Premiere: A Mystic Intimacy in The Velvoids’ “Absolutely Nothing”

The Velvoids © 2018
The Velvoids © 2018
The Velvoids’ “Absolutely Nothing” is a beautifully lush two-minute ballad that feels like Lou Reed jamming out with The Zombies and Marc Bolan.

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The Velvoids are probably one of the more interesting bands we’ve ever featured in Atwood Magazine, a blast-from-the-past rock/pop duo who center their energies around experimentation and vinyl. Their first release of 2018 captures their lush sound and inimitable spontaneity.

when I don’t care,
I remember absolutely nothing
Listen: “Absolutely Nothing” – The Velvoids
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Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Absolutely Nothing,” the new single from Athens, Greece duo The Velvoids (out 1/26/2018 via TBMR Records). Consisting of Vice Lesley (vox/guitar) and Dorah X (drums/vox), The Velvoids emerged in 2014 with their debut album Polynesia Baby, which, despite its underground success, remains completely unavailable in the US and is nearly impossible to find – a testament to the fact that the band recorded their music directly to vinyl and released their music solely as vinyl.

Absolutely Nothing art - The Velvoids
Absolutely Nothing art – The Velvoids

If it sounds like The Velvoids are a little behind the times, think again: The band’s commitment to the physical medium is commendable, especially considering their experimental attitudes toward sound, melody, and recording. It stands to reason that “Absolutely Nothing,” a beautifully lush two-minute ballad that feels like Lou Reed jamming out with The Zombies and Marc Bolan, was also made for vinyl: Despite its fullness, the song feels tinny and somewhat cold via stream – whereas these same tones would likely have a warmer, velvety aura on record.

The lead single off The Velvoids’ forthcoming What You Know / Absolutely Nothing 7”, this is just the first of several releases scheduled for 2018 by the band’s Athens-based label TBMR Records. Having married in 2016, Dorah and Vice’s new batch of songs were recorded during a special and sporadic period in life while they were pregnant with their daughter. As a result, “you can kind of feel the room in these recordings,” the new father expresses.

“Absolutely Nothing” definitely has a mystic intimacy about it. Centered around a beautiful, rather abstract piece of poetry, the song evokes the delicacy of the moment:

The Velvoids - Absolutely Nothing
The Velvoids – Absolutely Nothing
Somewhere, when I don’t care,
I remember absolutely nothing.
In my mind, make up my time
and my temper, elegantly thumping.
You’re caught up in a strung out strut,
swing off the arms of the sun.

“I think we only did two takes for that song; it was more a matter of moving the mics around until we found the kind of sound we wanted,” recalls Dorah. “We had one mic set up directly above the drum set and another to the opposite left where the guitar was at, we then put up three more room mics and positioned them around and started testing, I muffled the drum skins with tea towels to decrease the attack and sustain while Vice strummed with a coin rather than a guitar pick, bringing out that big ‘bronze’ feel on those old strings. So the drums, acoustic guitar and main vocals were all done live, we added the rest afterwards, the lyrics were probably made up on the spot as usual.”

There you have it: “Absolutely Nothing” reflects The Velvoids’ impulsive creativity, vivifying melodramatic harmonies with a balance of frenetic and controlled energies. Prone to chaos and always looking forward, The Velvoids just might break through all the white noise – but in a world where music streaming dominates downloads in all but two to three countries, and the “vinyl renaissance” is characterized by a diminimus population, can a physical-format band really survive?

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The Velvoids - Absolutely Nothing

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photo © TBMR Records
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