Vermillion Lies brings originality and spunk to something like folk music.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
On the top floor of a Seaside house, in a room with walls painted a vibrant orange, Zoe Boekbinder pulls out an acoustic guitar. Looking over at her older sister Kim, who has hair dyed the color of fire, Zoe nods and says: “Go for it.”
Then, Kim, who is sitting in a seat with an antique typewriter in her lap, starts typing frantically, like a court clerk at an intense murder case. After a few seconds of clacking away, the typewriter bell rings and Kim manually slams the carriage return to the left. At that moment, Zoe starts strumming aggressively on her acoustic guitar while singing lyrics like, “If you want to make a difference you can, you might have to dirty your hands,” over Kim’s clacking percussion. On the chorus, both of the sisters harmonize a line before withdrawing to focus on their individual parts. In the middle of the tune, Zoe suddenly stops playing and Kim lays into a typewriter solo like she is Jerry Lee Lewis.
The song is an upbeat original titled “Do Something.” Zoe, who has short black hair, says that her sister was the one who decided to “play” the typewriter to a song that she was strumming on her acoustic guitar.
“I always felt there was something missing from our music,” Kim, 27, says of her reason to add found items like vintage typewriters, old gas cans and a piece of an F-18 jet fuselage to the duo’s music.
The two sisters started playing music together when they moved in with each other this past October. Before that time, the sisters—who are seven years apart—were not that close.
Now, the two, who have titled their music duo Vermillion Lies, act like sisters and great friends.
“We spend a lot of time together,” 20-year-old Zoe says. “To the point where Kim’s friends think it’s unhealthy.”
Since October, the Boekbinder sisters have written over 15 originals that they refer to as “twisted folk.” Kim says that their first performance together was at a friend’s birthday party. Following that, they performed their first public gig at the Barbary Coast Theater on March 24.
“It went really well,” Kim says of the show. “It was a surprise for our mother on her birthday.”
In addition to their Barbary Coast performance, Vermillion Lies recently played at Big Sur’s Henry Miller Library. Kim says there is a reason why the sisters are not playing traditional venues like coffeehouses and bars.
“We want people sitting down and paying attention,” she says.
At shows, Kim says the duo likes to sometimes play a couple of covers including Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line” and the Mexican folk song “La Llorona.”
Kim asks: “Do you want to hear ‘I Walk the Line?’”
A few seconds later, Zoe puts a capo over the strings of her guitar. Kim sings the first verse followed by Zoe repeating the same line as she strums her guitar. On the chorus, both of the singers’ soaring voices meld together.
Recently, the two were able to keep their unique sound intact while recording eight songs at Santa Cruz’s Gadgetbox Studios for a debut EP titled Heart and Tongue. The CD includes numbers like the country-ish shuffle “Shady Afternoon” and the simply beautiful “A Little Louder,” which includes swelling cello and wistful lyrics about ice cream.
VERMILLION LIES HAs A PRERELEASE PARTY FOR THE NEW CD, HEART AND TONGUE, AT THE OUTER EDGE, 146 BONIFACIO PL., MONTEREY, FRIDAY AT 7PM. FREE. 655-2788.