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Fleet Foxes — Fleet Foxes (2008)

 Fleet Foxes — Fleet Foxes (2008)

Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes
Also known as: Pineapple
Origin: Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Album release: June 3, 2008 (US)/June 9, 2008 (UK)
Recorded: Summer and Autumn 2007
Record Label: Bella Union/Sub Pop
Duration:     49:57
Tracks:
01. Sun It Rises      (3:12)
02. White Winter Hymnal      (2:27)
03. Ragged Wood      (5:07)
04. Tiger Mountain Peasant Song      (3:29)
05. Quiet Houses      (3:32)
06. He Doesn't Know Why      (3:21)
07. Heard Them Stirring      (3:02)
08. Your Protector      (4:10)
09. Meadowlarks      (3:12)
10. Blue Ridge Mountains      (4:26)
11. Oliver James      (3:24)
Disc two (2008 Limited Edition):
1. "Sun Giant"      2:06
2. "Drops in the River"       4:11
3. "English House"      4:48
4. "Mykonos (alternate version)"      3:39
5. "Isles"      3:06
Disc two (2009 Japanese Limited Edition):
1. "Sun Giant"      2:14
2. "Drops in the River"      4:12
3. "English House"      4:40
4. "Mykonos"      4:35
5. "Innocent Son"      3:06
6. "False Knight on the Road"      3:45
All songs written by Robin Pecknold.
PERSONNEL:
◊  Robin Pecknold: band member, songwriter, arranger, design [lead vocals, guitar]
◊  Skyler Skjelset: band member, arranger [lead guitar]
◊  Nicholas Peterson: band member, arranger [drums, percussion, vocals]
◊  Casey Wescott: band member, arranger [keyboards, vocals]
◊  Craig Curran: band member, arranger [bass, vocals]
◊  Gwen Owen: flute on "Your Protector"
◊  Phil Ek: producer, engineer, mixer
◊  Ed Brooks: mastering
◊  Sasha Barr: Design
◊  Dusty Summers: Design
◊  The liner notes do not state which instruments the band members perform. Former drummer J. Tillman joined the group after recordings had been completed, but prior to the album's release.
Members:
◊  Robin Pecknold lead vocals, guitar (2006-present)
◊  Skyler Skjelset guitar, mandolin (2006-present)
◊  Casey Wescott keyboards, mandolin, vocals (2006-present)
◊  Christian Wargo bass, guitar, vocals (2008-present)
◊  Morgan Henderson upright bass, guitar, woodwinds, violin, percussion (2010-present)
Former members:
◊  Craig Curran bass (2006-2008)
◊  Nicholas Peterson drums, percussion, vocals (2006–2008)
◊  Joshua Tillman drums, percussion, vocals (2008–2012)
Sales:
UK: Platinum
BEL: Gold
US: 408.000+
Recording:
◊  Producer, and Pecknold family friend, Phil Ek had earlier helped Fleet Foxes record their first demo and used his influence to assist in shopping it to record labels. Ek described the demo as "a very different sound but [...] still very good." According to the producer it was when Robin began writing differently that he thought it was time to do something "for real".
◊  The resulting album was recorded with Ek over the course of a year. As Sub Pop had yet to get involved with the band at this point, the recording was funded by the group themselves.
Cover art:
◊  The cover art is a detail of the 1559 painting Netherlandish Proverbs by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Vocalist/guitarist Robin Pecknold notes that:
"When you first see that painting it's very bucolic, but when you look closer there's all this really strange stuff going on, like dudes defecating coins into the river and people on fire, people carving a live sheep, this weird dude who looks like a tree root sitting around with a dog. There's all this really weird stuff going on. I liked that the first impression is that it's just pretty, but then you realize that the scene is this weird chaos. I like that you can't really take it for what it is, that your first impression of it is wrong."
◊  Pecknold explained to Mojo how the painting ended up on the front cover:
"We were trying to figure out what we wanted to do, and my brother had been working out some stuff, when I saw that Bruegel painting in a book my girlfriend had. I liked that it had a really intriguing meaning, like there's a story to each little scene. Which I just felt fitting for that record- dense but unified, not a collage or anything. And I liked its Where's Waldo? quality, that it was something you could look at for a long time on a vinyl sleeve and find new little things. It was very easy to get the museum in Berlin that has it to say yes. They were super excited a band wanted to use it and put it in their newsletter. When you open it up on the inside there's a paisley pattern traced from the back of a book that Skye (Skjelset, lead guitar)'s mum got me. We wanted two very different feelings."
◊  The cover claimed the Best Art Vinyl Award 2008, an annual award, organized by Artvinyl.com, a company that manufactures display frames for record albums.
Website: http://www.fleetfoxes.com/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/fleetfoxes
Review by Heather Phares   Score: ****
◊  Borrowing from ageless folk and classic rock (and nicking some of the best bits from prog and soft rock along the way), on their self-titled debut album Fleet Foxes don't just master the art of taking familiar influences and making them sound fresh again, they give a striking sense of who they are and what their world is like. Their song titles reference the Blue Ridge Mountains -- never mind that they're actually from Seattle -- but it's the ease and skill with which they mix and match British and American folk and rock from the far and not too distant past that makes the band's music so refreshing. While this mix could be contrived or indulgent, Fleet Foxes use restraint, structuring their flourishes into three- and four-minute pop songs full of chiming melodies and harmonies that sound like they've been summoned from centuries of traditional songs and are full of vivid, universal imagery: mountains, birds, family, death. Despite drawing from so many sources, there's a striking purity to Fleet Foxes' sound. Robin Pecknold's voice is warm and sweet, with just enough grit to make phrases like "premonition of my death" sound genuine, and the band's harmonies sound natural, and stunning, whether they're on their own or supported by acoustic guitars or the full, plugged-in band. "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" and "Meadowlarks" show just how much the Foxes do with the simplest elements of their music, but Fleet Foxes' best songs marry that purity with twists that open their sound much wider. As good as the Sun Giant EP was, Fleet Foxes saved many of their best songs for this album. "White Winter Hymnal" is remarkably beautiful, building from a vocal round into glorious jangle pop with big, booming drums that lend a sense of adventure as the spine-tingling melody lightens some of the lyrics' darkness ("Michael you would fall and turn the white snow red as strawberries in summertime"). The suite-like "Ragged Wood" moves from a galloping beat to sparkling acoustic picking, then takes a trippy detour before returning to a more thoughtful version of its main theme. "Quiet Houses" and "He Doesn't Know Why"'s driving pianos show off the band's flair for drama. ◊  Dazzling songs like these are surrounded by a few songs that find the band leaning a little more heavily on its influences. "Your Protector" nods to Zeppelin's misty, mournful side, and "Blue Ridge Mountains" is the kind of earthy yet sophisticated song CSNY would have been proud to call their own. But, even when the songs aren't as brilliant as Fleet Foxes' highlights, the band still sounds alluring, as on the lush interlude "Heard Them Stirring." Throughout the album, the band sounds wise beyond its years, so it's not really that surprising that Fleet Foxes is such a satisfying, self-assured debut.
Fortaken: http://www.allmusic.com/
In french:
◊  Comme je viens de reUP le second, je me suis dit que ce serait dommage de ne pas vous proposer le précédent... Magnifique premier album, de superbes harmonies vocales, la grande classe. Recommandé!
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Professional ratings:
Review scores:
Source / Rating:
Allmusic: **** 
Entertainment Weekly: (A)
The Guardian: ***** 
NME: (7/10)
The Observer: ***** 
PopMatters: (8/10)
Pitchfork Media: (9.0/10)
Robert Christgau: Bomb
Rolling Stone: **** 
Spin: **** 
The Times: ***** 
Uncut: *****
Accolades:
Publication Country -  Accolade -  Year -  Rank
Amazon.com - U.S. Best Music of 2008 (Editors' Pick) 2008    #3
Drowned in Sound - UK 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008    #45
Q - Canada 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008    #2
Rolling Stone - U.S. 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008    #11
Spin - U.S. 40 Best Albums of the Year 2008    #5
The Times - UK 100 Best Albums of the Year 2008    #1
Pitchfork Media - U.S. 50 Best Albums of the Year 2008    #1
Billboard.com - U.S. 10 Best Albums of the Year (Critics’ Choice) 2008    #1
Paste - U.S. Top 50 Albums of 2008 - 2008     #6
WERS Boston - U.S. Top 50 Albums of 2008 - 2008    #3
Under the Radar - U.S. Best of 2008 - 2008    #1
No Ripcord - UK Top 50 Albums of 2008 - 2008    #1
Mojo - UK Top 50 Albums of 2008 - 2008    #1
Dagbladet - Norway Top International Albums of 2008 - 2008    #9
The Know - Australia Top 10 Albums of 2008 - 2008    #5
Rolling Stone - U.S. 100 Best Albums of the Decade 2009    #47
Rhapsody - U.S. 100 Best Albums of the Decade 2009    #56
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die - UK 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die 2009  -
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ALBUMS:
◊  Fleet Foxes [Sub Pop, June 3, 2008] 
◊  Sun Giant [Sub Pop, April 8, 2008] 
◊  Helplessness Blues [Sub Pop, May 3, 2011]
◊  The Shrine/An ArgumentLive At The BBC (4-Track; 12" Vinyl) [Bella Union, Dec. 2011]  
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ROBIN PECKNOLD:
Birth name: Robin Noel Pecknold
Also known as: Robin Noel Vaas, White Antelope
Born: March 30, 1986
Origin: Kirkland, WA
Instruments: Vocals, guitar © Robin Pecknold tuning his 12 string guitar at the Vogue Theatre.
Date: 5 August 2010 / Author: Penguinstorm 

