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Fleet Foxes * 4.20.11 * BBC Radio 1 Maida Vale Studio





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A folk scene containing Fleet Foxes is a little like a 100-metres race containing Usain Bolt: everyone else is competing for second place.

The Seattle band's self-titled debut was an enchanting amalgam of traditional folk, hymnal music and Sixties pop that gained them comparisons with a contemporary Crosby, Stills & Nash or a bucolic Beach Boys.

Three years on, they have returned to our shores to promote its eagerly awaited follow-up, Helplessness Blues, which is released next month. On Tuesday it was Later
With Jools Holland; last night it was BBC's Maida Vale studios for a live showcase on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show. Glancing down from the studio's balcony, it was immediately clear that worldwide recognition hasn't heralded an overhaul of the band's wardrobe: plaid shirts, woolly hats and mighty beards remain de rigueur for these unflashy folkies. The music, however, has developed.

Montezuma's refrain of "oh my, what I used to be" was full of self-questioning and regret - recurring themes of the second album.

At the other end of the spectrum, Bedouin Dress's bouncy piano stabs and groovy bassline were more Steely Dan than Steeleye Span.

Battery Kinzie galloped on the stampeding beats of drummer Josh Tillman. Without turning the amps up to 11, Fleet Foxes have beefed up their sound.

They have also been joined by a new recruit, Morgan Henderson, who augmented the songs with flourishes of flute and violin. This brought a jazzier dimension to the new tracks, which owe something to Van Morrison's Astral Weeks.

The bedrock, however, remains the voice and guitar of frontman Robin Pecknold. Sim Sala Bim, a Nick Drake-esque ballad, showcased his dextrous finger-picking; the eight-minute epic The Shrine/An Argument pushed his tenor into its raspier reaches.

To speak about one voice in Fleet Foxes, of course, is to slightly miss the point: the real magic happens when their voices combine. Mykonos, one of only two tracks to be played from their debut, came wreathed in glorious four-part harmonies, while the a capella section that brought Grown Ocean - and this glorious 40-minute set - to a close was brave and brilliant.

-- BBC Radio 1
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Fleet Foxes * Newport Folk Festival 2009



The Fleet Foxes' self-titled debut was one of 2008's most critically adored records. The Seattle band pairs layers of harmonized vocals — the sort of sound that could have emerged from the 1920s or the 1970s — with shuffling drums and finger-picked guitars. In keeping with the band's name, the record's song titles ("Meadowlarks," "Blue Ridge Mountains," "Ragged Wood") suggest a bucolic vision of nature, though lead singer Robin Pecknold's lyrics occasionally hint at violence ("And Michael you would fall / and turn the white snow red / as strawberries in summertime," from "White Winter Hymnal").

Fleet Foxes' members spent the majority of 2008 on the road before taking a break to work on a follow-up to their debut. The band's performances in 2009 have been fewer but higher in profile: It played Saturday Night Live in January and Coachella in April. Currently on tour, Fleet Foxes played the All Points West festival at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., the day before taking the stage at Newport.

Set List
"Sun Giant"
"Sun It Rises"
"Drops in the River"
"English House"
"Bedouin Dress"
"White Winter Hymnal"
"Ragged Wood"
"Your Protector"
"Oliver James"
"Mykonos"
"Blue Ridge Mountains"




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Audio & text courtesy of NPR "All Songs Considered"
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Fleet Foxes on BBC Radio 2



The Fleet Foxes, performing songs and being interviewed in the BBC Radio 2 studios last February. I dug this session out and am posting it here at the Live Archive due to overwhelmingly popular response to the previous set I posted last weekend, which you can download or stream here.

As a bonus to this short BBC session, I've added two rare and unreleased studio tracks from the Foxes that I found trolling the internets: "Isles" and an alternative version of one of my favorite FF tunes "Mykonos."

Enjoy! And check out the
Fundiblog for YouTube videos, Flickr photos and a concert review of their sold-out, mid-blowing show in Bellingham last weekend.



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Fleet Foxes * 7.25.08 * Washington, DC





I just saw the Fleet Foxes live for the first time last night up in the acoustically-perfect Performing Arts Center at Western Washington University here in Bellingham, WA (that's where the above photos are from). The amazing concert inspired me to post this live set of them playing last July; I got it from NPR and am sharing the wealth.

Video of the Foxes performing at this Bellingham performance are at Youtube here and here, or together on the same page with a show review at the Fundiblog. Oh, and a few more photos over at Flickr.

NPR's description of the band and this set after the jump...




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Feedback: djfundi@podcastcafe.orgKeep Reading...