The Velvet Teen was founded by Judah Nagler and Logan Whitehurst as a side project from their other bands, Tin Circus and Little Tin Frog. Judah and Logan recorded the EP Comasynthesis, which had a prominent electronic sound, in 2000. It featured Judah doing most instrumentation and singing alone, although Logan provided live drums for some tracks and sang the song "Penning the Penultimate" himself. In 2001, they were joined by bassist/vocalist Joshua Staples and recorded another EP, The Great Beast February, which had more of an alternative sound.
That year, they caught the eye of Slowdance Records owner, Ezra Caraeff, and were signed to the label. In 2002 they tapped Death Cab for Cutie's guitarist Chris Walla to be the producer for their first full-length album Out of the Fierce Parade. Logan Whitehurst, who was also an accomplished artist, created the etchings used as the album's artwork. Two music videos from the album ("Radiapathy" and "The Prize Fighter") were featured on Subterranean, an MTV2 program.
Their second full-length album, Elysium, was recorded on a laptop by Judah and his brother Ephriam, and mixed at Kingsize Soundlabs in Los Angeles by Dave Trumfio and Mike Krassner. In stark contrast to their earlier work, the album does not feature any guitars at all. The album's core instrumentation is piano and string arrangements. The string and horn ensembles were arranged by Adam Theis.
Several weeks before Elysium's U.S. release in the summer of 2004, Logan Whitehurst was diagnosed with brain cancer and left the band to focus on treatment. Casey Deitz of The Americas, from Chico, California, was welcomed as the new drummer/vocalist.
In 2006, the band recorded and released their third album, Cum Laude!, with Judah as producer and his brother Ephriam Nagler as recording engineer. Cum Laude! had an odd, progressive sound that was faster and livelier than any of their previous work. They supported the album on Minus the Bear's 2006 tour.
In November 2006, Josh Staples left The Velvet Teen in order to fully focus on his other band, The New Trust. Then, on December 3, 2006, after his cancer had been declared in remission, Logan Whitehurst died at his home in Los Banos, California.
On February 28, 2007, Judah posted a message on The Velvet Teen's official website confirming that the band would continue. They started touring again in the fall. Nagler took over the bass/vocal duties, and Matthew Izen of the Polar Bears and formerly of The New Trust played guitar.
In February 2009, Josh Staples rejoined The Velvet Teen. On April 25, 2009, The Velvet Teen played their first show as a four piece at the Silicon Valley Brownout at Nickel City Arcade in San Jose, CA.
The Velvet Teen's first recording as four piece, a four song EP
titled "No Star", was released digitally November 11, 2010. The physical
release of "No Star" will be released January 7, 2011 at the bands
CD/Vinyl release show at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. The music
video for the song "No Star" was released February 19, 2011. The 12" of
No Star was released by Side With Us Records and as of early 2011 The Velvet Teen appears on their "Bands" page. A full length record is now in the work for release in 2012.