12 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

While Vetiver’s Andy Cabic is linked to freaky-folk king Devendra Banhart (they run a record label together), there is nothing “freaky” about his own music. Cabic is a sincere ‘70s-influenced singer-songwriter who remains true to his admiration of that era and his own innate singing talents. He feels no need to embellish his simple ruminations with anything besides the most elemental and essential musical backing. 2008’s Thing of the Past is a collection of obscure covers that reflect Cabic’s eclectic, excellent taste and even includes several of the originators contributing along (Vashti Bunyan on “Sleep A Million Years,” Michael Hurley on “Blue Driver.”) Fairport Convention’s Ian Matthews’ “Road to Ronderlin” rolls along with ease. Spacerockers Hawkwind are given a spirited jugband sprint for “Hurry On Sundown.” Loudon Wainwright III’s “The Swimming Song” is delivered without tipping the subtle humor. Townes Van Zandt’s obscure “Standin’” is brought to light and life. Overall, it’s a quiet album meant for late night listening beside a crackling fire, worthy of sitting next to the works not just of the composers included here, but others from Jackson Browne, Tom Rush, Tim Hardin or any other late-60s-early 70s troubadour fondly remembered.

EDITORS’ NOTES

While Vetiver’s Andy Cabic is linked to freaky-folk king Devendra Banhart (they run a record label together), there is nothing “freaky” about his own music. Cabic is a sincere ‘70s-influenced singer-songwriter who remains true to his admiration of that era and his own innate singing talents. He feels no need to embellish his simple ruminations with anything besides the most elemental and essential musical backing. 2008’s Thing of the Past is a collection of obscure covers that reflect Cabic’s eclectic, excellent taste and even includes several of the originators contributing along (Vashti Bunyan on “Sleep A Million Years,” Michael Hurley on “Blue Driver.”) Fairport Convention’s Ian Matthews’ “Road to Ronderlin” rolls along with ease. Spacerockers Hawkwind are given a spirited jugband sprint for “Hurry On Sundown.” Loudon Wainwright III’s “The Swimming Song” is delivered without tipping the subtle humor. Townes Van Zandt’s obscure “Standin’” is brought to light and life. Overall, it’s a quiet album meant for late night listening beside a crackling fire, worthy of sitting next to the works not just of the composers included here, but others from Jackson Browne, Tom Rush, Tim Hardin or any other late-60s-early 70s troubadour fondly remembered.

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About Vetiver

When Vetiver released their first album in 2004, they were commonly lumped into the nascent "freak folk" movement alongside the likes of Joanna Newsom and Six Organs of Admittance, thanks to leader Andy Cabic's friendship with scene founder Devendra Banhart. (In addition to Banhart's musical contributions to Vetiver's first two albums, Cabic co-wrote Banhart's breakout song "At the Hop," which appeared on 2004's Rejoicing in the Hands; on the same album, Banhart paid tribute to his friend's band in the song "When the Sun Shone on Vetiver.") However, the band's roots go deeper than Syd Barrett and Linda Perhacs, encompassing the U.K. shoegazer scene and the mid-'90s D.I.Y. indie rock scene. Cabic was part of the latter, forming the Raymond Brake in his native Greensboro, North Carolina, during the early '90s. The Raymond Brake's noisy, Sonic Youth-influenced take on indie rock was a natural fit with both the Chapel Hill art-punk scene and the influential Washington D.C.-based indie label Simple Machines, which released the band's debut album, Piles of Dirty Winters, in 1995. After a handful of EPs and one more album, 1996's Never Work Ever, the Raymond Brake broke up and Cabic migrated westward, eventually settling in San Francisco.

While studying at the San Francisco Art Institute, Cabic met fellow student Banhart and instantly established a close working relationship with the bearded sprite. Playing shows with Banhart, Newsom, and others, Cabic started writing songs for his new project, Vetiver, named for an Asian relative of lemongrass that's used in perfume making. He added Banhart on guitar and backing vocals, Jim Gaylord on violin, and Alissa Anderson on cello, and the band -- with Cabic's vocals, banjo, and acoustic guitar -- released its self-titled debut on the DiCristina label in 2004. (The album, produced by Thom Monahan of the Pernice Brothers, also included guest spots by Newsom, Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval, and former My Bloody Valentine drummer Colm O'Ciosoig.) Vetiver was followed in 2005 by an odds-and-sods collection called Between, which included two live tracks, a new version of a song from Vetiver, and a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Save Me a Place." For Vetiver's second full-length album, 2006's To Find Me Gone, Cabic finally added a drummer, Otto Hauser, and bassist Kevin Barker to the core trio of himself, Banhart, and Anderson. After the album was released, Cabic introduced a stable, full-time recording and touring lineup of himself, Anderson, Hauser, new guitarist Sanders Trippe, and new bassist Brent Dunn. In 2008, the band released A Thing of the Past, a collection of covers of songs by artists who had influenced the group's music, including Michael Hurley, Ronnie Lane, and Townes Van Zandt.

Released in 2009, Tight Knit, the band's next album, was released by Sub Pop, and Vetiver remained with that label for 2011's The Errant Charm, whose breezy, casual sound was inspired by Cabic's frequent walks around San Francisco's Richmond District. He returned in 2015 with sixth album Complete Strangers, again produced by sole Vetiver producer Thom Monahan. The album found Cabic integrating more electronic sounds into his laid-back folksy songwriting. ~ Stewart Mason

  • ORIGIN
    San Francisco, CA

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