We’re playing at Double Wide in Deep Ellum, Dallas TX on Sat. Oct 16th. Show up around 10p and be sure to say hello – after all, we’re nice dudes. We’ll have CD’s, vinyl, tees and buttons on sale. Oh, and we’ll deliver some hot rock with a six-piece band of friends and co-conspirators. Later alligator!
Best band name this month goes to those Foxymorons featuring the Texas/Tennessee pairing of David Dewese and Jerry James augmented by sundry hired hands. Their new release, “Bible Stories” (Foxyphoton Records #002) is none two shabby, either, chock full of catchy tunes and great hooks that makes you think they’ve been around for an eternity. Eclectic and stylish pop this most certainly is and nicely arranged too, as the boys alternate vocal duties although I know not who’s is who. One has a cracked vocal delivery that lends itself to the slightly quirkier songs such as the excellent “Skinny Cow Blues” and the harder “Say It Aloud”, the other a more straight ahead, high register voice that tends to grace the more conventionally melodic songs like “Out of Control” and “Sick of California”. It hardly matters who is who, there’s so much good stuff on offer and probably something for almost everyone (unless perhaps you’re still locked in the Drone Zone). Fans of Big Star and Wilco would do well to check these guys out, and will probably enjoy the occasional forays into Pavement/Dinosaur Jr territory as well. www.foxymorons.com
Nashville! We’re playing a show on Friday September 24th at 7:30. Or actually, this is more of a party with a ramshackle concert right in the middle. We’ll have the new album, Bible Stories, available for purchase too. Bring a friend, a snack, a drink or just arrive with dough for the album. The concert portion will begin at 9pm with a short set by The Nobility.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for directions.
The Foxymorons aren’t exactly local, or a band. Sure, half the duo – Jerry James – calls Mesquite home. James’ collaborator, David Dewese, lives in Nashville. And the two release albums and perform live. But they do these things only sporadically.
Bible Stories is their first record in five years. Considering the music, though, it’s difficult to fault their approach. The Foxymorons have been playing together since 1994, and their hook-laden, witty power-pop reflects more than just years of experience.
James and Dewese clearly have an intimate knowledge of one another’s playing styles; they sound more like old friends with a natural knack for songwriting than a formal band. It’s a playful, casual feeling that pervades Bible Stories. Both trade off vocal duties and guitar from song to song, enlisting friends to fill out their lineup with drums and piano. Yet the back-and-forth never sounds like two different voices.
Big Star, Nilsson Schmilsson-era Harry Nilsson, Dinosaur Jr., Pavement – the Foxymorons coalesce every hint of their influences seamlessly, expertly referencing a broad swath of ’90s indie rock and ’70s alt-country while remaining distinctive, and adding their own flavor.
Bible Stories was recorded by the Foxymorons in a Nashville basement last winter. Perhaps the duo’s radiating confidence stems from having such firm control over the material. Most of the music is ostensibly conventional, direct pop-rock. The guys use traditional instrumentation and the melodies are immediately captivating.
But like Austin’s Spoon, James and Dewese have a talent for subtlety, making music that is often deceptively simple because it’s almost too catchy at times. They can create a lot out of nothing, using perfectly timed bridges to transcend their choruses.
Often, the duo interrupts a track’s progressive drive to pull back layers, focusing on a stark, ethereal harmonization, spare percussion or the striking of a lone piano key. Similarly, on the countrified Beach Boys tune, “Mesketeers,” it’s the least forceful element in the track that’s ultimately the most rewarding. Placed at the bottom of the mix, a droning organ hums purely, majestically, slyly driving the entire song.
Trafficking in equally sentimental and self-deprecating reflections on youth, it’s the sort of music only aging hipsters could produce. Not that I’m complaining. There’s more swimming beneath the surface of the record than the music lets on. Bible Stories might not change your life, but it could very well – and unexpectedly – brighten your mood.
Convention says bands should pick an image. In order for marketing machines to pitch your band to consumers, you need to project a look, a sound, an attitude to which fans will relate. At least, that’s what Convention says. The Foxymorons don’t care much for convention. Like their power-pop colleagues Fountains of Wayne, they’ll go anywhere the spirit leads musically, throwing identity out the proverbial window. Plus, just look at their name — would you want to market that?
The Foxymorons, made up of David Dewese and Jerry James, split their time between Dallas and Nashville and have played together since the high school. Their most recent album, Bible Stories, is their first in five years and fits in perfectly with their previous releases. But, unlike Fountains of Wayne, who reference schmaltzy 1970s hits, country, traditional folk, hard rock, and other major stylistic touch-points, The Foxymorons choose to limit their winks and nods just to indie rock. Bible Stories ends up a tour de force through the past 30 years of less-than-popular pop music.
