- Lapse – “Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls” [4-30]
- Portugal. The Man – “Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now)” [4-29]
Two years ago I was introduced to this band, Fleet Foxes. I hated them. No, I didn’t hate them, I loathed them and then I hated them. Honestly, the most feverish and extreme peer pressure could not get me to like this band. Pay me 20 bucks to listen to one of their songs and of course I would take it, but I would hate every minute of it. They were too “indie” for their own good in my opinion and even though they arrived on the scene to great admiration and gained massive amounts of “indie cred” very quickly I wasn’t ready to play for their team. It was too much of the same thing. I guess you could say I didn’t get it. I didn’t get the ridiculous amounts reverb, un-human harmonies, it bordered on something awesome maybe, but it drove me crazy and I left it alone. I think it was to calm. I definitely couldn’t put my finger on it as you can see. (Those of you reading my blogs if you bring up Lord Huron, which is basically what I just described I will cut you down like a big tree. Hold you’re horses. I’m getting to my point.)
It’s impossible for people to like all music and be agreeable that everything they listen to is pure gold. People can also change and their tastes can change, and mine has. “Helplessness Blues” is the newest offering from indie darlings Fleet Foxes and it’s excellent with a capitol EXCEL. There I said it. The record will be on shelves tomorrow and I’ll be in line to buy it.
Fleet Foxes – Bedouin Dress
Yes this record has all the great sweeping, airy and earthy harmonies the Foxes have come to be known for. “Helplessness Blues” also has a great subtly to it which is what drew me back to this band in the first place. Its gentle. It’s sweet and quiet. I guess I would go so far as to say it is clear, whatever that means. The light acoustic guitar tones, shakers, loose snares, insanely reverbed guitars all compliment the vocals which are the star of the show. I smell a title track…
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
The lyrics are breathy and remind me of a young Crosy, Stills and Nash living in Laurel Canyon enjoying nature and the earth. I don’t want to call these guys hippies because I wouldn’t wish that title on my worst enemy, but the songs have a very organic and “hippy-ish” feel to them so I guess I’ll leave it at that. In this case its not a bad thing because these songs are lyrically complex and they paint vivid pictures in my mind. More popular bands these days seem to write their lyrics with crayons while Fleet Foxes are in the middle of the woods writing with new quill pens they plucked from a goose at an organic farm in upstate New York. That was a stupid statement, but my point is they are great lyricists and it shows on this record.
Fleet Foxes – Lorelai
I’ll end this by saying sometimes its good to take a break from certain things. When you come back to them, which is the case here, you have a new appreciation for it. It took me two years to listen to Fleet Foxes again and I’m glad I did. I now trust the thousands of people who help sell out every Fleet Foxes show, they are there for a good reason.
I went back and listened to their debut self titled release and I didn’t hate that either. As for the band I hope they read this (they won’t) and breathe a sigh of relief because they gained at least one fan with this new release. For my preachy moment of the week I’ll say go into your iTunes library or whereever and pull something up that you think you hated 2 years ago and listen to it again. You might just like it. Especially if it’s Fleet Foxes.
As always here’s the last track from Fleet Foxes newest release (due out tomorrow 5/3/11) “Helplessness Blues”.
Fleet Foxes – Grown Ocean
Fleet Foxes are currently on tour although it looks like every show is virtually sold out. Tour Page is HERE if you need proof. They are playing the Pitchfork Festival this summer in Chicago as well.
You can pre-order “Helplessness Blues” HERE. (or just wait ’till tomorrow and buy it.
By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC
Montezuma : Album opener, A song about self absorption, loneliness and selfish notions of immortality.
Bedouin Dress : 2nd Track, “It’s about the idea of taking and not giving anything back, that’s at the heart of a number of songs on the album” – Robin. Almost didnt make it on the final album.
for me the highlight on the album.
Sim Sala Bim : Track 3, Written on a trip to Big Sur, Heavily influenced by Roy Harper with a 12 string guitar resonant throughout the song.
Battery Kinzie : Track 4, “Its was the last thing we did and done quickly” – Christian. “I Wrote this a couple of years ago and always thought it as more of a solo song. It has a simple Dylanesque melody and i couldnt think of a good band arrangement for it.”
Plains/Bitter Dancer : 5th Track, Described by Robin as “Smile-type studio experiment” starting with layered vocal and simple guitar lick, growing into an epic, ornate and symphonic piece, inspired in part by “Kathy Cruel” a song covered by Bert Jansch. “Its my Grim Reaper song” – Robin.
reminds me in part of recent Midlake. that could just be the flute and layered harmonies. judge for yourself.
Helplessness Blues : 6th Track, The Paul Simon influence comes to the fore in this cut. the second half of the songs was completely re-recorded changing from the mellow vibe of Fleetwood Mac “Albatross” to a much more soaring ending.
The Cascades : 7th track, Instrumental and a reminder of Robin’s love of Morricone.
Lorelai : 8th track, Beach Boys meets Paul Simon combining to make something in the vein of “Norwegian Wood” or “Forth Time Around”. “It’s about friendship, how allegiances change over time. I was thinking of Skye and the summer we were 17. We’ve known each other a long time” – Robin.
Someone You’d Admire : 9th Track One of the newest songs. mostly Robin on Guitar and single vocal. “There’s always two people in you, The Devil and The Angel, Which one will you turn out to be” – Robin
The Shrine/An Argument : Track 10, The albums central piece, 8 minutes of sweeping, tender, mornful and resigned genius. “It describes 4 stages of a break up – Contemplation, anger, frustration and solitude.” – Robin
Blue Spotted Tail : Track 11, “That’s one of the songs on the album that deals with a universal feeling. To me, there’s no reason we’re here. but that doesn’t make it any less incredible and creativity is at least an expression of our humanity. In the face of any thoughts about what we’re actually here for, then our ability to create is the only answer for me” – Robin
Grown Oceans : Album closer, 1st single. Written by Robin as a mellow reflection only to be transformed into somethinf more transcendent by Christian’s vocal arrangement. “It’s like a dream of where you’d like to end up after going through all the turmoil. Somewhere there’s peace and peace of mind, something you’d like to find at the end of a long journey” – Robin
All quotes taken from recent Uncut interview with Robin and the band.
By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC