Category Archives: Updates

Foxygen’s Top Five Candy Picks

This is a new one — Andrew Bourque at The Boston Globe got the band to walk through their five favorites candies while touring. You’ll notice a bit of a theme:

1. Sour Patch Kids: Known as SPKs on the bus. They fuel us.

2. Sour Straws: Like an SPK but you can drink Coca-Cola from them, fueling the sugar-charged set.

3. Sour Worms: Like SPKs, only worms. Sustaining the high.

4. Haribo Sour Fizzy Coke
Bottles:
A big favorite of Rado’s. Like SPKs mixed with Coca-Cola. Gets us jacked.

5. Sour Warheads: Like the opposite of an SPK as far as chewiness is concerned. Inspires showtime explosiveness.

Read the full article here.

Roundup of Cosmic Vibration Reviews

Quite a few short commentaries have been written on Cosmic Vibrations now that the official audio has been released. Below is a sampling:

Sterogum:

Next month, Californian psych-rock sprites Foxygen return with their new album …And Star Power. First single “How Can You Really” didn’t exactly announce any grand departures from the band’s old sound, and neither did any of the new songs that the band has been playing live lately. But “Cosmic Vibrations,” the band’s new single, suggests that we could be looking at an MGMT-style deep-dive into absolute weirdness. “Cosmic Vibrations” switches back and forth between deep-psych bugouts and goony noise-splashes. The band debuted the song on Tim Heidecker’s Twitter, which further implies that we’ve got a weird-for-the-sake-of-being-weird situation on our hands here.

Consequence of Sound:

Whereas Foxygen basked in the folk pop warmth of sunny lead single “How Can You Really”, their latest sounds as though it was born in some musty netherworld. The track starts with ear-shattering noise before morphing into an eerie and ambling lo-fi number — one that seems to come off as more “spooky incantation to raise the dead” than mere “psychedelic rocker.” If Sam France’s devilish bellow doesn’t successfully induce chills, then the crafty organs surely will. Listen in below.

Live 105:

If the upbeat ‘How Can You Really‘ was the  proverbial A-side to Foxygen’s stream of singles for the new album …And Star Power, then newest single “Cosmic Vibrations” is the otherworldly B-side, showing a novel psychedelic consciousness from the duo.

‘Cosmic Vibrations’ is spacey. Where ‘How Can You Really’ milked the melodic stickiness that propelled them to the level of success responsible for nabbing them a date at the Fillmore in October, ‘Vibrations’ veers them into the void. It’s wholly weird and features some unnerving psyche sounds, but that much can probably be gauged from the track’s title.

Regardless, the new single suggests the new album will show some serious depth into classic rock tropes.

Baeble Music:

The tune is wholesome and retro, but also somehow sick and satisfying. The song alternates between the eerie, deep, milky vocals of Jonathan Rado [SIC], and the thin, quavering, pubescent falsetto of Sam France. The ultimate effect is a string of laid-back, complacent ramblings that are effortlessly intoxicating and captivating.

France’s foreboding and hazy lyrics warn; “If you want me you can have me/You can have me but I’m all used up.” This refrain reminds me of an anecdote a friend recently relayed about visiting a Seven-Eleven in the midwest, at which his mother asked the cashier if the gas-station carried baguette. “We’ve got what we’ve got,” replied the woman behind the counter, unapologetically. The vibe of “Cosmic Vibrations” is kind of like that. Foxygen is putting all they’ve got to offer out there; and even though it doesn’t seem like they’re trying all that hard, they’ve simply got what they’ve got. And, like with wonder-bread instead of baguette, chances are you’ll enjoy if you just go with it.

Recommended Listen:

Interpersonal drama from the past notwithstanding, Foxygen have endured their fair share of critical grief for sounding too dubiously like ‘60s psych-pop and folk hacks, and, well, playing up the bohemian image isn’t going to do them too many favors in 2014 either if their intention isn’t to lead listeners into believing they’re merely playing dress up. Jonathan Rado and Sam France will return next month in an attempt to prove all kinds of skeptics wrong with their new album …And Star Power, and it has already managed to surprise these ears with a glamorous makeover stitched with breezy pop with its first single “How Can You Really.” Now we have another entirely different kind of assessment to make with latest preview “Cosmic Vibrations,” however, and it finds Foxygen returning to their divisive ways for stressing out sonic oddities for the sake of art, being long-winded and – according to the message board commentariat – being heavily reductive of a certain Bob Dylan classic. Given that …And Star Power is a double LP that features 24 tracks which should grant them ample room to play around with past influences while exploring their own sound in the present, I’m willing to give up the opportunity of being a cynic here and soak in the weirdness of their story until the full tapestry weaves its way out.

