Tagged: Moxy Fruvous

THE SPRING STANDARDS: MY NEW MUSICAL STANDARD FOR 2009

  So, to follow up on my tease from yesterday (here is the link if it’s too much trouble to just go down an entry) … here is my “pick to click” to (hopefully) liven up the often bleak musical landscape for 2009 … may I present to you …

 The Spring Standards …

Little Better Spring Standards DC9.jpgwho you can check out and listen to at their MySpace page! 

  Meet the amazing Heather Robb … (pictured below on the left in festive green sparkly sweater and I can’t figure out why her picture isn’t as big as the guys, nothing personal!) …

 … James Smith … we call him “Dark James” to differentiate him from …

 … James Cleare  … aka “Red James” to us …

… “we” being me, my daughter Dana who adores them, and my honorary daughter Tricia who has come with us to the three shows we’ve seen here in the DC area since August …

 
Little SS Heather 1.jpgDana, who is at college in Boston now, has seen them four times since she also got to see them at Berklee’s CafĂ© 939 about two weeks after she started school, a nice welcome.

  So right before Dana left for school in late August, we went to see one of my old favorite bands, Squeeze, at the legendary 930 Club in DC (one of our favorite music clubs for many reasons, not the least of which was the amazing willingness of their terrific booker, Lisa White, to take a chance on Dana’s former band to play there twice, opening for Flogging Molly and then Rooney).

Little SS Dark James 2.jpg  We’d never heard of the opening act, but we knew that BEING an opener for a big-name act was a huge opportunity for a group to make a few fans, get heard, and get exposure so we always go in with an open mind. Much of the time we leave unimpressed but try to be respectful.

  So with our Squeeze-spots right at the balcony over the stage established, we settled in as the three members of The Spring Standards took the stage that night and launched into their opening number
Little SS Red James 2.jpg“Your Lie”   

It took, oh, maybe a grand total of 10 seconds before Dana and I looked at each other with our jaws slightly unhinged and eyes open wide (in a good way, even if that sounds ugly). I’d loosely sum up their style as alt-indie-country-folk but I couldn’t put them into a musical box nor would I want to.

  We were in total and immediate musical love. These guys (guys and gal, but we use the more generic “you guys”) were the whole package. They could sing. They could harmonize and blend. They could play their instruments (lots of instruments) … and their material was awesome.

  They are equally adept at upbeat songs you can’t help but dance to and gorgeous heart-stopping ballads 

  They got their big national media debut in late August on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” which we all waited up for instead of TiVo-ing it … you have no idea how big that is in our house, to actually WATCH SOMETHING WHEN IT’S ON!

  One of the coolest things about their musicianship/set-up was that they shared the front of the stage with their drumset split into three parts and all contributed to the percussion section. And their chemistry and stage presence was, on a baseball scout chart, an 8 (that’s as high as it gets). They were totally comfortable and funny and witty …

  They were, frankly, the closest thing we’ve seen to a band that could compare to our beloved Moxy Fruvous in all areas since the Canadian quartet disbanded in 2001.

  And here’s something funny … I took a chance on Saturday night after being blown away by them yet again at DC9 (great club, by the way, and great burgers) and while they were loading out (yes, they are their own roadies), I asked James Smith if by chance they’d ever heard Fruvous.

  Turns out they are HUGE fans (Heather was the enabler in this case) and he said that “Gulf War Song” was one of his favorite songs ever (ditto!). Somehow, while I am usually shocked to find out that anyone else has ever heard of Moxy Fruvous, this didn’t surprise me.

  I have been listening to their fantastic EP “No One Will Know” nonstop and never get sick of it, and cannot wait for their full-length CD, due sometime early-mid 2009 (hopefully early rather than mid-).

  You can buy the EP, check out tour dates, and learn all there is to learn about The Spring Standards here

  Anyway, no doubt about it, The Spring Standards were my most wonderful musical discovery for 2008 and I am hoping that 2009 will be the year that EVERYONE WILL KNOW about The Spring Standards.

 

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SHE’S A BIG TEASER … SHE TAKES YOU HALF THE WAY THERE TO HER FAVORITE BAND OF 2008! AND FOR 2009!

  Can you stand another “best this” or “best that” for 2008? I promise mine will be different. But, like most of my stories, it’s kind of a long story … in fact, I’m going to post this preface to it now …

  And, tomorrow, I will follow this blog entry up with my RAVE review (complete with pictures, links and video) of a new band that has totally rocked my musical world and hopefully, by this time next year, will be a household name like it deserves to be (consider this a teaser) …

  So … Part One:

  My daughter Dana tells me my mind is really closed when it comes to music. I’m not sure I agree with that. I think that, simply, I know pretty clearly what I like and what I don’t like, and at my age, life is too short to waste with music I don’t like.

