Album of the Day 12/4/13: Violent Mae

Chip McCabe

2:20 PM EST, December 4, 2013


Serendipity is a funny thing.  The very definition of the word includes terms like "happy accident".  Sometimes though it's more than a happy accident that brings people together.  Sometimes the Universe itself conspires to align the moon and the stars for a greater purpose.  When those worlds collide like celestial bodies floating blindly in the cosmos amazing things are bound to happen.  In this case it's the birth of Violent Mae and their debut album.

In September 2012 singer/songwriter/guitarist Becky Kessler was at the inaugural Connecticut Music Awards taking home a trophy for, essentially, her ability to wow and woo listeners in the live setting (having no real recorded material to speak of at the time).  At those same Awards multi-instrumentalist and producer Floyd Kellogg was in attendance as the frontman of avant-garde indie-dance-pop outfit You Scream I Scream, nominee in the Best Indie Rock category.  Kessler would hire Kellogg to produce her debut solo album.  What wound up coming out the side of serendipity was Violent Mae, a powerhouse duo brandishing a fresh indie noir ethos and a full length album that will literally transform listeners to fans in one spin.

From the first semi-discordant notes of album opener "Later On" to the last sorrowful moments of closer "Real Love Song" Violent Mae runs through a gamut of emotions and stimulating  passages quite unlike anything you'll ever hear.  Kessler is a three-prong attack of sultry vocals, at times scathing lyrics and understated yet forceful riffs.  Kellogg is the master of subtle nuances adding (or not adding) everything from drums to banjo to bass lines to everything in between, all the while letting Kessler break hearts when she needs to.

Let it not be understated that rarely has a band ever delivered as much beauty and optimism amidst songs that potentially seethe anything but the way Violent Mae do.  "Any Time You Fall" is the perfect example of a song the soars like a majestic bird over a vast landscape below, once inhabited by love but long ago abandoned.  Meanwhile a track like "Worn Out My Welcome" display a country aesthetic in its ability to paint the world gray in that down-home sort of way.  Maybe it's the banjo, maybe it's Kessler's North Carolina bred twang but it's a track that's best listened to driving down that proverbial dirt road away from all the ills of your own world.  Such is the dichotomy of Violent Mae that even in their most vulnerable moments they breed power and grace.

Violent Mae are a band on the come for sure.  You don't write music this good or produce an album this amazing and not have people sit up and take notice.  Violent Mae the album is out now and up for your listening pleasure on their Bandcamp page.  Do not hesitate in experiencing what they've offered. 

Violent Mae play their Album Release show this Friday night, December 6 with Modern Merchant and Elison Jackson at Arch Street Tavern.