They may be a duo on paper, but Cincinnati buzz band Bad Veins have an unofficial third member “" and her name is Irene.
“Irene sits center stage” according to vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Ben Davis. “We definitely do not hide her.”
He refers, by the way, to a 1973 reel-to-reel tape machine that provides backing tracks during Bad Veins’ live shows, a gift from Davis’s father as he was preparing to downsize years ago.
“Technically (drummer Sebastian Schultz) was the third member” explained Davis, who originally conceived Bad Veins as a solo project. “He was well aware that Irene was part of the band upon entrance.”
Although Davis admits he initially accepted the player reluctantly and shoved it in his basement, Irene is now an essential part of their live shows, providing backing tracks that allow the more ambitious Bad Veins songs to expand beyond two-man instrumentation.
Blast spoke with Davis and Schultz as they attempted to steer their tour van through a “complicated mess of highways” outside Albany, with Schultz driving and Davis navigating and doing phone interviews from the passenger seat. They were en route from Toronto to Danbury, Conn., in the midst of a string of tour dates that followed the release of their self-titled debut album on July 21.
The soaring chorus on first single “Gold and Warm” is a major selling point on its own, but other standout tracks include the catchy “Dryout” and sentimental, contemplative album closer “Go Home.”
The pair, who live a block away from each other in their hometown, became friends as participants in the limited local music scene. Between them, they cite influences ranging from Sigur Ros and the Flaming Lips to Bad Religion and Sunny Day Real Estate.
Since Davis and Schultz formed Bad Veins in 2006, bloggers and other members of the indie rock hype machine have been salivating over the band. In 2007, they were named a breakout act at the annual CMJ music festival in New York and were recently featured on ABC News NOW’s weekly series “Amplified.”
Although the buzz came as a surprise, they didn’t feel it was undeserved, Davis said. But along with the publicity has come some unwanted pressure.
“A band can’t control the expectations people have of them” Davis pointed out. “I almost feel like it has nothing to do with us. People look at us through this filter of blog hype and it’s kind of unfair. Sometimes you feel like people are “¦ judging you based on what other people are saying and not what you’re doing.”
“We’re just two kids from Cincinnati” he added. “We’re not saying we’re hot shit. You are.”
It’s probably easy for Davis and Schultz to forget the hype for now, while they’re still booking their own shows and selling their own merchandise “" not to mention finding themselves lost in greater New York as they drive themselves to gigs.
But two tollbooths and one request for directions later, it sounded like Schultz had gotten them back on track.
“I don’t have a clue where we are or where we’re going, but i think he’s got it under control” Davis said.
And with that, we said our goodbyes and Bad Veins proceeded on “" presumably towards the Connecticut state line.
Bad Veins tour dates:
August 28 – Austin, Texas @ Emo’s Jr.
August 29 – Dallas, Texas @ The Cavern
August 31 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ Modified Arts
September 1 – San Diego, Calif. @ Casbah*
September 2 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Spaceland*
September 3 – Costa Mesa, Calif. @ Detroit Bar*
September 4 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Cafƒ© Du Nord*
September 5 – San Jose, Calif. @ Nickel City*
September 6 – Reno, Nev. @ Se7en on West St.*
September 8 – Portland, Ore. @ Doug Fir Lounge*
September 9 – Seattle, Wash. @ Sunset Lounge*
September 10 – Missoula, Mont. @ Palace Billiards*
September 12 – Salt Lake City, Utah @ Kilby Court*
September 13 – Morrison, Colo. @ Monolith Festival
September 14 – Lawrence, Kan. @ Replay Lounge*
September 15 – Chicago, Ill. @ Subterranean*
September 16 – Columbus, Ohio @ Skully’s Music Diner*
September 17 – Washington, D.C. @ DC 9*
September 18 – Allston, Mass. @ O’Brien’s Pub*
September 19 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ The Bell House*
September 20 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ North Star Bar*
September 22 – Atlanta, Ga. @ 529*
September 24 – Indianapolis, Ind. @ The Vogue Theater