Veda, with the Jonbenet

On Veda's debut disc, The Weight of an Empty Room, classically trained singer Kristen May launches every chorus into the ether. On record, her awesome vocal arsenal, which includes operatic wide-mouthed screams and Cyndi Lauper-style mid-word hiccups, can overwhelm the uninitiated. Live, though, Veda makes an immediate positive impression. May maintains eye contact with the audience, except when she leans her head back during passionate passages. She strums her rhythm riffs aggressively, using a one-arm push-up motion. Stylistically, guitarist Brian Little resembles a budding Thurston Moore: When he turns his back to fans, his peculiar, spaced-out tones become all the more mysterious. The group ends its sets with an arena-ready flourish, pairing a sustained drum roll with a squealing, kneeling May solo. Veda's melodies, almost an afterthought during the enchanting concert spectacle, resurge in listeners' minds days after concerts, a pleasant sensation that's like finding a forgotten $20 bill in a jean pocket.


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