|Psychedelic glam rock anthems
Mike Levine (@Goldnuggets) - July 10, 2012
A bit of advice: If you've just listened to the first track off
Foxygen's debut LP 'Take The Kids Off Broadway' and are a bit
puzzled, don't worry! That's just the band shifting your brain cells
around to prepare you for what comes next. 'Make it Known' makes
Ariel Pink's 'Hold On' sound halfhearted... hell, this song could
be our new anthem if we're not careful.
But that's probably not what they had in mind. A lot of this duo's
music feels entirely off the cuff, even while sounding like a lot
of time was spent on these tracks. Occupying that historical
space somewhere between hippie psychedelia like 13th Floor
Elevators, and glam rock like Roxy Music, it's hard to tell what
era this music exists in. Frankly, this is a band that can't seem to
make up their mind about much of anything, and it's probably for
the best. The twin vocals of songwriting team Sam France and
Jonathan Rado seem to switch genre entirely mid-verse or mid-hook,
going from a tumult of horns and organs to jangly guitar and back
again. Leader-of-the-pack motorcycle rock n' roll gives way to
Shirelles fanfare and Beach Boy anthem, all fronted by something close
to Mick Jagger... it's retrolicious, through and through.
If all this sounds looney tunes, well... it kinda is. But maybe I'm
just being old-fashioned. As Foxygen says themselves: "How could I
love someone if I'm not willing to change?" Bedroom
production aside, this is the clearest representation of something
new I've heard in quite some time.
I have to ask: How does your writing
process work, especially when you both live across the country from one
another... Are you composing while sequestered in your places across
the country, or does the music come together as a group?
SF: We recorded Take The Kids Off Broadway when we were living together
in New York. We share a psychic vision of the album, I make up the
title, we think of the album cover and go from there.
JR: A lot has been made of us being a "bicoastal" band but the truth is
that we're not doing a postal service thing or anything. We live in
different places, but we always record and play in the same place.
We're both on the west coast right now. Monocoastal.
Is every sound I'm hearing recorded
live, or do you incorporate samples too?
SF: We record all the stuff, there may have been a few Charles Manson
jams that we sampled but I can't remember if that made the cut.
JR: Oh, they're in there.
Are you interested in recording at a
regular studio, or are you dedicated to a lower fidelity?
JR: I wouldn't say we're dedicated to a lower fidelity, either, "Take
The Kids Off Broadway" was supposed to be a really clean album - like
an ELO album or something. We did that to the best of our abilities. We
just didn't really know what we were doing.
How did you come to get signed by
SF: We gave Richard Swift our record at a Mynabirds show in New York.
Seriously, who are these kids you keep
on bringing up that hang out on Broadway?
SF: I'm not sure, I think we wanted to have a sort of anthemic sort of
theme song or something maybe it's a protest song against child stars,
like they all get effed up like Lindsay Lohan, just take 'em off the
stage, and let them have their childhoods. But we are all like Lindsay
Lohan in a way.
JR: I always thought it was like take the kids off Broadway.
"We share a psychic vision of the album."
"Take The Kids Off Broadway"
Surreal anthems that dance with moves like Jagger.
For those who like: "Her Satanic Majesty’s Request"-era Rolling Stones, "McCartney II"-era McCartney