The Fervor
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The Fervor

Louisville, KY | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | INDIE

Louisville, KY | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2003
Band Rock Alternative

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The skinny: Jam-packed alt-country. Or not.

The review proper: A sweet but stark trip of seven tracks that never shy from going into some deep jamming.

A small riff, played in a slightly distant guitar and a voice proclaiming “Arise, great warrior” with some true devotion. The sound is sparse, the mood is a stark as another pissing rain day in England.

Then the drizzle becomes a rain. The guitar switches into a quick fading echo and the pace moves, although the mood still feels like a funeral procession.

That’s how ‘Arise Great Warrior’ goes, the first song of The Fervor‘s new album, Arise Great Warrior, a seven song album that feels like a trip to a past long gone, but still feeling fresh, still have that new car smell.

There is a defined sound, not a formula, in The Fervor‘s weaponry. Although only seven songs, the pace is like a stroll through the heath-covered hill. ‘Lead me’ is one of the rockier bits, with a cracking line in the form of “no amount of re-living will change our past”. No matter how much you want to look back, you need to acknowledge the here and now. The instrumental outro for ‘Lead me’ is beautiful.

There’s two particular songs that caught my attention from the get-go. One is ‘Bent around a dying dream’, starting very dreamy with a sustained note and a jangly rhythm then changing into a very melodramatic jam that leads into introspection. Natalie Felker’s voice gets a real chance to shine here, changing her sweet voice into a lull for the chorus parts.

The other song that really gets me is ‘Birds on the bridge’, the 7 minute wild mammoth that finishes the trifecta in the middle of the album (with ‘Clearly as the sun’ being a great mantelpiece – great guitar solo). ‘Birds on the bridge’ even has a small bass solo ( a very soulful one) and the build-up is constant. The song starts with dread and it ends in the same note, maybe leaving you waiting for a final note being played (it never comes).

The last two songs, ‘Crazy for the feeling’ and ‘Let’s get loaded’ are slightly peppier, even happier. ‘Crazy for the feeling’ is that small call to arms, getting all mates rounded up and ‘Let’s get loaded’ would be the moment any intoxicating substance starts to do the rounds. Maybe these two are strange contrast to the earlier songs and their eerie atmosphere, but if you’ve managed to spook your listeners with 5 gloomy songs, why not leave them with a smile and a tapping foot? And again, the playful piano, the great guitar work, the riling rhythm section and Natalie Felker’s voice do a very good job here.

The strange atmosphere oozing in Arise, Great Warrior is down not only to the tracks being laid down in analog tape, but also the quite able band doing a great job of having a cohesive piece peppered with some very thoughtful, longing guitar solos. Not all is gloom and the jams are kept tidy, never self-congratulatory in nature. Great little album by The Fervor.

Arise, great warrior is out in Karate Body Records, Removador and Sonablast - sloucher.org


Louisville, KY seems to be fertile ground, giving life to bands The Fervor, soulful cello player Ben Sollee and even attracting acoustic funk rocker Kurt Reifler during the summer. Geography or not, the musicians and resulting music have been off the beaten path of mainstream expectations while remaining utterly listenable.
The Fervor is easy to like, especially if your tastes run the gamut of music that’s smoky, bereft of a little daylight, and whose lead singer is part chanteuse and vocal timbre is hypnotic to say the least. The band may be hard to typify, which is why it’s memorable and pleasurable to listen to. Not exactly rock and roll, and not exactly a singer-songwriter showcase, The Fervor has made a record that stands on its own, with no need for a “single,” though the track “Lead Me” is perfectly radio-ready.

Natalie Felker’s vocals are playful and mercurial, think Zooey Deschanel mixed with Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner. She’s less saccharine than Zooey and occassionally gruff like Fiona Apple. Her vocals bear innocence and the tones of experience through heartbreak, yet always sounding comfortable and engaging. On “Crazy for the Feeling” she sings as cheerleader on the album’s more uppity tune and on “Lead Me” she’s more subdued as the song swaggers and slips into great keyboard playing that sounds like steel drums. It has a cool rhythm interlaced throughout the song, of trudging bass and guitar that echoes mid-seventies low key rock. “Let’s Get Loaded” is great album closer, segueing from carnival atmosphere to sonically uplifting sections whose piano playing gives it a trickling, rainfall feeling as it winds out. The song symbolizes variety on the album, embossing it with varied textures that enhance Felker’s vocals.

Arise, Great Warrior is its own world built from seven, mostly lengthy, tracks. The music is warm and textured; remaining in the room like something that won’t go away or something desperately needed to stay. It recalls, though in no way musically, the heft of an album like Roxy Music’s Avalon where mood and presence thickly drips from the album tracks. It’s not wild and rambunctious like simple background party noise.

