Norman Music Festival Picks (Part 2)


FRMR is a Norman-based goth/New Wave outfit with an interesting eye for video. The phantasmagoric sequence of events that make up “Star Sick” evoke paranoid images and are contrasted with celestial keyboard ribbons that encourage a good night at the Electro Lounge, or at least a night of heady mystery. FRMR singer Chase Spivey conceived the fantasy after having a strange brush with celebrity culture behavior.

“The lyrics are describing the phenomena of ‘Star Sickness,’ which was a term I saw floating around the internet to describe when a celebrity can’t handle the pressure and begins to have paranoid delusions about their fans.I had a little experience with this myself last year when a Ghost of Monkshood fan verbally threatened to kill me. Luckily, I am not dead, and was able to meet with the person and resolve the issue peacefully.”

Spivey is currently working on some vocoder laced work that may or may not have come after holing up for days with Laurie Anderson’s sublime “O Superman.”

The video is a finalist for the Music Video Picks Contest.

Keyboardist Chris McDaniel also directed the video, along with Susan Emberton. Experimental ideas of light and dark eventually gave way to narrative.

“I knew we were setting out to video something abstract, but what we ended up with was much more suggestively narrative,” McDaniel says. “I’ve done a lot of other kinds of projects with these guys, and we quickly began a familiar story making process. The process was the brainstorming session. Shape, color, and especially light and its projection and refraction were the subjects of our collective study. We did about 6 or 7 shoots with me editing in between and developing the “story” and characters. Great care was taken to make them fit the mood and movement of the song.”

AT NMF they will be Chris McDaniel on Voice/Keys/Percussion/Trumpet; Chase Spivey on Voice/Bass/Percussion; Nathan Lofties on Guitar; John Calvin on Guitar/Bass; Travis Pierce on Keys/Laptop/Trombone; Thom Proctor – Keys/Laptop/Saxophone. Steve Boaz plays the drums.

FRMR opens the Sooner Theater stage Friday at 6 p.m.

“Starsick” by FRMR from Zanzibar! Records on Vimeo.

Beau Jennings

Since moving to Brooklyn Beau Jennings has felt some Oklahoma nostalgia. That feeling has culminated in two of the most interesting conceptual projects from OKC/Norman’s indie rock scene. One of these projects, Night Reports, is an album that entwines love and baseball, pretty much line by line. Jennings’s key and guitar work is full of felt longing and ghostly suggestions. He wrote the music for the touring poet Derrick Brown, a change from the solo stuff he’s typically known for.

“That one was nice because I was working strictly on music” Jennings says. “That was a change for me. There had been a few songs I wrote for Derrick to write lyrics for and for whatever reason he couldn’t’ come up with anything he liked.”

That album is a kind of cult hit. Seth McCarroll will be covering a track or two from it during his solo set noon at Opolis indoor stage.

Jennings is currently playing with Ryan Lindsey and others in a band called The Verdigris, this group played last Friday at Coaches to strong buzz. At Beau’s lead they are looking to perform a field recording style album of songs inspired by Oklahoma native son Will Rogers. If the video is any indication it will rescue Rogers from our clichéd images of him, and restore in their place a field recording (they are actually playing at all the Rogers landmarks) about a man who was actually a pretty impressive life.

“You know I think for me it happened when I moved away,” Jennings says. “I live in Brooklyn now. I got a lot more interested in that stuff I think pretty much. You get a little homesick or whatever, and that combined with needing something to write some songs about. I don’t think it’s been done that much.”

Jennings makes nostalgia new. Or, at least made us more interested in baseball and folksy one liners with these two striking projects.

An example of his Will Rogers field recording experiment is linked below. During a recent drive to Austin he recorded storm warnings, and was quick to talk about Alan Lomax’s famous Field Recordings from his Southern journeys. There’s no telling when the tornado warning radio sounds will finds its way into an album—the full-time architect seems to keep us guessing.

The Verdigris – Trailer from Beau Jennings on Vimeo.


The first time I heard the craftily spun pop tunes of Ryan Lindsey, the last thing I’d expected was to find him heading a band that would make a night at The Deli feel like CBGBs. But such was the punch that violated my poor stomach the first time BRONCHO played and reminded me of my manhood.

“Have you seen Randy? Randy? Randy stole my shit!”

I actually think it was a different name, but this aggressive query was yelled at the audience after every song with a straight, Andy Kaufman-faced Lindsey. The guy was working the audience, but they were too humorless to really catch on. So Lindsey tried another one.

“Hey you two, come up here. Cummon you two (pointing at two girls). Cummon, come up for this one.”

And then he barked like a wildman. And barked again. This was something that followed each subsequent song. There are corners of the world where geeks would rave and channel their inner animal for once in their week. But sadly that place was not the Deli that night.

And the tunes themselves are fantastic: compact, punchy, reminding the listener that three chords is all that matter when you’re dealing with a band of real personality. This will be one of the best shows at NMF.

See as the Delo creative guys behind some of Wayne Coyne’s projects take BRONCHO barreling through various Norman landmarks.

Broncho – Try Me Out Sometime from Delo Creative on Vimeo.

Depth and Current

Chris Harris is the longtime stalwart audio guru behind Conservatory productions and his own home studio. Depth and Current is his brooding, evocative band at the moment. Their influences are many, and they seek to inhabit the seams of the categories we all know.

“The band is influenced by psychedelic pop from the mid to late 60s, hard stoner rock of the late 70s,” Harris says. “Punk, post rock, and new wave from the 80s, and grunge, noise and indie rock of the late 80s/early 90s. The band prides itself on making heavy music accessible to people who like to dance, and new wave music.”

Harris also owns and runs Nice People records. Depth & Current is Chris Harris, Scott Twitchell, Derek Lemke, and Joey Powell.

Depth and Current has, sadly, already played. But that doesn’t stop them from being one of our favorite mind melters.

Depth & Current 2011 Norman Music Festival Promo Video from Chris Harris on Vimeo

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