John Velghe

The first lines of John Velghe’s EP entreat: Lump me in with little teamsters/I’ll be all right. There’s no need. The local singer and songwriter’s first solo effort is more than capable of differentiating itself from thousands of other warm, acoustic EPs. Velghe’s songs aren’t draped in a multitude of flattering accoutrements, save for trombone from Michael Walker and accordion and piano played mostly by Velghe — and they don’t need to be. His understated EP is six chunks of good, solid songwriting, without a weak number here, though there are flaws — “Wrecking” has some of the same lyrics and a similar melancholic tone as Wilco’s “We’re Just Friends.” (Velghe lists Wilco, Alejandro Escovedo, Grant-Lee Phillips, the Replacements and Freedy Johnston as landmark artists in his accompanying press release.) Regardless, “Wrecking” is also a gorgeous song, belonging on a soundtrack to a movie set in a big, lonely city. Perhaps Jeff Tweedy is the benchmark that Velghe is reaching for; the understated palette of A Ghost Is Born populates the sparse, surprisingly warm tracks on this EP. The number that everyone will lose their shit over is an achingly beautiful cover of Iggy Pop’s “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Abigail Henderson’s vocals are mournful and beautiful when paired with Velghe’s croon, and the dissonant guitar and dark chords are goosebump-worthy. One criticism? Velghe’s influences sound a tad dated. Guster, A Ghost Is Born, Ben Kweller — they’re indie-pop landmarks, but they’re also stuck strictly in the mid-aughts. Fast-forwarding a few years would have brought Velghe’s compositions up-to-date. But for what they are, they couldn’t be more beautiful.

Categories: Music