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Nashville’s got a stereotype that’s hard to break, its roots so ingrained in country and folk that it’s hard to imagine anything else budding from their scene. Vinyl Thief, however, have managed to do just that. Energetic indie rock that entwines electronic bursts throughout, their sound was enough to catapult the five person group forward with their 2012 EP Rebel Hill into opening spots for names like Little Green Cars and The Joy Formidable.
While a few members grew up in Texas and Michigan, all of them connect back to Tennessee where they went to high school together. “We played around in studios a bit, but never became serious about writing music until two or three years ago,” said bassist AJ Van Boxe. “We became friends and then wanted to keep it up.”
That persistence is what landed them roles opening up for bigger acts. This summer saw them center stage at Boston’s own House of Blues when they opened for The Joy Formidable, an opportunity that is too great to explain. “We loved playing in a big venue,” said drummer Andrew Broadway. “That was the first thing we all said after finishing the show. You could really see the crowd’s faces; you miss that when you’re in a studio.” While touring regionally is comfortable and exciting, facing that crowd of thousands provoked a new excitement that very little could.
Here in the WERS studio, Vinyl Thief treated us to the music that’s making waves, starting their set off with “Faces” from the Rebel Hill EP. It took on a more bouncy melody than their second track, “Smooth,” the latter of which took a more electronic route. As the instruments jump ontop of one another in a goal-winning sports pile, the drums, vocals, guitar, keys, and bass combine in a shout of glory and celebration. Singer Grayson Proctor flares his notes similarly to Fun.’s Nate Ruess or Atlas Genius, but twists it just enough to mark the style as his own.
Watching them live was just as you may imagine; the five bandmates acted just as friends would, contagiously smiling at one another as they put it all into their instruments, demonstrating an impressive level of energy. That level of energy is the product of, what I imagine to be, a solid friendship that’s only become more study over their years as musicians.
If you like what you heard on today’s session, you’re in luck; Vinyl Thief plan on releasing their debut full length album later this fall. Funded through a Kickstarter campaign and finally recorded in a studio in New York, the album will take their indie pop sound and expand it to include more depth. “It’s our baby,” said Boxe. “We can’t wait to share it.” We were happy to hear that, because we at WERS can’t wait to hear it.