Folk Rock at One Horsepower
June 14, 2013 4:18 PM   Subscribe

 
This is just about the best thing ever. Thank you.
posted by ColdChef at 4:24 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


They use mules, not a horses. Also if it had smell-o-rama you could smell the poop in the mule's diaper.
posted by bukvich at 4:36 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are we supposed to believe that the audio was recorded with the video? 'Cause that street must have some amazing acoustics.
posted by Tsuga at 4:37 PM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I find it utterly bizarre that the same guy (Alex Ebert) is behind both Edward Sharpe and punk/nerd/indy rockers Ima Robot. Like, he rode the super detached ironic thing as far is it could go, and then decided to give the super confessional thing a try. He either has a musical flexibility that would make David Bowie jealous, or he has a sense for crass opportunism that would make David Bowie jealous.
posted by artichoke_enthusiast at 4:52 PM on June 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Folk Rock at One Horsepower

Horses actually operate at somewhere around 14HP.
posted by item at 4:53 PM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


'Cause that street must have some amazing acoustics.

I can't speak for the audio equipment, but the acoustics down in the Quarter are pretty amazing. Far enough from regular traffic that you can hear clip-clopping of horses blocks away or a lone-trumpet wailing out an open window far and away. Sometimes at night, when the city has finally fallen asleep, you can almost hear the footsteps of ghosts.
posted by ColdChef at 4:57 PM on June 14, 2013 [17 favorites]


Horses actually operate at somewhere around 14HP.

That makes sense, I guess. I have a cup that can hold 2.5 cups of water.
posted by Atom Eyes at 5:28 PM on June 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


There are mics clipped to the performers. I was skeptical too until I noticed that.
posted by wemayfreeze at 5:43 PM on June 14, 2013


I found it to be an ugly whitewashing of New Orleans by LA hipsters. They might as well have shot this on a studio backlot and saved the airfare. New Orleans is sacred musical territory, like a church. This seems like someone tourist coming in and spitting on the altar.
posted by humanfont at 5:56 PM on June 14, 2013


I found it to be an ugly whitewashing of New Orleans by LA hipsters. They might as well have shot this on a studio backlot and saved the airfare. New Orleans is sacred musical territory, like a church. This seems like someone tourist coming in and spitting on the altar.

How so? Also: like a church? Really?
posted by ColdChef at 5:59 PM on June 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


I found it charming, but then I'm a sucker for folksy hipsters (cf: the Hothouse Flowers).
posted by arcticseal at 6:07 PM on June 14, 2013


man, they looked really, really HOT.
posted by rebent at 6:15 PM on June 14, 2013



I found it to be an ugly whitewashing of New Orleans by LA hipsters. They might as well have shot this on a studio backlot and saved the airfare...

It's the french quarter, If you want to protect it's sacred territory from tourists you might be a little late.

I don't think rent a mule tours are really part the most important piece cultural fabric we are trying to preserve here.
posted by St. Sorryass at 7:00 PM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't think rent a mule tours are really part the most important piece cultural fabric we are trying to preserve here.
Yeah, seriously. I live there, and hipsters are really, really not the worst (or most disrespectful) people to be found in the Quarter, and if a goddamn magic genie changed all the fratboys and hollering drunk college girls into hipster musicians overnight, I'd be pretty happy.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 7:14 PM on June 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


FWIW, I don't know how many takes of this they did (could it possibly be all in one take?), but they travel straight down Bourbon Street from Dumaine (at the Clover Grill) and stop just short of reaching Esplanade at Barrack's.
posted by ColdChef at 7:14 PM on June 14, 2013


bukvich: "They use mules, not a horses. Also if it had smell-o-rama you could smell the poop in the mule's diaper."

item: "Horses actually operate at somewhere around 14HP."

Goddammit you guys!
posted by Corinth at 7:23 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


That was an interesting find, Corinth. From the youtube user's blog: "Bloody Sunday Sessions is a web-based video series of stripped down musical performances occurring in the back of the iconic New Orleans’ mule-drawn carriages. The idea was born on a balcony in the French Quarter in the oldest apartment building in the United States." Magnetic Zeros are one of ten artists doing the same mule walk music video.
posted by kovacs at 7:52 PM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Bah, they played for free in the park about a mile from my house last weekend and I couldn't go.
posted by octothorpe at 8:10 PM on June 14, 2013


The magnetic Zeroes were featured in a documentary recently.

