The buzz is loud around Silver Lake, Calif.-based rock band Vanaprasta. The L.A. media has identified them as one of that scene’s next big things, and the band has just returned from playing eight shows in four days at the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas.
Now, Vanaprasta is putting the finishing touches on its anticipated debut full-length “Healthy Geometry” and touring the West Coast, with a stop at Portland’s Holocene tonight, where they’re playing a free show with Hosannas and Hello Electric. If you’re in Portland or heading that way, you should check it out. (Hosannas has played Bend a couple times, and they’re great.)
Thanks to the band’s Central Oregon connection — guitarist Cameron Dmytryk is a 2004 graduate of Madras High School — I’ve had “Healthy Geometry” percolating in my headphones for a while now, and it’s easy to see why Vanaprasta’s hype wave is cresting. This is driving, dynamic, guitar-hero indie rock, where six-string acrobatics and swaggering rhythms create a comfy sonic bed for frontman Steven Wilkin’s versatile vocals. Most importantly, the band’s kaleidoscopic sound is presented not with a sense of shoegaze-y ennui, but the kind of verve often reserved for punk bands.
An L.A. website called The Deli described Vanaprasta as “a more talented version of Kings of Leon” and the band’s MySpace cites psychedelic Pink Floyd, dance-punky Bloc Party, funk-rocky Red Hot Chili Peppers and experimental supernovas Radiohead as influences. Fair enough. But when I listen to the band, I hear a cross between Portland’s proggy Portgual. The Man and the woefully underappreciated Seattle pop band Aveo. And surely with all those names swimming around in your head, you have some idea of what Vanaprasta does. If not, they have some downloads and streams over at their website.
Here’s hoping Dmytryk is able to steer the band’s ship over to his homeland one of these days.