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The Black Swans Are No Movie



    Hollywood always saves its best films for the winter, and this year was no different. In typical fashion, studios rolled out their best dramas, each vying for Oscar consideration. Few, though, have been the subject of as much conversation and praise as Black Swan. Anchored by Natalie Portman's virtuoso performance as an unbalanced dancer, the film has spent the last few months firmly embedded in the national zeitgeist.

    Amid all the film talk, it would be easy to overlook the Black Swans. The Columbus, Ohio, folk act isn't even a movie, but, rather a band. And though Black Swan prominently featured music -- specifically classical -- you probably won't find the flannel-wearing trio doing jetés or pirouettes.

    Instead, the Black Swans craft homespun acoustic ballads adorned with flourishes of harmonica. Their latest album, Words Are Stupid, was met with critical praise from music sites of all sizes, and they recently released a split 45 with none other than Bonnie "Prince" Billy.

    They're also game to provide the occasional animal noise. On Words Are Stupid's otherwise tender "Rooster," frontman Jerry DeCicca imitates the titular bird's call with tongue-in-cheek -- or should I say, tongue-in-beak -- bravado.

    You can check out the Black Swans' skill with all things folk and fowl on Jan. 13, when they play a show at the Soda Bar. El Monte Slim and Michael McGraw will open, and tickets are $5. Just don't go in expecting a Natalie Portman movie.

    Chris Maroulakos is a writer and managing editor for the San Diego music blog Owl and Bear.