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Teach Me Equals, Aug. 26, The Shredder

Teaching with tunes

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For Teach Me Equals, the Florida-based duo of Greg Bortnichak (cello, sequencing, guitar, vocals) and Erin Murphy (guitar, violin, keyboard, vocals), a touch of the surreal seems as important to keep on hand as a package of guitar strings. A 2012 video for "More Where That Came From" (under the name Bard and Mustache) shows Bortnichak and Murphy in (nearly) gender-obscuring, flesh-tone body suits and papier mache masks running through an industrial neighborhood before discovering an artist who helps them build a cello and violin out of cardboard. It's whimsical at first but, soon, the haunting melodies emanating from the stringed instruments--a persistent heartbeat rhythm--and Murphy's breathy vocals followed by Bortnichak's more gravelly ones, evoke a melancholy, slightly menacing atmosphere. Videos of live Teach Me Equals performances reveal the duo's intense, impassioned playing, Bortnichak plucking at his cello and Murphy bowing her violin as if they're punishing the instruments, creating an eerie, beautiful chamber-pop sound they refer to as "scrape rock."