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By: Peter Gaston

Imagine an updated, twee rocker version of the fox-trot. It would be an awkward, often solitary dance preferred by gangly, emotionally fragile young men, the kind who shimmy on a Friday night beneath the mirror ball, completely na�ve to their surroundings, until a cute young thing accidentally sashays into their line of sight, spawning something special, if just for one night. For this party scene, Voxtrot is the house band. The Austin, Texas quintet’s debut EP, Raised by Wolves, is a stunning mini-collection of John Hughes-heyday paeans, twitchy pop, and surging, Strokes-y dancefloor fillers.

Frontman Ramesh Srivastava founded the band to flesh out his songbook, but while he was pursuing a lit degree in Scotland, Voxtrot remained a recreational outlet for summertime and breaks. But as Voxtrot’s star rose steadily in Austin’s thriving indie rock scene, Srivastava opted to put his studies on hold and commit to the band full-time. The resulting output includes “The Start of Something,” where Srivastava squeezes semi-depressing observations out of an otherwise giddy jam; it’s not a far stretch from the Mozzer, but without the goopy melodrama. “Missing Pieces” is the punchy rocker, with plenty of shimmering guitar lines, but it’s just a smidge too lengthy for maximum impact, and “Long Haul” is a deliciously sappy, mix-tape classic.

A fave at this year’s CMJ Music Marathon, Voxtrot have been picking up their gait around the U.S. this year, although a recent van breakdown forced the band to cancel an East Coast jaunt apart from an impromptu Brooklyn gig tonight. With a new EP arriving in 2006, Voxtrot should be back on the scene in no time.

Voxtrot tour dates:

12/14, Brooklyn, NY (Magnetic Field) 1/20, Houston, TX (Rudyard’s)2/21, Newport, KY (Southgate House Parlour)2/28, Fargo, ND (VFW)3/3, Denver, CO (Hi Dive)3/4, Salt Lake City, UT (Kilby Court)3/8, Seattle, WA (Crocodile)3/9, Portland, OR (Holoscene)3/10, San Francisco, CA (Hemlock)3/12, Los Angeles, CA (Echo)3/13, Los Angeles, CA (UCLA Cooperage)3/15, Austin, TX (SXSW – Emo’s)

Voxtrot official site Photo Gallery: Voxtrot in NYC