Vera Sola recently announced that she will release her debut album Shades on 9 November. Along with the announcement she shared the video for lead single 'Small Minds'. Though a longtime member of Elvis Perkins’ band, Shades marks her first solo effort. Today she has followed up with the stunning, cinematic video for new single 'The Colony' as well as announcing a show at London's Shacklewell Arms on 14 Nov.
Read a statement from Vera Sola on the track:
I wrote ‘The Colony’ very quickly last fall in the days following my return from a while spent supporting native water protectors at Standing Rock. It is loosely the story of America, sung from the perspective of the collective white colonial consciousness. It was important to me in the studio that the lead vocal was delivered in a dismissive tone of casual entitlement, and that the background vocals served as a heavy counterpoint: a choir of the souls who suffered, and continue to suffer, at the hands of the invading oppressor. Voices stripped of language, and left to howl, relegated to the background, yet providing the very foundation of the song, and by metaphorical extension, this country. The whole thing is of course an indictment—a paean to the land and her people.
Singing as the “I” in this case is an example of my divided conscience and consciousness—taking responsibility for, and an acknowledgement of, my part in that collective oppression by virtue of my privilege as a white body. It’s a conscious effort to call attention to that, as well as a deep heart-felt apology.
For the video, I wanted to, as I did on the recording, embody both white colonist and physicalised spirit of the stolen country and it’s first inhabitants. I wanted the setting to convey the sublimity of nature while emphasising its dissection by industrialism. The boats that brought the first Europeans. The trains that crisscross and divide the land, bear the cargo of capitalism and the individuals that would stake claim to wherever they stepped off the platform. The highways and the power plants and oil derricks and power lines that mark and mar the plains and deserts and forests. Aerial footage seemed key here—a watching from above as if from the perspective of floating souls.
I’ve spent a good amount of time recently in the town of Bombay Beach, on the Salton Sea, California’s largest inland body of water, and current site of critical man-made environmental disaster. It seemed the perfect place to evoke the above—the destruction of the natural landscape, the uprising of industry, actions of prospecting and taking and killing, wittingly or unwittingly
I met the director of photography, Damon James Duke, at Bombay Beach and as soon as I saw his coverage of the surrounding area, I knew there was no one better for the project. A brilliant eye, and exceedingly intrepid, he was able to help me bring what I wanted to life with unparalleled ease. Together we shot it in essentially a single 101-degrees-in-the-shade day.
8 - 11 Nov - Utrecht @ Le Guess Who?
13 Nov - Nottingham @ Rough Trade
14 Nov - London @ Shacklewell Arms
15 Nov - London @ Rough Trade East
Vera Sola has announced that she will release her debut album Shades on 9 November as well as sharing the video for lead single 'Small Minds'. Though a longtime member of Elvis Perkins’ band, Shades marks her first solo effort.
Speaking of the video Vera Sola says:
“I wanted the visuals to convey a sort of opulent decay. The degradation that comes with the power of technology: of our bodies, of possibility for meaningful connection, of any jab at true romance. And the loneliness of all that—the extreme and singular loneliness that comes with physically being with someone while they’re off in the cloud, in the ‘net, all webbed up somewhere else."
Vera Sola grew up between New York City and a farm in Canada, raised by artists, writers and seekers. As a child she was surrounded by music—training early on as a dancer, learning to play piano, and later teaching herself guitar and bass. Writing too was always a passion. Considering she holds a degree in Literature from Harvard, it’s fitting that Vera Sola’s songs are arranged to give words a well-earned place at their center. On Shades, Vera employs her background in poetry to explore at once the generalities and subtleties of the nature of ‘femininity’. Each song speaks the story of a different feminised character—whether a spurned lover, a stolen country, an anthropomorphised rhinoceros or biblical first woman—delivered with a skilled literary approach and signature turn of phrase.
Recorded in St. Louis at Native Sound Studio, Vera wrote, played and arranged all of the parts on Shades. With her distinct voice as a foundation, traditional instrumentation and the music of found objects are woven into a soundscape that is all at once complex and sparse.
Vera Sola will perform at this year's Le Guess Who? festival as well as playing in-stores at London's Rough Trade East and Rough Trade Bristol