Once upon a time, I would flip through the pages of the Rocket, a newsprint magazine that reported on NW music and served as a break-out mechanism and launching point for many Seattle bands who needed just a little bit of exposure in order to make the leap to nation-wide fame. One of the oracles who consistently pointed me in the right direction as to what music I should be invested in, was music critic Glen Boyd. Boyd now lives a semi-retired life, but I was lucky enough to friend him on FaceBook a while back, and continue to follow him from a respectful distance, and in accordance with established Fanclub rules.
Recently, Boyd posted Fleet Foxes new album “Shore” was in his top 5 picks for 2020 album of the year. Released in December, it nestled nicely between music legends Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen. Needless to say, with a Glen Boyd recommendation, I wasted no time in purchasing the album.
I wish Boyd still wrote reviews. I feel like this album deserves to have an article written by someone with the history, the understanding, and the talent of a Glen Boyd. It’s that good.
GETTING TO KNOW FLEET FOXES: Fleet Foxes are an American indie folk band led by founders Robin Pecknold (vocals, guitar), and Skyler Skjelset (guitar, mandolin, backing vocals), and joined by Casey Wescott, Christian Wargo, and Morgan Henderson. According to Wikipedia, Robin Pecknold and Skyler Skjelset both attended Lake Washington High School in Kirkland, and Pecknold’s father Greg was a member of The Fathoms, a local 1960s group whose music was not far from the Kinks in its form and delivery.
I am admittedly late to the party. Because Fleet Foxes have been making music for over 15 years, with their debut album released on Sub Pop records in 2998. As part of my “awakening”, I spent hours on YouTube researching their musical catalog. Finding new favorites such as their 2009 release, Mykonos, and its accompanying animated video by Sean Pecknold (brother of lead vocalist Robin Pecknold).
I tried to find a way to describe how much I enjoyed it. Or to find another musical group that stirs the same emotion that Fleet Foxes do. It’s a simple sound really, and at the same time complicated. Basic stringed instruments and harmonized vocals that move your soul like cool wind carrying the scent of flowers through the air. If pressed to find a sound to compare them too, I think maybe Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Never heard of them? Believe me, they are worth listening too.
What’s also amazing about Fleet Foxes is their open and honest relationship with their fans. In conjunction with the release of their new album “Shore”, Fleet Foxes also dropped an album of isolated bits and pieces called “Shore Stems” with an invitation for musicians to use samples of their work to create new and unique compositions. The following is the official post from the band.
“VERY excited to release all of the stems for Shore this Friday on Bandcamp (it’s the last Bandcamp Friday of the year!). This is eleven hours of all of the album’s isolated tracks, solo’d drums, vocals, horns, bass, guitars – every individual piece of every song untangled from each other and laid bare. These aren’t royalty free, but any and all remixing / sampling / twisting / creative reuse and re-imagining highly encouraged. If you want to use something commercially, just get in touch. Enjoy!”
Additionally, the band is also offering limited
edition vinyl records in a variety of different colors. Very cool indeed!