If you follow the American underground with any seriousness, the odds are you’ve probably seen the Jupiter in Velvet moniker or heard his music in the last few years. An enigmatic solo project that has yet to find a staple genre to call its own – purposefully, it should be noted – Jupiter in Velvet is getting serious about punk rock in 2020, and is showing a lot of love for the legendary genre in the new EP Punk Goes the Velvet, which was released just this past September 11th to a warm reception from critics and fans. Punk Goes the Velvet doesn’t seek to change the public perception about what punk rock is supposed to be so much as revisit the elemental foundations that make it so vital to contemporary culture, and for me, it’s a hard record to put down.
Some of the songs in the tracklist, such as “And so the Earth Stood Still” and “Get Out,” sport some really angular stylizations to their mixes, and from where I sit, present us with a fine opportunity to hear just how experimental Jupiter in Velvet is willing to get with his production technique. He isn’t shy about letting the metallic rough edges stand as-is in “Not Again” and the neo-goth “Please Don’t Ever Let Me Go;” actually, I think it seems like he wants us to experience the full expressiveness of his sonic profile in all of its untainted glory here, which is quite respectable indeed.
I would have liked a little more bass in “Dimestore Suave” than we were inevitably given, but I can understand why Jupiter in Velvet decided to go with more of a sterile sound instead. By washing out the backend in this track, we definitely get a little more sleekness out of the vocal, which isn’t what I was expecting at all (and I think that’s the point). One of the best things about this record is the fact that it doesn’t follow any set of rules – including one that would require it to break every convention in the book – which is what makes its contents more identifiably punk rock than any amount of amplifier distortion or tempo-forced attitude would have ever accounted for.
Punk Goes the Velvet is a very outside of the box kind of an EP, and in the genre of music it so articulately celebrates, that’s the only thing that really matters above all else. There have been a number of critics in the last couple of years to question the legitimacy of a contemporary punk rock culture, but it’s in efforts like this most recent offering from Jupiter in Velvet where we’re reminded that the true drive behind this aesthetic is anything but dead in 2020. Politically, socially and musically speaking, punk is very much alive and well, and thanks to the ongoing preservation of its credibility through works like Punk Goes the Velvet and its five featured tracks, I think we can count on it staying around for a long time to come.
by Skyler Voss