  Back when I was her age (you know, the prototypical Paleolithic era when we listened to albums and I collected 45s and I moved UP to 8-track tapes when I got my first car, a used ’72 T-bird with 100,000 miles, a sun roof and an 8-track player), I happened to be a fanatic …

  My favorites, aside from the Beatles, were reasonably eclectic, especially after about 1974 when I got my first taste of WNEW-FM in New York and started working as an intern down at the WNYU radio station after school and during the summers.

  In my teens, my tastes ran the gamut, artists such as Stackridge (see previous blog entry), Todd Rundgren/Utopia, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, NRBQ (though that was more of a college acquisition), the Stylistics, Aztec Two-Step, America, Stevie Wonder (especially the early 1970s albums like “Fulfillingness’ First Finale”), Lindisfarne, Steely Dan, Tim Moore, the Roches, Wendy Waldman and my favorite band of that era, Gunhill Road.

  I knew every song on the Top 40 between approximately 1964, when I got my first transistor radio (Paleolithic alert) through about 1990, when I got pregnant and had a baby and all of a sudden my listening “me time” morphed into stuff like “Sesame Street” and Raffi’s “Baby Beluga,” a non-ending loop tape of Richie Havens singing “Indian Prayer” which always lulled her to sleep, and a few other made-for-the-wee-ones cassettes.

  Don’t get me wrong, I still listened to a lot of my mix CDs, they just became more and more re-organized collections of my old favorite songs of the previous two-plus decades rather than constantly-updated new mixes.

  It wasn’t until Dana took over the mantle of “expert on all things music” as a ‘tween that our household once again became an arbiter of modern musical taste to be reckoned with.

  She makes me look like an amateur when it comes to sussing out new music, and I’m often the beneficiary of that: though I first played her Aimee Mann back in the mid ’90s, she took that and ran with it … Mike Viola and the Candy Butchers, Kate Earl, Jenny Lewis with or without Rilo Kiley, Jim Boggia, the Hush Sound, the Cardigans, possibly Fountains of Wayne (which I am convinced I discovered before she did but whatever) … all are songwriters/bands I might possibly have heard without her but it’s unlikely, that are among my very favorites now.

  But Moxy Fruvous I found without Dana, and actually from my husband Wayne, who received the recommendation on my behalf from friends who knew my musical tastes and said something along the lines of “SHE HAS TO HEAR THEM.”

Little Music Moxy Herndon June 2000.jpg  So from about 1998 until the band’s still-heartbreaking “hiatus” just after the turn of the millennium (ha) which I think I have to accept is a full-fledged breakup now, their music pretty much dominated my car CD player (OK, OK, tape player. I admit it, I came kicking and screaming into the technological era. But I DO have a car CD player now).

  Occasionally without Dana but usually with her in tow as possibly the youngest Fruhead of that era, we saw the band at least 10 times in that span. Most of the shows were close to home (the Birchmere in Alexandria, the Herndon Festival which I believe was the last time we saw them, even at some Borders shows during their “Thornhill” tour) and others were a little farther afield (the dear departed Bottom Line club in New York on New Year’s Night in … well, I guess it must have been 1999).

Little Fruheads Uniting at Birchmere.jpg  Moxy Fruvous filled every hole in my heart a band needed to fill. Incredibly versatile musicians, terrific songwriters (all of them), four great voices which blended seamlessly either as leads or in harmony, with some of their best songs being a capella (their 1993 tune  “Gulf War Song”  may be the best song ever written though sadly I can’t seem to find a live version of their performing it on YouTube).

   But to top it off they were perhaps the best live band I had ever seen (NRBQ might have given them a run for their money). You never knew what they were going to play, and they never played the same set (making the “stagedive” for their set lists a hard-fought battle and we have one or two in our scrapbook because no one wanted to tear it out of the hands of a 9-year-old). They had the most eclectic collection of covers their add to their huge oeuvre of originals, which is part of the reason why devoted Fruheads with the means and the wheels would go see them every time they played because each show was unique.

Little Music Moxy Herndon We Love Jian.jpg Plus their chemistry onstage, their “banter,” was mesmerizing. They were just musicians and artists having fun, riffing on the political and topical stories of the day, and each other, and the fans.

  When they broke up I wondered if another band would ever come along that, in my opinion, could fill that hole, a young band that was fresh and fun and had fantastic songs AND versatile musicians AND great voices AND such an energizing stage chemistry that you would want to see them again and again and again …

  And now I’ve found one …

  That is my teaser for my top musical discovery for 2008, to be given the big reveal and tons of GotMiLB blog love here this time tomorrow …