Friday, November 7, 2008

in rotation: Forest Fire

"I Don't Like What I've Become"

I have no idea how I found out about Forest Fire, but two days ago their infectious "I Make Windows" came on shuffle. After a little sleuthing, I found out that Forest Fire are a, surprise surprise, Brooklyn band, by way of Portland, specializing in atmospheric, bourbon soaked, tin-shack country folk. Sure, they fall into the extremely broad "Indie" category, but the songs off their record Survival feel more like urban twang or industrial hymns written in an abandoned warehouse in Bushwick than freak folk or goth folk or whatever the sweet folk the kids are digging this week is. Survival, released this summer, is an understated, overlooked gem that feels more like a stepping stone to something bigger than a master statement. Their bio notes that "Survival was recorded over an eight month period in two locations - Brooklyn, New York and Portland, Oregon. “Not all the members of Forest Fire live on the same coastline,” Mark Thresher explains, “So when certain friends roll through town, things happen pretty quickly.” Many of the tracks were recorded live in less than five takes, then maniacally overdubbed by a variety of players. Sometimes there was only one microphone for the entire band. Sometimes they pulled out a few more." If that's not enticing enough, NYC Taper favorite Sharon Van Etten and Nick Deiffs of the Shaky Hands lend their vocals on a few tracks. Oh yeah, and the album is available for free on, so what are you waiting for? Snatch Survival here, then go buy Cotton Jones Basket Ride's The Archery EP and chew on the wonders of the new East Coast atmospheric folk scene.

Forest Fire doesn't have any dates scheduled, but you can catch The Shaky Hands at the Mercury Lounge Saturday and Sharon Van Etten at Zebulon on Sunday. Both are Bobk-approved and highly recommended.

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