Exclaim.ca:

Psychedelic California popsters Foxygen return with …And Star Power later this fall, but to add to the anticipation, they’ve unveiled a new cut called “Cosmic Vibrations.”

It’s a wandering, trippy affair that bounces between the “sha-la-la’s” of 1960s girl groups and totally eerie, gloom-filled vocals. The forthcoming 24-song mega-album has been previously described as “psych-ward folk” and “cartoon fantasia” — with this cut exemplifying what we would imagine those are supposed to sound like.

UPDATE — A few more reviews that have come in over the past 24 hours:

Under The Gun:

Now, we’ve got “Cosmic Vibrations,” which takes on a whole different persona, but still reaching towards the late ’70s, early ’80s for influences. It carries an almost Pink Floyd vibe; not as anthemic, but still has the huge goal of carrying that classic rock sound, without feeling forced or played out.

Alt Citizen:

Los Angles songwriting duo Foxygen has returned with a track off their upcoming album, …And Star Power, that is wild, strange, and echoes the ghost of rock n’ roll’s past. A song comprised of separate movements, the track explodes into a wall of noise before slipping into a lulling groove of psychedelic organs and doped out vocals — ending with a kick into a hard-driving chant that makes you want to sweat and dance and try whatever they’re having. It’s a psychedelic trip in itself, retro yet simultaneously unique, and it left me eager to hear more.

Austin Town Hall:

I love to love and hate Foxygen.  Their first LP was remarkable, so remarkable that when they brought their live debacle of a show to Austin that I had to force myself to walk out (not just go to the bar; I straight up walked out). All that nonsense aside, I’m still quite fascinated with their musicianship.  Just listen to this song; it opens with a carnival-esque freak show before folding into this really simple piece of melodic neo-folk.  There’s two different vocalists, which shouldn’t surprise since the group is taking 9 people on the road as their band (please rehearse!).

 

Foxygen To Participate in September 27 “Cassette Store Day.” Does That Mean An Early Release For “…And Star Power”?

September 27th marks the second annual Cassette Store Day, and Foxygen is listed on their website as participating this year. What’s interesting is that they are listed with “…And Star Power” as their album, but September 27th is a few weeks ahead of the official October 14 release date for the album (though it should be noted that pre-orderers will receive their digital download code for the album on September 30th, so if you get an early jump by buying the cassette it will only be for a few days).

A full list of participating retailers can be found on the Cassette Store Day website, though you may want to check in ahead of time to see if they’ll have the Foxygen album in stock as there are quite a few participating albums.

 

Foxygen official announce new album, release date, cover art, track list

...And Star PowerIt’s official: Foxygen’s next album will be titled “…And Star Power” and will be released on October 14. The 24-track double album will run 82 minutes, and will include several songs that have shown up in their live sets: How Can You Really, Coulda Been My Love, Cosmic Vibrations, You & I, 666, Cannibal Holocaust, and Brooklyn Police Station (and probably a few more that haven’t been matched up to names yet).

01 Star Power Airlines
02 How Can You Really
03 Coulda Been My Love
04 Cosmic Vibrations
05 You & I
06 Star Power I: Overture
07 Star Power II: Star Power Nite
08 Star Power III: What Are We Good For
09 Star Power IV: Ooh Ooh
10 I Don’t Have Anything/The Gate
11. Mattress Warehouse
12 666
13 Flowers
14 Wally’s Farm
15 Cannibal Holocaust
16 Hot Summer
17 Cold Winter/Freedom
18 Can’t Contextualize My Mind
19 Brooklyn Police Station
20 The Game
21 Freedom II
22 Talk
23 Everyone Needs Love
24 Hang

More content from the Jagjaguwar release:

From the band –
Foxygen have joined Star Power. It is a punk band, and you can be in it, too. Star Power is the radio station that you can hear only if you believe. A gaggle of guest stars. Roman-numeraled musical suites. Vocals recorded on a shoddy tape machine at The Beverly Hills Hotel and Chateau Marmont. A svelte 82-minute run time of psych-ward folk, cartoon fantasia, soft-rock indulgences, D&D doomrock and paranoid bathroom rompers. A cinematic auditory adventure for speedy freaks, skull krunchers, abductees and misfits. We’re all stars of the scene.

