Foxtails Brigade
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Foxtails Brigade

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Acoustic


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"Cream-Colored Slumbers"

Mission Creek 2008: Foxtails Brigade float beyond experimental folk
Wednesday July 9, 2008

Thank you, Brian Martinez. Were it not for this mutual friend, guitarist-vocalist Laura Weinbach and violinist Sivan Sadeh may have never met, and Foxtails Brigade — perhaps best but weakly described as experimental folk — may never have formed. And the two 25-year-old, classically trained musicians would miss the synergy they possess playing à deux. As Weinbach raved over the phone while the pair drove around San Francisco: "What's really cool about violin and Sivan in particular is it's really like having two to three vocal lines. She totally harmonizes with me, melodically, through the violin. Every song she's been a part of becomes 100 times better."
The duo met last September and immediately began performing: they've already logged about 35 shows, entertaining everyone from sweet old folks in Santa Barbara convalescent homes to Weinbach's surrogate high school students (she's a substitute teacher). Sadeh's rocked the violin nearly her entire life, playing in ensembles as diverse as mariachi to garage, while Weinbach studied creative writing and music at the University of California, Santa Cruz, which is obvious in both her seemingly effortless classical fingerpicking and her lyrical storytelling.

"Porcelain" is how their friend Uni, the one with the ukulele, dubs their unmatched sound. She's right: the pretty melodies and flower-strewn stories conjure memories of playing dress-up in vintage finery. Yet a sharp, almost violent edge is ever-present, saving the music from sugary-sweet, indie-folk doldrums. Foxtails' consistent intensity and experimental theatrics — think Faun Fables, an oft-cited influence — are largely due to the tension created by Sadeh. Her violin melodies dance around Weinbach's vocal ones, taunting and tiptoeing, until they collide at each song's climax, an act that often is as beautifully dissonant as it is gracious. "I like to screech on my violin when I have a chance, and get that kind of whiny sound that people really don't want to listen to but are attracted to for some reason," Sadeh said, adding that she's learning to play the similarly eerie-sounding saw.
Weinbach's lyrics never fail on the storytelling front, whether she's channeling a scary doll that comes alive in the dark of night or writing about a psychotic student. In the latter song, "For Leo," she sings, "But I have known your kind before / You're linked by paper cuts and sores / Rotten green banana eyes / With chocolate milk and hungry flies." Creepy yet compelling, Foxtails dare you to turn away. - SF Bay Guardian

"Quiet Riot"

At the Sunday Night String Stampede, it’s not just the word “stampede” that hollers “I’m gonna feel something!” when it comes to the lineup of Uni and the Ding String Trio, Foxtails Brigade, Definite Articles, and New Pantheon. Foxtails Brigade has that soul-transporting “anytime but now, anywhere but here” quality that accompanies a lot of bands not punching away at the prefab Garage Band beats on their Macs, and it’s such a welcome vacation. The violin and guitar glide and pluck together beautifully, accompanied by Laura Weinbach’s sweet and powerful vocals. Such a flawless cover of “La Vie en Rose”! Some wicked talent is floating around in the Weinbach gene pool — brother Brent is a local favorite on the comedy scene. Foxtails Brigade is who we want to hear when smoothing a lace doily in an English tearoom, and on other auspicious occasions as well — certainly on a Sunday in San Francisco. - SF Weekly


Foxtails Brigade - 2008 Demo - Self Released
Foxtails Brigade 7" - Summer 2009 - Third Culture Records
The Bread and the Bait LP - April 2011 - Antenna Farm Records

The Bread and the Bait is in and played on college radio stations across America and is on Pandora.



Foxtails Brigade present an ornate kind of chamber pop, intricate viola and violin arrangements are anchored by Laura Weinbach’s exquisitely played classical guitar and pitch perfect vocals. But underneath the simple melodies lie an impeding darkness, a lyrical landscape populated by shadowy and bizarre characters, rife with hints of rot, aging, and death.

The Hollywood Hills-born daughter of a cult filmmaker and sister of offbeat stand-up comedian Brent Weinbach, Laura grew up in a musical household that embraced eccentricity. Her next-door neighbors were circus contortionists with emus and fang-toothed monkeys as pets and her childhood activities included snail hunting and spying on celebrity neighbors like Slash, Ice-T and Larry from Perfect Strangers. While her mother, an accomplished pianist, taught the children piano, her father had a more unique approach to musical education:

“When I’d get in trouble as a kid, my father would punish me with cassette tapes,” Laura recalls. “He would make me mixes of all his favorite jazz singers like Billie Holiday, Blossom Dearie, June Kristie and Edith Piaf and tell me that if I could learn all these songs and sing them back to him just like they did on the recordings then I could go out and play with my friends. I’d run to my room and start memorizing. When I was done, I’d sing them all back to him through a little Pig Nose amplifier that we got at a garage sale.”

The method paid off. Much later, these same songs would form the core of Laura’s repertoire as she busked the streets of Paris, her home for half a year. Eight years of classical guitar training along with literature and music degrees from UC Santa Cruz were coming to fruition. Likewise, her off-beat childhood and post-graduate experiences as a substitute teacher would provide a wealth of ideas for compositions of her own.

Laura started Foxtails Brigade in 2006 with her friend, violinist Sivan Sadeh. She moved to San Francisco a year later, playing every club and street corner and she could find. It wasn’t long before the city started to notice. She quit her day job as a substitute teacher in 2009 and has been a full-time performer ever since, sharing stages with Faun Fables, Chris Garneau and Bart Davenport amongst others. She has collaborated with a number of talented musicians in Foxtails Brigade, including cellists Jen Grady (Emily Jane White, Adam Stevens), Robin Reynolds and Lewis Patzner (Mates of State, Tim Kasher), and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Pollock (Citay, Bob Saggeth). Her most recent musical partner is violinist and arranger Anton Patzner of Bright Eyes and Judgement Day.