Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Daily Blair: Spotlighting Vess

By now you guys know how much I love the last few minutes of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android," how much I love the songwriting on Bright Eyes I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, how I tend not to have any clothes on anytime I hear anything off of Abbey Road, how much I want to cry anything I hear a song of the Antlers' Hospice, how Frank Turner single handedly made me question everything I thought I knew, how awkward it is when I dance to "Otis," and how much Ryan Adams reminds me of the new Facebook timeline.

Even though I love all of this music, it isn't really the reason I listen to music. We all know how good Radiohead is because we have been listening to them for years, we all know that Conor Oberst will make bulimic teenage girls go crazy for years to come, we all know how good of musicians three of the Beatles were, we all know that the Antlers will continue to make some beautiful and depressing songs, we all know that Frank Turner will continue to be the man,we all know that Jay-Z and Kanye will continue to inspire my rapping career (B-Hizzle,) and we all now that Ryan Adams musical career will be about as consistent as Mandy Moore's acting career.
The music I love is a given. I know those guys will be there for me just like I know my family will be there for me. If I have a problem I can count on the whiny vocals of Thom Yorke or the sentimental lyrics of Conor Oberst. The reason I listen to music is for uncertanity. I listen to music to discover something new (shameless plug,) to find a singer that can whine like Yorke, to find a songwriter who can write like Oberst, to find a band that reminds me of the best Beatles songs, to find someone who makes me question things just like Frank Turner, to find an artist that makes me more emotional than the Antlers, to find a song that makes me dance more than "Otis," and to find a more consistent version of Ryan Adams. I guess I search for more music just so I feel like I can have more music that is a "given," more music that is "there for me," and more music that I consider closer than family. I want to find good music almost more than I want anything in the world, because as sad as it may sound good music has always rewarded my soul more than almost any other thing in the world. Good music has always been more permanent than personal love, it has always been more durable than the latest version of your phone, it has always been more irreplaceable than whoever you are best friends with this week, and in a weird way it has always been something that is bigger than you. When I up and go to my reward, I will look down and remember my love of music as one of the most rewarding parts of my life. I relentlesly search for good music because I want more artist, songs, and lyrics that I can count on and I want something that is more reliable than actual people.

With all of this being said finding new music of a high quality is always nearly impossible. In this technology driven world it seems like we have everything except an app that gives us musicians who are actually kind of talented. The pursuit of musical perfection usually results in my consistent depression. I want to find more artists to add to my invisible family, but every bad song I listen to just seems to make more depressed and more apathetic. Sometimes I feel like just giving in and listening to whatever poor excuse of music I am supposed to listen to on the radio. So as you can imagine when I find any type of new music that resembles actual music, I am beyond stoked.

I never expect to find the "perfect" song when I am searching for new music. Actually I don't know if I have one hundred "perfect" (five star) songs in my entire music library. The perfect song makes me feel something, the perfect song has at least two instrumental moments, the perfect song has some solid songwriting, the perfect song is catchy, the perfect song is a combination of tons of different influences, and the perfect song is a song that I can listen to again and again. Once an artist creates one song like this they are usually added to the Blair Chopin "family" where they can be counted on again and again. But the problem is that I rarely find a song like this when I am searching for new music. Actually I had never found a perfect song by


One night my dear lady friend who I for some weird reason call "Potato Salad" told me about a local band called VESS. I told this kind woman that I would listen but I never really planned on it because I have always found local bands to be the worst bands, I am opposed to band names that appear to be shouting at me, and she is so nice that she would probably like a CD of me yelling at Terrence Jones. But after forty terrible screamo bands, fifty-five bad indie artists, and twenty bad singer-songwriters I decided to give the VESS a chance. And what I found was the perfect Blair Chopin song. VESS only have one song ("Wild Horses") and it is totally perfect. Here is why......

VESS has the potential to be the perfect combination of Springsteen, The Gaslight Anthem, Arcade Fire, and Anberlin. Which basically means they make you feel pretty damn American. The song gives you the "Thunder Road" feeling that you are falling in love with a woman and a city for the first time, the song gives you the "The Miles Davis & The Cool" feeling that you are living in your future and your past while obsessing in the present, it gives you the "Haight St." feeling that finding God in yourself is the best part of finding yourself, and it gives you The Suburbs feel that growing up is the only option. The song is the perfect opener for a concept album about growing up in American and that is probably the reason it makes me feel American. That last sentence is not the reason Casey hired me.

The best thing about this song for me is the instrumentation. The song has tremendous drumming throughout, has great instrumental build up throughout the song (each part of the song transitions smoothly into the next section of the song,) and I really love the electric guitar riff. The most impressive thing though is that the instrumentation always matches the vocals. I am always a fan of that. Go team.

I honestly having no idea what the lead singer is saying for about 80% of this song. But I know for a fact that he talks about horses a lot, and being from Kentucky I am now required to say that this may be the greatest songwriting accomplishment of the past forty one years (since The Rolling Stones released "Wild Horses.") "Wild Horses" does seem like it has some really good lyrics though. According to my sources not at Pitchfork the band tends to write about growing up, finding God, finding love, and having a band name that is still screaming at me. Those are the four best lyrical themes a band can have.

It is safe to say that VESS was under the influences while making this song. The distorted childrens choir at the beggining of the song reminds me of Manchester Orchestra's "Virgin," the opening drums remind me of the opening to the National's "Apartment Story," how the chorus perfectly leads into an awesome guitar solo reminds me a little bit of the Gaslight Anthem, the brilliant breakdown to the song reminds me of the end of Miniature Tigers "Last Nights Fake Blood," and the silence at the end of the song reminds me of the silence at the end of most songs. This song sucessful combines the feel of Springsteen, Anberlin, Arcade Fire, and Gaslight Anthem with Manchester Orchestra, The National, and Minature Tigers influences. So basically they are a perfect combination of seven perfect artists. And want to know the scary thing? They probably do not even know who these artist are yet because they are to busy hitting the Caps Lock button on their keyboards.

I love me some burly vocals (no hetero.) This guy sounds like the perfect combination of Matt Berninger, Bruce Springsteen, Win Butler, Brian Fallon, and the lead singer of VESS. So this means that at their best this band could make songs that sound like a combination of "Start A War," "Thunder Road," "Haiti," and "Wild Horses." That's unbelivable, baby! (Watching college basketball)

I listened to that song 23 times while writing this article.

VESS made the perfect song. Let this be a lesson to always trust potato salad, to support your local artists, and to never stop searching.

FAMILY TREE (he looks like Conor Oberst)


  1. Best review ever!

  2. Hahaha thanks guys. Keep up the great work!

  3. I am the biggest fan of VESS in many ways and I can't wait until the whole world hears about them!

    I just want to be at the concert to see when U2 or Coldplay opens for them.

    VESS Rocks!