Band of the Week: Viva Voce

Music Features Viva Voce
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Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Fun Fact: Although nothing is down on paper, the band has been approached by several reputable directors to discuss scoring a feature film.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Viva Voce has only two members, but its mix of blues-influenced psychedelic guitar and dark pop vocals sounds bigger and better than many four pieces.
For Fans Of: Spoon, Caribou, The Black Keys 

Just over a dozen years ago, Viva Voce singer/songwriter/drummer Kevin Robinson showed up to play a show with his “bullshit” college band, and was surprised to find that he had no idea who the other act on the bill was. This was something that didn’t usually happen in small-town Alabama. When that other band hit the stage, Robinson was pleasantly surprised to discover that the act's dark-haired, quick-fingered guitarist was Anita Elliott, a pretty local girl he had met and become interested in just a couple weeks prior.

“Magic just spiraled,” Robinson romantically tells it from his current home in Portland, Ore. “From the beginning, we both had an interest in each other aside from music, but neither of us were serious about the bands we were in. We then started to go out on dates where I would bring my four-track. We’d get Chinese take-out and record songs.”

Slowly, the lines began to blur between Kevin and Anita’s musical and romantic relationship, and Viva Voce eventually coalesced. But after realizing that there was no future in Alabama, they packed up their gear and moved to the nearest big-city music town, Nashville. Unfortunately, they found that the place they would come to lovingly dub “satan's asshole” didn't possess the ethos they had generated while recording in their living room. “Nashville has all the problems of a big city and all the problems of a small city without the benefits of either one,” Kevin says.

Put off by Music City and further disheartened by multiple family deaths, the Alabama natives literally sold everything they had and moved to the Pacific Northwest. Hard work and good vibes in scenic Portland offered local success for the band, and Barsuk Records came knocking. Other opportunities did as well, including a tour with Jimmy Eat World. Building on this success, the pair re-released Lovers, Lead the Way! & The Heat Can Melt Your Brain on its own Amore Phonics imprint late last year.

But Kevin and Anita Robinson don't look to be slowing down anytime soon. Following some post-tour recuperation and holiday family time, they're back in their homemade studio, working on another album.

“All the relatives have gone and now we are going to start drinking,” Kevin says, in good spirits. “We are going to start recording in the next couple of weeks. We’ll fire it up, stop when we’re done and hit the road again.”

Check out Paste's December/January 4 to Watch artists:
The Wombats
Vampire Weekend
Ingrid Michaelson
White Shoes & The Couples Company

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