by Dave Segal
on Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 12:12 PM
Today I learned from reading a local weekly newspaper that Fleet Foxes are “innovative.” Now, you can say a lot of things about Fleet Foxes, but one of the last adjectives I would use to describe them is “innovative.” Pleasant, euphonious, earnest, gentle, rootsy, bucolic, technically proficient—yes. Innovative? No. Various dictionary definitions for "innovative" include “being or producing something like nothing done or experienced or created before; ahead of the times; using or showing new methods, ideas.”
But maybe I’m offbase. Perhaps Fleet Foxes are blazing new trails in rock and I’m too dense to discern it. So let’s do a poll to determine once and for all if Fleet Foxes are innovative.
Instead, the night found the crowd warmed by an electrifying performance by the Cave Singers and ready for a couple hours from a hometown band on the eve of their latest album's release. From the opening wall of inarguable sparkling amber harmonies, the band wove new songs (which have been streaming at NPR music for the last couple weeks, granting fans more than passing familiarity) into a set that included plenty of material from their self-titled debut, follow-up Sun Giant EP, and even a quick Celine Dion riff for the people in the steerage of the upper balcony.
Aside from an odd moment of chatter interrupting near-silent tuning breaks, the band displayed striking sense of musicianship and onstage reserve (distinguishing them, a bit, from the rest of the current cresting wave of foot-stomping neo-folk revivalism), focusing instead on creating rich sonic environments. In particular, the addition of multi-instrumentalist Morgan Henderson certainly enriched the texture of the band's sound, including a bass clarinet freakout during "The Shrine / An Argument" that sounded too much like a sack of ducklings being handled ungently for comfort. With Pecknold opening the encore with a stunning solo performance, it's easy to see how the group could be tempted just to write songs to serve as playgrounds for his range of vocal gymnastics. To their credit, though, the band instead works more like a supergroup, merging the ample talents of each member into a greater whole.
If there's any minor complaint to be made about the show, it's that even with an eager guitar tech replenishing their arsenal, there were still a fair share of quiet moments between songs. Occasionally, this led to some funny personable moments — a few riffs on the Portland thrift scene, comments on finishing Portal 2, and a mumbled wish that OFWGKTA had stayed badass for a little while before signing to Sony (in response to a front row kid's repeated "swag swag swag" exclamations) — but it might do the band some good to train up a member in between song banter, if only to spare the rest of the crowd the bizarre falseearly birthday wishes and "Free Bird" requests. Still, it was a beautiful night of music that I was extremely glad to experience from the edge of the stage.
by Dave Segal
on Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 2:40 PM
Between now and April 23, Seattle record shop Wall of Sound is giving you a chance to win a pair of tickets to Fleet Foxes' sold-out concerts at the Moore Theatre May 2 and 3. Visit the store and enter your name in the drawing; winners will be contacted April 24.
If you're unfamiliar with the esteemed Wall of Sound, please read this feature.
1) "Send Me" by Sam Cook There is only one reason why this tune is stuck in my head at this time: Grant Brissey. He played it on his computer a week or so ago. The tune has not left my head since.
2) "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)" by Kate Bush The blame for this tune's stuckness is the hipster who played the Chromatic's version of it at The Unicorn on February 25, 2011 (I tagged it on my Shazam).
3)"Forget Me Nots" by Patrice Rushen I will never get that wonderful tune out of my head, and nor do I want it go.
4) "Blue Ridge Mountains" by Fleet Foxes The person who holds the blame for this dreamy tune is Ross Beamish, who plays with Yuni in Taxco. Ross played the tune while working at Caffé Vita in Pioneer Square. The line I can no longer get out of my head: "And the river was frozen..."
5) "Xanadu" by Olivia Newton John I heard this tune two days ago while watching the splendid documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself. The documentary is 3 hours long; the tune might be in my head forever. If I had not heard it on Sunday, then "Rapper's Delight" would have been number five today: "The women fight for my delight." Indeed, a penis is a delightful thing.
"This is a double vinyl, so you'll receive two records, one with sides A & B and one with sides C & D," Pecknold explains on the eBay page. "We'll include a little note with like tracklisting and other information."
The total is currently at $1,525, with a little over six days to go in the auction (it closes Mon. March 28 at 1:02 pm Pacific Time). Go here to bid.
Last Friday instead of going to the Nobunny show, Sarah Moody and I drove to Port Townsend, WA. When I moved to Seattle, nobody at all informed me of the totally weird and ruling music scene in Port Townsend. We arrived in town and went directly to a bar called Sirens. It was around midnight and we were just in time to see a G.G. Allin spacerock cover band called GG ALIEN. Essentially it was 3 dudes and a girl and they had fake crummy G.G. Allin tattoos and they played G.G. Allin songs but would medley them with Hawkwind, Von LMO, Zolar X, Jobriath, etc. Also, they'd punch each other in the face in the middle of the songs. The bar was 1/2 full and nobody really seemed to understand what was happening. I saw a flier for the show and apparently we'd missed another band called TOMBS FROM THE CRYPT which was a Rocket From The Crypt / Rocket From The Tombs cover band. I fully intend to move to Port Townsend to finally start a Motley Cure cover band. "Too Young To Fall (Friday I'm) In Love," ETC.
Always Was Is and Always Shall Be(ings from outer space).
And seriously, let me repeat, deep congrats to Fleet Foxes and Sub Pop and Phil Ek for writing, creating, and releasing a record that thrilled the shit out of people all over the world and will, for many music fans, be the record to remember 2008 by.
(Also, the perverse flipside to nrdwmstn's claim that not enough folks are willing to admit to enjoying Fleet Foxes is the fact that Fleet Foxes are immensely enjoyable. Your sulky teenaged niece will love them, your Dylan-loving dad will love them (if he isn't overly bugged by the too-diffuse ren-faire lyrics), and if you're looking for an easy way to support local businesses and local artists this holiday season, you could very well buy a copy of Fleet Foxes for every single person on your shopping list.)
It's the splashiest win yet in the Fleet Foxes' year-end victory lap. Congrats to the bearded wonder boys (as well as Sub Pop and Phil Ek) and confidential to everyone who believes Fleet Foxes has more to offer than Dear Science: You're insane.