The Victorian era has always piqued a peculiar interest for UC Santa Cruz alum Laura Weinbach throughout her life. As lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for San Francisco’s Foxtails Brigade, Weinbach, along with violin maestro and fellow Banana Slug Anton Patzner, has created a living music box, tightly knit with synchronized harmonies and poetic storybook lyrics.
“There are a lot of intricate details in our music, like a Victorian storybook illustration,” Weinbach writes in an email sent to the Good Times. “We really try to bring that aesthetic to Foxtails Brigade both musically and visually.” That aesthetic is a haunting, eerie cheer, where Patzner’s mewing, heart-wrenching violin glues seamlessly to Weinbach’s ornate melodies and fairytale lyrics, creating the perfect musical juxtaposition to an autumn day’s picturesque whirl of foliage.
After a rewarding stint as a substitute teacher, Weinbach traded in her crayons and lullabies for a more mature sound, hitting the streets busking while putting any spare time into the development of Foxtails Brigade. Originally a solo act, Weinbach eventually teamed up with Foxtails Brigade’s original violinist, Sivan Sadeh, who performs on the group’s upcoming debut studio album, The Bread and the Bait, as well as their 7-inch, Chat with Sivan. Yet once Sivan began her journey into motherhood, she handed the reins to Patzner, who teamed up with Weinbach to create the duo’s current incarnation.
Weinbach is well aware of Foxtails Brigade’s diverse sound, noting “a creature that at one second looks like a spider-covered, human-eating maggot face can shift instantly into a friendly, beautiful fairy villa or something; or the other way around. There’s a lot of that in our songs musically as well—sudden switches between super ugly and jarring chord progressions to soothing and harmonious melody lines.”
Hitting the Crepe Place on Friday, Oct. 29, with Santa Cruz locals Brown Irish, Foxtails Brigade brings a schizophrenic tranquility to town in hopes of spooking the crowd into sublimity.