The Spell Versus Is Under: The Civil War (Or The War Between The States)

In the ’90s, most indie rockers were white males who cultivated a cool, detached image. New York-based Versus stood out from its contemporaries for many reasons. Its lineup included two (and sometimes three) Filipino-American brothers, it had a female bassist/singer, and the band gleefully professed its love for sports, meat and classic rock. After several albums and lineup changes continuing through 2001, the group went on a recording hiatus, only occasionally performing live. However, a reinvigorated Versus returned two years ago, and the band has just released On The Ones And Threes (Merge), its first full-length in a decade. Now consisting of singer/guitarist Richard Baluyut, drummer Edward Baluyut, bassist/singer Fontaine Toups, plus live violinist/keyboardist Margaret White, Versus picks up where it left off sonically: hypnotic melodies, male/female vocals and the occasional heavy guitar squall. The band members will be guest editing all week. Read our Q&A with them.

Richard: I became interested in this part of history almost accidentally, during an impromptu road trip that ended up among the monuments and ghosts at Gettysburg at night by high beam. Later, during our touring life, I dragged the band to every battlefield I could, from Harpers Ferry in the East, to Shiloh in Tennessee and even Glorieta Pass in New Mexico. Battlefields are oases in the sprawling suburban desert, open space where you can imagine life as it was in the 1800s. The other band members didn’t seem to mind too much and didn’t have any better ideas anyway.

Video after the jump.