Well, after a humdinger of a Facebook poll, we are ready to crown our first Weird Band of the Week of 2013. Or maybe we’ll crown the severed head that accompanies her at most of her shows. Apparently the head is named Anne Boleyn, so that seems more appropriate.
Miss Von Trapp is the stage persona of one Lizzi Fugeman. She hails from England, plays the cello and sings Goth-Victorian folks songs about children being poisoned by eels and the inner musings of Jack the Ripper and other such cheery subjects. She also wears stripey stockings and creepy doll makeup. She calls her music “Murderously Quirky Dark Cello Cabaret” and “performance poetry to revolt and entertain.” She’s kind of Rasputina meets the Tiger Lillies meets the room this old spinster named Priscilla kept full of creaky antique toys on the street where I grew up. If that room had had a soundtrack, I bet it would’ve sounded exactly like Miss Von Trapp. Come to think of it, what the hell was I ever doing in that room? My parents did not inculcate me with a proper sense of Stranger Danger. If I were the subject of a Miss Von Trapp song, I surely would have met an untimely end.
Miss Von Trapp has a new album called Songs to Die For coming out later this year, which you’ll no doubt be able to read all about here, as soon as we can wheedle a copy out of her. Meantime, here she is performing a pair of original songs, “Tragic Moments” and “Roses Are Red,” at something called the Dolly Delights Burlesque Peep Show and Cabaret. Oh, those saucy Brits and their salacious peep shows, featuring buxom cello players in doll makeup and granny glasses. Be still my boiling tea bags!
- Miss Von Trapp official site
- Miss Von Trapp’s LiveJournal
- Miss Von Trapp on Facebook
- Miss Von Trapp on Soundcloud
P.S. We’re still recuperating from our latest Facebook poll, but we’ll have a new one soon. Promise.
So last week, we got an email from one of our favorite little oddball labels, a U.K. outfit called Tummy Touch, and they brought us great news. The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players are still in business! Apparently they played a private showcase in New York on March 28th. Our Lear Jet was in the shop, so we couldn’t make it out from L.A., but hopefully this means there’ll be more Trachtenburg merriment coming soon.
For those of y’all not familiar: the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players are an “indie-vaudeville-conceptual-art-rock-slideshow band” (their words) made up of husband-wife team Jason and Tina Piña Trachtenburg and their daughter, Rachel. Jason plays guitar and keyboards and sings; Rachel plays the drums and a little harmonica and ukulele and sings; and Tina “plays” the slide projector and sings backup. All of their songs are accompaniments to vintage slideshows from the ’50s and ’60s, scrounged in thrift stores and estate sales. The Trachtenburgs comb through these slide collections and make up stories about the people in the photos. Basically, it’s postmodern, multimedia folk art, in which most of the participants are unwitting and possibly even deceased.
Much of the attention devoted to the Trachtenburgs has focused on daughter Rachel, because how many bands can you name in which the drummer is an adorable nine-year-old girl? She’s now 17 and has her own band called Supercute!–and yes, they live up to their name. They have a song called “Candy City,” for goodness’ sake. If that Cute Overload website had a music section, they’d be featured like, all the time.
Here’s a video of what may still be the Trachtenburgs’ most famous performance, a 2003 appearance on Late Night With Conan O’Brien. According to the band’s MySpace page, they were the first unsigned band to appear on Late Night, which is pretty cool. We’re guessing it was also the first time something called the Festival of Gas ever got mentioned on a late-night talk show. But we’ll have our research dept. check on that.
P.S. In case you were wondering: No, these Trachtenburgs are no relation to the actress Michelle Trachtenberg. Although she’s pretty adorable, too.
P.P.S. We’re happy to report that since we first posted this, the Slideshow Players have released a new album, Lost and Found, their first new material in seven years. Go over to iTunes and get it.