I only know this because my wife and I stopped over in Telluride to crash out on our way through Colorado last month, and that night just happened to be the opening night of the Mountain Film Festival. This movie was featured on opening night, playing in the city park near where the Black Bear Road descends into town.

I thought the movie was meh - it worked too hard to make itself seem meaningful - but the experience of watching it was sublime. Me and my wife, in our camp chairs, sharing a bottle of wine, the moon coming up over the moutains, the music echoing in the distance... It was a nice cap to what had been a few hard days of travel and backwoods camping, and couldn't be beat as her introduction to Colorado - as she had never been there before.

So, I'm not the Zeroes biggest fan, and but I will always remember them for that movie and that night, and that's not nothin'.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:11 PM on June 14, 2013


kovacs: "That was an interesting find, Corinth. From the youtube user's blog: "Bloody Sunday Sessions is a web-based video series of stripped down musical performances occurring in the back of the iconic New Orleans’ mule-drawn carriages. The idea was born on a balcony in the French Quarter in the oldest apartment building in the United States." Magnetic Zeros are one of ten artists doing the same mule walk music video."


hoooooly cow, the guy in this video is almost upsettingly attractive
posted by rebent at 8:39 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think a horse is actually about 1 HP sustained, but 15 HP peak output. Which is clearly the most important thing about this video.
posted by vasi at 9:10 PM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Thank god the hipsters weren't on bicycles, or MetaFilter would've fucking melted down.

Great song, sung with feeling, in a photogenic place. The people on the sidewalk taking pictures and smiling are how I feel.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:34 PM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


humanfont: "I found it to be an ugly whitewashing of New Orleans by LA hipsters."

I don't know if you looked at the full list of the sessions but there are ten videos there and out of the ten bands/artists only two of them aren't from here. This is hardly a case of "hipsters" coming and somehow polluting our precious musical culture and sullying the streets of our fair Quarter. This is a series of videos made by people that want to show off our city and our music, and if you can't have some out-of-town friends over when you throw your party, well, what kind of party is that?

Listen, New Orleans' music culture has an incredible history of innovation and if you think that a bunch of white kids who aren't from here getting into one of our tourist carriages and singing a little isn't appropriate or respectful and you'd prefer that we be fixed in amber and have the Preservation Hall Jazz Band be the only official music of the city ... I'm sorry, it's not going to happen. We're too busy making up new shit to pay attention to your opinion of where we should have stopped time.
posted by komara at 9:40 PM on June 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


The Morning 40 Federation session is so good.
posted by St. Sorryass at 11:05 PM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


'Cause that street must have some amazing acoustics.

I can believe it's based on the live recordings from the mics, but I think there'd have had to have been a lot of tweaking in the audio after the original recording. The main reason is that I have no small amount of personal experience singing with people on the back of a horse-drawn wagon (don't ask) and one of the loudest sounds is not the clip-clop but the constant white-noise-ish grind of the wheels on pavement. It's pretty loud. Also, the balance is amazing from the instruments that don't seem to be mic'd. Maybe there is some sophisticated boom mic arrangement going on here, but maybe there was also a lot done in post-production. I'd love to know how they captured such nice audio in an open air setting.

This is a really cool project - I love it. This tune was great and the fact that there's a whole little collection and an ongoing project is just...lagniappe.
posted by Miko at 7:27 AM on June 15, 2013


Previous comment amended: I just noticed the wagon has rubber wheels, like bicycle wheels. Therefore I do not know what I am talking about w/r/t wheel noise.
posted by Miko at 7:28 AM on June 15, 2013


I bet there are some long articles floating around trying to explain this current trend of folk, and how its deep melancholic yearning for a history that never really existed is somehow all linked to the economic crises and the general feeling of utter despair that has taken hold of the 2010s.
posted by Harry at 8:43 AM on June 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I bet there are some long articles floating around trying to explain this current trend of folk, and how its deep melancholic yearning for a history that never really existed is somehow all linked to the economic crises and the general feeling of utter despair that has taken hold of the 2010s.

