People talk a lot about a man in uniform. I've always had a theory that this is more about cleanliness than the actual uniform. And the fact that a uniform stands out when separated from its crowd. Which is close to being irony, I think. A sailor in a sea of sailors (pun intended): no one stands out. A sailor in SoHo, well...there could be a lot of reasons for that, but they stand out. Tom Chiarella wrote an article for Esquire Magazine about what we wear: an investigation into the power of the uniform. In real life, Chiarella is many things: a writer, a professor, a score keeper for college football and basketball games, a poker player, a golfer, a father, a husband, an artist; but none of his roles really require a uniform. For the article, he chose a priest, a security guard, a mechanic, and a doctor. Chiarella leaves a lot unsaid, but that's his style: to gain a connection to the reader by letting them find their own connection. What he doesn't say is, when people think we belong, we do; and so the sub-sub text is, when people think we don't belong, a lot of times we don't. He also says (but doesn't say) a lot about how comfortable we are with ourselves: what do we enjoy wearing? I just bought a new dress, and now all I want is occasions to wear it. You'd have to really love your job to feel that way about work clothes. The point is, we're all looking at each other to figure out what's going on--to figure out who's important and who's not--judgment, yes, but also to know where we fit in to the whole big mess, too.
Fort Frances' new EP, No One Needs To Know Our Name, is only 7 songs (well, 5 songs: 2 of them are unplugged variations): only 24 minutes, but well worth playing on repeat. Lead singer-songwriter David McMillin graduated from DePauw University as an English major, as did most people worth hanging out with. "Anonymous" seems especially fitting for NYC, but it's probably fitting no matter where you are. So much of living in a packed, packed city is trying to get away: escaping within the chaos. "Oh, let's be anonymous: we can hide, hide, hide, hide away from the world, from the world..." No one in NYC wants to give up on NYC (necessarily) but we sure as hell all want to get away from it: we want to find the cafe and the bar and the park that's only ours. "These Are the Mountains Moving" isn't for NYC: it just takes you to the mountains--to Montana or Colorado or wherever you've met mountains that move you--home. The percussion in these songs is great. The piano and the brass and the lyrics are great. This is great.