So, XMU and WRAS have both been playing the shit out of Foxygen lately and I am really, really enjoying it. I thought I might be just really late to the party, but their recent release, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, was only released two months ago, so I guess it's still topical. What is wrong with me that if I enjoy something that everyone else is enjoying I have to get all skeptical about it? Well, I'll tell you.
Would you find a blog post entitled "I Like Pizza" really interesting? How about "Puppies Are Soft"?
The first song that caught my ear was "Shuggie." I love this song! The entire album is incredibly stylized to sound like an old piece of vinyl you pulled out from behind your couch and said, "Oh hey, I bought this album in 1972 and forgot about it." Yet, with lyrics from the modern era, and with a wide sampling of sub-genres from the 60's and 70's, they are definitely providing a very unmistakeably modern take on the classic sounds. "Shuggie" initially sounded to me like something I've never heard before, and as a whole that holds true, but the song transitions are comfortably familiar. The comfort to me is primarily because it reminds me of Supergrass (whom I LOVE) and their various retrospectives from the 90's of tunes from the 70's, but way more lo-fi. Yep, that's right.
Awesome video too! (BUT - shame on you for rhyming "house" with "house"!)
Foxygen is comprised of two small children, one from each coast. They are actually 22 year old men named Sam France and Jonathan Rado, but I am bitter because I am advancing in age. SO ARE YOU. They met in Los Angeles, where apparently no one has anything better to do than to play music and make love and frolic in the sunshine and look fabulous doing it. I tried to get a sense of what kind of gear they use in recording and on stage, but you know what's weird? Reviews never talk much about gear. Rado plays a Fender and France sometimes is seen with an acoustic guitar and other times behind a Roland keyboard. I read a cool interview they did for delicious audio in which they talk a bit about gear, but mainly seem to say that they like playing with vintage audio toys of different types. Go figure.
The next song that I stalker-dialed WRAS about was "On Blue Mountain." I seriously have WRAS on speed dial on the bluetooth system in my Hyundai. I don't see how a college education could be worth what I put those kids through, frankly. This one has great lyrics, plus it has that togetherness vibe that I love. Plus who doesn't love the mountains? Not you I hope. It also has multiple sections and a bit of a hippie freakout at the end, which to me is the hallmark of a great song. The other singles that seem to be shaping up as such from this album are "San Francisco" and "No Destruction." "San Francisco" nails it - the pop sound of the 60's (Mamas & Papas maybe? Velvet Underground with a better singing Nico?) and the glamorization of San Francisco. By the way, if you ever go to Singapore, they only call that city "Frisco." But I digress. "No Destruction" sounds like a cross between Lou Reed and Bob Dylan. Yeah, that's my least favorite on the album, but it's still good. Throughout the album, I keep hearing the Stones, the Beatles, the Doors, half the British Invasion, and even a hanful of people from Motown. Then I had to let go, because ultimately it's more fun to just drown myself in Foxygen and not worry about their ancestors.
It was totally, compeltely worth the $6.99 for the mp3 download on Amazon, and it comes with a pdf of the liner notes, which is a lovely courtesy. Seven thumbs up! No, I haven't come up with a rating system yet.