Art Hounds: Future Bible Heroes, Savoy Family Band and Dust Bowl drama

This week, in our first web-only installment, the Hounds recommend two touring music acts (one synthy and the other homey) and a lyric look at identity during the Dust Bowl era.

Matt LatterellMusician Matt Latterell recommends Future Bible Heroes:

“Why Future Bible Heroes?” It’s a question that I can’t be the only music geek to ever have wondered over the years. For the casual listener, I would imagine FBH and The Magnetic Fields must be indiscernible. Both feature songs and vocals from The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt and Claudia Gonson, and widely utilize new wave synths. After hearing Future Bible Heroes’ new record, Partygoing, I am relieved to stop asking the question and just dig it.

The actual distinction lies with FBH arranger, Chris Ewen. While his new wave dance beats and tightly programmed synths (think Kraftwerk, not Yeezus) are not foreign turf for Merritt, Ewen does sell it. In fact, after The Magnetic Field’s previous release “Love At The Bottom Of The Sea,” with its grotesque, absurdist, claustrophobic cacophony, Partygoing is a breath of fresh air. The record sounds like a secret summertime party in some teenager’s imagined 1980s. Lyrically, the album is Merritt’s most lighthearted offering since 2004’s i. My personal favorite track is the anthemic “All I Care About Is You,” which sadly missed the opportunity to appear on a John Hughes soundtrack by about 25 years.

Their Partygoing tour brings FBH to the Cedar Cultural Center on Tuesday, July 16th. Most of them at least. Merritt has been kept off this tour due to continued ear sensitivity issues. On this round, after years in Merritt’s corner, I’m excited to see Claudia Gonson carry the torch in his absence.

Minneapolis, I know how you dig your synth-pop, so check this one out. I think it’s going to be a really unique and memorable show. A Baltimore band called Luxury Liners is opening, as well as DJ Jake Rudh.

Kathryn FumieActor Kathryn Fumie endorses Savage Umbrella’s “Rain Follows the Plow“:

I think people should be excited for Savage Umbrella’s new original show, Rain Follows the Plow, currently playing at the Playwright’s Center through July 20. The script was written by Rachel Nelson, a brilliant rising playwright, who is active in supporting women in playwrighting and other aspects of theater production.

Not only does Savage Umbrella have a history of creating new and dynamic work, they are proving to be a staying force in the Twin Cities. Rain Follows the Plow is on my list of Must See’s because it explores the subject of Manifest Destiny and the Dust Bowl era. I consider myself a bit of a Presidential-history nerd, and some of my favorite presidents were essential in (and even obsessed with) taming the Wild West. It is an intriguing time in American history that is not visited very often.

Much as America was defining its identity, power, and space during that era, Rachel Nelson shows us characters struggling to find who they are and how they fit into their time. Two couples in two different places delve into questions of “Who am I? Am I my body? Am I where I live? Am I defined by the people who love me?” The characters dialogue is realistic yet poetic, with touches of fancy from  impressive set design and use of light.

The title Rain Follows the Plow captures the theme of the show – the idea that if everyone plows the dry fields, it will trigger moisture to escape, clouds to form and rain to finally fall. From stones and dust to rain and life. An idea so hopeful and yet strikes me as hopelessly desperate. With an impressive ensemble cast and Rachel Nelson’s solid script, Savage Umbrella is setting us up for something thoughtful and touching, and definitely worthy of being on everyone’s list.

laurafrykmanPainter and educator Laura Frykman is a fan of the Savoy Family Cajun Band (she is also a longtime Cajun dancer and sometimes fiddler):

The Savoy Cajun Family Band — some of the most widely known and accomplished Cajun musicians on the planet — will be playing this Friday, July 12 at the Mpls. Eagles #34, from 7:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. Marc and Ann and their grown sons Joel and Wilson have played together for decades. They’ve won awards, published the definitive book of Cajun traditional tunes, been featured on PBS, and between them have three or four active bands. Best of all, their music together is tight, joyful, and very danceable!

This is truly a rare treat. Last time they came up to Minnesota — years ago — we scared them away with a November snowstorm. This time I hope we show them a great time so they make a habit of it! You’ll find the dance steps are easy, the scene laid back and friendly, and they offer free lessons at 7:30 p.m. with local instructor Maureen McCort. If we’re lucky, Ann will also share a few stories about Louisiana culture. The club has a full bar and plenty of room to relax between dancing.

Art Hounds will be back on the radio in September — until then, stop by State of the Arts every Thursday for recommendations from our devoted Hounds.