Conversely, Arise, Great Warrior sits and waits with the listener, like a recurring thought, be it heavy or in limbo. It’s an album that falls into the unclassified category of storybook rock, where an album is filled with songs that never outshine one another. They are simply great songs that construct a great album and goes against the “hit single” mentality. - deckfight


If there's anything to be learned from the recent political uprisings in the Middle East, it's this: everyday people can do extraordinary things - if they have courage. Now, obviously I'm not comparing Egypt and Tunisia to The Fervor's new album that came out today (lest I be labeled the new Kenneth Cole). Arise, Great Warrior, however, has a slow and steady message of encouragement that could tip the scales of fear and self-doubt to the side of peace and fortitude.

The Fervor originally began with husband and wife Ben and Natalie Felker, then grew to include drummer Mat Herron and bassist Michael Campbell. They've toured through most of the eastern half of the United States, and played festivals such as CMJ and Forecastle. Arise, Great Warrior is the band’s fifth studio effort.

I’m not familiar with The Fervor’s previous albums but with a band name like theirs, I expected their music to be more... well, fervent. Arise, Great Warrior, however, is more like a soothing reassurance than a battle cry. That said, each of the seven tracks on the album displays honest craftsmanship with regards to what each member contributes to the band. I love the gritty guitar riffs in “Clearly As The Sun” and echoing, almost haunting supporting vocals in “Crazy For The Feeling.” My favorite track is “Bent Around a Dying Dream,” a constant ebb-and-flow between Natalie's steady, tranquil vocals and the guys' tempo-switching, attention-grabbing musical breakdown. I hope the band's objective in this endeavor was not to spark a riot, but reconcile troubles or worries within the listener - if so, they definitely succeeded. - bestnewbands.com


Louisville’s The Fervor have inadvertently employed ancient Chinese military tactics by creating an uproar in the East while striking in the West. Nearly 2,500 years after Sun Tzu’s The Art of War comes Arise, Great Warrior, a seven song release recorded in San Francisco at Mission Bells (Jackie Greene, Mother Hips) and Radical Sound (Rogue Wave).

“By the time you see the sun, you’re already on the run,” sings vocalist/keyboardist Natalie Felker on the title track, which begins with a lonely sounding piano much like the opening track, “Moment of Truth,” on their last release. Natalie alongside her husband and bandmate Ben Felker (guitar) have spent the last few years bringing their combination of shining vocals, twinkling piano, and bursting guitar to the American landscape. The two have since enlisted bassist Michael Campbell and drummer Mat Herron to cruise along with them down the “three routes from the North to the South.”

The Fervor Group Band Photo The sound dynamic – spousal or otherwise – is an interesting aural mix that blends Felker’s lighthearted ivory tickling with punchy guitars and an appropriately mellow rhythm section. Tracks such as “Crazy for the Feeling” layer on chorus effects to generate a thicker sound than previous achieved on 2007’s Bleeder. Felker continues to expound of her theme of transient travel, singing: “Golden aura on a wave of paranoia/I can feel it laying tracks down in my head.” The his-and-her audio battle continues on “Loaded” – a song with an upbeat piano-driven melody that could easily serve as the background music to a dark carnival, which runs into a wall of dense guitar work. The song is ominously fun with lines like “Let’s get loaded/I’ve got mine and you bring yours.”

As the album begins to wind down on the ensuing tracks, it sprinkles on a touch of alt-country flavor that brings to mind Or, The Whale – a possible byproduct from recording in the Bay Area. Carrying on this Northern Pacific influence is “Lead Me” – a song that could easily hide itself amongst Heart’s back catalog with no one being the wiser.

At the end of the road, this album is paved with pleasant melodies and well executed contrasts that arise from marriage of piano and guitar. Mindful listeners who are daring enough to scratch the surface will be rewarded by the murkier lyrical undertones that accompany the band’s true indie craftsmanship. Arise, Great Warrior gets a bit slow at times, but maybe that’s what we need – to slow down and enjoy the ride regardless of which direction it takes us. - blowthescene.com


The Fervor began with a low-key urgency, not unlike the kind that permeates the band's haunting music.

A couple of years ago, Natalie Felker's songs kept catching the ears of friends, but she was performing them only in her Charlestown, Ind., home.

Then her husband, Ben, started sitting-in, adding guitar and bass parts while needling his wife to start a band.

By the time the Felkers arrived at Kevin Ratterman's funeral home studio in Louisville to make a demo, they had become The Fervor. The demo turned into an EP, followed by a handful of beguiling shows. It felt like The Fervor had come out of nowhere.

