In a very literal sense, the Trachtenberg Family Slide Show Players ensemble embraces the “gold age of slide projection” during the ‘50s, ’60s, and ‘70s, inspired by a vintage slide projector discovered by mom Tina Trachtenberg. It was her brilliant idea to add this medium to the folk songs of her husband. When this happened, and their daughter Rachel joined him on drums, magic was born and his music came to life. Working in reverse, where visuals play as a background to a given song, the songwriting takes place by going through the slides, molding together a story, writing words that rhyme and then bringing it all together on stage, both musically and visually.
Moving from Seattle dog walking stints to the New York club circuit resulted in a flurry fan activity, from David Cross’ fondness for them to Regina Spector’s emotion embrace of their art, all seen on this rocumentary DVD. As a modern day, family style vaudeville act, traveling is their life and encompasses a unique costuming esthetic. It’s what They Might Be Giants may have done if one of the Johns was a woman and they had a child together.
The Players struck gold by discovering old corporate slide presentations, analyzing the strategies that these entities take when it comes to consumerism. Sometimes they’ll sing the presentation slides verbatim, which is pretty damn funny and highly political at the same time, and other times they’ll assemble them into their own take on what the corporate clowns were planning behind closed conference room doors.
Now at the age of 11, having been in the band now for five years, Rachael has a leg up on so many kids and adults, questioning at a very young age the concept of parents spending all day at a desk working away from their kids, while their kids also sit at desks during the day…wondering if that’s any way to live. Her ideal life as a grown up will encompass living in New York, making music and helping the homeless, and being happy with the money she makes doing those things.
For the Trachtenburg’s, it makes sense to release a DVD instead of CD, considering the visuals are as much of the music as the melody and instruments. For something truly unique, turn to the Trachtenbergs.