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The best kept secret in music


"FDR at the Basement"

Last night I received an IM from a friend. He told me he was going to The Basement here in town to watch FDR play. The Basement is a great venue 'cause it's small and free. Isn't that rad?

I had not heard of FDR, so my friend sent me his MySpace. I went over there and loved his stuff. You will too. Go peep it.

The man is an entertainer. No doubt about it, the audience really appreciated the show, and that has much to do with the fact that he really does appreciate the audience. Which BTW, as my friend and I commented on, was extraordinarily attractive, as about 87% of the people were quite good looking. We wondered who they were. Did they all come to see FDR? Or Our Lady of Bells, who opened? No matter...

FDR interacts with the audience humorously and deftly. It is intertwined with his act, and makes for a much better experience. He is funny, and he knows it. A lot of what I heard last night, during the twelve or so songs he did, there was much about a woman. An ex? A composite of ex's? I got the feeling that this was a recent event for him, or either, he is/was just hopelessly in love with someone. Before the show started, I asked him if he would mind if I used a flash when photographing, as my seat was close enough that my flash would blind him, as opposed to just annoy. He told me it was fine, "as long as the photo's capture me in a dramatic light". A true entertainer.

He has an Album out called the New Deal. You can buy it at CD baby. "FDR is the alter-ego of acclaimed songwriter Felix McTeigue under which he earmarked on, and created, what is The New Deal"

"This 3 CD set was born in the fall of 2005 when I began the daunting adventure of digging myself out of a creative rut by simultaneously writing and recording 50 songs in 50 days - one song a day. From my bedroom apartment on Avenue C - overlooking the FDR drive, the east river, and the lighted city skyline - I stubbornly completed a new song each night between the dates October 14th and Dec. 9th 2005 (with a few days off)...Of the resulting 50 self-produced songs, 32 of the these songs comprise this collection..."

He has several shows coming up, all free or cheap.
Jul 19 2006 @ 7:30pm. The Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA.
Jul 22 2006 @ 9:00pm. Pianos in New York, NY.
Aug 16 2006 @ 10:30pm. Pete's Candy Store, Brooklyn, NY.
Aug 18 2006 @ 7:00pm. Surf City Public Library, Surf City, NJ.
Aug 25 2006 @ 8:30pm. Langdon Street Cafe, Montpelier, VT.
Sep 08 2006 @ 8:00pm. Pappy and Harriet's, Pionertown, CA.

- Blogspot


FDR - The New Deal

WERS - Boston, MA
Acoustic Cafe - syndicated Radio show based in Ann Arbor, MI


Feeling a bit camera shy


Life after Irony: FDR & The New Deal

FDR is the new incarnation of NYC songwriter Felix Mcteigue. He was incarnated when Felix embarked on what he called “a self-imposed, all bets are off, drive everyone in my life crazy, just for the hell of it” project to write and record fifty songs in the span of fifty days. When the smoke cleared, what emerged from his Herculean creative effort was a record called (of course) The New Deal, a thoroughly original d.i.y. masterpiece comprised of thirty-two songs on three separate discs.

Since the New deal came out, FDR has shared the stage with Architecture from helsinki, the Blow, Rogue Wave and The Honey Brothers.

FDR engineered the record on his home
equipment in addition to laying down all the instruments and harmony parts himself. I once heard him say, describing his role in
producing a friend’s record, that he thought of arranging each song
like rolling a tight little cigarette in order to get the nicotine
(song) to the smoker (listener) as quickly and enjoyably as
possible. This is a good way of thinking about FDR’s own album: it’s
a pack of songs that are straightforward, joyful, and powerfully
The songs are brief and refreshingly direct. Their economy (to use
a cold word) must have come as result of the creative duress of the
50/50 project; there just wasn’t time to cloak the naked, beating
heart of these songs in cleverness and sophistication. Musically,
this means no-holds-barred melodies that seem to be all hook. The
instrumental parts (and there are many instruments: drums, bass,
guitars, piano, organ) range from the catchy to the sublime, and the
hasty, lively way they’re recorded gives the whole record an
exuberant, human, off-the-cuff sound. This is an especially
beautiful and in fact novel thing when it comes to FDR’s use of
electronic voicings and drum loops because he uses these digital
tools as though they were lovable, fallible old acoustic
instruments-- again, no time for the compulsive perfectionism and
tranciness that are so easy to fall into with digital recording.
Lyrically, the songs have an earnestness you’d be hard pressed to
find in any genre today: “I can hear you breathing clear across
town. I have learned to forget I have been let down.” Or: “Best time
I ever had! Never felt more alive! Than driving with you darling on
the FDR Drive!” When they venture toward the abstract, FDR’s lyrics
take on the simple striking imagery of haiku: “Snowflake on the
asphalt… Ice cube on the boardwalk…” Out of all of this FDR emerges
as a sort of protagonist figure; a man who wears his heart on his
sleeve without coming across as even vaguely emo; a manly,
vulnerable, admirable character who knows who he is and what he wants
and expresses it the best way he knows how.
Here I’m reminded of something I read in an acting textbook by the
Russian method actor Stanislavski years ago. The essence of it was
that, contrary to the notions of many young actors, one can’t bring
an audience to tears simply by acting sad. Only when an audience
comes to identify with a character’s desire and that desire is
unattained or thwarted does the audiences come into the ecstasies of
sorrow and rage the actor aims to inspire. FDR is above all,
desirous. Also, he is optimistic, never giving way to the petulance
and melodrama (“acting” sad) and that bogs so much music down. He
never succumbs to irony, that most supreme and fashionable form of
cowardice. As his audience we don’t know whether FDR is a winner or
a loser, whether he gets the girl, whether he is as free in reality
as he is in his songs… but we want him to be! We want it badly
because we see in his naked desire our own submerged ones! Their
subterranean striving for the sun. “Spring can’t be stopped!”
FDR’s contagious optimism is inspirational; it is also
revolutionary. The process by which the album was made makes d.i.y.
look good again-- like the liberating, empowering concept that it is
and not like an excuse for bad cover art— Who says you have to be a
drummer to play the drums? Who says you need a recording engineer?
There is a joyful innocence in the way FDR mixes live instruments
with digital ones that hearkens back to the early eighties, when
digital recording technology was still new and delightful and hadn’t
yet come, as it somehow did come, to represent the dark forces of
modernity (are you with me?). Visa-vis the political realm, FDR did
mention during one late-night conversation his new feelings about the
potential of the Democratic Party and what his namesake and the real
New Deal represented to him. All shades of the left will appreciate
the vital importance of breaking out of a reactionary political cycle
in which we define our values in reaction to those of t