The current neo-folk and folk-punk resurgence started during the bush years (ie the white stripes, avett brothers, plan-it-x records, etc), but I think you're spot on about the despair bit.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 2:01 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you! Love these guys and the video made me very happy.
posted by purenitrous at 8:05 PM on June 15, 2013


The music video for Man on Fire is also all kinds of wondrous.
posted by ztdavis at 10:14 PM on June 15, 2013


I really like this band when I hear them, but they really grate on me when I see them. They just look such a pastiche, so fake, but they sound very lush.
I guess it's my problem because I tend to ascribe meaning to music, instead of just accepting its a business.
posted by bystander at 6:07 AM on June 16, 2013


Its rare that an FPP's headline reads like satire of the worst of modern music, but this is one of those cases.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:24 PM on June 16, 2013



The current neo-folk and folk-punk resurgence started during the bush years (ie the white stripes, avett brothers, plan-it-x records, etc), but I think you're spot on about the despair bit.


Edward Sharpe and Mumford and Fleet Foxes have nothing to do with real folk music, folk punk, or even modern folk. Try listening to someone like William Elliot Whitmore.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:25 PM on June 16, 2013


Rootsy sounds go through periodic revivals. It was just coming time again.
posted by Miko at 6:47 PM on June 16, 2013


But this stuff is the uncanny valley of roots music - its close to the real thing, but its utterly artificial.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:17 PM on June 16, 2013


Its rare that an FPP's headline reads like satire of the worst of modern music, but this is one of those cases.

It is a literal description of what is in the video, It says what the band it is, it says the performance is acoustic, and it says what they are doing. I am pretty neutral on the band, but I don't think paying acoustic, or being on a wagon really has much to do with what is wrong with modern music.

William Elliot Whitmore rides on horses plays acoustic music sometimes, and plays he it in the Quarter all the time.
posted by St. Sorryass at 10:37 PM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


But this stuff is the uncanny valley of roots music - its close to the real thing, but its utterly artificial.

I don't think that's a problem. Authenticity is something imaginary. Roots music exists in a lot of contexts. This is a kind of use of roots influences and instrumentation that engages mainly with mainstream commercial pop music, yes. But it's reflective of a massive roots revival that's been going on since at least the mid-1990s and has seen new sessions, growing sessions, and reinvigorated attendance at the major festivals. These are not coincidences - the millions of small interactions between people playing festivals, learning instruments, searching YouTubes, going to sessions, listening to old recordings, listening to new recordings, and experimenting with various fusings is part of what has given rise to, and supported, the explosion of roots-influenced rock. I guarantee you, no one I played music with in the 80s or 90s was playing the mandolin or the banjo. Interest in rootsy sounds and forms arose in community contexts first and then spilled over into pop. These things rise and fall in ways that are linked.

I'm an old-time player and very deeply interested what people generally call "folk" music, though I think the label is uselessly deprecated. When it all settles, I don't usually find discussions about whether or not something or someone is the "real deal" matters at al. Everyone is bending their talents and knowledge to the production of a particular aesthetic. I have a feeling if you sat this band down in a trad session, they'd jump in, tear it up here and there, and have a great time. The fact that they choose to make music that blends with romantic pop and stands a chance of success in commercial channels doesn't mean they are something "false" while [insert presumably pure music act here] is "real." The more you study the trajectory of American music, the more you realize that even the musicians we today think of as somehow authentically and honestly representative of a folk context were also engaged with audience appeal and the commercial world, also creating fusions with multiple genres and innovating new stylistic twists, and also concerned about being heard and making money (or we would never have heard of them at all). The only thing you can usefully say about an act that consciously takes part in roots traditions is an observation on what particular idiom or subgenre they are working within and to what degree their artistic aims take them closer to, or farther away from, the aesthetic values of that idiom.
posted by Miko at 6:59 AM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think what CiS is saying is that he knows more about folk music than any of us neophytes could possibly imagine. He is a seasoned authority, the patriarch of folk punk, and it is his blessing and his blessing only that determines what can be considered the real and true righteous article.

A few years ago it was noise music, if I remember correctly, but it all changed after an enlightening meeting atop Mount Guthrie in which the Roots Music Yahweh passed down not only an immeasurable wealth of folk insight but the power to go by the King of Folk Kings title itself.

It's all detailed in the six-volume set The Only True History of the Only True Music (as told in the Only True Way by the Only Knowledgeable Being), available at fine underground retailers that you've probably never heard of anyway.
posted by item at 9:08 AM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


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