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Viva Voce Look to the Future



    Word-of-mouth is the true test of any band's worth. Critics and bloggers can go on about composition, thematic elements and hidden meanings until they're blue in the face. But at the end of the day, it's the people around you who ultimately possess the ability to praise a musician or bury them.

    It can be no coincidence, then, that Viva Voce chose the name that they did. The phrase is Latin for "word of mouth," and just about anybody who has heard the band's steamy, electrifying albums can confidently attest to the band's greatness.

    Viva Voce were formed in 1998 in Muscle Shoals, Ala., by Kevin Robinson and Anita Robinson. The married couple then relocated first to Nashville and then to Portland, Ore., where they currently reside. Along the way, they released a series of captivating albums marked by sultry melodies and atmospheric instrumentals. By the time they released their third record, 2004's scorching "The Heat Can Melt Your Brian," Viva Voce were on a serious roll.

    "Get Yr Blood Sucked Out," from 2006, pulled off the impressive feat of improving upon its predecessors, thanks to a new emphasis on acoustic guitar that simultaneously stripped down the band's sound and expanded it. Their most recent album, 2009's "Rose City," was a sort homecoming for the group, with the Robinsons returning to the formula of epic guitar work and simmering sonics that they had previously perfected.

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    You can sample that winning formula for yourself on March 10 when Viva Voce open for Damien Jurado at the Loft at UCSD. Viva Voce will be giving fans a sneak preview of songs from their upcoming Vanguard Records debut, "The Future Will Destroy You," which is set for release on June 21. If you can't wait for a taste, you can download the new single "Analog Woodland Song," from Vanguard's website.

    Tickets for the Belly Up show can be purchased here, so get on it. Then again, don't listen to me -- ask a friend or neighbor for the skinny. But chances are they'll tell you the same thing.

    Chris Maroulakos is a writer and managing editor for the San Diego music blog Owl and Bear.