From The Desk Of The Van Pelt’s Chris Leo: Víctor Jara

The Van Pelt‘s Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves (1996) and Sultans Of Sentiment (1997), in hindsight, provided a number of significant indie-rock mile markers. The band was led by Ted’s brother, Chris Leo; Stealing recorded by Alap Momin (ex-Dälek); bassist Toko Yasuda went back and forth between TVP and Blonde Redhead after that record; and both albums saw the light of day via cult label Gern Blandsten. After being out of print since the turn of the century, the original tapes have been mined for reissue treatment by Spain’s La Castanya, allowing listeners to trace the band from its gorgeously melodic and incendiary, post-hardcore beginnings a la the Jazz June and Texas Is The Reason to a more subdued, Slint-like bent with Leo’s increasingly spoken-word vocal style by the time the last notes ring out on Sultans. Leo will be guest editing all week.

Leo: While the CIA and Pinochet were busy dismantling all the was good and holy in Chile, the dissidents protested and were subsequently disappeared. Thing is, it wasn’t with mohawks or discordant anthems or molotov cocktails or anything the children of the Reagan/Thatcher years like me would recognize as brash. Instead it was with beautifully soothing voices like that of Víctor Jara, lullabying themselves into martydom.