Mandolindie

Feral Conservatives come to Canal

By Christian Roerig

Photo: Matt Francis and Rashie Rosenfarb of Feral Conservatives will perform on Oct. 8 at Canal Public House

It’s not often that a band will have a completely interesting sound, and most of the time when they do, it’s something that’s too weird or unlistenable to most audiences. Virginia Beach’s Feral Conservatives are an interesting act in that regard. The sound itself is hard to describe, but the band puts it this way: “I like a review we got last year that called us ‘killer noise folk,’” they say.

“We’ve been described as The Cranberries meets Sonic Youth, or even The Sundays reincarnated as a country band. How those both work, I don’t know.”

Despite being unsure of whether their various labels work well together, the band members themselves certainly do. Singer Rashie Rosenfarb’s vocals add a dream-like melodic counterpart to her feedback-laden mandolin riffs, all the while being catchy enough to grab the attention of any audience, or have enough edge for some kind of music snob. We had a chance to catch up with the gang before they head out on a ten-day tour to support their next album coming out on EggHunt Records.

When did Feral Conservatives start?

Rashie Rosenfarb: Initially we started as a side project with Matt [Francis] and me back when we were in a different indie rock band. At that point, it was more acoustically driven—more roots-based—and just something we did for fun. After a while, the band we were in broke up, so we decided to put all our energy into Feral Conservatives and incorporate the elements of the louder indie rock sound with the folky acoustic stuff you’d expect from a mandolin. We recorded and toured as a two-piece for a few years and since 2014 have added bass to our live sound.

What album are you currently supporting?

RR: We were in the studio this past summer recording our second full-length, Here’s to Almost. It will be released in December on EggHunt Records. So yes, we are touring on an album that comes out in a few months…wait…we put out a teaser/EP/tape on Egghunt Records, our label debut, earlier this year and it’s a little taste of things to come. We’ll definitely have new music on hand at the show.

What are some of your least Favorite places to play or worst show experience?

RR: I’ve never particularly enjoyed New York. It’s too big off a mess to get in and out of. I’ll say our worst show experience was playing there last February. Our bassist (not Dan) told us he couldn’t get the time off work a whole four days before we embarked, and a bitter cold front moved in. We soldiered on and toured just the two of us, and there were times on that tour that the wind chill hit a record low for the year. I think it took Matt 45 minutes to park the car, on top of a snow bank, in the city. About that same time, our PR firm decided not to promote the release unbeknownst to us (it was release week, we were doing an album release show in New York, and cutting ties with them on the road) and there was this moment where we were lugging all of our equipment on the Subway with a bottle of SoCo in our backpack in the sub-zero temps and thinking, “this is paying your dues.” But at the same time, the show was a ton of fun, and can it really be a “worst experience” when you’re on the road doing what you love?

What would be a specific trend in music that you would love to do away with?

RR: Probably not listening exclusively to our band!

I would say for me it’s the current singles-driven landscape. More and more bands are talking about letting the two-year, full-length album cycle go to the wayside in favor of singles, and just kind of the ADD music-consumer culture in general. Not to show our age—I’m guilty of it, too… Spotify and streaming has given way to more and more immediate gratification, and I hate to think about how many good albums have come out that maybe are a little more challenging, that aren’t given the chance they deserve in favor of more immediate music. I’ve experienced that recently with some bands I really love, releasing albums that take some listening to to sort of open up, and it’s been worth it to pry into them and spend more time than you would maybe afford a new band with which you didn’t have history.

What should the people of Dayton be expecting at a Feral Conservatives show?

RR: A lot of energy, but also pretty eclectic. It’ll be noisy and loud and then we’ll take it down for some more intimate moments. Have you ever heard a mandolin make garage rock akin to the White Stripes? Actually if you’re reading this, what do you expect at an FC show? We’ll make it happen—we know all the words to “Happy Birthday.”

What does the future hold for the Feral Conservatives?

RR: Look out for Here’s to Almost in December. And expect to see us continuously touring on into the new year. We’re working on putting together some regional shows in January. So be good to us, Ohio.

Anything else you’d like to add?

RR: We’d love to see you out on Thursday night! Come say “hi!” Be kind to your pets. You can go to our website feralconservatives.com and like our facebook.com/feralconservatives to stay up to date with the latest! Thanks!

Feral Conservatives will perform on Thursday, Oct. 8 at Canal Public House, 308 E. First St. Doors will open at 8 p.m. For information, please visit feralconservatives.com

Reach DCP freelance writer Christian Roerig at ChristianRoerig@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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