San Francisco’s Vetiver bears a familiar face

by Ryan Snyder

It’s been more than ten years since Andy Cabic left the Triad for the richer musical scenery of San Francisco, but that doesn’t mean that the former frontman and guitarist for the influential Greensboro while bass player Daniel Hindman and keyboardist Sarah Versprille joined the band just a few months ago. “Most of the people Iknow in [San Francisco] are playing in other bands and busy with other things,” Cabic said. “So it just makes sense to find people I already get along with to play.” In fact, the easy explanation as to why Vetiver finds itself on the Eastern Seaboard so often is that his entire band lives between Greensboro and Brooklyn, NY. While such great distances might put a strain on any working musical relationship, familiarity helps to abate presumed difficulties. The band gets together just before touring to rehearse after Cabic sends material to learn. They will be kicking off a 16-day East Coast tour beginning with a performance at the Werehouse in Winston-Salem on Friday, though those who remember his work in the ’90s should brace for change. “They just don’t sound anything like each other,” Cabic said. Vetiver owes much to the latest freak folk and naturalismo movement shaped by San Fran artists like Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom, both of whom have toured and worked with Cabic. His music is gorgeously melodic and accessible, but fragile and complex at the same time. The careful attention to detail paid throughout his latest album, Tight Knit, is noteworthy, from the gentle sizzle of the cymbals on the ethereal “Rolling Sea” to the Worrellian funk flavor of “Another Reason to Go,” though Cabic hears more indie rock band the Raymond Brake has remained a stranger. Cabic still finds himself out east regularly with Vetiver (, a psych-folk collaborative that he founded nearly six years ago. Though he has moved on from playing Raymond Brake material some time ago, Cabic still considers those experiences a part of who he is now. “Songs that I was writing with Raymond Brake were the kind of songs that were mine or felt like mine at the time,” Cabic said. “The new stuff is still a collection of songs true to my feelings and my abilities as I write them.” If his life parallels the lyrics of a certain Willie Nelson song, it’s purely coincidental. While Cabic spends months out of the year on the road touring profusely, he dedicates plenty of time to making music with his friends.

Guitarist Sanders Trippe, an old friend from Cabic’s days as a political science major at UNCG and DJ at WUAG, might still be a Greensboro local, but he’s been a fixture on Cabic’s tours since Vetiver’s second album, To Find Me Gone. Drummer Otto Hauser is another of his good friends that have stuck around for some time, continuity on it than any of his previous releases. “It sounds like a summary of different aspects of prior releases,” Cabic said. “I think it’s the best-sounding record I’ve made and it’s a little more uplifting and sunny than the last couple.” It was also his first release on the Sub Pop label, the home of the early ’90s grunge scene and currently the label at the forefront of various indie movements. His previous three albums came out of his own label, which was under the umbrella of Revolver. Despite moving to the larger label, Cabic says it hasn’t affected how he writes in the slightest. “I have a great working relationship with them, so I was pretty much able to do what I wanted,” Cabic said. “More people are hearing my music now, but this is my fourth record so I’d hope that that would be happening anyway.”

Vetiver plays the Werehouse on Friday and is supported by Distrails and Jew(s) & Catholic(s).