Veseria

Veseria

 Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
BandRockIndie

Veseria is a rock quartet based out of Indianapolis, Indiana with strong roots in punk, folk and classic rock.

Band Press

By The End of this Album You're Gonna Know Their Name – DoitIndy

When Music Notes last spoke to Veseria’s Patrick Roberts, he was tracking his vocals for the band’s then in-the-works second album. Usually at that point in the recording process, bands have already rehearsed their self-aggrandizing bullshit. They say things like “this is the best album we’ve ever made”, “everything we’ve ever done has built up to this” and “it’s one for the fans”. Anything to get people excited about a project they already know ain’t that spectacular, and that they are most likely already bored with.

“We can’t wait for people to hear this record.” That’s what Patrick Roberts said when I asked him about the band’s approaching collective sigh over completing the album. It was about as sincere a statement as one could hear. They’d spent most of 2013 writing and recording VOYAGER, workshopping the songs live, giving people small appetizers of what was to come. They released a single last fall called “Reach A Little Further”, a pleasing and hummable rock-folk number of instant likeability that was leaps and bounds from what they had done before. But based on that song, nobody could have predicted what they were about to do.

VOYAGER is a towering achievement. It is a mature and confident record of well-crafted and near-perfectly executed songs. It shows a band in full bloom and with a keen self-awareness. Ten minutes into it and you know why they couldn’t wait for you to hear it. It’s a magnificent and very complete album of monumental beauty. There are moments of teetering emotional depth that would tear your heart out if they weren’t leveled by the band’s penchant for subtle whimsy. Musically, VOYAGER is a two-act play split between Veseria’s love for punked-up folk and its mastery of plaintive road songs. “It’s a marriage of the two”, says Patrick now. Indeed, as the album progresses, it becomes impossible to divorce the band’s two personalities from each other. And as they start to meld at the middle of the album, Veseria’s rockier stomp and its “more sensitive side” reveal more than just another young band in touch with itself. It’s not a masterpiece, although you can be sure that’s coming. VOYAGER is an important signpost. The point at which the band found its voice, opened up its mouth, and roared.

For all of its youthful exuberance, VOYAGER is not a celebratory record. It is, at its heart, a treatise on Veseria’s generation. A generation who’s mainstream spokespersons have earned accolades for social media whining about their sense of entitlement and their dismay with a socio-economic system they only think they understand. Patrick Roberts, who wrote ten of VOYAGER’s thirteen songs, chooses to examine and expose his sometimes misunderstood generation, laying it’s foibles bare so that us oldsters can finally understand them. VOYAGER’s first proper track “Children of Houdini” wastes no time putting down some hard truths about Veseria’s “brothers and sisters”:

“For we are lost and we are frightened/Yet we claim to be enlightened alone in unending space”

With its pounding relentless rhythm, “Houdini” is also a call to arms, and to witness the dark magic we have created in which people burst into the light in an instant and fade to black just as swiftly:

“So light up the stages, come all ages

We’re going to show you something you haven’t seen before/And won’t ever see again”

It is a perfect opener, for both the album and Veseria’s upcoming gigs. This song could light up the biggest arenas, with it’s exploding choruses thrust forward by drummer David Bailey’s snare drum flams, and lead singer Jen Roberts’ bewitching vocals – the song invites you in, embraces you, and then fires you out of a cannon into the rest of the album.

On “The Dastardly”, Jen Roberts gives Patrick’s (yes they are husband and wife) lyrics an after-hours torch song recitation. Jen Roberts doesn’t make a habit of purring or cooing. She is in an elite and unique class of twenty-something female lead singers in that she sings like a woman, not a girl. In her hands, lines like “my blood is made of whiskey and my bones were built to shake” and “by the end of this song you’re gonna know my name” are slithery tendrils crawling through your skin. And as “The Dastardly” evolves into a foot-stomping Sunday gospel breakdown (handled expertly by pianist Jake Strakis and bassist Corey Lusk) its main theme “I think we’re being lied to” becomes a sermon very few will have trouble relating to.

