Tuesday, October 06, 2009

How We Got To Bellavista...

Vue, way back when

Bellavista has a very storied pedigree, and if you're at all curious about the group, it's probably because of that pedigree - which is to say that this band, probably because of the capricious nature o' the music industry, isn't as high-profile as what it grew out of, but Bellavista is certainly worth your attention. I'll try to keep the back-story brief, and not like something you'd read in the pages of Skyscraper magazine if it was still around. (Actually, is it? I didn't check)

The story began with the San Fransisco post-hardcore group Portraits of Past (who tuned all the way down to C!), who were around in the mid 90s, and released a record on Goleta's Ebullition Records, (LP photography by Ottawa's Shawn Scallen!). I loved that record in high school. Although they gradually morphed into the much artier and interesting group, Das Audience, they've since re-formed to tour Japan, release a new album, etc. Like Six Finger Satellite's reunion, I'm finding it hard to get enthusiastic enough to bother listening to the music.

So, Das Audience eventually changed their name to Vue, a glammy garage group who put out an absolutely perfect EP on GSL called Death of A Girl, a couple of Sub Pop albums (the s/t album had a cover of Suicide's Girl on it), and a disappointing EP on RCA. An RCA debut, Down For Whatever, was recorded but never released, probably because sales were disappointing and maybe at that time, the expected rising tide that BRMC started didn't, in fact, lift all boats.

After a three year hiatus, Vue returned under the moniker Bellavista, which is both, in my mind, a return to form as well as a genuine progression. It's not as polished as Vue was for the majority of its existence, which is great, because there was something that the group lost between that amazing, astonishing EP and what Bellavista manage to get right here. It's different than what's come before - atmospheric and muscular guitar-work, surf-heavy drums, a hazy mood... I think that Rex (of all of the above bands) has one of the great voices in rock music today - there's something of Tom Verlaine in it, that's for sure, but he can also push it in a way that I've never heard Verlaine do.

Bellavista Myspace

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