Fax Holiday is the recording/performing name of Eric Schermerhorn (formerly of Mutt and Margin Walker), and it is also the name of a Boston-based indie/folk band containing Schermerhorn (vocals, guitars, autoharp), Ian Macleod (bass, vocals), Elizabeth Bollenberg (violin, harp), and Dana Diplacido (percussion). Importantly, it is also the name of one of my favorite bands of the last few months. Their new album – Rope & Wine – is a solid musical effort – combining indie-rock numbers like “Dropping Out” with more introspective, folk-inspired tunes like “Salt.” Regardless of presentation, each song feels as if it is rooted in something that is deeply personal – coming to the listener as if from a diary entry. It’s a combination that comes up a lot in these parts (you might be familiar with a similar formula as seen in the work of Galaxie 500), and produces an amazingly vibrant emotional tapestry.
Also, it rocks. Did I mention that it rocks?
Here’s a bit from Eric about how the album came together: “The record was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Richard Marr at Galaxy Park Studios in Allston, Ma, off and on, between June and December 2010. I didn’t have a real line-up at the time so I sort of approached it by having friends come in and add to tracks. By the time the record was done we had a solid line-up and have since been playing out and trying to spread the word about our band and our new record.” Indeed, as you’ll hear in the tracks below, the line-up does seem solid. In fact, Fax Holiday sounds like a band that has been playing together for years, and one intent on making its own way in the world – eschewing genre and convention for the sake of finding the right sound for the song at hand. And honestly, as debut albums go, this one fills me with hope for Fax Holiday’s future.
But rather than have me go on and on, let me give you a bit of a taste. Oh, and if you want to follow along, the lyrics are all on the bandcamp page. First up, is the rock-tinged “Ouroboros” – a great track for showing off the band’s group dynamic:
At the other end of Rope & Wine is the melancholy “Chameleon.” It’s a track that showcases the more folk-oriented elements of Fax Holiday, even as it begins to turn again to rock at the end. If nothing else, I think the track shows the difficulty of classifying the genre of truly original bands (and I mean that in the best possible sense):
And here’s the rest of Rope & Wine:
If you like what you hear, you can get the album over at bandcamp for a Radiohead-esque “Name Your Own Price.” It’s well worth shelling out for, and I encourage you to help support an up-and-coming band. And if you want to take the band in live, they’ll be opening for Walt Mink at T.T. the Bear’s place in Boston on July 27th. Here’s a link to tickets for that show – maybe I’ll see you there?