Transit Of Venus


The Trolleyvox are melodic pop, mellow and smooth like a fine scotch, with pristine acoustic guitars & vocals by Beth Filla both of which stand out in the (generally) sparse instrumentation of The Trolleyvox Present The Karaoke Meltdowns. If you’re looking for a comparison to other bands I’d say that The Trolleyvox are kind of a prettier version of The Replacements.

There are no disappointing songs on the album and, if there is something to complain about, it would be that consistency. The Trolleyvox have developed a ‘sound’ and each track has a distinctly similar structure and sound to it. That’s ok – The Trolleyvox clearly are not about experimentation – they are pure melodic pop and are exceptional at what they do.


The Trolleyvox did manage to shake things up just enough to keep my interest going. Just when I thought that things were going to just coast along song to song, the band throws in a jangly guitar, power pop riffs, a driving bassline, or piano/keyboards to lift things out of the completely expected. That’s a good thing. This was particularly the case on the track “Joyride” where Andrew sings the lead vocal. It was a nice sonic break from Beth’s wonderfully floaty/syrupy vocals, and I found myself enjoying her voice all the more when she returned on the track that follows it, “Baby You Were Lied To”.

“I Am Annabelle” with its brilliant lyric (that ended up being the album title), “In the sad karaoke meltdown”, is definitely a standout track. This is music that should be on commercial radio if it already isn’t. A close second would have to be “Deep Blue Central” where the percussion is provided by what sounds mostly like a trotting horse (or coconuts clapped together a la Monty Python’s Holy Grail.) It’s a really pretty sound with just the amount of reverb to fill in the sparse instrumentation of the song. And, ya, did I mention that Beth can really sing? It’s the beautiful melody and the gorgeous tone of her voice that drags you into this song.

This is a great commercial album, sonically pleasing and smooth, and lyrically shines. The latter is the greatest strength (and least commercial aspect) of the album and could be lost to the inattentive ear that just tunes into Beth’s elegant vocals, Andrew’s power pop guitar riffs, and the exceptional harmonies. This album is a must for those that dig accessible pop music with a focus on quirky and interesting lyrics.

David Morley

Band
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The cosmic wavelengths are definitely all synchronized tonight. I checked my snail mail and found a promo of the insanely catchy album The Trolleyvox present The Karaoke Meltdowns. I figured I’d update our playlist and toss one of their songs on it before contacting the president of their record label and letting him know I received it (and plugging the fact I added the song, naturally). I noticed an e-mail in my inbox was patiently awaiting my devoted attention…it was from The Trolleyvox’s very own Andrew Chalfen. Trippy.

The best advice anyone will give you today is to check out The Trolleyvox. If audio is your preferred method, “Just You Wait” is the first song in our player. If you prefer visuals to accompany the sounds that vibrate your hammer and anvil, click play below:

If you were making a mix for our readers, what would be the first three songs you’d select?
I like to kick off a set of tunes with something rocking and fun. Lately a good opener has been Billy Preston’s “Let the Music Play”, which starts off with this crazy funky Hammond B-3 organ fanfare. The second tune would probably be some 60’s psych-pop, maybe something from the Nazz, the Move, or the Small Faces. Let’s go with Nazz’s “Forget All About It”. The third tune would keep up the energy, but would be something more in the modern pop vein, like Persephonee’s Bees’ “Nice Day”, a tune that I’ve been grooving to lately.

Name any musical influence(s).
For me, it would have to start off with UK’s finest: Beatles, Who, Kinks, Stones, and all those great bands that followed in their wake through the decades. 70’s power pop, then the original punk/new wave blast. Then the Replacements and REM in the 80’s, along with New Zealand groups like the Verlaines, the Clean, and the Chills. Sometime in the early 90’s I got into Nick Drake and quieter music, probably via Robyn Hitchcock. He was a gateway into the folkier sounds. Tommy Keene was an early influence on my guitar playing. Him and Pete Buck.

What new music are you currently listening to?
My listening habits have become quite inverted as of late. I used to be big on listening to albums. I’ve bought a few recent releases that I’ve really liked, the best of which are the new Neko Case, the latest Stephen Basho Jungans (a John Fahey-esque guitarist), the new Yo La Tengo, an older Four Tet disc called “Pause”, and the Congotronics comp. Mostly, though, I’ve been collecting individual songs that I find from trolling around music blogs. I’ve discovered some cool artists that way, folks like Bonobo, Greg Davis, Juana Molina, The Books, Loscil, Nils Okland, Eluvium, Bibio, Air King Sound. Surprisingly, most of this stuff is not guitar pop. I haven’t heard a non-Trolleyvox guitar pop record lately that’s knocked me off my feet, and that’s an unfamiliar state for me. Usually there’s something to trigger that particular wow. Most of the above-mentioned artists are more instrumental and meditative than my listening from, say five years ago. Have you heard Rose Polenzani’s tune “How Shall I Love Thee”? Now there’s a song I just stumbled upon that has me totally floored right now. Definitely search that one out.

Name a band (current of defunct) that would be your dream act to open for on a major tour.
I have no idea! Probably a band that is known for being fun to be around, that would make touring be a happy adventure and not a numbing slog. A group that wouldn’t feel that hanging out with the opening act was beneath them. A group that would share their deli tray. Maybe the Dead Milkmen?

Who, if anyone, would you like to collaborate with?
Man, I’d love to collaborate with any number of folks. As far as producers are concerned, I’d love to work with Brian Eno (who wouldn’t) and get ambient and experimental with him. Mitch Easter, too, for his whole guitar pop and recording aesthetic. I wouldn’t mind having a bash at writing tunes with Paul Westerberg, or Bob Pollard, or hell, even Tom Petty! I’ve got some tunes in various states of disrepair that would be perfect for them to contribute their own special thing.

Tell us something about you that we can’t find on Google.
Well, I just learned the other day that our singer Beth swears up and down that her singing style comes directly from Mel Torme. Who knew that the Velvet Fog played such an instrumental part in the Trolleyvox sound?

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