Gear:
◊  Pecknold plays a Martin D-18 six-string guitar for most Fleet Foxes work. He also uses a Martin D12-35 12 string and a Gibson CF-100 6 String. Both of these guitars date back to the 1960s. He has also been known to use a recent Epiphone Casino electric guitar, and a Fylde Oberon acoustic guitar.
Personal life:
◊  He has an older brother, Sean, and an older sister, Aja. His brother is a director and the founder of grandchildren.tv. Sean has directed five music videos for Fleet Foxes. His grandfather, Bob Valaas, is Norwegian. Pecknold comes from a musical background; his father played in the Seattle-based soul band The Fathoms in the 1960s and his elder sister, Aja, was a rock critic for magazine Seattle Weekly and is the band's manager.
◊  He has said he experiences social anxiety and in 2008 said: "I don't really hang out with anyone. I'll hang out with my band, because I love them, but I don't have any friends aside from that."
◊  In 2009, he stated that he discovered virtually all of the music he listened to by using online file-sharing program Napster. He also spoke of his support for online file-sharing and the positive effect he believes it to have on music, both as an art form and as an industry.
Pecknold is a vegan.
Discography:
With Fleet Foxes:
Fleet Foxes (EP) (2006)
Sun Giant (2008)
Fleet Foxes (2008)
Helplessness Blues (2011)
As White Antelope:
False Knight on The Road (2009)
As Robin Pecknold:
Three Songs (2011)
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: © Photo credit: Robin Pecknold Amsterdam 2009/Date: 30 June 2009, 22:01/Author: Martijn van de Streek from The Netherlands

Fleet Foxes — Fleet Foxes (2008)

 

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