"Coming into Louisville as total unknowns was tough because it's such a tight-knit little town," Ben Felker said. "It really helped to get with Kevin because he knows everyone."

It also helped that Natalie Felker's alto voice could make a convict weep. Low to the ground, warm and deeply sexy, it works perfectly in tandem with lyrics that offer a host of small surprises. The addition of drummer Mat Herron and bassist Meredith Noel also was crucial (Noel has recently left the band, replaced by Mike Campbell).

With the release tomorrow of "Bleeder," a full-length album, The Fervor shows off the changes wrought over the last couple of years. Although the band's heart remains Natalie's voice and keyboards, Ben's guitar and vocals have become much more prominent.

"With 'Bleeder' we had the benefit of realizing our music in a full-band format with the addition of Mat and Meredith," Natalie said. "We played a lot of shows during the year before we went into the studio, and that definitely helped. We've begun collaborating earlier in the life of a song, not only between Ben and I, but (also) with the whole band."

"Nat is still the one who brings most of the stuff to the table," Ben said. "Eventually, I started writing some songs with her, and it became an outlet for my creativity too. We just really love songs. If there isn't a real song there to sink our teeth into, it doesn't happen for us."

Because of day jobs, The Fervor is primarily a weekend touring band. They plan on promoting "Bleeder" as vigorously as possible, leaving the door open to offers from established labels, although Natalie isn't nearly jaded enough to be a rock star.

"The mere novelty of it has yet to wear off," she said. "Perhaps I'm too easily entertained, but I'm still really excited these guys even want to play music with me."

The Fervor's CD-release party is tomorrow at the Pour Haus, 1481 S. Shelby St. (10 p.m., $5). D.W. Box and One Long Song opens.

By Jeffrey Lee Puckett - Louisville Courier-Journal


Heartfelt emotionally charged songs get you so far. Then you stop and take a look around to judge how far youÕve come. Well The Fervor owns that position but also the right to keep on plowing ahead. Their songs are just that nifty. Coupled with a fantastic sense of urgency in the indie pop world, The Fervor manages to coast through a self-titled release that is perhaps one of the better exports from Kentucky yet this year.
- J-Sin - smother.net


You know the feeling that super intense Dentyne gum Narcotic chill, or some other dumb reference to that which is ultimately refreshing gives you in the first 10 seconds of chewing, when it feels like the insides of your mouth are aflame and you can almost hear the germs that stink up your breath writhing and screaming in severe, life-ending pain? And after you dry your eyes and give a heavy sniff to clear that crap out of your nostrils, you do that ahh thing that's the universal sound of satisfaction? Right.


The Fervor
Cheesy though it sounds, that's the feeling I've gotten over and over listening to The Fervor's debut EP, a five-song work of delicate, considered art that officially meets the public's consumption on Friday (though it's been out a while already). Husband-wife team Natalie and Ben Felker have created a prelude to a masterpiece, a surprisingly original batch of tunes clever and heartfelt, witty and crushing, all with an otherworldly musical presence that includes guitars, bass, drums (Kevin Ratterman on record; Mat Herron currently), vibes, organ, Rhodes and Natalie's dark-in-a-poppy-way piano. Her vocals are a mix of Fiona Apple and older Liz Phair, but with idiosyncratic depth and, when called for, fantastic sultry smoothness.

Here are Natalie's answers to LEO's Five Important Questions.

LEO: If you were Mayor, what would you do to help promote people like you in this city?

Natalie Felker: People like us generally don't hang with the Mayor, and probably vice versa. I'm not sure we'd pass the appropriate screenings or represent any already established parties to get elected either. That being said, as Mayor, I have one word for you: monorail. Also, I'd give everyone the day off. We'd have a cookout at my place, with plenty of good beer, and spin records till the sun went down. I'd simultaneously pass out morning after pills while marrying gay couples. Anybody who got out of line would have to sit in a dunk tank. At dusk, we'd have a kick-ass rock show. The bars and the gentlemen's clubs would stay open as late as they want, and full nudity would not be a crime. Lastly, venues that allow smoking would be given a stipend for proper ventilation systems, so smokers and nonsmokers alike can play together. Yeah, I think that's about it.

LEO: Which Louisville musician needs to get more attention?

NF: Have you ever heard of the White Monkey? There's some cool stuff going on there.

LEO: If music were food, what kind would yours be?

NF: A delicious blend of sweet, nourishing coffee and beer.

LEO: Tell me about one of your favorite works of art aside from your medium.

