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This Ain’t Your Father’s Folk

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 17, 2009 5:20PM

Photo from the band's MySpace
Special to Chicagoist from Sarah Cobarrubias

Ezra Furman and the Harpoons are coming home for Thanksgiving week and giving Chicago two shows to be thankful for. They’re booked to play a solo show at the Lincoln Park Whole Foods November 25 and another with The Sleeptalkers at Double Door November 27.

We, too, think a grocery store is a strange venue for this kinetic-folk band, especially mere hours before Thanksgiving. The show is free, and you may be able to sneak in some last minute grocery shopping, but will you be able to hear Furman over the yells of frantic shoppers fighting for the last can of cranberry sauce? Fret not. The Double Door show is only $10, a sweet deal for the guarantee of an intimate setting and fantastic acoustics.

Whichever venue, there’s no doubt that Furman & his Harpoons will deliver that shaky croon, frenetic strumming and jangly rhythm we can’t get enough of. Look forward to songs filled with clever, conversational lyrics, like “Take Off Your Sunglasses,” which ends with Furman rambling, “I said baby that’s like asking you to take out your shoe laces -- so she took out her shoe laces.” The combination of acoustic, electric and harmonica creates a vulnerable, romantic energy. And except for the few overtly catchy - borderline cheesy - songs, the collection is rife with sincerity and refreshingly unobscured observations of life. [Ed. note: Can't make it to either show? Have Furman record you your very own song.]

Furman’s definitely an artist you don’t want to miss. He’s often compared to Bob Dylan and The Violent Femmes, but we see him as more of an endearingly awkward geek: young, restless, and nervous with a hint of desperate romanticism. He’s sort of a modern-day beatnik who makes us want to quit our day jobs and hop a train headed for wherever.