Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

Forgotten Favorite

Whither Velocity Girl? Yes, smartasses, I know they broke up back in 1996, but that wasn’t the end of the story. Three of them, including the “Girl” in VG Sarah Shannon, regrouped as Starry Eyes for about three minutes (but long enough for me to get a copy of their self-titled EP), then split again. Shannon went on to release the very low profile Estheraho EP in 2001 and then a full self-titled album in 2002. That record’s adult-contemporary Bacharachian-influenced sophistication was a far cry from VG’s fuzzed out and scrappy power pop, but still quite decent and a fine showcase for Shannon’s vocals. As for the rest of the band, guitarist Archie Moore went on to play bass in The Saturday People and the rest of them… well I dunno.

But that still doesn’t explain why I’m asking “where are they?” almost nine years after their initial split. Well some may remember going through Excellent Online’s Flirt compilation a couple years ago and doing a double take at seeing Velocity Girl in the tracklisting. After seven years, the band had quietly reunited and recorded a track for the compilation and was reportedly working on material for a new album. Much rejoicing ensued from those of us who are, whether we want to admit it or not, stuck in the 90s. And then… nothing. The only thing resembling a VG info site hasn’t been updated in some nine years and their old label SubPop still has their minisite for Gilded Stars And Zealous Hearts up. I know Archie is a member of the Indiepop mailing list, but there’s been nary a peep there, either. Perhaps someone in the Beltway chapter of my extensive network of international spies has some info? Um, Kyle, I’m talking about you… But if someone has heard bad news about this reunion, um, don’t tell me. Okay, tell me.

I’m probably one of the few who liked their later albums more than the earlier ones – the wall of guitars on Copacetic have their charm, but I like the tighter songcraft of Gilded Stars. Plus you get to hear Sarah’s voice more… For the record, Sarah Shannon was my #1 college rock crush for most of the 90s. She was like a more wholesome Liz Phair (and who could actually sing). I still have their cover issue of Alternative Press circa 1994, which had the most swoon-worthy pics. Ahem. But in the absence of news, I’ll just point you at this Spike Jonze-directed video for “I Can’t Stop Smiling” off of Simpatico and the ‘comeback’ single from the aforementioned Excellent compilation.

MP3: Velocity Girl – “It’s All Alright By Me”

And while not necessarily “missing in action”, Billboard reports on what former Belle & Sebastian cellist/singer Isobel Campbell is up to. And speaking of B&S, Gorilla Vs Bear points us at You Ain’t No Picasso, who are hosting a complete Peel session Christmas party by the band.

Zoilus says that Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb will play a solo show at the Horseshoe on April 21.

Sensitive piano-plinking Brits Keane will be at Massey Hall on May 28 with Motown popsters Brendan Benson in tow. Tickets $29.50 – $39.50.

Prefix has part one of a two-part interview with The Decemberists. Part two should be up before the week is out. New City Chicago also has an interview (via LHB). My copy of Picaresque is in the mail. Or will be shortly.

np – The Wrens / The Meadowlands

By : Frank Yang at 9:11 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. ryan says:

    How did you manage to write up a big Velocity Girl post and not mention that Sarah Shannon sings on the new Crooked Fingers album?

  2. Frank says:

    I don’t have the new Crooked Fingers yet, so it’s news to me. Sarah Shannon and Lara Meyerratken on the same record? Yummy.

  3. Anne says:

    I spotted Archie at the Teenbeat reunion shows several weeks ago. But I couldn’t come up with a polite way to ask about any reunions, so I’ve got no info for you.

  4. information leafblower says:

    I’m on the case Frank. Check your email.

  5. darren says:

    So good…I was planning a post on these guys…I’ll link to this instead, if you don’t mind!

  6. Todd says:

    Archie Moore also was in The Heartworms after VG broke up… Check out:


  7. Paul says:

    Yeah, I was gonna mention the Heartworms. Good stuff. They did a great cover of that Dionne Farris song "I Know."

  8. claire says:

    wow, i was just thinking about velgirl the other day…they were one of my absolute favorite bands for quite some time–i think i have those alterative press issues as well. before it went all teenybopper/nu-metal, ap covered quite a lot of left-field stuff, didn’t it? totally my gateway into precocious indie rock fandom (well, that and dave kendall-era ‘120 minutes’.) thanks!

  9. Paul says:

    Aww, Dave Kendall! He was one of my earliest music mentors.

    (Just to make Frank jealous, I once sat beside Sarah Shannon at the bar while VG was waiting to perform. She smiled at me, but didn’t say anything.)

  10. claire says:

    i wonder what happened to him? perhaps it’s better not to know.

  11. Jacky Jack says:

    i wonder if he’s still got that beautiful rug.

  12. bozairzere says:

    um was that the AP cover "undercovers,w/health ins."?

    oh yes. thanks frank,

  13. Uncle Grambo says:

    genius. thanks for resetting that issue of AP w/Sarah Shannon on the cover. SWOON!

  14. Kelly (Velocity Boy) says:

    We’re alive.

    Archie works for a big recording studio locally (name a big star and he’s probably reorded them).

    Jim is a producer for CNN. He as a band that’s played a couple of times (The Fall City Sanction I believe is their handle)

    Sarah as you know continues to persue a solo career. She’s supposed to still be working on the follow up to her first full length. Perfectionism or some such.

    Brian and I work at the Washington City Paper.


  15. Frank says:

    Hey Kelly

    Thanks for the update. A little disappointed that the words "new album" didn’t appear, but I’m glad everyone’s doing well.

  16. Kelly (Velocity Boy) says:

    We do have several tracks we’d worked on around the benefit show we played a couple of years back but Sarah lives on the Left Coast, both Brian and I have kids now (his 6 months, mine 4 months), Jim is on call constantly researching Al Qaeda (really), and Archie is always recording Donna Summer or Eric Clapton or somesuch. It’s difficult to Set The Night On Fire with Kick Ass Rock n’ Roll©® under such conditions.

    We were all toghether recently, our friend and roadie/soundman/pal Craig Garland passed away, and we had some good times remembering the VG thing, but it’ll probalby take extreme circumstances to see any VG release in the immediate future.

    Unless anyone has gobs of lottery sized cash they’re looking to part with….. ;)

  17. a. says:

    Oh God, please please please try to reunite because I loved your band and I had to pass on several chances to see you guys because my mother was very sick for a long time and I had to take care of her. Your band is tied to some of mybest & worst teenage memories and I think I’d sell my soul to see you live just once.

  18. Velocity Girl - "Sorry Again" - Space Echo says:

    […] Took a week off – sorry not sorry – and of course in that time, the big news dropped that ’90s DC shoegaze/dreampop heroes Velocity Girl were reuniting for the first time in over 20 years to headline the 30th anniversary party for Washington DC club The Black Cat in September. They were a university fave, so I look forward to crowding into a room will my fellow olds and then complaining about how bad our backs hurt afterwards, as well as having a better top Velocity Girl memory than the time guitarist Kelly Riles left a comment on my blog. […]