A little over a month ago, I had the pleasure of meeting and listening to the stylings of Blue Fringe, an indie Jewish music group out of NYC featuring Hayyim Danzig, Avi Hoffman, Dov Rosenblatt, and Danny Zwillenberg. I'm not going to go into their history or how they met or who their influences are or any of that business, you can read that for yourself over on their website. I will, say, however, that I was completely blown away at how incredibly awesome these guys are. Not only do they play amazing indie music, but they also manage to weave beautiful Jewish melodies and lyrics into their songs. It's true "Jewish music," but without the overwhelming aura of much "Jewish music." Coming from a non-Jewish, hipster, show-going, musician-dating, bar-hopping background (as I am), it was a breath of fresh air to be able to hear these guys live.
The Whole World Lit Up," I was struck by the sound. They sounded like someone else, but with their own, unique twist, but I couldn't place it. I let it go, and continued to listen, hoping it would come to me, and somewhere in the middle of Bereishit I realized that it was Iron and Wine. It's that hint of softness with hauntingly beautiful music that cater to that sound. I can't really pick a favorite on the album, but Bereishit and Eshet Chayil are two of my favorites. I also am a huge fan of their cover of The Flaming Lips' Do You Realize, which is a soft, distinct spin on the original.
The night they were at my shul (for a Chanukah performance), one of the guys -- Avi Hoffman -- wasn't available that night, so the stellar frontman of band Pitom, Yoshie Fruchter, filled in for him. The funny thing about this is that when I was at Middlebury over the summer for ulpan, I spotted a flier near the mailboxes for the band Pitom. So low and behold, when I finally met the frontman, I was stoked!
The great thing about Blue Fringe, aside from the awesomeness of their Jewish music abilities, is that they sound just as good -- if not better -- live than they do on their album. Now I just have to figure out how to get them to play for my wedding. (Nudge, nudge.) So go out, buy their albums, and enjoy the beautiful, beautiful lyrics, music, and voice of Dov. Oh, and if you get a chance, try to get a listen/copy of their song on Shidduchim and dating. It is, in a word, HILARIOUS.