The High Violets formed after the demise of legendary Portland favorite the Bella Low, a band that played regulary with Elliot Smith's Heatmiser and The Dandy Warhols. Lead guitarist Clint Sargent picked up the pieces from that band's crash and put together an amazing group of musicians to form the High Violets. Jsun Adams, the lead singer from that band went on to form The Upsidedown, also a resident on our fine record label.
Influenced heavily by the amazing sounds of MBV, Ride, Spaceman 3, Lush and the Cocteau Twins, The High Violets soon developed a huge following. After a few early line-up changes they drafted in one of Portland's most amazing voices, Kaitlyn ni Donavan. Having an extremely successful solo career of her own, Kaitlyn immediately added the lush vocals and beautiful melodies the band needed. One self-released EP later and the band were in the studio recording some songs that would eventually end up becoming their debut album 44 Down. Based solely on an interesting write-up from Portland’s sorely missed music rag “The Rocket” Reverb requested a demo from the band in 2001. After quite a few listens and a visit to Portland from Dublin, Ireland where the label was then based, Reverb Records set its sights and the legendary 44 Down was born into the world. The album definitely paved the way for a resurgence in the shoegazer sound and those that followed. Under the Radar Magazine and Magnet Magazine both singled out the band and this specific album with full page feature articles after its release, noting its influence.
After a great hiatus and many line-up changes, The High Violets album "To Where You Are" was released in 2006. The album was produced, engineered and mixed by Tony Lash (Dandy Warhols, Elliott Smith, Tahiti 80) and Jeff Saltzman (Sleater Kinney, Stephen Malkamus. The album was absolutely well worth the wait. Kaitlyn's voice and melodies permeate throughout in a truly magical and surreal way and Clint Sargent's guitar sounds like it's been in a very melodic part of outerspace for the last severla years. The press and world of radio also thought so. Check below for some reviews and quotes.
While the band spent a very busy year touring the USA to promote To Where You Are, Reverb Records was quietly organizing a remix album that spanned the bands’ first two releases and beyond. The results can be found in Satellite Remixes, which made an amazing splash in November of 2007. The album featured some wonderful revisions of High Violet songs courtesy of Ulrich Schnauss (Domino Records), Carmen Rizzo (Coldplay, BT, Paul Oakenfold, Delirium), Basic (Reverb) and Antahkarana Music, among others. The album also features a remix of a previously unreleased track called Watching You Fly. Pitchfork.com immediately picked up on the Ulrich Schnauss remix of Chinese Letter and you can see why for yourself by checking out our Reverb Radio here on our website.
Amid many rumors of a breakup, the band have been quietly recording more songs over the last couple of years that may yet see the light of day. Stay tuned…
PM MEDIA REVIEW
"The High Violets seem poised to make indie/pop crossover history... With two well-crafted releases behind them, and the positive buzz growing around them, The High Violets could find themselves on many playlists in the coming year."
"Kaitlyn ni Donavan has a voice that would melt the Jesus And Mary Chain's heart, and ballad 'Invitation' proves the Violets are capable of writing a great tune."
"To Where You Are is an exceptionally solid affair, an album that's consistently great from start to finish. With both accessibility and depth, it's an immaculately produced and energetic-yet-emotive outing that's likely to draw quite a bit of attention, and deservedly so. Highly recommended."
"To Where You Are, an album imbued with an affecting, undeniable sensuality that will alternately start and end many relationships come Valentine's Day."
CMJ NEW MUSIC WEEKLY
"When shoegazer comes in vogue again look to the High Violets to be the band that signaled its return. The ethereal voice of Kaitlyn Ni Donovan and the dreamy twin guitars are reminiscent of a gentle My Bloody Valentine or early Lush. “Chinese Letter” is as breezy as it is dense—even when the guitars are a wall of sound it is never over powering."
Songs from '44 Down' have been regularly featured on these shows: THE REAL WORLD, ROAD RULES, SORORITY LIFE and FRATERNITY LIFE.
"The Year In Music" Issue features The High Violets song "44 Down" on their "New Music Sampler" (Vol. 27).
ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE
"The High Violets - Shimmering, Starry-eyed ethereality."
"Dreamy, melodious songs fueled by Kaitlyn ni Donovan's wispy vocals and Clint Sargent's fluidly gorgeous guitar figures. '44 Down' should make you wobbly-legged..."
" 44 Down - Seven tracks of shimmering sonic sensuality."
TIME OUT NY
"Recorded over a period of three years, 'To Where You Are' is worth the wait, especially for its well crafted songs... The set's strongest track, "Cool Green," combines all the best traits of the High Violets's sound. At once mild and forthright, the song's scrambled synths, menacing riffs and floating melodies add up to a perfect pop ditty and a distorted dream in one shot."