Jen Roberts takes some serious chances on “F=MA (All Your Forces)”, a dizzying and chaotic rush powered by “bottles of confidence“. She barely has time to breathe on this song, with it’s frantic pace and machine-gun vocals, it’s like a modern day “Shattered” in a Bret Easton Ellis novel – one of those blurred and wobbly memories of parties past. The band rocks at its hardest on “F=MA”. Bailey is breaking sticks, Patrick Roberts is going for fretboard noise, and the song has the kind of big hard rock ending that you wish would go on for a few more minutes…or hours.

On her self-penned songs, Jen Roberts plays it even less safe than she does on her husband’s songs. “I just can’t enough of you/My heart aches for your touch”, she sings on “Under The Influence”. Her ability to take a remarkably simple sentiment and make it sound like she was the first to think of it is at the heart of her ability as a singer. She twists lines like that around you throughout the record in swirls of blue smoke and chipped nails.

As the record reaches into it’s second, rootsier half, Patrick Robert’s again opens up his generations veins, but with lyrics that are at once universal and deeply insular. “Seminary Song II”, “Seminary Song III” and “Hendricks County” form a suite of personal contemplations that are instantly relatable, backed by versions of Americana that too have sewn their way into our musical bloodstream. On “Hendricks County”, “people send me letters as if I’m on the run/Sometimes I think I am.” These songs build from the earthen baselines of the psyche and ask questions about what we have built on top. Are we accepting untruths because they have become societal mantras? Are the honest and righteous forever banished to the wastelands? Can we at least agree that our experiences with love, heartbreak, joy and suffering can bind us? It’s heady stuff for a little indie band from the Midwest. I remember similar muso head-scratching about other “little bands” from Athens and Montreal.

As VOYAGER veers towards closure, the band hits the barroom stage with a mighty wallop in Jake Strakis’ “In The End” – a joyous Jerry Lee piano romp complete with tinkling glasses and closing time raucousness – because even a band that is questioning the stability of the human condition needs to let off some steam once in a while. And if there is a better way to close an album of VOYAGER’s ambition than “Maybe I’m Deaf Maybe I’m Blind” please clue me in. For the first time, a VOYAGER protagonist seems conciously distant – reluctant even to participate in the game of human interaction. Jen Roberts is back at the piano bar, its late, and the cigarettes and the whiskey have taken their toll. She uses that. She practically chokes forcing it to work for her. By the end, as the band erupts around her, she has knocked all the raw emotion of this song to the ground and she is throttling it, banging its head against the hardwood in an attempt to extricate herself from it. But it’s futile because emotion is an inescapable part of being human. She’s part of it. Veseria is part of it. And VOYAGER makes us all part of it.

VOYAGER will be different things to a lot of people. It will be an album people turn to in hours of need and times of joy. It will be quoted by lovers in boozy late-night texts. It will be a source of anthems at gatherings for the disenfranchised. It will also be an album people gleefully share with their friends, at first chastising them for having not heard it, and then in hushed tones telling them “I can’t wait for you to hear this record.”

Review: Veseria, 'Voyager' – NUVO Newsweekly

On their sophomore album, Voyager, Indianapolis rockers Veseria unload an everything-and-the-kitchen sink spirit into the recording, and, impressively, the five-piece rockers hit their mark time and again.

Voyager is the distinct sound of a band willing to take risks and chase personal truths across nearly the entire spectrum of rock-based music. Their debut album, Cities Made of Gin, touted plenty of folk flourishes with Celtic echoes, while Voyager finds the five-piece expanding their palette to a degree that can be near dizzying on first listen. From one song to the next, Veseria hopscotch between emo bombast done right ("Children of Houdini"), ominous guitar rock anthems ("The Dastardly," "Smoke and Mirrors"), harmonized pop-punk ("12 to3"), melodic folk ballads ("Seminary Song III," "Hendricks County"), a drunken barroom jaunt ("In The End"), a flirtation with rap-rock ("F=MA (All Your Forces)"), and a devastatingly gorgeous album closer that can hang with the most soulful gut-punches of Angel Olsen and Fiona Apple ("Maybe I'm Deaf, Maybe I'm Blind").

