Review: Rodes Rollins Comes Into Her Own With 'Velvet'

By: Julia Talen

Rodes Rollins (Talia Taxman) has truly come into her own in the last year and a half. Since the release of her acclaimed, coming-of-age EP, Young Adult, Rollins has gone on to release a series of singles including “Nasty Woman” and “Boom Pow.

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Her next musical project, called Velvet, which drops October 19th, is an A/B Side record underscoring Rollins' impressive range as an artist. Her music straddles the sphere of all sorts of genres, from psychedelic rock to folk with a bluesy flare. This record is no exception.

The A Side's "Mystery Man" opens up with vintage instrumentals, which reminded me somewhat of some of the instrumentals The Growlers incorporate in their music. There is a sort of "Wild West" vibe throughout the tune as well, which is perhaps a nod to Rollins' roots having grown up in Boulder, Colorado. Complimenting that western old-time vibe are her exquisite, spooky, and synthy vocals that allure listeners deep into the story of a search for someone as she sings, "Mystery man/hold a gun to his head/what you want you can get."

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Verse foils lyrics on the B side of Velvet with the track "Wrong Turn" when Rollins' sings, "We take a step towards a demise/darling we/try and then we realize/darling we/hung the towel up to dry." In the search her first track alludes to, her second track suggests a wrong turn's been made. In this "wrong turn," Rollins' tune slows down, shows off even more of her incredible vocal range, and plays up a somber side to her vocalization. There too, is an openness in her voice evocative of Cat Power. In addition to her vocals, Rollins rounds out the B Side with an incredible guitar outro solo which elevates the mesmerizing quality of both of her tunes on Velvet, as listeners quickly come to realize her guitar-playing talent is quite remarkable.

Rollins' music is original, combining all sorts of influences as she continues to experiment and grow as a musician. Such originality is certainly a difficult achievement in our musically saturated world, but Rollin's is going for it and doing it well.

-Julia

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.