Foxygen – Hang (album review)

by Woody on January 18, 2017

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Photo by Cara Robbins

After Bowie passed away, his legacy and our ears were slowly tortured by a collection of half-ass artists doing over-the-top covers of his music during award shows. With every complaint I issued, people would ask, ” If not so and so, then who?” My response was consistent, “I’d roll the lunatics* from Foxygen out there and stay out of their way.”

Similar to Bowie, French and Rado have managed to forge a career while staying true to their vision. And their vision to me is one of no compromise as they maintain their chameleon-like persona. Like Bowie, there is some stuff that I love, some stuff that I don’t and some stuff in between.

On Hang, they are joined by a 40 piece arrangement that gives the album the feel of a movie soundtrack. One of those movies with an ensemble cast, led by Ryan Gosling of course, with multiple stories where the music is as central to the story as the acting is.

Whereas, …And Star Power was a sprawling double-album that could have dealt with some editing, Hang crams all the insanity into a little more than 30 minutes. And it takes a couple of listens to really deliver. Helping that out is that it really seems that they are having an absolute blast here. I didn’t get that feeling with Star Power.

The center of the album is the highlight for me. The grandiose America (and that’s saying something on this album) leads into to restrained (relatively speaking) On Lankershim. America sounds like Peter Gabriel-era Genesis covering Elton John on copious amounts of LSD. On Lankershim sounds like Big Star covering Elton John on moderate amounts of LSD.

While I might not love every album these guys put out, my interest always perks up whenever I hear something new from them. I think the musical landscape is a better place with them in it.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Foxygen is here

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England’s Happyness are back with the follow up to 2014′s Weird Little Birthday, an album that found its way into our Top 50 that year for its enjoyable nod to influences such as Pavement, Grandaddy and Wilco. Check out the lead track below and you can catch them at SXSW this year. Here’s a little more on the forthcoming album from the band.

The record was recorded in the band’s own studio above a now-abandoned bookshop, then finished and mixed with Adam Lasus at his LA home studio. It features artwork from the band’s own Jon EE Allan. Write In sets its stall out as an outward looking, inventive, and thoughtful progression from their debut. Drawing on an array of influences including Roxy Music, The Beach Boys, Randy Newman, Sonic Youth, Big Star and Pierre Cavalli, the direction is best summed up by Jon EE Allan; “I’d like to think this record looks outside the little American alt-rock sphere we were looking in on. I think we used to be very afraid of being earnest. And now we’re able to be tender or heartfelt without feeling too guilty about it. This record cost us about £500 to make, and that was mainly spent on an 8 track tape recorder and a dehumidifier. We self-produced it in our studio [the affectionately named 'Jelly Boy Studios', where the band also recorded their debut, 'Weird Little Birthday']. The building’s being redeveloped at the end of the year, so this is the last record we’ll make there, which feels like the end of a chapter for us.”

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Happyness is here

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It was 7 years ago that Rural Alberta Advantage blew my doors off with their debut. This track is the best thing I’ve heard them do since, really reminding me of their debut. I really love this song, a tune about the wildfires that led to the evacuation of Fort McMurray, a town that lead singer Nils Edenloff called home for a while.

Combined with the track they released last year, White Lights, I can’t wait to hear their new album. Here’s a little something that lead singer, Nils Edenloff, had to say about the process of the new album.

“I’ve never been good about focusing on a theme or having a specific plan at the outset of a new record,” says Nils. “For me, writing music tends to be more of a constantly evolving process, like following one strange trail after another until a song has come to its general conclusion. This time around, we’re following that natural writing process more and inviting fans to come along those trails with us.”

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

RAA is here

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Released on California’s Innovative Leisure label, you are expecting the album that is going to be influenced by the sounds of 60s. Sometimes those expectations can limit a band. With America’s Velvet Glory, I don’t feel that way at all. If anything, it gave the band a focus from which they branched out from there.

Born out of the vision of Lucas Fitzsimons, The Molochs first effort on Innovative Leisure is a real gem. If you grew up listening to classic rock as a teenager, you’ll hear some of the defining bands of your youth – The Stones, The Byrds, Velvet Underground, to name a few.

The enjoyment of the album is that, in spite of their influences all coming from a specific era, the album never gets repetitive. They dabble in psych rock (Charlie’s Lips, Beggar’s Banquet-era Stones (That’s The Trouble With You) and a tune that reminds me of The Butterfield Blues Band (No More Cryin’).

This is a great album, yet you feel like Fitzsimons has got so much more to give. With the band being able to take their influences and really turn them into special, I’m already looking forward to their new album.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

The Molochs are here

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Molly Burch announces debut LP, Please Be Mine 2/17/17

January 12, 2017

Photo: Dailey Toliver Been looking forward to this announcement since I first heard Molly Burch’s music last August. She has a wonderfully soulful voice that reminds you of the country music of yesteryear. Her debut will be out Feb 17th via the fine folks at Captured Tracks. In the meantime, here’s some info from PR [...]

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Chris Karabas – Warehouse Full of Dreams (single)

January 11, 2017

Chis is a family man; a man who makes a great cup of coffee; a man who loves breakfast cereal. But most importantly he is a good friend of mine. A friend that I’ve seen perform countless times. He’s done some time on music row; his music being influenced by his deep love of Elvis, [...]

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Old Nobodaddy releases new single Gun Is Coming

January 10, 2017

Old Nobodaddy is the moniker of Ian Francis, an artist out of New Orleans. He described himself as Nick Cave meeting a dust covered Father John Misty. I thought it sounded more like O’Death on Xanax which he enjoyed. The tune has a gothic-folk feel to it as Francis sings in almost chant-like fashion. There’s [...]

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Gold Connections announce debut s/t EP 3/31/17

January 9, 2017

Credit – PJ Sykes Gold Connections led, led by songwriter, guitarist and lyricist Will Marsh — has signed to Fat Possum. The band’s genesis came in 2014 at William & Mary; a time when Marsh befriended Will Toledo, a fellow student (albeit one year older). In fact, Toledo handled the mixing of this EP, comprised [...]

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Julien Baker signs to Matador, releases new song Funeral Pyre

January 6, 2017

Photo Credit: Nolan Knight I didn’t connect with Julien Baker at first. Her PR team sent her first album, Sprained Ankle, over to me a few times but I couldn’t get into it. But as I readied myself for my maiden voyage to Newport Folk Fest last year, Baker was announced. So I dug back [...]

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Pardner releases debut LP, Medicine

January 5, 2017

I have no idea why I clicked on the email from this band out of Burlington, VT. I kinda thought their name was funny and I wasn’t buried at work yet, so there I was. Anyway, their lead track is a nice easy-going twangy track. Here’s a little more about the band. Gregory Mallozzi and [...]

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