Rooted in the tandem vocal core of husband-and-wife songwriters Jen Roberts and Patrick Roberts, Veseria simultaneously look inward and outward, mining emotional territory for relatable appeal. The result is high-wire dramatic tension that pulls at the heartstrings and prods the mind, while still inciting heads to bang and bodies to move. If Jen Roberts (guitars, vocals), Patrick Roberts (guitars, vocals), Corey Lusk (bass), Jake Strakis (piano, organ, accordion, vocals) and David Bailey (drums) weren't fully in sync with each other throughout all the twists and turns, Voyager could have routinely veered into limp melodrama or, worse, a haphazard mess. Voyager may be a hodgepodge of styles that sometimes plays more like a soundtrack than your average band's new album, but Veseria are out to prove they are anything but an average band. The thirteen songs taken as a whole show Veseria triumphing with an underdog brand of chameleon charm and an exploding heart of genuine emotion. For fans of rock and roll of all shades, Voyager should be a local effort not to be missed.

Album Review : Veseria, VOYAGER – Monomania Magazine

The local group known as Veseria has just released a ground breaking album called "Voyager". Patrick and Jennifer Roberts have successfully fused their love of American Folk music with hints of punk and classic rock to obtain their goal of creating an all around classic local album that I will personally be listening to religiously for years to come.

Voyager at first listen has many musical aspects within it. "In The End" is an old timey rock and roll song that feels almost as if you've been dragged into a stale smokey bar full of happy go lucky friends urging you to sing along to this elated track that has been brought to a twenty first century standpoint. "Reach a Little Further" is a song that one would have a difficult time not getting up and dancing to, while "Hendricks county" aptly has a homey feeling. within the tracks "Smoke And Mirrors", and "Under the Influence" portray the band with what they are truly best at, rocking, full toned guitars that get you amped up with undertones of psychedelia. This local album is a revolutionary release that has had few rivals in the past decade, I would encourage my fellow Monomaniacs to get out of your houses and pick up a copy ASAP. For all of you shut-ins, you can get their 13 track album for the great price of just $10 on band camp at veseria.bandcamp.com/album/voyager

Blast off: New music fests sparkle on Fourth – NUVO Newsweekly

What's Indianapolis music sound like?

To Patrick Roberts, it's simple.

"Not a lot of frill, but a hell of a lot of passion," he says.

He'd know - his band, Indy-based five piece Veseria is on the front lines of a throwback rock sound that's dominating a significant chunk of the city's scene right now. They'll be one of nine groups performing Thursday as part of the inaugural Fountain Square Music Festival. The event, which will take place in the parking lot behind the former Deano's Vino, features groups with a link to the Hoosier state.

"Everyone has worked very hard to pull this together. It's been such a great team," Fountain Square Music Fest board member Lindsay Manfredi says. She'll perform at the event with her band, Kaleidostars.

Organizers of the fest include event coordinator Laura Schlafer and board members Elvis Mires, Eric Klee Johnson, Tad Aschliman, Jerry Keys, Rex Fisher, Denise Martin, Jon Martin, Dan McNeal and Manfredi. Planning started in the winter.

"If you ever want six months to fly by in a blink of an eye, just put a music fest together," Mires says.

They picked the Fourth of July for the first fest for a few reasons.

"It worked around everyone's schedule," Mires says. "We also knew that almost everybody would be off of work that day. And, the next year, [the fest will] fall on First Friday."

When it came to picking the music for the fest, the organizers had a plan. They wanted to celebrate music with Hoosier ties. This year's lineup includes Truth and Salvage Company (formerly of Indianapolis), Modoc (formerly of Muncie) Kaleidostars (Indianapolis), Kansas Bible Company (formerly of Goshen), Shelby County Sinners (Indianapolis), Red Light Driver (Indianapolis), Goliathon (Indianapolis) and The Jeremy Vogt Band (Indianapolis).

And Veseria, of course, who just last week released a new single, "Reach a Little Further," from an upcoming album due to be tracked at Grizzly Music Co. in late summer.

"We were approached back in September to do a single for the Oranje 2012 compilation album they will be releasing later this summer," Roberts says. "We recorded a new song, 'The Dastardly,' and the vibes we got from the studio were just too good to pass up [recording again]."

Their single is brand new, but in it Veseria pays tribute to an older sound in the fuzzed out, low-fi intro.

