Crooked Fingers will release their fifth LP, titled Forfeit / Fortune
October 7th, 2008 on Red Pig / Constant Artists, Inc. Produced by Mark Nevers (Andrew Bird, Lambchop, Silver Jews), Alex McManus (The Bruces, Bright Eyes) and Eric Bachmann in Nashville, Denver, and Tucson this past spring, Forfeit / Fortune
will be their first release since 2005's Dignity and Shame
(Merge).Forfeit / Fortune
features the fullest and most eclectic orchestration on a Crooked Fingers release to date, kicking off with the horn-heavy What Never Comes , and the drum machine-based Luisa's Bones . Whereas Dignity and Shame
was recorded entirely live, Forfeit / Fortune
was a more piecemeal affair, with CF enlisting an all-star cast of players to perform on the record, with the cast depending on the city they were in. Brian Kotzur (Silver Jews) lent his to the project in Nashville, while Tom Hagerman (Devotchka) laid down string parts in Denver. Frequent Crooked Fingers touring mate Neko Case sang the brilliant album-closing duet Your Control with Bachmann at the Upstairs Studio / Wavelab Studios in Tucson. Bachmann, a noted composer in his own right, wrote and arranged the string and horn parts on the record, in addition to functioning as the album s creative director of sorts.
After releasing albums on indie powerhouses Merge (2003's Red Devil Dawn
and 2005's Dignity and Shame
) and Saddle Creek (Bachmann s 2006 solo debut To the Races), Forfeit / Fortune
will be the debut release on Red Pig / Constant Artists, Inc. Forfeit / Fortune
will be available in both a standard jewelcase edition and a deluxe digipak edition, which includes extended artwork and a DVD found only in the Deluxe Edition. The DVD is slated to contain exclusive new performance footage, the first music video from Forfeit / Fortune
, and an interview with chief singer & songwriter Eric Bachmann. All formats are available through CrookedFingers.com website.
Crooked Fingers fans who enjoyed Eric Bachmann's 2006, bare-bones acoustic To the Races
LP, yet yearned for the kind of heavily orchestrated, E Street Band-fueled Americana that graced 2003's Red Devil Dawn
and 2005's Dignity and Shame
will no doubt be pleased by Forfeit/Fortune
. Picking right up where Shame left off, Bachmann, along with an all-star cast of characters which includes longtime collaborators as well as indie rock stalwarts like Brian Kotzur (Silver Jews), Tom Hagerman (DeVotchKa), and Neko Case blow through an 11-song set of dusty, horn-laden, highway driving, drink-spilling heartache that stands as the group's most solid piece of work to date. Opener "What Never Comes," a fully loaded showstopper that comes on like a cross between David Bowie's "Heroes" and Bruce Springsteen's "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," sets the pace, and from there it's an unusually wild ride from a bandleader who often favors straight-to-tape authenticity over studio experimentation. Funky instrumentation and wild percussion abound throughout, especially on the cool and visceral "Luisa's Bones" an old-timey tale filtered through a digital water bag. "Cannibals" a straight-up power pop nugget that could have peen peeled off the back of the first Cheap Trick album, also impresses, but it's Forfeit/Fortune's
final two tracks, the mesmerizing, anthem worthy "Modern Dislocation" and its equally rousing counterpart "Your Control" -- the latter a duet with Neko Case -- that seal the deal. --All Music Review
Eric Bachmann burns from the inside out. It s a slow, persistent burn, invoking in him a response as innate as any other human action: He makes music because, quite simply, that s all that there is. It damages his health and compromises his relationships. It has led him to seek out other answers. But instead of opting for a straighter path, he revitalizes his craft time and again, constantly evolving as a musician, finding in himself the darkest moments, those unforgiving elements that comprise the most profound of artistic accomplishments. His words are often plaintive and searching, commenting on human experience, old parables, broken souls, his own stoic discontent. His compositions have been anchored in Americana, the roots of an Appalachian upbringing. But even though he s remained reflexive and brooding, he also looks outward to welcome distant flavors of the wider world, rendering his an art that is honest and, ultimately, uncompromising.
