Thursday, June 23, 2011

This Week's Music, Fleet Foxes, The Naked and Famous, Reaganomics

Fleet Foxes
Helplessness Blues

Though he’s only in his 20s, Fleet Foxes singer and leader Robin Pecknold is an old soul. His band’s sound echoes former times, channeling the folk of Simon and Garfunkel and paying homage to the intricate harmonies of the Beach Boys. While the group’s debut LP was an ode to the majesty of the forest and the sun, Pecknold turns inward on “Helplessness Blues.” His wanderings are filled with introspective questions, as he ponders both his youth (“Now I am older than my mother and father/When they had their daughter/Now what does that say about me?”) and his eventual death (“I woke up one morning/All my fingers rotten/I woke up a dying man without a chance”). The music matches the weightiness of the subject matter and every note is perfectly placed—lush harmonies, finger-picked guitar melodies, and Pecknold’s soaring tenor.  Having successfully reached the top of the mountain, it’s hard to see where Fleet Foxes will go from here. 

For fans of: Simon and Garfunkel, Bon Iver
Rating: 3.5 of 4
Check out: Montezuma

The Naked and Famous
Passive Me, Aggressive You

These New Zealand electro-rockers are a sneaky bunch. Their outstanding, ultra-dancey lead single “Punching in a Dream” would lead you to believe that the group is nothing more than a well-polished, hook-heavy pop group. While that would be enough, their debut record offers up even more. Dueling boy-girl vocalists Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith are equally adept at getting dark and moody (“Frayed,” “The Sun”). And just when you think they might drown in their ‘80s goth-inspired angst, they come back with another dreamy bounce-along (“Young Blood”) that should become the soundtrack for every teenage soap opera. Here’s to a solid debut and plenty of unexpected surprises.

For fans of: the xx, Tegan and Sara
Rating: 3.5 of 4
Check out: Young Blood

Lower the Bar

Metal-punk trio Ryan's Hope were trying to make a record when they decided to take a break from taking themselves so serious. They kicked the tempo up a few hundred beats per second and unleashed every junior high joke they could remember. The result is “Lower the Bar,” a record that is equal parts NoFX and stand-up comedy. Other than a few outliers, each song track clocks in at under 90 seconds. The band masterfully tackles pressing social such as programming on The WB, Ed Hardy t-shirts, and Robocop. The songs are catchy, slightly stupid, and perfect for the pit.

For fans of: NoFX, Rancid
Rating: 3 of 4
Check out: Don't Worry, We'll Play First

1 comment:

Cheeseboy said...

Nice! You used one of my albums. Hoping to see Rural Alberta Advantage soon.

I like this Fleet Foxes album even more than their last.

Naked and the Famous remind me a lot of MGMT before they turned really lame.

Just got some new albums. Are you interested new albums from:

1. I'm From Barcelona
2. My Morning Jacket
3. Two Door Cinema Club