Foxtails Brigade’s 2016 self-titled album sounds as if it was recorded in a room at the Bates Motel. Menacing sounds recur throughout the 11-track release. A shrieking, plunging violin pierces angular arrangements, augmented by an amplifying grinding noise that recalls a wind-up toy going berserk. Against it all, frontwoman Laura Weinbach’s vocals are dainty and winsome.
The petite singer with short dark hair, enormous eyes, and fair skin is about as threatening as a porcelain doll. But this delicate face goes Chuckie in the music video for the single, “We Are Not Ourselves,” in which Weinbach is depicted plotting murder over wine and dinner with her chattering victim.
“The voices in my head tell me I’m not crazy,” she chimes.
Weinbach wrote the 2016 album over several years.
“[Foxtails Brigade] doesn’t fit into a single genre,” she explains. “It’s hard for people to latch onto something they don’t recognize immediately.”
But what makes Foxtails Brigade oblique also makes them relevant, much like artists such as Bjork and Elephant Six Collective’s Olivia Tremor Control.
That avant-garde imagination emerges in the playful, wry “Dirt Bags and Dozers.” The music oscillates madly between grandiose verses that waltz and severe, off-tune violin manipulation. Weinbach makes a statement: “I have seen a thousand times over/ white daisies double-crossed by dirtbags and dozers.”
Speaking of the self-doubt that she channeled into inspiration, Weinbach says the track “Watch Me” is the “most unifying of the themes that run through the record.”
“Watch me trying/ watch me fight/ watch me playing for the crowd/ watch them quickly drown me out… / but I won’t resist giving in when the new wave takes me… / but I won’t look back to old ways/ I’ll never return.”
Weinbach and Foxtails Brigade’s violinist, Anton Patzner, joins her for a stripped-down duet set at Pierce Ranch Vineyards. Weinbach says she writes songs with flexibility for any combination of band members to back her.
Weinbach and Patzner of Foxtails Brigade share the bill with chanteuse Eliza Rickman, whose haunting, pensive love songs are layered with warm strings and have a Phil Spector-style wall-of-sound bedrock.
LAURA and ANTON of FOXTAILS BRIGADE 8pm Saturday, June 25. Pierce Ranch Vineyards, 499 Wave St., Monterey. $10. 372-8900, www.piercevineyards.com