we gave the album to friends, fans & fremonsters to buffer our egos with a few #biasedreviews. Check back for more reviews as they come in!
“If you're not sitting by a campfire with your your best friends and a couple of beers, The Failure Cabaret will make you feel like you are. Only with really, really talented artists who just happen to be there when the stars are out and you're just full enough.
The s'mores are finished, the fire is dying, and it's 1am, but you don't want to crawl into your sleeping bag, because this night is just so perfect.
Stephanie and Justin blend a bluesy folk feel with lyrics that simultaneously remind you that life is many flavors, and also of that person you slept with 10 years ago. Go for a lazy drive on a spring night and pop in these tunes. If you still smoke, light a cigarette. This is what life is.”
-Margaret Katch (Artist & Steph’s long time friend)
“The Fremonts looked me right in the face, told me exactly who they are, and then told me to fuck off if I'm not here for all of it. American folk music has never felt so punk rock.
When Stephanie sings, "There's no escape / the only way home is safely," she reminds us that danger never takes us back from where we've come, but always to a new place. That new place might be better, if we're lucky, but it's real. We can go with them to spend "hours with wolves in the trees" or we can go home without them to where we're safe. The Failure Cabaret skips all the sorries and tells me that I, too, can look at my scars and love myself. This is a kind of freedom.”
-Aaron Bender (Steph & Justin’s dear friend and old roommate)
“I was blown away by the focus on this album. The feeling of it really came through. I've known these guys for a long time and with this album it feels like they've relaxed into their groove, like the precision is almost effortless. Don't get me wrong, it's not Mozart. But its pretty close. Get this album, you're going to love it.”
-Jesse Gustafson (Filmmaker & Justin’s best man)
“The magical harmonies of The Fremonts conjure memories of the past and dreams for the future. Two thumbs up for failure! If this is what failure sounds like, I can’t wait to hear success. ”
-Tamora Petitt (Dear friend and owner of the house where most The Failure Cabaret was written)
“It’s April 1st, 2019 and I stand broken, naked, bruised, and delighted on this great stage of fools. I just finished listening to The Fremonts’ complete and utter Failure Cabaret.
How can something this wrong fail so right?
My eyes teared with comic identification right away as my life was whistled, sung and strummed in the opening song How Often. “How often do you meet someone you actually love? Never and every day.” rings in my ears as I’m moved to remember my own unlikely prince charmings “... who I [felt] I knew [ ] from another lifetime [and] might have been my daughter or my mom”.
Then my 15-month Chihuahua and I howled along with the abnormally talented Justin Badger’s sharp and touching tribute to Shakespeare’s King Lear; the third track on the album. What? A song about King Lear? That’s a very bold move and certainly might be a set up for a royal failure. Yes! It’s tragically good. Mr. Badger is every inch a king of a song writer.
His talent is well matched by Ms. Dodd’s siren voice and skillful accordion squeezing on Songs About Babies. Babies inspired this childless lady to celebrate. Stephanie confesses in a voice that threatens to melt your insides. “La dee da dee da, La dee da dee dee. Everybody wants a baby except me. Oh no, I like my nest empty.” and I laughed out loud and continued to dance by in my always a bridesmaid-party dress. Thank you, Stephanie. Sing it.
Stephanie Dodd is sly and sexy on Babies and later slices off part of your soul in her magnificent Shadow Sees. She has the vocal range and emotive depth of an American Appalachian inspired Kate Bush. Justin follows her Shadow with the next track and takes over where his talented wife left off. His voice full of grief and longing in the soulful Pretty As it Seems gave me chills more than once. Pretty might be my favorite of the collection if I had to choose. I listened to it two times in a row.
The Big Apple might have been where The Fremonts first performed cabaret together, but they have failed bigger and better in Boulder. This album is going to be a hard act to follow.
Life is a joyful and sweetly sad cabaret whatever you call it when you’ve got The Fremonts singing and playing. I’m sure they will fail and fail better in the years to come.
I love the artwork and photos too. What kind of pie is on your faces?”
-Rachel Murdy (A fellow performing artist, failure enthusiast, and lover of small dogs)
“Justin Badger and Stephanie Dodd (AKA The Fremonts) are a duo act that has built their success around their good looks. Their new album, The Failure Cabaret, will re-write the rules for singer/songwriters henceforth. The unusual instrumentation of accordion and guitar is really not as bad as you might think it would be, and their singing occasionally drowns out the accordion. Sadly, their most requested song “Can you play far, far away” didn't make the cut. If you don't have anything better to do, you might want to check this album out.”
-Donna Wickham (Steph & Justin’s vocal coach)
"If you like music, this album has something like that on it. Do you like songs? So do they! And some of them are worth listening to. These songs have harmonies in them. And they make noises with musical instruments and sounds from their face holes. It's fairly pleasing to the ear. No wonder nobody knows who they are. Buy this album. Listen to their music. Support this band. So I don't have to. They have clearly spent time on this. Time they can never get back. Do you like guitars? Accordions? Vocal harmonies? I did too."
