This week's episode of Artist Hour is one that I am most excited for, but also a bit apprehensive. Versus is overlooked for the same reasons that I find it so compelling. Music nerds and Wikipedia alike will tell you that Versus is one of the seminal bands of 90s and early 2000s indie rock, but that is such a nebulous and specious designation that while sounding important, it communicates very little. And while I am sure that audiophiles of greater rigour could expound on concrete trademarks of turn-of-the-millenium indie rock, I am not the charlatan to do so.
So what does Versus sound like? Sometimes it sounds like Sonic Youth, sometimes Superchunk, sometimes The Pastels. The argument could made that their sound is derivative, but I would respectfully disagree. Appropriate to the 90s and 2000s millieu from which they emerged, their sound vascillates elegantly and effortlessly between dream pop and post-grunge, swapping heavy and dark guitar chords with not-quite-twee male/female vocals. I've been struggling in vain for days trying to identify what makes "Blade of Grass" one of the best songs ever written, and I keep coming up short. Their execution and articulation of the essential is so on-par and subtle, that their brilliance can sometimes be dificult to discern. Recognition of their talent as songwriters and musicians requires keen attention. And it merits obsession. Tune in tonight at 10PM sharp while Joe and I try to make sense of these unsung heroes and their impressive and surprisingly diverse catalog.