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Friday, 26 October 2012 22:39

Agent Ribbons 10/26/12 + Video

Agent Ribbons 10/26/12 / Devaki Knowles
Written by Annah Bender
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About this Media...

  • Date Recorded: October 26, 2012
  • Artist / Band: Agent Ribbons
  • Hosting Show: The Space Parlour
  • Sound: Jon Valley and Avery Waddell
  • Video: Paul Oryem

Agent Ribbons ingredients: equal parts whimsy and caprice, eye of newt, spoonful of sugar, juice of widow spider, half cup assorted doll parts, mermaid tears, flight of fancy. Trim with arsenic and old lace.

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The quirk-folk duo (sometimes touring as a trio) has patched together an impressive touring history, crisscrossing the U.S. several times since their formation some time around 2006. Stitching together a loyal following, angering British customs officials -- the band has been barred from entering the U.K. for ten years due to a visa snafu on a tour several years ago -- and blithely forgoing many modern trappings -- including cell phones -- in favor of a simpler life, magenta-haired vocalist/guitarist Natalie Gordon and her brunette rhythm section, Lauren Hess, comprise the neo-Victorian playhouse rock ensemble Agent Ribbons.

There is an element of spook in Agent Ribbons' girls-in-the-garage harmonies. Think children in white nightgowns standing on creaky stairs, or a buried treasure box in the backyard hiding a terrible secret. Yet the band's lyrics can also be adorably tongue-in-cheek; they're a striped-sock sideshow, but they're winking at you the whole time. "I was born to sing sad songs / that go on for more than three minutes long," sings Gordon on "I Was Born to Sing Sad Songs," an oddly funny little tune from their most recent full-length, "Chateau Crone." "Let Them Talk" is a wistful song about outgrowing a boy, and the violin-tinged "Bird in a Mirror" waltzes gently along as Gordon sings, plaintively, to a ghost: "I found your hair growing in the ground somewhere / Wait until I find your bones / So that you won't be buried alone." Agent Ribbons spins a fine line between spine-tingle and wide-eyed charm, a little too mischievous to be haunted but a little unnerving all the same.

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