"The intro is more or less a tribute to my beginnings as a songwriter," Roberts says. "Just before I met Jen [Roberts, Patrick's wife and co-vocalist], I had been using an old cassette tape recorder to capture my work. I'd hit record, play all the songs all the way through, take out the tape and start all over again with a new one. It felt a little weird recording it in the studio on a $5,000 microphone then asking the engineer to make it sound as cheap as he possibly could."

Veseria is the first significant project for Patrick Roberts (guitar, vocals), Jen Roberts (guitar, vocals) and Corey Lusk (bass). Jake Strakis (piano, organ, accordion, vocals) has played with the Innocent Boys, Tilford Sellers and The Wagon Burners, and he's just finished some work on the new Harley Poe album due this Halloween. David Bailey (drums) has previously played with The Breakdown Kings, Dead Man's Grill and Rowco.

Veseria released their first full-length, Cities Made of Gin, last year. The album is full of folk flourishes, with rumbling percussion and sing-along choruses. All in all? It's a delight, and a refreshing first effort. Although Patrick mentions that Veseria was Jen's project initially, Cities Made of Gin showcases a well-rounded outfit who play to each others' strengths. This is a band whose hearts are all in.

That heart is a shared characteristic of a chunk of Indy's rock scene. Heart, and a return to the simpler days of rock.

"Within our core group of bands, there is a significant throwback to solid, rock and roll fundamentals right now," Roberts says. That core group includes bands they've played with recently, including Hero Jr., Phoenix on The Fault Line and Verdant Vera, among others.

Veseria Celebrates Fifth Year With Blowout Show – NUVO Newsweekly

When I first met Veseria, it was quite literally a dark and stormy night.


That was September of 2013, outside of Radio Radio during the usual between-set-mass-exodus smoke break. People huddled together in the shallow doorway sharing American Spirits, singularly hunched to stave off the rain.

I was a shadow on the music scene, posting hardly viewed YouTube videos, trying to drum up audiences for the shows I thought would appeal to Indy’s need for its own musical voice. These two well-dressed guys greeted me at the door and introduced themselves nice-as-you-please.

“Hi, we’re from Veseria. We just released a new single and we were wondering if you’d consider playing it on your radio show.”

What’s extraordinary about their approach was not its forwardness, or their assumption that I was even who they thought I was. It’s that they knew there was a radio show. At that point, the show too was a shadow – a series of infrequent Facebook posts about something that I wasn’t sure would really happen. It’s a testament to their faith in a music scene that some claim doesn’t really exist, that they would be so quick to support a radio show that didn’t actually exist.

Since then, I have had the pleasure of watching this band flower, sometimes as a witness to private moments and often as an observer of their public celebrations. Veseria has shown me parts of Indianapolis you spend a lifetime searching for, unaware they existed until you stumble across them. Most importantly, Veseria has made me understand how a town like Indianapolis, for all of our socio-political missteps, is indeed a town where even the most jaded out-of-towner can not only find a purpose but also fulfill that purpose. And for some who had to relocate to meet their life objectives, Veseria provides an umbilical cord to home. One example: Jason Appel, who considers himself Veseria’s biggest fan. And although Appel resides in Atlanta these days, he still considers the Indianapolis quintet to be “my band. They symbolize finding myself.”

The band is marking their fifth anniversary with a mega-music and art show at the Fountain Square Brewing Company on June 19. With a new EP (Songs of War) and their first tour looming, the band is re-visiting not just its history but its place in the current Indianapolis landscape.

“This city runs through our blood and we understand it,” guitarist and vocalist Patrick Roberts says.“It’s a part of us and we’re a part of it.”

Roberts and wife Jen started the band with bassist Corey Lusk and pianist/organist Jake Strakis five years ago at the Roberts' wedding reception.

“She was in her gown, I was in my suit, and we played three songs,” he says.

Flash forward to March 2014 and the band played to a packed Irving Theater to herald the release of their second album Voyager. In between, Veseria has been about moments. And as they open up about the significant points on the timeline, the threads between the band and their city weave into a thick and unbreakable braid.

Lusk recalls a barroom gig at which he first felt “like I was part of something bigger than me, bigger than the band.” For Strakis, it was that Irving gig.

“It was so impressive to see everyone singing along,” he says.

Remembering their final show before a three-month hiatus in December 2013, Patrick recalls the audience response to the new songs.

