"Hi, we're Very Truly Yours from Chicago," Capua said sweetly, provoking the sort of respectful applause usually reserved for war veterans. The band broke into its opener, "Homesick." Mitnik's guitar was jangling beautifully, Capua was cooing with confidence—and then something went sickeningly wrong with the sound system. Distracting bursts of static peppered the mix, and Watkins's keyboard went completely mute.

But the band soldiered on, playing through the rest of the song. Soon the technical problem was fixed and the set picked up steam. A cover of the 6ths' "Falling Out of Love (With You)" got the crowd firmly on their side, and the response to their set-closing one-two punch—the title track from their new EP, "Reminders," which they'd self-released earlier in the month, and the infectious "Pop Song '91," from a 2008 split EP with the Understudies—was the kind of enthusiastic ovation the band could only dream of provoking back home.

"I was really surprised when people in the audience were singing the words to 'Pop Song '91,'" Capua says. "That was great. Overall, it was just nice to be able to have an empathetic audience, and to be surrounded by people who are just as passionate about indie pop as I am. When it was over, I was somewhat sad, because we were going home, and it was like, 'Well, now what?' In New York, we didn't have to beg our friends to see us. The shows were sold out because people genuinely wanted to see them."

"Playing is much easier when you're working with the crowd's energy rather than fighting it," Mitnik says. "So far, though, Popfest hasn't caused the sea change that I secretly hoped for but didn't exactly expect. It's actually been somewhat frustrating, having played all over the place, to then have trouble getting a gig back here in our hometown. But it's OK, because I understand . . . this is what 99 percent of bands go through. At the very least, it was nice to transcend just being a band playing some songs, and feel like we were really part of something greater." - Chicago Reader

"Very Truly Yours - 1, 2, 3, 4"

Not to be mistaken for the inferior (really!) Feist song of the same name, Very Truly Yours’ “1 2 3 4? is a startling three minutes of twee. As winsome as the Cardigans, as pale blue-sad as the Softies and certainly more charming than Camera Obscura’s poufy latest, the band fell into my lap last week during an inspired afternoon on the Hype Machine. Please, blogosphere, if there are more indie-poppers this good that I’m not listening to, point me in their direction immediately. Look for more gushing from yours truly as soon as their new EP gets here in the mail. - Rawkblog

"Very Truly Yours Concert Preview"

Very Truly Yours at first listen can be likened to riding a wave of nostalgia. Sweet, lilting, late summer pop-songs give away the band's August inception and make a body yearn for a warm and hazy afternoon. Reminiscent of early Belle and Sebastian, the band sets the scene for their sound in story form on their myspace page, writing:

"One day a girl found a message in a bottle. The message was from a person she'd never met in a place she'd never been. Every day, the girl would read the message and every night she would write a song. She would imagine all the things the person would do, the things they would see and the sounds they would hear. This went on for some time until one day the little girl took all of the songs and put them in a bottle. She went down to the ocean where she found the message and wrote a letter telling the person about all the songs she'd written about them. She signed the letter "Very Truly Yours" and threw the bottle into the ocean, hoping it might one day it might reach that place she'd never been and find the person she'd never met."

Opening for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at Schuba's in February and recently catching the eye of The Sun Times', Jim Derogatis, Very Truly Yours has created quite a buzz in their 8 months as a band. Catch them this Thursday, April 9th at 9pm at the Bottom Lounge with Peter Adams and Nathan Xander. Show is 21+ and tickets are $5 in advance, $8 at the door. - The Deli Magazine


"Things You Used To Say" (Skywriting Records March 23, 2009)
"Starting anew" (WeePop Records)
"A Very Good Crop" (Eardrums Pop)
"Very Truly Yours/ Understudies Split EP" (Cloudberry Records)
"All the Girls I've Ever Loved" (Pop Song Romance)
"Series Two Vol. 20" (Series Two Records)
"Reminders" (Self Released) (streaming)
Top Quality Rock and Roll (radio)
Ice Age Radio (radio)



One day a girl found a message in a bottle. The message was from a person she'd never met in a place she'd never been. Every day, the girl would read the message and every night she would write a song. She would imagine all the things the person would do, the things they would see and the sounds they would hear. This went on for some time until one day the girl took all of the songs and put them in a bottle. She went down to the ocean where she found the message and wrote a letter telling the person about all the songs she'd written about them. She signed the letter "Very Truly Yours" and threw the bottle into the ocean, hoping it might one day it might reach that place she'd never been and find the person she'd never met.