One hit wonder is an ugly term. In the case of Velvet Crush, it’s really more like one album wonder. While I and other pop power indie fanboys always loved the rest of the band’s catalog, especially Free Expression (1999) and Soft Sounds (2002), the band’s sole highlight, the record that captured the moment in time, and still exudes that energy when you put it on is 1994’s Teenage Symphonies to God. Pre-Teen Symphonies, a new CD/MP3 by Los Angeles-based Omnivore Records, a reissue label that’s growing more interesting with each release, features demos for that original album and a killer live set, filled mostly with songs from the album, taped by WXRT-FM at one of Chi-town’s greatest venues, Cabaret Metro.

Taking their name from Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s famous four-word explanation for what he was trying to achieve, the trio from Rhode Island signed with the UK’s Creation label, where they were in like-minded company with Oasis, My Bloody Valentine, and Teenage Fanclub. While they fit into that British pop guitar band bag, unlike its label mates, on the Mitch Easter produced Teenage Symphonies the Crush brought a country flavor in tunes like “Keep Lingerin’ On” (with Greg Leisz) on pedal steel and a cover of Gene Clark’s “Why Not Your Baby,” as well an early '70s Stonesy vibe in “Something’s Gotta Give,” and “My Blank Pages.”

They even manage to salute Teenage Fanclub, better known as the Fannies, by virtually copying their style in “Star Trip,” a direct nod to the Fannies “Star Sign” from their 1991 masterpiece, Bandwagonesque. Best of all, out of left field they came up with one of the best '60s-flavored power-pop singles, “Hold Me Up,” which appears on Pre-Teen Symphonies as both a demo and a live track. Wanna hear what the oft used word “hook” means in a musical sense? One time through “Hold Me Up” and you’ll know.

While the demos on Pre-Teen Symphonies, which, like the live set, were previously available on the band’s Action Musik label, are interesting (as you can hear in the Soundcloud link below), it’s the live tracks that are the payoff in this package. What makes them so great, after the fact that like a lot of live recordings, everything here is played a half-step faster than the corresponding album versions, is that Tommy Keene was the second guitar player in the band on that tour as they opened for the Jesus and Mary Chain. Keene’s big, chunky, buzz saw guitar tone is immediately apparent and it adds a lot of instrumental body and weight to the songs. No offense to drummer Rick Menck, guitarist Jeffery Underhill and frontman, bassist and singer Paul Chastain, but Keene’s slashing guitar took the band to another level.

The sound, of course, is the only downside to the live stuff. While not pristine or anywhere near studio quality by any means, it’s more listenable than most bootlegs and its overdriven amps and microphones, in a weird way fit the material. Once, children, back in the last century, there was a thing called indie rock and bands with ideas and talent like Velvet Crush that made it easy to love.