-Alexander Sovronskry (Actor, musician, composer & former band mate)
“The Failure Cabaret has all the ease and charm of visit with long absent friends. (Especially if you are literally friends with Justin and Stephanie- hey, guys!) The album is at times haunting, warm, joyful, and sardonic, and both the laughter and the melancholy linger long after the final track has wound down. The music is both familiar and surprising, often in the same smile. Each track is able to call back to the feeling of listening to an old favorite while subverting all your expectations with lyrics that are sharp and funny, and melodies that take root in your heart.
It somehow captures cobblestone streets, pine woods, the joy of catching sight of the person you're meeting up with at a crowded bar as you see they've already grabbed seats, and getting lost in conversation with that person at the party who made you catch your breath when you locked eyes. All in one! What a bargain!
Also the accordion slaps.”
-Deborah Wolfson (Theatrical collaborator and friend of Steph & Justin)
“This is a really creative duo, I love hearing the different ways people weave the accordion into their music.“
-Jenny Conlee (Keyboard and accordion player for The Decemberists)
“The Failure Cabaret is the second full length album by The Fremonts, and it does not disappoint. Although I’ve heard many of these songs before during their live performances, hearing the fully produced versions of each song is a fresh experience and truly a treat. Each song is full of character, and that character would probably tell you to fuck off while buying you a drink. Though that may be a problem when you sing song lines to yourself in polite company… Regardless the lyrics are compelling, the music is full of passion, and I might have to move back to Boulder just to hear The Fremonts live again. Overall The Failure Cabaret is a fantastic album and everyone should listen to it!
Also I’ll finally be able to send Song About Babies to all my child-free friends, took long enough!”
-Adam Blonsky (Fan & friend of The Fremonts)
“Where's that bass player from the last album? I liked the bass. [I have] Only six words: saudade (Google it). As someone who took guitar lessons from Justin in 2003, I can say with conviction: he's gotten a little bit better. Sure, I could wax poetic about how their pared down reinterpretations of oldies-but-goodies reflect their musical growth, and how their new songs capture the modern zeitgeist, but I'd rather go back to listening to the album. Why are you even reading this shit? It's a good album. Buy it […] you probably spend more money on unicorn frappacinos at Starbucks each week. #LessStarbucksMoreFremonts.”
-Zak Kopeikin (Bass player from the last album)
-Steve Dodd (Steph’s dad)
“Like a modern day Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf but with more drinking.”
-Peter Lettre (Long time friend, collaborator and fellow “Cats” enthusiast)
“I hear blues, I hear folk, but mostly I hear and love the bohemian gypsy vibe. Whatever you hear, it’s haunting, revealing and truly personal. Justin and Steph are true gypsies, always searching always moving on. This album captures that essence. I am entranced.
My only beef, could you have cleaned up a little better in a few of those pics? It’s hard to explain to my friends.”
-Jo Anne Miller (Justin’s Mom)
“Through Story telling, personal insight, idealist optimism, and friendly lyric gun fire The Fremonts have recorded their most beautiful, personal and thought provoking album yet. Discover the hauntingly great talents of Justin Badger and Stephanie Dodd. The Fremonts are like an argyle sweater that you never won't to take off.”
-Bradley Dorenkamp (OG Fremonster and high school friend of Steph’s)
“This album will inspire a lot of swaying. I used The Fremont's new album to drown out the sound of other people eating. It succeeded”
-Kelly Van Oosbree (Director of The Failure Cabaret & Steph’s longtime friend)
“Steph exemplifies Madonna good looks, writes honest lyrics, soothes with her smoky voice, and adds joy with her quirky accordion. Justin's sweet, smooth voice and luscious guitar chords are a treat to the ears. [The] lyrics are quirky, dark, snarky, honest, and deep. The musical variety is outstanding, ranging from a folk-tango to an Irish jig, all with gorgeous harmonies, easy-listening melodies, and beautiful vocals from both Stephanie and Justin, routed in their indy-folk style and sound.”
-Alicia Baker (Steph’s accordion hero)
“The Failure Cabaret reminds me of the time I heard Leon Redbone's first album. It's totally out of left field. No one is making music like this today. It's original with nods to a past life of ghostly players who haunt the dials of late night radio and cabaret after hour shows.
The Failure Cabaret are two former actors who claim to have left acting behind. HA! Dream on. Each song is a one act Passion Play. Hints of pop, rock, folk, blues, and jazz winding back to the early days of the last century. Kurt Weill is smiling from a backroom somewhere.
This is NOT Failure at all. Quite the opposite!”
-Michael Herron & Carole Monderdini
(Artistic heroes and friends of The Fremonts