Music News

Horse Feathers

In 1932, the Marx Brothers released one of their classics, a movie called Horse Feathers. The music of the Portland, Oregon, group of the same name may not possess the inspired zaniness and slapstick of the Marx Brothers, but the band's earnest pastoral sound could have been created long ago on non-electrical instruments. But it also wouldn't be accurate to call what this outfit does "chamber pop," because despite incorporating classical instruments in its palette of sounds, the songwriting skews closer to the folk tradition than to pop. The group's latest release on Kill Rock Stars, Thisled, is filled with the kind of contemplative songs that give the impression that the bandmembers have spent a lot of time in the Midwest. Introspective, dreamily deliberate, Horse Feathers is clearly haunted by the ghost of Nick Drake.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.