“It assured me that we were doing the right thing at the right time,” he says. “It was the first time I felt like the city had my back.”

The band doesn’t take that kind of grassroots support lightly, either. Veseria takes part in the annual Great Indy Clean-Up, and they played for free to raise funds to light up Fountain Square’s “You Are Beautiful” sign. It is the band’s almost religious belief in their city which drives much of their music. “She Called Me H**sier,” a non-album single from the Voyager sessions, is an emotional love letter to Indianapolis.

“When they played the ‘This city loves me more than I love myself’ bridge to that song [at the Irving Theater],” Appel says, “I knew Veseria was my band. That resonated with me on another level.”

The members of Veseria view their band's short history in a sort of parallel with Indianapolis’ recent strides to national respectability. Both have gone through upgrades, courted a little controversy, and rebranded themselves for a larger audience. With Voyager, Veseria was no longer a folk-rock band from Hendricks County. They were a louder and more confident rock and roll band with a very clear message.

To the band, Voyager was another in an ongoing string of what Patrick describes as “small goals.” “Our expectations have always been very low,” he says The band agrees that the short term goals keep up the enthusiasm as they prepare for the long game. They hired a manager — Benjamin Cannon from Shine Indy – and initiated a Kickstarter this spring to raise money for their upcoming tour. The regular problems arise: They need a van, they all have full-time jobs, Patrick and Jen have two kids. Their personal realities are not lost in their collective dream.

But their progression has been an organic and natural one, with many small steps forward and few steps back. From dive bars in Brownsburg to the Irving, The Vogue, and the ONC, Veseria’s path mirrors that of many a local band, perhaps a path that leads out of the city to what some perceive as more music and art-friendly towns.

Veseria doesn’t exactly see it that way.

“This city needs people that are gonna fight for it,” Patrick says. “You fight for your family, you stick with the family, and we feel that way about the city. So leaving is not an option.”

Drummer Kyle Perkon cites the small, pocket organizations within the music and arts community as keys to the city’s potential. “They’re supporting each other, the way they go about presenting people that they legitimately care about. If your van breaks down on the way to a gig, I’m coming to get you!”

Lusk agrees: “It’s a small town feel in a big town. It’s our responsibility to take care of each other.”

Jen Roberts says that for the short time her and Patrick lived in Bloomington, “it was painful. That distance is what made us realize how much we loved Indianapolis. Coming back, we realized that if we’re going to be part of this community why not make it the best that we can. If that’s what we’re here to do than how do we do that? We want to be a place where artists and our fellow musicians can flourish. We want the good artists to stay here, not to reach a certain plateau and leave.”

One of the band's calling cards is its relentless support of other local musicians. Von Strantz and The Breakes both played their first large scale local gigs on a bill with Veseria.

As Veseria reflects on its latest milestone, they are following their usual process by concentrating on that event, that moment. Songs of War is also very much in that moment.

“It’s what we were compelled to record at this point in the journey. It’s just rock and roll,” Patrick says.

The planned autumn tour will take them to different cities every weekend, another first for the band. Veseria, as a group not just from Indianapolis, but also of Indianapolis – wants to be more than a local band on the road. They want to be ambassadors for the city, and get their out-of-town billmates enthusiastic about coming here to play.

“I love connecting with new people that have at least music in common,” Jen says. “The fact that I can sit down with a new person I’ve never played a show with and they’ve played in A, B, and C city, and talk about my city and the experiences I’ve had here…they get excited about it.”

One of the pleasures of Veseria’s music is its instant likeability. I remember the night my wife first heard them. It was March of 2014, the night of their Voyager release show at the Irving. It was her birthday and we were heading back to Indy after a dinner out of town. I was careful about making too big of a deal about what was going down at the Irving because, after all, it was her birthday. Driving down another desolate Indiana back road, I popped my press copy of Voyager into the CD player. As “Children of Houdini” reached its apex, my wife said “I like this band.” Sensing the opportunity, I asked, “Do you want to love this band?” Then I set the controls for the heart of Irvington.

For another five years and beyond, I hope Veseria continues to stand their ground at that spot where our city and our music meet the rest of the world, at the crossroads, where they’ve always been.