Ringodom Or Proctor demo
Guest review by Stephen Sheehan
will try as a reviewer to do my best to contain my enthusiasm about
this band but no promises. I saw one of their first-ever gigs on
April Fool's Day in 2002 and I will never forget it. I had no idea
who they were or what to expect. They were the second band that
night and by the time they were set up to play there were so many
of them on stage with so much instrumentation that I wondered what
kind of noise they might unleash. I had no expectations nor did
I prepare for them (other than donning my usual Yoke of Disappointment
that I comfortably adjust before any new musical experience), but
I can tell you honestly and earnestly that I didn't want them to
stop playing. Ever.
Within the current indie
or underground music scene exists a mostly youthful conglomerate
of visionaries whose songs and bands reflect many of the signs of
artistic adolescence, chief among them being self-doubt (or loathing)
and a limited range within their compositions and performances.
As a result, there is very little risk-taking both in terms of writing
and in the channeling of the muse. As a consequence, we're often
offered unripened efforts fancifully presented by artists that substitute
exuberance for mastery, resulting in a ragged meal of sour or bitter
fruits that proves insubstantial and lacking in the nutrition and
satiation that our souls crave and require. We yearn to be
uplifted; we're usually let down.
The first thing I heard
within the music of Head of Femur was a suspiciously broad range
of references and influences, some of which were probably older
than most of the band members. I noticed the Idiot Glee heard on
Brian Eno's first and second solo albums, Here Come The Warm
Jets and Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), along with
the joyful bounciness of the Talking Heads debut 77 that
somehow merged with the cool cultivation of the early Roxy Music
records and dovetailed into a few psychedelic pop acts of the 1960s
such as Love (the Forever Changes era) and the Left Banke
and topped with a pinch of Van Dyke Parks' wry humor. The swirl
of tone colors and the richness in the songs' dynamics and arrangements
are what set this band far apart from any of its peers, of which
they have none or very few at best. Frankly, I hadn't heard musical
concepts this well-written or executed in so long that I resigned
myself to the idea that The Golden Age of Sophisticated and Ebulliently
Orchestrated Art-Pop was long over. Thank God and Head of Femur
for proving me wrong.
Although they are not
on Saddle Creek Records nor entirely based in Omaha, the Femurs
have many connections to both the city and the label. So far about
half of HOF have played in Bright Eyes. Some of them were/are in
Commander Venus, Gabardine and Mayday, and theyve recorded
their songs in Lincolns Presto! Studios with A.J. Mogis where
nearly every Saddle Creek album has taken form. So in a weird, parallel
universe sort of way, HOF appears on the surface to be a collective
of great supporting players with impressive resumes that write and
perform incredible songs that none of their employers
could ever muster. They are not a supergroup in the
cliché rockist sense, but they are indeed a super group.
It is clear without debate that even now Head of Femur and its music
are already playing a pivotal role in the on-going growth and development
of the history of the Omaha music world by gradually lifting the
bar in a somewhat incestuous and nepotistic environment that accepts
anything and anyone with little regard for discernment. If any band
can shine a light on the rainy clouds of enthusiastic indifference
that float over this little world by restoring the audiences
faith in artistic achievement and merit, its the Femurs.
Watch for the full-length
debut of Head of Femur, Ringodom Or Proctor on Greyday Productions
in the summer of 2003 or order the demo now from their Web site
You can catch HOF as the opening act on the final dates of the Bright
Eyes tour in May. Be sure to get there early and taste the love
of all things Femur.
Posted April 20, 2003.
Copyright © 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
is clear without debate that even now Head of Femur and its
music are already playing a pivotal role in the on-going growth
and development of the history of the Omaha music world by gradually
lifting the bar in a somewhat incestuous and nepotistic environment
that accepts anything and anyone with little regard for discernment."