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By My Side (starfish)

Re-Release #3

Heartbreakingly beautiful, slow, minimal folk. (KZSU Radio, CA)
Melancholische Großstadtballaden (Der Standard, A)

20 years – as a band and as a couple, and time’s still flying.

To say it’s been a wild and beautiful ride would be an understatement. Also, it seems to be quite an achievement for two people who share an appreciation of spontaneity and a self-perception of being averse to making plans.

Anyway, here we are now and it feels like having one eye in the rear-view mirror and one eye on the road ahead while trying to figure out an appropriate way to celebrate this double-anniversary.

So, over the course of the coming 12 months we will re-release our 12 albums/EPs, starting on January 27th with the EP “Spare some sugar (for the rat)”, originally released in the spring of 2003 on Starfish Records. "Alpha Suite (Filmmusic) will follow on February 24th and “By my side”, our first long-player on March 31st.

Thank you all for being in this with us. You make us feel like our journey has just begun.


By my side is a celebration of the solitary endeavour of creating music “for the sake of the song”.

The album features stripped down folk tunes and sparse soundscapes, anticipating in many ways the DIY-trend of later years. Instruments and vocals were recorded solo through a small tube amplifier, the immanent distortion adding to the sense of timelessness of the record.

As one reviewer put it: “ .. The music here burns so slowly that you'll blacken your thumbs just plucking the disc from its tray.”



Die ersten 20 Jahre!
- und ein Rückblick mit Zukunftsperspektive.

Son Of The Velvet Rat feiern heuer ein rundes Jubiläum, als Band und - nebenbei bemerkt - auch als Paar. 

Im Frühjahr 2003 erschien der erste Tonträger, “Spare some sugar (for the rat)” auf dem kleinen kalifornischen Indie-Label Starfish Records. Nüchtern betrachtet und auf Zahlen beschränkt, macht das 20 gemeinsame Jahre und 12 Tonträger, teils in voller Album-Länge, teils im EP-Format. Erschienen sind diese Platten zuerst bei Starfish, dann beim Wiener Label Monkey und zuletzt bei Fluff & Gravy Records in Portland/OR. 

Aus diesem Anlass veröffentlichen SotVR im heurigen Jahr, jeweils am letzten Freitag des Monats, ein Album oder eine EP aus dem Back-Katalog.


Am Freitag, 31. März steht der erste Longplayer “By My Side” (ursprünglich erschienen im März 2004) auf dem Programm. Ein im Alleingang aufgenommenes Album, das die Essenz von SotVR beschreibt und nebenbei den “Do it yourself”-Trend späterer Jahre vorwegnimmt.

Das Album erhielt in Österreich und in den USA hervorragende Kritiken und genießt heute, auch weil zwischenzeitlich vergriffen, bereits eine gewissen Kultstatus.


"Öfters war in diesem Zusammenhang auch von melancholischen Großstadtballaden zu lesen, von der Lakonie eines Townes van Zandt oder der abgehobenen Esoterik eines Nike Drake. Völlig zu Recht!" (Christian Schachinger, Der Standard, Jänner 2005)


"...Er kleidet filigrane Songwriterkleinode in samtenes Dunkelgrau und meistert selbst in einer Coverversion des Joy-Division-Klassikers 'Love will tear us apart' mit traumwandlerischer Sicherheit den schmalen Grat zwischen Emotionalität und Klischee."

(Gerhard Stöger, Falter, Wien, März 2004)


"Songs als schmächtige Gebilde, die sich um eine fragile Singstimme ranken und mit elegischer Grazie unter die Haut fängt an, sich selbst wieder um einiges lieber zu spüren."

(Robert Buchschwenter, Die Presse, Wien, April 2004)


"Gitarre, Bass, Bandoneon, Melodika – und die faszinierende Stimme von Sänger Georg Altziebler ... -Gänsehautgarantie"

(Andreas Russ, Kurier, Wien, März 2004)


"The sound is simple and stark....There's nothing more arresting than a single note echoing against the darkness. Altziebler seems to have figured that out and he's written songs that accentuate the isolation of the sound. Or maybe he found a sound that matches his songwriting. Either way, this album kills. "

(Jon Worley, aiding&abetting #252, Durham, NC, USA, 2004)


“There's some dark majesty at work here." (Suzie Q, logo magazine, London, April 2004)


"The vocalist carries on the tradition of Leonhard Cohen as filtered through the modern sensibilities of Tindersticks' Stuart Staples – all moody mumbles and heart-wrenching poetry..." (, RewiewXII/2001)


“ .. a fluid, cathartic, aural masterpiece."

 (Sahar Oz, Delusjons of Adequacy, Picks of the week, NY, June 2004)


"Thirty seconds into the album it's easy to imagine that you would hear these exact sounds seeping from a basement of a gothic cathedral as you happen to walk by. By My Side provides sounds that, although dark and brooding, seem to lure you further into an exploration of love, or perhaps just to pick deeper a little at its wounds. Son of the Velvet Rat's first full-length album is lo-fi indie rock singed at every seam to bare minimalist arrangements that somehow manage to contain an array of emotion."  (Rian Rochford, Performer magazine, June 2004)


"... Austria's Son of the Velvet Rat is in fact a solo project cracked from the scary-smart brain of songwriter Georg Altziebler. The music here burns so slowly that you'll blacken your thumbs just plucking the disc from its tray.”

(Mike Baker, Splendid, May 2004)


“His lyrics emanate directly from his heart and their honesty and urgency give the songs a gorgeous hue." (Katrina M. Davenport, Sponic zine, June 2004)


"Heartbreakingly beautiful, slow, minimal folk. Think Will Oldham, mellow tracks Iron and Wine, quiet Sun Kil Moon, but even more low key. Pretty, meditative, slow, stripped down, slightly distorted, and with lots of acoustic guitar picking and haunting harmonium sound. "

(Mor, KZSU Radio, Stanford/CA, June 2004)


"The simplistic ballads are mystical, enlightened, and the haunting music is at its paramount. The penetrating pieces are beautiful, romantic, fragile, and magical. Dark melancholy permeates the lyrics laced with recurring themes of alienation and loneliness. Thoughts of disconnection and isolation accentuate the prophetic, foreboding song writing. The gloomy, echoing tunes are simplicity at its best." (Christine Beals, one times one, April 2004)


"...those that enjoy the nuances of singer-songwriter experimentation will enjoy the vivid instrumentation and drawl-like vocal delivery that pervades BY MY SIDE. This disc surely is not for everyone, but those that like a bit of adventure may enjoy trying this release on for size." (Mike SOS, Americore Magazine, May 2004)

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