Friday, November 16, 2007

preorder apologies

To everyone who has yet to receive the preorders of the new album, I'm really sorry, I dropped the ball and wasn't able to get the comic in the right format and uploaded to Athens to be printed in time. The end result will be worth it, please sit tight. And if there is any way I can make it up to you please let me know.

I just got off the phone with Gabe from Red Pony Clock telling him how the fantastic folks at retrolowfi named us finest twee album of all time or whatever they said to which he replied "Congratulations! finest album of the shittiest genre ever!"

Touche Gabe.

Before that he complained about how I wrote about him in a previous blog entry and I was like "whatever, no one reads that blog, all I do is repost nice things people have said about me."

speaking of which here's a good one from the UT college paper called the daily Texan:

Artist: Fishboy
Album: Albatross: How We Failed to Save the Lone Star State with the Power of Rock and Roll
Label: Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records

The ghost of Buddy Holly trapped in a parachute hangs over Albatross. Holly floats through the songs, guiding Eric Michener (Fishboy) in his quest to fulfill a prophecy that he would write that definitive song with the harmonic power to redeem the entire state of Texas. Though it's bold, even if facetious, Michener's comparison between himself and Holly is apt.

Albatross, billed as a rock opera, demonstrates Fishboy's most serious, mature song writing without losing much of the quirkiness and whimsy present on Little D and ZipBangBoom.

The burden of maintaining a narrative strand throughout the album does make for some ponderous and overly contrived situations in the lyrics, as in "Half Time at the Proper Name Spelling Bee," but the vigor and melodiousness of the music - fast-paced drums, whirling keyboard, the occasional bleating of a horn - make the kinks trivial. Some highlights are "Race Car," which sounds like a lo-fi Pavement outtake, "Blackout/Flashback," a mellow country-folk reminiscence, the riotous "The Details of Our Trip" and the defiant, uplifting closing track, "Farewell Albatross."

For a twee pop album with glimmers of early rock and roll, Albatross is quite often epic while being a thoroughly rollicking good listen. It's unclear what the 8,030 songs claimed to be penned by Michener were supposed to save us from, but the 11 tracks on Albatross sure make the prospect of salvation sound sweet, even if it only gets us on our feet.

- Priya Hora

Thanks Priya!

Also, here is an interview I did with good old Hunter Hauk from the Dallas Morning News/Quick. Hunter called our last album Little D the best local release of 2005, so I wasn't too nervous talking to him like I am most interviewers...trying to think things out before I say them and whatnot because I know I'll be quoted. As a result I kind of rambled and got all of my words condensed for print. Here is that thing:

Denton's Fishboy talks about his new rock opera

03:18 PM CST on Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Eric "Fishboy" Michener did the only thing that made sense in his attempt to follow 2005 nerd-pop tour de force Little D: He wrote a rock opera about a singer who, at the behest of Buddy Holly's ghost, robs a bank to try to save Texas by taking his act on tour in an armored van.

And so we have Fishboy's new album, Albatross: How We Failed to Save the Lone Star State With the Power of Rock and Roll, which came out this week on Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records. It's a half-hour of catchy ditties about falling in love, following dreams and dealing with failure, Fishboy-style.

We had a phone chat with Mr. Michener in advance of the band's CD release show Friday at Rubber Gloves.

Aside from a couple of new band members, what else has changed since the last album?

Well, with Little D, there was a definite difference between what was on the album and what we did live. It had all those slow, atmospheric songs, and we ended up just going with the more straightforward rock ones in our live set. With this album, I wanted to totally go with a rock sound, so it's good that we've got John Clardy on drums. He's heavy. And I switched to electric guitar.

Albatross is a rock opera, but parts of it seem autobiographical. How did it come about?

I knew I wanted to make a rock opera – I love albums where the songs flow into each other. And I used to be a film student, so I like telling stories. But I've found it's a lot easier to do that with songs than with films. With Albatross, I had two songs already written and then wrote the rest in order of how I wanted the story to go. The biggest challenge was the ending. At first, I wanted it to be this big, dramatic thing, but then I figured it'd be better to fail at the mission and end up in jail.

Why involve the ghost of Buddy Holly?

I was listening to a Buddy Holly album around the time I started writing the song "Parachute." I had this weird train of thought that was basically this: Landing with a parachute is as easy as falling in love. [Laughs]. I know, I know. Strange. But it made me think of [Holly's song] "It's So Easy." And that set it up from there, for me. Plus, Buddy Holly is a huge influence for me. He and the Beatles and the Who and the Kinks are my big four.

The story begins with the singer sitting in his room writing songs alone. Is that how childhood was for you?

That had more to do with the way I felt while writing the songs for the album. It's the concept of how you can go about your life pretty much alone, thanks to technology. And sometimes you can create something great but you're too scared to get out there and share it. And even if you have to rob banks to get it done, it's better than sitting at home and never doing anything about it. [Laughs.] That's the extreme solution in the story, but it is sort of autobiographical in that we're about to go out on tour and I don't even have a car yet.

[Mr. Michener gets another call and clicks over to answer it. Two minutes later, he comes back.]

I just found out that my loan was approved, so I can get that car.

Wow, it's like you willed it to happen by talking about it. [Creepy silence] So, where are you going on tour?

We'll be out for three weeks after Thanksgiving – Chicago, Denver, Seattle and a few other places.

And what can we expect from Friday's CD release show?

We're going to attempt to immerse the audience into the story. I don't want to give too much away, so that's all I will say. Plan your life

DETAILS: Fishboy plays Friday night at Rubber Gloves, 411 E. Sycamore in Denton. With Man Factory and Cavedweller. Doors open at 9. $5 to $7. 940-387-7781.

HEY THATS TONIGHT! You should go to this show if you live close. It'll be worth it.



Brian said...

If I lived anywhere near Texas right now I'd be there. Good luck at the show, and congrats on the great reviews! And I'm looking forward to getting my copy -- and the comic!

Juliar said...

So I met your label dude Mike at the Lolligags show, and I told him he should convince you to come play in Atlanta. I now petition you directly. Please come play in Atlanta (or Athens, I'll make the trip...)? Please?

fishbulb said...

juliar-We are most definitely coming to Athens and perhaps ATL sooner than our annual august popfest trip. Right now the plan is to start booking that way as soon as we get back from this next one. How was that Lolligags show? I wish I could have gone.

brian-where are you? Maybe we can book around your town as well.

Chris said...

Come play Addison!

Brian said...

Up in Boston these days. If you made it up here before I move to California (not likely until September) I would hopefully be able to get together some of my friends up here to come see you! I'd be there, anyhow. Hope all's well!

Juliar said...

Oh! The Lolligags show was a blast! They threw gingerbread men into the crowd, which is enough for me. Can I declare that I have a crush on your whole label and anyone having anything to do with it?...In repayment of your promise to visit our area, shall I put a plug about your album on my blog? Think I will. Seems fair :)

Juliar said...

It is done.