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Velvet Crush
(Action Musik/Parasol)

In the mid ’90s, the Providence-based trio Velvet Crush seemed the power pop band most likely to succeed, though drummer Ric Menck and singer/bassist Paul Chastain had been making jangly indie records under various names for a decade. Their debut as Velvet Crush, In the Presence of Greatness, was produced by pal Matthew Sweet, who had recently released his pop touchstone Girlfriend, and the group soon found themselves signed to Epic with an equally ambitiously titled follow-up, the Mitch Easter–produced Teenage Symphonies to God.

Recorded live at Chicago’s Cabaret Metro in 1995, Rock Concert is a snapshot of the band at their most rockin’. Attempting to move away from such pop monikers as " twee " and " fey, " the trio embellished their melodic gems with guest lead-guitarists, including Tommy Keene at this show. The pop veteran thunders and noodles all over the eight songs here, including the more raucous picks from Teenage Symphonies ( " My Blank Pages, " " Hold Me Up " ), and a few favorites from Greatness ( " Ash and Earth, " " Atmosphere " ). Like many live recordings, the disc is short on bass and long on high end, but the elements that made Velvet Crush a great band — Chastain’s wistful vocals, guitarist Jeffrey Underhill’s chunky power chords, Menck’s awesome, tightly wound drumming — are all well documented.


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