Velocity Girl Ultracopacetic (Copacetic Remixed And Expanded)

Label
Sub Pop
Released
16th August 2024

Format Info

CD
2LP - Loser Edition Red Vinyl

Loser Edition on opaque red vinyl, ltd. to 2,000 copies worldwide.

Long out-of-print 1993 debut album by beloved indierock band Velocity Girl back in print with a new, band-approved mix, and a full album of bonus tracks compiling singles, outtakes, and the band’s 1993 Peel Session.

Formed in 1989, Velocity Girl were one of the leading lights of 1990s indie-pop, fusing the hooks of Britpop with the fuzzy guitars of shoegaze. They released three albums on Sub Pop between 1993 and 1996, and reached the mainstream with a song on the platinum-selling soundtrack to the classic teen film Clueless.

Remixed in 2023 by Velocity Girl, and freshly mastered by Golden Mastering.  Velocity Girl formed in 1989 or so at the University of Maryland outside Washington DC, and shortly thereafter settled on the lasting lineup of guitarist Archie Moore (Black Tambourine), guitarist Brian Nelson (Black Tambourine), drummer Jim Spellman (Starry Eyes, Foxhall Stacks, High Back Chairs, Julie Ocean, Piper Club), bassist Kelly Riles (Starry Eyes), and singer Sarah Shannon (Starry Eyes, The Not Its). The band combined English-inspired noisy shoegaze fuzz with scrappy US indie rock and classic ‘60s-style pop songwriting. A killer single on Slumberland and non-stop touring grabbed the attention of the indie-rock cognoscenti of the day, and, following a heated courtship involving both dinner AND dessert, Velocity Girl signed a contract on a car hood in Hoboken, New Jersey, making Sub Pop their home. In 1992 the band began work on their debut album, Copacetic, at Easley Studios – once home base to the Bar-Kays and other classic soul bands – in Memphis with Bob Weston (Volcano Suns, Shellac) at the helm, and then mixed the album with Weston in Chicago. While the album had strong songs – pop tunes like “Audrey’s Eyes,” “Pop Loser,” and “Living Well” alongside ambitious explorations like “Pretty Sister” and “Here Comes” – the band had little experience with production and lacked the skills to “drive the boat” in the studio.

As a result, the album turned out to be a rather stripped-down affair, lacking the lushness of their prior recordings. To the band’s ear it was jarring, and they soon realized this wasn’t the record they hoped to make. Bob Weston had done exactly what was asked of him and captured the sounds, but the band didn’t do its part to articulate a clear vision. But the band’s slot in the studio was over, and Polvo had just showed up to work on their album, so off Velocity Girl went to shoot the video for “Audrey’s Eyes.” Copacetic came out in 1993 and people seemed to like it just fine, but within the band there was a sense of disappointment to the point where most members couldn’t stand to hear the record. Between then and now, the band learned a lot about recording, and Archie Moore developed a career in audio work, and the band finally decided to revisit Copacetic. After extensive digging, the 2” tape reels appeared in Jim’s ex-wife’s mother’s house, and in the spring of 2023 Archie began working on a remix. Song by song the new mixes emerged just as the band envisioned them. Soaring vocals from Sarah (who studied opera in college), chiming lead guitar, juicy fuzzed out rhythm guitars and clear pounding drums. The pop songs are much poppier. The sonic blasts are more powerful, and the record hangs together as a cohesive document that flows from song to song.

The approach was not to make a 2024 sounding record but rather to go back to the 1992 mindset and create the record the band should have made then. The result, UltraCopacetic (Copacetic Remixed and Expanded), is an exciting alternate history of Copacetic. And, while they were at it, the band dug up and refreshed the rest of their studio material from the era: Ultracopacetic includes “Warm/Crawl” from the Velocity Girl/Tsunami split 7”, “Creepy” from the Crazy Town 7”, “Stupid Thing” from the Audrey’s Eyes 7”, and the unreleased album outtake “Even Die.”