At Just 15 Years of Age, Velvet Starlings’ Christian Gisborne is Howling His Way Into a Promising 2019
It wasn’t too long ago that Grimy Goods premiered Velvet Starlings’ 70s stylized single, “Sold Down the River.” The Los Angeles-based band caught our attention with the song’s moody instrumentals and piercing vocals, courtesy of frontman Christian Gisborne. Organs, powerful guitar riffs and attitude galore ooze through the single and stick in a very satisfying way. Velvet Starlings polish off their retro sound with little flashes of modernity, fusing new with old acumenically.
Their self-titled EP is chock full of brooding tunes that are equally as good with plenty of fast-paced songs, opening full speed with “If Life Ain’t Getting You High.” And, as with any classic sounding album, Velvet Starlings include a few slow turners. “I Will Be There,” for example, floats along softly as the heartfelt ballad echoes with full backing hymns and lush instrumentals, a stark contrast to the majority of the EP.
Although the band’s sound is heavily rooted in the past, its youthful band members give the classic rock genre new life. They, like many bands and artists, are taking full advantage of the tracks laid by past rockers, pulling from the best of what yesteryear greats pioneered while also pulling influence from more contemporary acts. “Coming Home,” “No Hard Feelings” and “If Life Ain’t Getting You High” are clear examples of influence from current artists like Cage The Elephant, Arctic Monkeys and The Black Keys — the monologue-like singing in “No Hard Feelings” is extremely reminiscent of Cage the Elephant circa “Melophobia.”
Following their EP release in the fall, Velvet Starlings have ended the year with a holiday tune, “It’s Christmas Time,” a song best described as an audible distillation of a very pleasant snow day. While their holiday song may not be the deepest lyrically, it is fun and shows off a little of the band’s playful persona.
2018 saw Velvet Starlings hit the #1 spot on KROQ’s Locals Only show, as well as receiving heavy airplay on Sirius XM. They have a new EP in the works for 2019 and are set to return to SXSW. With a charismatic stage presence and surprisingly polished ear for music (despite their young age), we’re expecting a bright 2019 from Velvet Starlings.