Velocity Girl / Setting the Night on Fire with Rock and Roll

Velocity Girl / <em>Setting the Night on Fire with Rock and Roll</em>

If everything goes according to plan, I should be well on my way to Washington D.C. this weekend to see a reunited Velocity Girl celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Black Cat club alongside Ted Leo & The Pharmacists and Ex Hex, among others. Am I excited? Yes I am.

When the band announced the show, they were careful to temper expectations. There would be no greater reunion tour, no new material. Their lives were no longer in a place where doing music full-time – or even part-time – was feasible. So they’d step into the hot tub time machine for a little while, play a show or two and then get back to what they were doing.

But of course, that wasn’t quite all. As the band puts it:

In recent months the band has unearthed a massive haul of old analog tapes…multitracks, masters, etc… and will be releasing a series of archival recordings. There are alternate takes, unreleased originals, and a few covers, as well as the previously released mixes. All of the tapes have been meticulously restored and converted to digital formats. In many cases these versions sound far better than what ended up being released back in the day.

Velocity Girl @ Bandcamp

And so while they’re holding to their promise of no new material, they are sharing some old material that no one else has ever heard.

Setting the Night on Fire with Rock and Roll kicks off the series. The group hopes you enjoy this first glimpse of our archival and restoration project. This digital EP contains a few alternate versions of early VG songs plus a never before released track that you may find quite shocking. This release will be available for a limited time only, so act now! Operators are standing by.

Velocity Girl @ Bandcamp

And it sounds like the archival restoration isn’t limited to demos and outtakes. In conversation with The Washington Post, Archie Moore and Jim Spellman discuss remixing and remastering their 1993 debut Copacetic, which they describe as:

“Lots of people have made the comment, ‘I just wish this record sounded better,’” says guitarist-singer Archie Moore, who works as a recording engineer. “I’ve never heard anybody say, ‘That’s a great-sounding record.’”

Moore has now remixed “Copacetic” to his satisfaction. “I found myself becoming really fond of the songs,” he says. “I guess because I spent hours and hours now with each song, it’s like they’re my kids again.”“A lot of the material sounds, to my ear, drastically different,” Spellman says of the new mix. “The shoegazey kind of stuff sounds more shoegazey, the pop stuff sounds way more pop. It feels like what we set out to do.”

“I want it to sound 1993,” Moore explains. “I don’t want it to sound like a new record. I want to sound like the 1993 we were listening to, which was a very Anglophiliac perspective.”

Legendary D.C. indie band Velocity Girl is back with old songs, new gigs @ The Washington Post

If and when the public gets to hear it is another matter.

Sub Pop actually owns “Copacetic,” so Velocity Girl can’t unveil its redo without the label’s assent. Sub Pop proprietor Jonathan Poneman has been supportive, according to Spellman and Moore. “We don’t have concrete plans for what’s going to happen,” the latter says. “We believe that at the very least they will release the new version” to streaming services.

Legendary D.C. indie band Velocity Girl is back with old songs, new gigs @ The Washington Post

So… let’s hope. And in the meantime, we can listen to the first batch of VG rarities, and tomorrow night, I can see them live. Everybody wins!

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