Sunday, November 1, 2015

Home-grown Jule Vera Still Hasn't Shutup (Fans: Help Keep it That Way)

Jule Vera online: website, Facebook, Twitter, InstagramSoundCloudmerchandise, label's YouTube, GoFundMe

Spinning Implied by Camera Setting
Ansley Newman and Jake Roland performing at The Gnu's Room
in Auburn, Alabama, in August 2011.
In a February 2012 Post, and then again in March 2012, I briefly highlighted Shutup n' Clap. It was a band from here, Auburn or Opelika (Alabama), I'm not sure which. A lot of us around here are sort of from both. It was a group of high-school-age kids with two members at its core, Ansley Newman and Jake Roland.

[UPDATE - 11/2/2015: The April 2015 article, "Opelika Band, Jule Vera, on the Rise" by Whitney Jones from The Corner News states that Newman was actually a later member of the band than Will Stacey, its bassist. I should probably consider all three of them to be founding members. I didn't do any real research for this post. I have, however, noticed that they tend to avoid mentioning the band's previous name in some articles. Embrace your goofball past, people.]

I heard recordings online, an album or two, and saw a couple of truly entertaining and I think pretty much homemade videos. I also heard Newman and Roland perform live in 2011 at The Gnu's Room when it was still on Gay St.

As I thought might happen, and those thoughts are well documented, a few years later the band is looking like a pretty successful recording group. Now called Jule Vera (website), the band has two CDs out with Pure Noise Records and is touring internationally, because Canada is, in fact, another country. The members have been giving interviews, selling merchandise, and in October their van was broken into and their equipment stolen (help them at this GoFundMe page), so they're legit living the life. Below is a more recent picture from their Facebook page.


TORONTO! You were amazing last night!!! We can't wait to come back❤️
Posted by Jule Vera on Saturday, October 24, 2015


I think there were about 12 of us in the audience that night in 2011, though even back then, the full band could draw a pretty good local crowd. You can get a taste of what they used to sound like at the old website, shutupnclap.com, which for now is happily still active.

The music has changed, as music is supposed to do. The old stuff was more raw, and I liked that. It's what drew me in, though I didn't love every song. The first Pure Noise CD, Friendly Enemies (on iTunes), is more polished, and holds that indie feel a bit longer. This year's (2015) single release, One Little String (on Pure Noise's YouTube channel) is maybe pushing toward a more mainstream pop sound. The songwriting is way more consistent, now. I like that it's still honest. I like that the cheerful music still does not, not quite, belie the longing that's been in the lyrics since the beginning.

I don't have a good feel for the music industry at this level, but I know people and read things. As successful as Pure Noise is helping them look, I've got to imagine they are working like dogs, and hoping like crazy for something to give them that double-bounce to the next level. Money-wise, I'm guessing they're eating well enough, but that GoFundMe push is only asking for $2,000, which will be matched. It tells me they probably don't yet spend a lot of time behind the VIP ropes. And I'm betting most of the green rooms at the venues they play are still pretty gross.

We don't have too many from here to push on the edges of the fame bubble, though we do have a few. I find myself feeling proud and a little worried. They're not my kids, and not kids at all, really. But Newman's mom is my boys' elementary-school art teacher, and I played in high school band with Roland's dad. So I think I'm allowed a little emotional investment in the situation.

But from this point, I won't try and predict where they'll go. The production is tight, and the songwriting is solid with good hooks. It's as good or better than most anything else I hear on mainstream pop and even alternative radio. But creating good art is not enough to bring an artist success. All artists need money from our fans.

We as their hometown(s) supporters can help by buying their stuff, giving them money, and sharing their music. Links for all that are at the top of this post. I'll go ahead and put them at the bottom for those of you lazy internet readers. Good job getting this far! I meant the readers, but also Jule Vera.

Jule Vera online: websiteFacebookTwitterInstagramSoundCloudmerchandiselabel's YouTubeGoFundMe