Fusion is key in Asheville – in food, fashion and music – and Shod My Feet has harnessed a unique blend of eclectic influences. While creating a sound all its own, this trio (Emily Keebler on vocals, keyboard, guitar; Sherman Hoover on bass, synthesizer, vocals; and Andrew Ross on drums and vocals) draws from myriad sources from The Flaming Lips to Tom Waits. Unlikely combinations suitsShod My Feet, a band that could be appreciated by a wide range of listeners in a listening-room style venue (such as BoBo Gallery) as well as many other environments.
At a recent show at BoBo, the trio offered a high-energy, hour-long show that had the audience commenting on the ferocity of the entire set. Though Shod My Feet's sound is full, there are subtle harmonies that creep up on the ears, both vocally and with Hoover's choice synth additions. "Vacation Lover," a growling, upbeat number, sounds like the impudent child of Phish and Imogen Heap, and Keebler cheekily spits out the chorus "Vacation lover / Vacation from my solitude / Vacation lover / Vacation from my surrender to wonder … Something's happening where I belong." The keyboard's '80s-inspired lines are reminiscent of Radiohead's "True Love Waits" and Muse's impeccable version of "Feelin' Good," in such a sneaky way that the song lingers to be hummed later.
During the set, the band's transition from one style to the next was smooth and easy, moving from a Chemical Brothers' "Let Forever Be"-sounding jam into a new song featuring the mantra-like line: "A smooth thing / a warm thing / a wet thing," echoing divas like Fiona Apple and Stephanie Morgan and building into an impeccable climax. In "Love Not For Anyone," Keebler reaches her most ambitious vocal phrasing, and in "Beautiful Talking" she sweetly coos "As I wished away, time whisked away the hope that you could pull through it" over a slow, jazz-ballad style lullaby.
Shod My Feet, although fronted by a strong vocalist, is very much a collaborative effort, as evidenced by the multi-layered harmonies and complex polyrhythms consistently exchanged between the three musicians. On bass, Hoover makes interesting choices to both contrast and coincide with Keebler's piano, and Ross' solid percussion provides a substantial framework from which to jump into the complexities of the group's music. At times when all three musicians are contributing vocals, the sound is saturated, teeming with pulp and weight. That complexity is then deconstructed into light, airy choruses and scatting by Keebler.
This multifaceted trio has been on the Asheville scene for a little while in its current incarnation, and is beginning to build a formidable following. A self-titled four-song EP is available at shows and contains a smattering of different styles. It's the live performance, however, that best showcases Shod My Feet's dynamic side. The energy with which they perform is not to be missed.
Learn more about Shod My Feet at www.myspace.com/shodmyfeet. Read more of Lydia See's work at http://lydiasee.wordpress.com.