Early on, Fergus and Geronimo were miscast as Woodsist-endorsed purveyors of lo-fi white noise, partly for their trickle of singles that sounded like Playskool-recorder rescues, partly because the native Texans were DIY-friendly and played shows with bands like the Beets. But the now-Brooklyn-based duo’s 2011 full-length Unlearn is far more mature in its songwriting than anything those seven-inches ever evoked, flexing from ’60s garage-pop homage to Arnold’s Drive-In slow-dance to at least one Sidewalk Café hat-passer, nearly all in under three-minute segments. Amid the straight-faced genre-dabbling, there’s also a wry lyrical edge befitting for two dudes (Jason Kelly and Andrew Savage) who tell tall tales for no detectable reason. Off-key sax-sketched singalong “Where The Walls Are Made of Grass” is a Portlandia-esque hippie-diss that rhymes “Treating people rude” with “organic food;” “Wanna Know What I’d Do?” is equally bitter, a flute-accompanied anti-anti-folk sourmash that eviscerates Williamsburg in one grammatically challenged sentence (“If I was you, I’d fine another scene to leech on to”).
Our personal favorite Unlearn moment is opener, “Girls With English Accents,” which is about exactly what you think it is, and in honor of the pair’s show at the Cake Shop this weekend, we asked Kelly and Savage to choose their ten favorites. They also play the Bowery Ballroom on April 20 with DOM, Minks, and Total Slacker, which should be, ah, interesting.
1. The GPS navigation lady “I’m never lost when she’s around.”
2. Gee Vaucher An extremely important artist, formerly in an extremely important band.
3. Lily Allen She’s cute. Catchy tunes also.
4. Elena Poulou All-around babe, and married to Mark E. Smith.
5. Rosemary Cross
The teacher in the movie Rushmore. Aye aye aye.
6. Tracy Ullman Her show spawned The Simpsons. Also “They Don’t Know.”
7. Carrie Donovan Mostly for those Old Navy commercials. Wait, was she English? Maybe she was just one of those really fancy Americans that talk like they are…
8. Estelle Love that song “American Boy”.
9. Madonna Just kidding.
The real 9. Angela Lansbury English, she spoke.
10. Posh SpiceCirca 1996.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 7, 2011