Category: Fleet Foxes

Grammys 2012: Fleet Foxes has foot in folk past, ear for today

Grammys 2012: Fleet Foxes has foot in folk past, ear for today
 Nominated for contemporary folk album for ‘Helplessness Blues,’ Fleet Foxes is just happy to be part of the group with its classic American sound and contemporary influences.

Until Fleet Foxes won a contemporary folk nomination this year for “Helplessness Blues,” the band’s singer-songwriter Robin Pecknold’s association with the Grammys was like most young people’s — if you watched the telecast at all, you were happy for your dad when his band won and miffed when your own heroes didn’t take the crown.

“I remember feeling really conflicted,” said Pecknold, 25, recalling a particularly painful Grammy win in 2001. Radiohead’s “Kid A” was pitted against Steely Dan’s comeback, “Two Against Nature” for album of the year, not to mention Eminem’s critically adored “The Marshall Mathers LP.” In the end, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker’s jazzy licks triumphed over the scribbly electronics of “Kid A.” “My dad is a huge Steely Dan fan, and he was so excited that they’d come back on the scene. But I really wanted ‘Kid A’ to win, and they deserved to win. I haven’t paid a ton of attention to the Grammys since then.”

PHOTOS: Grammy Awards 2012 rehearsals

Except for last fall, when the 2012 nominations came rolling in. “I was definitely curious to see if we’d be nominated for anything,” said Pecknold from his home in Portland, Ore. “Then the nominations came out and we weren’t part of the main ones, but when you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page,” his voice trails off.

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The Walkmen run toward a new record, tour with Fleet Foxes

The walkmen 1
Few bands of the last decade are as adept at highlighting the romanticism of chain-smoking, leather jackets and East Coast proto punk like the Walkmen. From rapid-fire guitar stabs to piano-plunking barroom lullabies, the scrappy five-piece hatched in Washington, D.C., helped ignite college radio’s love affair with the retro rock revival alongside the Strokes and the Rapture.

Recently, the Walkmen have gotten a sprinter’s start on their followup to their 2010 full-length,  "Lisbon," recording 18 songs ahead of schedule for the forthcoming record. So far, the new tracks highlight sonic restraint.

“We’re able to keep a relaxed pace to really loud rock songs. I’m hoping to have a relaxed feel on the record,” lead singer-guitarist Hamilton Leithauser said in a recent phone conversation. For those who’ve gotten a glimmer of the new material during the band's current U.S. tour with Fleet Foxes, which hits the Greek Theatre in L.A. on Wednesday, that’s easy to believe. Leithauser said that even some of the band’s more bombastic material had a laid-back core.

So, their tour with Fleet Foxes might be an ideal match, especially given that the Seattle-based pack of bearded harmonizers shares a producer with the Walkmen: former Built to Spill producer Phil Ek.

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Big Sur's Henry Miller Memorial Library celebrates anniversary with a season featuring Fleet Foxes, MGMT, Philip Glass

Stage1 Is there a lovelier place to see live music in California than Big Sur's Henry Miller Memorial Library? Alas, Los Angeles, there is not. And as if to add insult to regional injury, they've gone and booked an excellent lineup of summer and fall shows that could easily pull audiences well beyond the library's 300-capacity lawn.  

This season's bills include a definitively appropriate set by rustic Seattle folkies Fleet Floxes, some artier electronica sets by Gang Gang Dance, Twin Shadow, Little Dragon and MGMT; anthemic instrumental rockers Explosion in the Sky; an installment of Woodsist Records' popular festival; and a coup de grâce of Philip Glass conducting a string quartet and pianist to the score of "Dracula."

It's another testament to the ambitiousness of the Library's executive director Magnus Toren and booker Britt Govea that they turned a rural literary museum into one of the most breathtaking music venues in America. Pop & Hiss will be preparing our Sterno stoves for camping trips up there posthaste.

RELATED:

Live Review: Fleet Foxes at the Hollywood Palladium

Live Review: Explosions in the Sky at Hollywood Forever

Live Review: Philip Glass at the Hollywood Bowl

-- August Brown

Photo credit: Magnus Toren, via henrymiller.org.

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