News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
Sounds: Scissors & Tape Album Review
BY BEN SELLERS
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Every generation of high-schoolers has its unforgettable musical milestones.
For some Fredericksburgers, it might have been seeing Link Wray unveil the power chord at the Fredericksburg Armory in 1958—a moment of musical history that put Fredericksburg on the rock ’n’ roll map.
For another generation, it might have been something more personal—like hearing funk greats Elephant Boy jam around town in the ’90s.
For the current cohort of teens and early 20-somethings, Fredericksburg All Ages has cruised past “generational” status to become a local institution.
FAA has witnessed its share of Link Wray moments, as evidenced by the names on the concert history page of its website. Nationally recognized acts such as Ra Ra Riot, Ted Leo, Jukebox the Ghost, and The Head and the Heart all played in Fredericksburg thanks to FAA.
Buoyed by its success in bringing these acts to small, downtown venues, the 6-year-old FAA has become self-sustaining—both financially as a nonprofit and organizationally with a constantly renewing cycle of young volunteers to run the shows.
Fueled by the creativity of its Youth Advisory Council, FAA also continues to branch out into new areas. One of these is Scissors & Tape Records, a label FAA founded last year to allow young bands to record their music in a studio. The label, which has helped a handful of bands already, recently released a compilation disc to raise more money toward its mission.
The first Scissors & Tape compilation album provides a nostalgic cross-section of FAA history, with featured tracks from many of its regular acts through the years. It is a must for those who were “there” in the moment. However, it also features enough good music to hold the interest of the uninitiated.
Those who have kept tabs on the Fredericksburg music scene will likely recognize indie rockers Tereu Tereu, guerilla marching band Elby Brass, UMW favorites The Herd Murmurs (formerly The Like Whatevers) or White Stripes-esque blues rockers The Vermilions.
Yet the real magic in the S&T compilation lies in hearing the younger or less-established acts. Kingwood’s “Abu’s Revenge” evokes countless bootleg cassettes from house shows or garage bands past, while the impassioned lyrics on Jaguar Shark’s “Blue Eyes” and Carlos I’m Pregnant’s “Waves” conjure the uncertainty so many teenagers feel as they negotiate the rough waters of love and adulthood.
Some of the featured acts might still hit it big. Joey DeMarco, a former Courtland High School phenom now signed with the Epiphysis Foundation label, has a song called “Sweetheart” that is reminiscent of an upbeat Elliott Smith. Others, like James Monroe trio Rocky’s Revival, have dissipated into the realm of memory as their players make way for other plans and other bands.
Regardless of what the future may hold for these young musicians, FAA’s Scissors & Tape helps keep the youthful spirit of music alive in Fredericksburg by chronicling those memories.
for more information, visit fredericksburgallages.com/scissorstape.
Ben Sellers, an English teacher in Stafford County, is the former youth and music editor of The Free Lance–Star.