Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I like Vetiver. The plant and the band. But here, the band.

When I'm in the car, I listen to a lot of music that I don't really listen to otherwise. For the most part, this is because I have a lot of CDs (500+) and don't have a stereo set up right now or the patience to import all of them to iTunes. So when I go on trips, it's a chance to revisit things I haven't heard in awhile for whatever reason. I keep adding CDs to my car until it's a total mess and then I have to reevaluate my choices.

One CD (which is digitally available to me, but I just haven't listened to recently) had been floating around my car for awhile without me ever listening to it. It's by this band called Vetiver. I saw Vetiver live opening for The Shins in what I think was 2007. I never actually saw The Shins on stage - it could've been a tape recorder playing back for all I knew - because I am so short and once the place filled up, I couldn't see anything. So Vetiver was all I got visually that evening. Everybody in the room seemed disinterested, including the boyfriend I went with to the show. But I had heard of the band, yet never heard their work, so I was kind of curious. My attentiveness paid off. The other people in the room that heard this band live seemed to be a bit less than thrilled. I liked them though. And it led to me checking out their albums, and I'm glad I did - they're not quite as fantastic live as recorded, but such is life.

Their first album (2004) is self-titled. And really good. For me, it's a very wintery album - dead trees and falling snow. That could just be because most of my memories of listening to it are from winter of 2007. Anyway, it's really good. Mostly acoustic and heavyish strings.

There was an EP released in 2005 which I have never heard, and then the second album. The second album is what I listened to on my trip through Pennsylvania a few days ago. It's rare that I'll listen to the same album over and over again, but it just had been a long time and I was surprised to find how much I like this one. It's called To Find Me Gone (2006) and it's a little more musically dense than the first album. While a lot of the acoustic sound is still there, it's just layered out a bit more with some electrics and some more production. This album is one of few that have not only an emotional effect on me but also a clear physical one. It's just very soothing to me - my breathing slows and becomes far more steady and controlled and I just am calm and such. I blame it on the repetition - the progressions are purely repetitive, but pretty much in a good way.

The first two albums were by far my favorite. I own the third one, Thing Of The Past (2008), which is an album of covers, but I've only listened to it once. To be fair, it could grow on me if I give it another chance, but it just didn't grab onto me from the first listen. They released another EP in 2008 of more covers, called More Of The Past, which I've also never heard. Their latest release is another album, which I just haven't gotten around to yet, called Tight Knit. I probably will check that out in the near future.

Anyway, the point of all this is that I really like this band and you should check them out. They supposedly belong to the "freak folk" genre, which I'd never heard of until I just looked up some info about their discography. I'm not good with genres, and I don't like them. I'm also not good with descriptions of what bands sound like, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that *to me*, Vetiver sound like Sam Beam (Iron&Wine) + Nick Drake + Devendra Banhart (who is featured on Vetiver's albums). But mostly, they sound like Vetiver to me. So check them out.

I have a hard time choosing "favorite" songs from the two albums I know, because I like them all. But I tried to, and there aren't any YouTube videos or anything for them anyway. So I'll leave you with links to a handful of those videos where it's just pictures or the album cover. That way, you at least get the recorded versions and get them clearly, and you can click them at your own discretion.


  1. Hi, hon! Just wanted to stop by to thank you for your words of support to Whiskey, Joy, Jim and Jess. They appreciated them so much. No news yesterday - I think everyone is resting after the ordeal.


  2. Vetiver opened for The Shins Oct. 18, 2007 at The Plex in Charleston SC