NF: Ben and I share a special fondness for (Charles) Bukowski's "Love Is A Dog From Hell." The film "What the Bleep Do We Know?" is also a favorite. Generally speaking, performance art can be a lovely excuse for behavioral problems.

LEO: What do you want to say that you know you shouldn't?

NF: Thanks to my answer to question one, now my phone is probably tapped.

- Stephen George - LEO Weekly


The opening piano strains of "Overexposure," which opens this fine debut EP by Southern Indiana's The Fervor, sound so much like they were written by a fellow named John Lennon that I almost let it be a distraction.

Then Natalie Felker's beautifully imperfect voice came through my speakers and just about knocked me down. This wonderfully arranged song is like four minutes of emotional ecstasy, at least until you absorb the lyric: "Blood is spilling out / Numbness setting in / Overexposure to the end." Then you'll like it better.

And it's not even the best song on the CD.

"The Same," which is the track immediately following, starts off with an ironic call for the end of the world, with one minor caveat in the protagonist's request. And Felker pulls it off so effectively, that you believe every word she sings: "I can't wait 'til they blow us all away / `Til we all evaporate further into space ... So long as it all stays the same."

The Fervor has a way of looking at trivial things through eyes that see a bigger picture surrounding each of these trivialities. "Fast" is a beautiful example of this, as it looks at mundane objects and activities, laments "all this wasted time," and quietly asserts that it's time to start living. Fast.

And "Boyfriend" is an almost eerie account of a woman cheating on her boyfriend with one of said boyfriend's close friends. Felker's delivery is like that from one who is at once participating in the event and standing above watching the event transpire, while simultaneously fighting off the guilt of cheating on someone she cares about and trying to understand her attraction to the man with whom she's cheating.

Each of these five songs is a ballad, each is filled with those aforementioned Lennon-esque melodies, but each has its own soul. The pace is sleek, the arrangements are exquisite and the production is understated but vital. (Kudos to producer Kevin Ratterman, who also provided instrumental backing.)

The Fervor, which is the brainchild of Felker and husband/bassist Ben Felker, has created something here that feels like the beginning to something much, much bigger.

Get the skinny over at www.myspace.com/thefervor.

- Kevin Gibson - Louisville Music News


Discography

EP-self titled (2006)
Bleeder (/2007)
Arise Great Warrior (2011)

Photos

Bio

“… It all feels so natural and peaceful … a necessary part of life, new born and floating freely in the cosmos forever now.” —Jim James, My Morning Jacket

“A mesmerizing, emotive sound that creeps and builds like a gathering storm.” —Cincinnati CityBeat
 
The Fervor unveils second album, “Arise, Great Warrior”
 
Forged in the hothouse that is Louisville’s indie-rock scene, The Fervor has been known to deliver unpretentious rock ’n’ roll replete with eerie, ambient guitar riffs and soul-laid-bare vocals of gut wrenching intensity. Since formally delivering a well-timed sonic punch to the music scene with their 2007 debut, Bleeder, The Fervor, led by the harmonious alto crooning and glistening keys of Natalie Felker, has criss-crossed the Eastern half of the United States and drawn crowds at festivals including CMJ and Forecastle. With the addition of Michael Campbell on bass and Mat Herron providing steady, trance-inducing beats, they’ve released their second full-length studio album, Arise, Great Warrior, released Feb. 8 on Removador (MP3), Karate Body (LP) and SonaBLAST! (CD). 
 
This time around, they’ve teamed up with My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, who is clearly mesmerized by The Fervor’s unique brand of indie-soul power pop, to help co-release what many are hailing as the band’s rebirth.  Recorded in part at San Francisco in Mission Bells (Jackie Greene, The Mother Hips) and Radical Sounds (Rogue Wave), and in the band’s hometown of Louisville, this seven-song collection showcases deeper, denser sounds of layered texture that all but drip with the syrupy sunshine of mellow West Coast vibes. Meanwhile Felker’s moody voice, the group’s clear touchstone, recalls the intensity of Grace Slick and the honesty of Neil Young, while channeling Cat Power’s silky vulnerability. Ever versatile, The Fervor’s Arise, Great Warrior is more than mellow montages, walls of sound, and hazy dream-like ballads. Tracks like “Let’s Get Loaded” feature punchy, jazz-inflected rhythms and a playfulness that provides fresh contrast to their deep ambience and gritty guitars.
 
2011 is shaping up to be a momentous year for The Fervor. Hot on the heels of their official SXSW showcase, this for-real indie-rock quartet continues its national tour dates. Here’s to new beginnings and endless possibilities for no-nonsense rock ’n’ roll at its finest.