This is a performance that almost didn't happen as moments after arriving on the pier we were told explicitly that filming was not allowed. After some debate, we decided to press our luck and give it a shot... and we are glad we did. The image may be a bit shaky from trying to keep the camera hidden from view, but the performance by singer-songwriters Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso, the powerful voices behind Freddy & Francine, is anything but.

I discovered Freddy & Francine about a year ago while looking for bands to do video work with and was immediately drawn in by the strong retro-pop folk sound of their eponymous debut EP. I was especially impressed by Lee and Bianca’s strong vocal melodies on tracks like “Hold Me” and “Safe and Sound”.

Revisiting them now, almost a year later, they’ve become one of my favorite new bands. And, given the opportunity, they’ll easily become one of yours too.

I dare you to listen to “Brownstone Alley” (the opening track off their first full length release “The Briar Patch”) and not be immediately hooked. Or, by any other track off the album for that matter. A strong vocal driven mix of retro-pop, folk, southern rock and even gospel, “The Briar Patch” is a surprisingly mature and complex collection of songs from a band together barely a year at the time of its release. And, it’s catchy as hell.

Here’s what the Lee and Bianca had to say about their band, the sound of their upcoming album, and their casting recommendations for the inevitable Freddy & Francine animated movie:

GORILLACOUSTIC: What should the world know about Freddy & Francine?

LEE & BIANCA: Well...We love singing more than anything. We have 3 awesome dudes who back us up when we sing. Drums, Keys, Bass. The two of us share the songwriting duties...a process full of rainbows and moonbeams and unicorns...and stegosauruses. We write songs about affairs between students and teachers, roller skating, melancholy maple leaves in fall, werewolves who fall in love with the girls they stalk, brownstones in New York, and our many experiences living in LA...and we do this while harmonizing lead vocals and weaving the best possible musical tapestry we can to serve the song and its story.

GA: You mentioned that you're going in to record another album soon. What should people expect from you this time out?

L&B: It's a departure from our last records in the sense that it's not going to be as produced. As of now the idea is to make a 70's rock and roll/soul/Americana record with the emphasis on strong hooks while capturing the strength and intimacy of our dual lead vocals in a much more stripped down setting then before. I also think we're telling a much more personal story in our songs than we have before. These new songs are more about US than past tunes that centered around characters we had invented.

GA: Does the rest of the band have their own alter egos as well?

L&B: I think they used to but our bass player ate them. 

GA: Your Facebook page says you're "mostly boss". What is the rest of you?

L&B: Well...I think the boss part makes up about 60% of us. I think the remaining 40% is comprised in equal parts of lemon meringue pie, Art Deco architecture, Woodstock NY in autumn, and the ocean.

GA: What's your favorite carnival ride?

L&B: We both love the ferris wheel. Especially when we can perform songs while riding on it.

GA: What's your least favorite?

L&B: Anything that hangs you upside down for an extended period of more than one second.

GA: If you could do another GA performance anywhere in the world, where would you do it?

L&B: We want to go to Paris and sing under The Eiffel Tower. And...Mooselookmeguntic Lake in Maine. Amazingness.

GA: What cartoon characters would play you in the animated Freddy & Francine movie?

LEE: I fancy myself the Fantastic Mr. Freddy Fox character, if I may. Daring and foolish. Brave yet sensitive and shy. But mostly I'm a wild animal.

BIANCA: And I would have to go with Nemo. But my character name would be Fremo. Or Namcine.

Do yourself a favor and get Freddy & Francine’s latest album “The Briar Patch” now from Amazon or iTunes

STANDOUT TRACKS: “Brownstone Alley”, “Numbers”, “8 Pages”, “Simple Thing”