The song "We Are Not Ourselves" by Oakland's Foxtails Brigade sounds like former American Idol contestant turned experimental, art pop singer, Melanie Martinez. Digging in deeper, Foxtails Brigade also brings on comparisons to The Ditty Bops and St. Vincent. While the band doesn't fall into a specific genre, the similarity they share with these other musicians comes in their storytelling.
Trained in classical guitar, Laura Weinbach fronts Foxtails Brigade alongside Anton Patzner, Joe Lewis, Josh Pollock and Dominic Mercurio. You may recognize Patzner from his work with indie rock darling, Bright Eyes. The A-list ensemble works together creatively, both onstage and off. One of the most intriguing things about Foxtails Brigade is its use of media. They're constantly creative — utilizing video, podcasts, and of course, music.
Watching the music videos for "We Are Not Ourselves" and "Far Away and Long Ago," the band keeps you hooked with stunning set design, creative storytelling and a certain darkness reflected both in the lyrics and the visuals themselves. When talking with Weinbach about the "We Are Not Ourselves" video, she confesses that the vision can be attributed to Mercurio.
"He gets really excited about making music videos, and luckily we're able to provide him with a basis for doing that," Weinbach says. "I gave him a couple of choices for songs, and I said, 'Do you want to work on one of these for a music video?' He chose that one because it had the strongest inspiration and a really clear vision for the fact that he wanted it to be a narrative. He had all of the elements picked out for the storyline of that."
After Mercurio got the ball rolling, Weinbach acted as art director for the video, designing the sets and costumes. She says her house allows her to do whatever she wants creatively—which results in many of their videos being shot there.
"We shoot a lot of videos here at the house and we kind of transform it every time we make a new video," Weinbach says. "We moved everything out of the living room and kitchen and I had this idea that I wanted to make themes for each room, which would coincide with sections of the video."
In addition to collaborating on Foxtails Brigade's music and videos, Weinbach and Mercurio have started their own podcast called "Totally Tell Me." The weekly entertainment podcast features the two musicians chatting about movies, music, food and pop culture. Each episode features guests, which often includes Patzner. The group begins with a "week in review" which spans the conversational gamut — one week included how to respond to someone knocking on a public bathroom door.
"I love recording the episodes because it guarantees we get to hang out at least once a week," Weinbach says. "Dominic usually comes over the night before and brings his PlayStation 4 and we play games and get pizza and hang out and eat a lot of junk food. He'll sleep over in the living room."
The next day, Weinbach and Mercurio go to a theater to watch the movie they've chosen to discuss as the main topic for the week's podcast. Before leaving the house, they set up all their gear so they can come straight home and immediately start talking about the movie.
"We specifically don't relay any of our thoughts on the movie that we watched until we press record. Even if we really have a strong opinion about what we just saw, we're like, 'Don't say anything. Save it for the podcast!'"
On the music front, Foxtails Brigade has about three-quarters of a new album written and foresees releasing new music within the next 12 months. In the meantime, Weinbach and Patzner have a collaborative tie to Bend.
"One of the bands that's on the show [in Bend], This Island Earth, is awesome," Weinbach says. "I just collaborated with him on his new album he's been recording. He had me track some vocals for it a couple weeks ago. He came out here and he recorded a bunch of stuff. He got Anton doing some strings and I did vocals and it was sounding pretty fun."
Foxtails Brigade, This Island Earth
Sunday, July 23. 9pm.
Volcanic Theatre Pub
70 SW Century Dr., Bend.