Westin Glass of The Thermals carries a torch for The Velvet Teen

Westin Glass and The Velvet Teen

Westin Glass and The Velvet Teen

Westin Glass’ recommendation: “The Velvet Teen is an exquisite and chimerical Northern California band whose ever-evolving emotive post-rock sound never fails to inspire me. Judah Nagler has been the one consistent member of the band and the fountainhead of their amazing, eclectic body of work since 1999. He is a musical genius who can write, sing, and play every instrument way better than you or I or any other mortal. The rest of the band’s members are no slackers, either! The Velvet Teen has experienced a number of lineup changes since it began in 1999, including the tragic 2006 death of drummer Logan Whitehurst, from brain cancer. When we were recently mixing our new record with Chris Walla (who produced their first full-length, Out of the Fierce Parade, in 2002), Chris described Judah as “one of those people who can just… reach out and pick the fruit [of musical inspiration].” It’s true! This band could be bigger than, say, Muse right now if they wanted to. Every new record completely reinvents their sound, and blows most other bands out of the water with its complexity and sheer beauty.

In the fall of 2007 I was lucky enough to share a package tour with them, and got to watch them play 32 consecutive shows. I never got tired of their set. As far as I know, they haven’t toured since then; but I have heard tell they have another album recorded and they have been playing shows around the San Jose/Petaluma area recently, so we can hope they will return to blow our minds once again. In addition to Judah on bass, their current lineup includes Matthew Izen on guitar, Casey Dietz on drums, and founding member Josh Staples on guitar.”

New to The Velvet Teen? Westin recommends you start here: “If you’re new to The Velvet Teen, I would recommend starting with Out of the Fierce Parade, their 2002 debut LP. As I said before, Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla produced it (so you know it sounds incredible), and it’s an excellent and accessible introduction to their dizzying, aching, hyperemotional hurricane of sound.”

Westin GlassAbout the guest author, Westin Glass: Westin is the drummer for one of Rock Torch’s favorite alternative bands, The Thermals. The band has put out four wonderful albums and their next offering, Personal Life is set to drop on September 7th. The masterful Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) is producing for the band once again, using the same live-to-tape techniques that he deployed on the band’s 2004 collection, Fuckin a. Be sure to check The Thermals’ official web site for tour dates (beginning in July) and for updates about the new album.

MP3: Now We Can See by The Thermals from their album of the same title.

AND…here is a preview cut from their upcoming album, Personal Life

MP3: I Don’t Believe You

Related: Thermals lead singer Hutch Harris’ recommendation of The Breeders

Hutch Harris of The Thermals carries a torch for Kim Deal

Hutch Harris and Kim Deal

Hutch Harris and Kim Deal

Hutch Harris’ recommendation: “Kim Deal is definitely my number one inspiration/role model/crush, and she has been almost as long as I’ve been playing guitar and writing songs. Not only was she a member of The Pixies, the group whose records serve as the bible for alternative rock, but she created one of my favorite bands of all time, The Breeders! I’ve had the pleasure to meet Kim Deal on a few occasions, and she was always incredibly friendly and down to earth. One time at a Breeders show she was just hanging out at the merch table, free to talk with any fans who wanted to bug her. I couldn’t fucking believe it! An amazing musician/songwriter and a total sweetheart/babe. She’s got it all!”

New to Kim Deal and The Breeders? Start here: Pod and Last Splash were both hugely influential records for me. Besides blowing my young, stoned teenage mind on daily basis, these records showed me that songs could be very simple and still convey complex ideas and emotions. These records are rudimentary, but textured and psychedelic in a very modern (90′s) kind of way. Last Splash is obviously one of the best records of the 90′s, and defines that entire era for me. Not as serious as Nevermind, not as self-obsessed as Siamese Dream, but rocks as hard as both.”

Listen to a track from the album:

About the guest author, Hutch Harris: Hutch is the frontman for The Thermals, an indie rock group from Portland, Oregon. Their first offering, More Parts Per Million, was mixed from Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla (who is set to produce their upcoming album). They are now in support of their Breederish collection, Now We Can See.
Check the official Thermals site for developments on their new album and tour dates.