If you don t know who Eric Bachmann is by name, you probably know one of his projects: Archers of Loaf, Barry Black, or Crooked Fingers...
Bachmann, the frontman and principal songwriter of Archers of Loaf, was a saxophone major turned English student that went to Appalachian State before moving to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Archers of Loaf hit the local scene and then spread out and permeated the core of what was going on in underground American rock, peeking out into the mainstream long enough to reject an offer from Madonna s Maverick Records, securing a bastion of DIY ethics that never tipped in the other (more commercial) favor. The Archers of Loaf ended up putting out a handful of albums before breaking up in 1998, never really catapulting out of that college radio territory, a choice that helped set a precedent for indie ethics that has resounding impact still today. After the Archers broke up, Bachmann remained a working musician. To date, he s released nearly a dozen albums under three different monikers, including his own name and Barry Black, but his main project became Crooked Fingers, a quieter, darker, more poignant collection of material, lush and affecting and moody.
He has never, and probably will not ever, become a part of the mainstream musical landscape. It s not only the quality of his catalog that remains consistently excellent, but his work ethic and dedication has earned him the kind of accolades that are contingent on a somewhat esoteric legion of fans. In a day and age where the music industry as we know it is crumpling and everyone with a song in their head has the capability to make it heard should they desire, it is steadfast discipline and unwavering focus on his craft that makes Bachmann a quietly heroic musician... --Crawdaddy.com
Eric Bachmann appreciates fine lines what they represent, how one decision we make can dictate complete prosperity or utter failure. Crooked Fingers, the band Bachmann fronts, had a record all about that released in 2005, called Dignity and Shame, and this month sees the release of the band s fifth full-length, another examination of borders of fine lines, titled Forfeit/Fortune.
Crooked Fingers has always been a band in a constant state of transformation, musically or otherwise. While Bachmann s initial dive into the indie-rock scene, as leader of nineties luminaries Archers of Loaf, led to comparatively similar results (of varying quality), each Crooked Fingers record has its own personality, its own disposition and way of expressing itself. Texturally, they re different, sure 2000 s debut full-length was mostly just Bachmann himself; 2001 s Bring on the Snakes witnessed him getting a little bit outside his comfort zone; Red Devil Dawn (2003) had Bachmann going all acoustic, adding horns and strings confidently; the aforementioned Dignity and Shame was his largest departure, hightailing for pure, heart-on-sleeve pop, all the while embracing new Spanish influence. (The sad solo record that followed, To the Races, which featured mostly just Bachmann and a guitar, had some very pretty moments but was a bit lacking.) And now Forfeit/Fortune, which blends all of these elements, but also looks forward...
... Forfeit/Fortune isn t quite the first record, or Red Devil Dawn (in my opinion, Crooked Fingers other major accomplishment), but it certainly holds its own. Horns and nylon-stringed acoustic guitars triumph the Spanish influence is still predominant and Bachmann s growl hasn t gotten any less affecting. Phony Revolutions is a standout, its trumpet groove infectious, a really great choice for the song. I m most impressed with how the record ends; the last three songs Run, Lieutenant, Run, Modern Dislocation and Your Control all show lasting power. Run, Lieutenant, Run begins as a Bachmann misery ballad but quickly turns into an unexpected, aggressive jam, Dislocation a kind of classic Bachmann pop charge and Your Control s a giddy, New Orderesque duet with Neko Case, featuring a sweeping synth.
I didn t want to make a follow-up of any kind or anything, I want it to hopefully be different every time, Bachmann says of the record. I never know going in specifically what I want to do, it s definitely a more liberating way to get started...
...The last records have featured an increasing female vocal presence, not just backup either, sometimes straight lead vocal. Miranda Brown lends her talents to Forfeit/Fortune, doing various harmonies but also taking the lead on Luisa s Bones. I get sick of my own voice, as any reasonable human would, Bachmann says. I just like the idea...my voice is pretty present, and I don t listen to my own music unless it s when I m making it. I ll listen to it a year later, be like, There was a bad decision, there was a good decision, but [having a new voice] a nice break every third song... --New City Chicago