the vervein story


The clean vocals of Mazzy Star, the tight rhythm of the Breeders, and a mood not heard since the first American Analog Set full length. Some A&R reps from major labels must be missing this band somehow .
-The Bee's Knees

The resonating guitars and unabashed, smoky vocals are delicate yet brazen, like a beautiful, exotic flower that also happens to be carnivorous.
-San Francisco Bay Guardian

Perfectly suited for some high-spirited makeup sex.

Like momentarily losing your bearings in a thick blanket of fog.
-East Bay Express

A 3-axe assault... utterly unlike that of Judas Priest.

With a sound this solid... they can't stay hidden for long.
-Action Man Magazine

Pure rumination. I'm convinced it's my life Vervein sings.

Fans and critics are buzzing with the uncommon excitement that comes from discovering something special. Not setting out to be a "girl group," the chips have fallen that way for Vervein, and audiences have fallen for their "Girl-Swirl" sound. Vervein weaves together the ethereal vocals of Mazzy Star and Azure Ray, the dreamy atmospherics of American Analog Set and Galaxie 500, the rhythmic propulsions of the Breeders, the soundscapes of Godspeed You Black Emperor!, and the melodic sensibilities of Death Cab for Cutie. The foursome creates a sound that resonates with different people in different ways while it carves a unique niche. Simply stated, what Vervein offers is difficult to pigeonhole. There's no cloying confessional pop, T&A manipulation, or snarling riot grrl militancy here. Vervein is refreshingly free of clichés in its message and its image, choosing to focus passionately on what's important - the music.

Like many, the four women of Vervein started out in punk bands with the desire to make music that mattered. Numerous bands and years later, they have found a distinctive way to do so. With members hailing from Ee, Smitten, the Black Cat Orchestra, and Faccia Brutta, among other San Francisco and Seattle-based bands, Vervein was founded by Jess Congdon (guitar, vocals, keyboards) and Esther Reyes (guitar, cello) in 2001. Both classically trained musicians, they were drawn together in San Francisco by a shared desire to make guitar-based rock/pop on their own terms. According to Congdon, "We wanted to be free from the usual tiresome wankery." Congdon and Reyes wear their classical upbringing on their sleeves with intricate arrangements, atypical song structures, and contrasting dynamics. They both fell fast for Rachel Stevenson (bass/baritone guitar, vocals) who joined after moving from Seattle in 2002, providing a rhythmic pulse and lilting vocals to Vervein's sound.   Emily Marsh (drums), a longtime collaborator with Stevenson, returned to the Bay Area from Seattle at the end of 2004 to add her intricately percussive chops. The band now feels the sense of completion it has been waiting for. Sorry folks, these women get along, so don't look for any Behind the Music special to highlight catfights when they get famous - the drama is saved for their music.

Vervein released its debut, Vast Low Cities, in 2003 on the heels of winning a Jane Magazine compilation CD contest judged by the Donnas, a Noise Pop Festival invitation, and winning over the San Francisco Bay Area music scene with its memorable performances. The album made a lasting impression on audiences, critics and fellow bands with its gorgeously layered sound, thoughtful lyrics, and an intoxicating combination of moody introspection and dynamic release. Vervein has performed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area with 50 Foot Wave, Citizens Here and Abroad, Film School, Thee More Shallows, For Stars, and Granfaloon Bus. A personal invitation from American Analog Set resulted in a tour of at the end of October 2005 .

The band's second album, The Weather Inside , builds on the dreamy foundation of Vast Low Cities , but pulls back the curtain to showcase Vervein's exploration of its collaborative process and palette. This album is darker and more direct than its predecessor. Reyes quips, "It's the equivalent of our The Empire Strikes Back in the Star Wars series." The eleven songs reflect exorcism and escape. Winds whip up. Storms develop and pass. The sun shines. The weather inside as Vervein sees it actively evolves through melody, arrangement and mood. Vervein is able to communicate how we can experience an ever-changing world in its music. This process isn't about thinking, it's about feeling thoughtfully. Quite simply, the world needs more bands like Vervein.