The first half of Bible Stories, for example, fish-tails like an ice road-trucker. The album’s opener, “Out of Control,” plays like Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life,” but turns into Teenage Fanclub for the chorus. “Skinny Cow Blues” has all the lazy swagger of Pavement’s best mid-tempo tracks, while “This Too Shall Pass” evokes Elliot Smith’s sweetest moments. Then, the band rolls right into “Say It Aloud,” which almost out-Dinosaur Jr.’s Dinosaur Jr. And while the second half settles down a bit, they still throw in a hint of early Guided By Voices with the 52-second-long lo-fi outing, “All You Ever Wanted.”
Within many of these tracks are clean acoustics, Nashville-cat guitar fills, or lush vocal harmonies that might not have originally fit in with what The Foxymorons are referencing. But, it’s those bits of traditional song craft that give the band what cohesiveness it possesses, and helps Bible Stories sound new but instantly familiar.
And the material is strong throughout. Just like with the aforementioned Teenage Fanclub, which features three singer/songwriters and can take the best from each songwriter for each record, Dewese and James are able to contribute their best ideas without becoming overpowered by a single voice. Those alternating voices help keep the album fresh from track-to-track as the ideas shift, and when those voices share the same tastes and vision, the results can sometimes be as magical as they are on Bible Stories.
Aw man, I know, I know. Looking over these “recent” news items, I can’t help but feel a tugging sense of regret and missed opportunity. Where have we been? Where have you been? Look, let’s not dwell in the past. The important thing is that we’ve missed each other…and if it’s any consolation, the scrappy underdogs from Mesquite, Texas have recorded a brand new LP. Finally! We recorded just like the old days, cheaply, haphazardly, and with lots of love. Our pal Brian Fuzzell once again manned the drumkit. We shared stories, froze in the basement, drank enthusiastically, ate at the meat-and-three next door, zip-lined at our friend Sally’s house and fashioned makeshift sleds for winter hi-jinks. And here’s the thing: A new record. TItled BIble Stories. Out August 24, 2010.
We are currently in the studio working on our 4th long-player. Last-minute lyrics, hot tea, cold weather, baked goods, faulty plumbing, cracked vocals, calculated emotion and impromptu dancing. Some things never change. We’re recording it fast and loose in Nashville and shipping it off to our friend and long-time collaborator, Matt Pence. What else can we tell you? We think it’s going to be good. Sound as ever….JJ
FAVORITES: Panda Bear, The Modern, Darjeeling Limited, Mrs Renfros, The Nobility, The Sartorialist, Murmur of the Heart, Naked Juice, Superficial Snapshots, Grizzly Bear, A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Miranda July Inc.,
TRAVEL: Japan, Marfa, Portland, South Korea, Los Angeles, Guam, Boston, Chicago
NEW SONGS: Coffee Grounds, Crimson Eyes, Skinny Cow Blues, The Modern Life, 15 Degrees, This Too Shall Pass
SCHEMES: American Viceroy
The song “This Heart of Mine” from the band’s latest long-player, Hesitation Eyes, will be featured on the ABC series ‘Men In Trees’, starring Anne Heche this Friday night, Nov. 10th. We’re as excited as you are. (Wait, you’re excited, right?) We’ve heard very good things about the show, so we suggest you grab a blanket and a warm beverage and snuggle up with someone you like/love in front of the television Friday night. You can be sure we’ll be clinking glasses and doing
handstands in our respective locales. Here are the details:
Men In Trees
Fri. Nov 10th @ 9/8C
Greetings from Sunnyvale, Texas. Not too much happening in my corner of the world. Every day is 100 degrees, my tennis game has improved by leaps and bounds, and members of the band have been developing new diet and exercise routines in the vain search for rock-and-roll skinniness. Yes, we’re still alive. Yes, we’re writing songs. And if you’re looking for new music/product, we’re happy to announce the Japanese reissue of our Hesitation Eyes long-player on Star Mole Records. The record has new artwork and bonus tracks, including one previously unreleased song and our lo-fi version of the Gram Parsons/Chris Hillman/Bernie Leadon-penned classic “Older Guys”. You can order it from Japan, see if yr local record store will bring it in, or maybe we’ll eventually play a show or two and have some on the merch table. In the meantime, invite us to your swimming pools. We’ll bring the beverages…