Maria Mar’s Local Radar: Tara Elliott & The Red Velvets

Every so often, I spotlight an artist more than once; not to say I am running of out bands to review, but if artists that deserve the recognition put out new music or announce something spectacular, well I need to be in the know! This week, I will follow that motto with someone that I have a feeling you will recognize. I have featured her in the past, and always get such a strong response from it. Her name is Tara Elliott, and she is an icon, a goddess, and an all-around genuine human being. Tara’s crew rolls by the name of The Red Velvets, and they are just as full of color and flavor as the cupcake.

If you follow my column, you understand my appreciation of strong females in the industry, and Elliott is on top of the list. I have always been a fan of her recordings, as they showcase her talent, but after I saw her and the band live, my feelings were 100 percent confirmed on all levels. With her powerful vocal range, Tara could bring people in off the streets who have no interest in music whatsoever.

First and foremost, we have to talk about Elliott’s legacy. Being nominated for awards and buzzed about all around town, she is well respected. Whenever I see an artist or band to write about, or even support at their show, I look to see if they are interactive with the community. Any time I have been out to a show, or even hosted my own stuff, Tara is there, and not to promote herself. She is a genuine, true supporter of the music scene, and is always looking for the next big thing. Anyone that would be more than willing to lend a helping hand or hop on a show to promote your band is a keeper in my book. Plus, every time Tara and her bandmates play a show, their lineup is completely eclectic. She could play hard rock, pop, metal, acoustic or pretty much anything in her showcases, which is another attribute that I love. Now that I have sang Tara Elliott & The Red Velvets’ praise on a personal and heartfelt level, let’s talk about what you all want to know: their talent.

The band’s new record, Drop A Needle On The King, is flawless. I love the album title, for I am a vinyl junkie, and think it’s appropriate that the queen herself associated her throne with the king. Think of dozens of genres of rock compacted onto one disc, and this is what you have. I have been anticipating this release for quite some time now, as she had expressed to me how it’s “completely fresh” and something she is “extremely proud of.” She is right; it is all of that and more.

I started off listening somewhat out of order, taking a crack at “Nobody Can Break Me.” This is a ballad for women everywhere, or even men. If you’ve ever been hurt, betrayed or told you cannot do something, put this song on and play it loud. It really has that effect that you could apply it to any situation in your life and make a positive impact from it. Her vocal range is insane on this track, and it would be hard to pick a favorite, but this may be it. “Death Of Samantha” takes you for a completely different turn, showing that she not only has a light, positive side, but a darker, tougher side that she can make it through any situation. Maybe these aren’t what the lyrics or song titles mean at all, but again, that is one of the key ingredients as to why I love her music so much: Anything can be made your own.

Another song that I really adore is “A Leopard’s Spots Don’t Change.” Again, on this one, it’s such a true statement. It’s almost like all of her tracks are coming from a page in her diary. As much as we sometimes want people to change, or try to change them, we cannot, and it sucks. However, Tara managed to put some light on a situation by belting her brains out on this one. Whoever gave her the motivation for this record, I don’t know if I want to shake their hand and thank them or throw a tomato at their head for once being such a coward. Either way, I like how this track gets my emotions flowing, for better or worse.

I also want to touch on the artwork of this record, for it showcases Tara perfectly: spunky, beautiful and with a badass edge. Not that this matters whatsoever, but she oozes an edge that I cannot describe with adjectives. It’s contagious and it says, “Listen to what I have to say. I know what the hell I am talking about.” It takes me back to a time where music was more raw and real, and of course reminds me that vinyl is luckily making a heavy comeback. I think she chose the perfect scene for the art, for it sets the feel for the entire record, as any artwork should.

Be sure to catch Tara Elliott & The Red Velvets live whenever you can, and buy their new record. You can learn more about them on their Facebook page or on ReverbNation. They are not just performers, but entertainers as well. Tara Elliott & The Red Velvets are already a household name, but it seems the future can only become brighter. I will be back next week with another local band of your liking, or perhaps a solo act. Who knows, there are so many talented artists out there just waiting to be discovered!