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Vedera-Acoustic Tour Sampler

Vedera – Acoustic Tour Sampler

Epic Records

Perfect acoustic-pop songs delivered by the best female voice I’ve discovered in years.

As my female friends will tell you, I have a disproportionate love of male artists. This is also expressed as, “Why don’t you like Fiona Apple?”

I have two responses, depending on my mood. If I’m not feeling up to a musical debate, I respond with “I relate better to Regina Spektor.”

If I’m feeling like an argument, I counter with, “Fiona Apple is a female Dashboard Confessional – both are whiny yet somehow empowering. And each of their early work was way better than their newer work.”

The honest truth is that I’m extremely harsh on any artist that I listen to. I would guess that I let through about the same percentage of female and male artists into my heavy rotation. There’s just more male artists to pick through, resulting in more male artists that I listen to.

Back to the main point – my female friends will tell you that I have a disproportionate love of male artists. They know that when I recommend a female artist, it’s going to be great. With that as a prefix, I bring you Vedera, and more specifically, Kristen May.

Vedera is a fantastic pop band, and it is entirely due to the incredible pipes of Ms. Kristen May. Her voice is like that of Leigh Nash from the equally laudable Sixpence None the Richer, except with the dusky breathiness that so annoys me. Her voice is a clear, bright soprano that cuts through noise and delivers the chills. I am not kidding – this woman’s voice gives me chills. This particular tour sampler that I have in my possession makes great use of that voice. The two songs that I am listening to are both acoustic versions of songs off their upcoming release. The acoustic version, by its very nature, strips things down to the barebones and accentuates the songwriting and the vocals. These two particular acoustic versions remind me why acoustic versions are such a brilliant idea.

I saw Vedera perform both “Satisfy” and “Taking Chances” live with a full band. They were astonishing then, but with all the excess stripped away, they become downright revelatory. Kristen May’s voice is gorgeous, and when supplemented by only one instrument, the genius of the songwriting is revealed as well. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either of these songs. They are both note-perfect.

“Satisfy” is the first of the songs, and it is the immediate soul-grabber. It’s played on acoustic guitar, and the simple pattern of notes sets the stage for the skyscraping vocal performance. I often cringe when vocalists go for the high notes, but on these two songs I grin in anticipation. She hits it every time; even live, which is notorious for destroying vocals. It’s jaw-dropping and a little bit heart-stopping.

“Taking Chances” is piano-based, and while it takes a little longer to establish in your head as amazing, it certainly earns the term by the end. May is more cautious with the high vocals, reserving the high notes for later in the song. But the songwriting is still in great effect – the tension and release into the chorus is fantastic.

Like I said earlier, these two songs are perfect. There is nothing wrong with either one. Although this tour sampler was only available at the corresponding tour, the take home message is simple: listen to Vedera. Right now. If you like people who sing pretty (and judging by the obscene amount of people who vote for American Idol, most of you do), you have to listen to Vedera. I’m going to mark Vedera as my best find of the year so far; when their album drops, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be amazing.

Stephen Carradini