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Velvet Crush

A classic power pop band in the tradition of the Raspberries and Big Star, Velvet Crush formed in Rhode Island in 1989, although their roots actually extended west to Champaign, Illinois, where vocalist/bassist Paul Chastain and drummer Ric Menck first met and began performing together. There Menck founded his own small label, Picture Book, on which he and Chastain recorded solo material as well as singles under various group names like the Springfields, Choo Choo Train, the Paint Set, and Bag-O-Shells. Picture Book also released records by the Milwaukee-based White Sisters, led by guitarist Jeffrey Borchardt, with whom Menck struck up a friendship. When Borchardt eventually moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 1988, he encouraged Menck and Chastain to follow; they did, and Velvet Crush soon began performing their first shows. In 1991, longtime friend Matthew Sweet produced their debut, In the Presence of Greatness; a hit with the British music press, the record earned the group a deal with the influential U.K. label Creation.

For 1994's Teenage Symphonies to God (the title taken from Brian Wilson's description of the music intended for the Beach Boys' legendary SMiLe LP), Velvet Crush enlisted producer Mitch Easter, known for his work with R.E.M. and as the leader of Let's Active. The members of the group also continued working on solo projects, with Menck issuing the solo collection The Ballad of Ric Menck in 1996. The long-awaited third Velvet Crush LP, Heavy Changes, finally appeared on the band's own Action Musik imprint in 1998. Minus Borchardt, the group resurfaced in 1999 with Free Expression. Rock Concert was issued in fall 2000. In 2002, Chastain and Menck teamed up with Matthew Sweet, who produced and played multiple instruments on Velvet Crush's album Soft Sounds. Velvet Crush returned with a harder rocking sound on 2004's Stereo Blues, which featured production from Adam Schmitt. Velvet Crush's recording career went on hold from this point on, but the group continued to play occasional live shows. In 2016, Omnivore Records released Pre-Teen Symphonies, a collection of demos and live tracks from the Teenage Symphonies to God era. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Pre-Teen Symphonies

1. Hold Me Up (Demo)

2. My Blank Pages (Demo)

3. Time Wraps Around You (Demo)

4. Not Standing Down (Demo)

5. Turn Down (Demo)

6. This Life Is Killing Me (Demo)

7. Weird Summer (Demo)

8. Star Trip (Demo)

9. Window To The World (Live In Chicago)

10. My Blank Pages (Live In Chicago)

11. Ash And Earth (Live In Chicago)

12. Time Wraps Around You (Live In Chicago)

13. Atmosphere (Live In Chicago)

14. This Life Is Killing Me (Live In Chicago)

15. Hold Me Up (Live In Chicago)

16. Remember The Lightning (Live In Chicago)

x

Track List: Soft Sounds

1. Staying Found

2. Don't Take Me Down

3. Rollin' In My Sleep

4. Some Kind Of Light

5. Save Me A Place

6. In Your Time

7. Forever, For Now

8. She Goes On

9. Vanishing Point

10. Duchess

11. Party Line (Samba)

12. Late In The Day

x

Track List: Melody Freaks

1. Star Trip (Demo)

2. Time Wraps Around You (Demo)

3. Hold Me Up (Demo)

8. Turn Down (Demo)

9. My Blank Pages (Demo)

10. This Life Is Killing Me (Demo)

11. Weird Summer (Demo)

16. Goin' To My Head (Demo)

17. Heaven Knows (Demo)

x

Track List: A Single Odessey

1. If Not True

2. One Thing Two Believe

3. Circling The Sun

4. Everything Flows

5. She Cracked

6. Atmosphere

7. Gentle Breeze

8. Butterfly Position

9. Drive Me Down (Acoustic)

10. Remember The Lightning

11. Elevator Operator

12. Mr. Spaceman

13. One Hundred Years From Now

14. Don't You Slip Away From Me

15. It's Been Too Long And It's Too Late Now

16. Be Someone Tonight

17. Leisure 40

18. The Thing That You Do

19. Party Line

20. On My Side

x

Track List: Free Expression

Disc 1

1. Kill Me Now

2. Worst Enemy

3. Between The Lines

4. Goin' To My Head

5. Heaven Knows

6. Roman Candle

7. Melody #1

8. Things Get Better

9. Gentle Breeze

10. All Together

11. Shine On Me

12. The Unlucky One

13. Ballad Of Yesteryear

14. On My Side

Disc 2

1. Kill Me Now (Demo)

2. Worst Enemy (Demo)

3. Between The Lines (Demo)

4. Goin' To My Head (Demo)

5. Heaven Knows (Demo)

6. Roman Candle (Demo)

7. Melody #1 (Demo)

8. Things Get Better (Demo)

9. Don't Take Me Down (Demo)

10. All Together (Demo)

11. Shine On Me (Demo)

12. The Unlucky One (Demo)

13. Ballad Of Yesteryear (Demo)

14. On My Side (Demo)

x

Track List: Heavy Changes

1. Play For Keeps

2. Standing Still

3. Fear Of Flying

4. Think It Over

5. Ever After

6. Used To Believe

7. Wake Up

8. God Speed

9. White Satin Bed

10. Live For Now

11. Seen Better Days

x

Track List: Teenage Symphonies To God

1. Hold Me Up

2. My Blank Pages

3. Why Not Your Baby

4. TIME WRAPS AROUND YOU

5. Atmosphere

6. #10

7. Faster Days

8. Something's Gotta Give

9. This Life Is Killing Me

10. Weird Summer

11. Star Trip

12. Keep On Lingerin'

x

Track List: In The Presence Of Greatness

1. Window To The World

2. Drive Me Down

3. Ash & Earth

4. White Soul

5. Superstar

6. Blind Faith

7. Speedway

8. Stop

9. A**hole

10. Die A Little Every Day

11. Circling The Sun (Demo)

12. Everything Flows (Demo)

13. She Cracked (Demo)

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