February 14, 2006

Five Important Questions With The Fervor

You know the feeling that super intense Dentyne gum — “arctic chill,” or some other dumb reference to that which is ultimately refreshing — gives you in the first 10 seconds of chewing, when it feels like the insides of your mouth are aflame and you can almost hear the germs that stink up your breath writhing and screaming in severe, life-ending pain? And after you dry your eyes and give a heavy sniff to clear that crap out of your nostrils, you do that “ahh” thing that’s the universal sound of satisfaction? Right.

Cheesy though it sounds, that’s the feeling I’ve gotten over and over listening to The Fervor’s debut EP, a five-song work of delicate, considered art that officially meets the public’s consumption on Friday (though it’s been out a while already). Husband-wife team Natalie and Ben Felker have created a prelude to a masterpiece, a surprisingly original batch of tunes clever and heartfelt, witty and crushing, all with an otherworldly musical presence that includes guitars, bass, drums (Kevin Ratterman on record; Mat Herron currently), vibes, organ, Rhodes and Natalie’s dark-in-a-poppy-way piano. Her vocals are a mix of Fiona Apple and older Liz Phair, but with idiosyncratic depth and, when called for, fantastic sultry smoothness.

Here are Natalie’s answers to LEO’s Five Important Questions.

LEO: If you were Mayor, what would you do to help promote people like you in this city?

Natalie Felker: People like us generally don’t hang with the Mayor, and probably vice versa. I’m not sure we’d pass the appropriate screenings or represent any already established parties to get elected either. That being said, as Mayor, I have one word for you: monorail. Also, I’d give everyone the day off. We’d have a cookout at my place, with plenty of good beer, and spin records till the sun went down. I’d simultaneously pass out morning after pills while marrying gay couples. Anybody who got out of line would have to sit in a dunk tank. At dusk, we’d have a kick-ass rock show. The bars and the gentlemen’s clubs would stay open as late as they want, and full nudity would not be a crime. Lastly, venues that allow smoking would be given a stipend for proper ventilation systems, so smokers and nonsmokers alike can play together. Yeah, I think that’s about it.

LEO: Which Louisville musician needs to get more attention?

NF: Have you ever heard of the White Monkey? There’s some cool stuff going on there.

LEO: If music were food, what kind would yours be?

NF: A delicious blend of sweet, nourishing coffee and beer.

LEO: Tell me about one of your favorite works of art aside from your medium.

NF: Ben and I share a special fondness for (Charles) Bukowski’s “Love Is A Dog From Hell.” The film “What the Bleep Do We Know?” is also a favorite. Generally speaking, performance art can be a lovely excuse for behavioral problems.

LEO: What do you want to say that you know you shouldn’t?

NF: Thanks to my answer to question one, now my phone is probably tapped.