Ladies & Gentleman, Foxygen is back with their third release …And Star Power, out Oct. 14th (13th in Europe) via Jagjaguwar. The followup to We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic is a 24-song epic journey that picks up right where members Sam France and Jonathan Rado left off. Catch the video for the debut single “How Can You Really“, starring France as he harnesses the power of rock-gods before him. Bonus points for those who spot the cameos from members of Gardens & Villa and Dub Thompson, the latter supporting Foxygen on their upcoming North American tour. Directed by Grant Singer, watch the video above or on Youtube / Vevo.

 

Rado on Halloween

Entertaining responses from Rado to a Halloween-themed questionnaire sent around to several bands by Under The Radar:

What was the best Halloween costume you ever dressed up in and/or what was the best Halloween you ever had?

I’ve never been very good at Halloween because I never remember it’s Halloween until the last minute and have to go to the costume store, like, the day before, and get something like cat ears and be a cat. The best costume I ever had (also out of bad planning) was me just grabbing what was in my trunk, which was a copy of Catcher in the Rye, a trench coat, and a Band-Aid. So I went as a J.D. Salinger fan with a Band-Aid on his forehead, but everyone thought I was Mark David Chapman.

What was the worst Halloween costume you ever dressed up in and/or what was the worst Halloween you ever had?

I’ve been a cat for the last two years.

What do you plan to dress up as for Halloween this year?

Me and my girlfriend want to both go as Indiana Jones, but I’ll probably forget and she’ll be Indiana Jones and I’ll be a cat.

Foxygen Discuss Next THREE Albums

Foxygen gave an interview to Fuse where they chatting about having a roadmap for not just their next album, but the next three:

“We actually have the next five albums all planned out in our minds,” says Rado. “We can’t reveal them yet probably… but… I mean, we could…” He looks to France: “Wanna?” They do.

They say the next LP, Foxygen… & Star Power, “will be a crazy double,” explains France. “It’s really long with a lot of songs.”

Then the band’s next album, their fifth, is called Hang. “It’s Nilsson-y,” Rado says, referencing Harry Nilsson, the maverick 1960s/’70s songwriter behind singles like “One,” “Without You” and “Everybody’s Talkin’.” “It’s an orchestral album,” France adds of Hang.

The subsequent Foxygen album, their sixth, will be called Nightmare Man, says Rado. “It’s an ’80s album… pretty weird,” says France.  Adds Rado, “It’s a total synth record.”

“This is big,” Rado says of the reveal. “We’re announcing this!”

At the very least, it sounds like they’ve settled pretty strongly on the double-album for their next release.

 

Sam Performs With Cane at Austin City Limits

Foxygen performed an abbreviated set at Austin City Limits, giving a glimpse of Sam as he continues recovering from his brutal leg injury from over the summer. Here’s a close up of Sam during Shuggie where you can see the cane that he is currently sporting:

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Foxygen festival appearance without an endless stream of social media updates questioning Sam’s sanity!

Roundup of Reviews for Rado’s “Law & Order”

Generally positive reviews for Jonathan Rado’s solo effort, “Law & Order.” Questions of consistency are common, but all acknowledge that there’s good stuff to be found. The Wall Street Journal catalogued the many musical influences that can be found throughout the record:

Mr. Rado’s brush with authenticity doesn’t feel like a calculation, but more an expression of his passion for old songs and sounds. His affection for the Kinks’ Mr. Davies seems boundless. Of the Davies composition “Waterloo Sunset,” Mr. Rado said that “there’s never been a better song.” On “Faces,” Mr. Rado does a better-than-fair approximation of the Kinks circa 1967. As if a summary of early-’60s music, “Oh, Suzanna!” morphs from folk into psyche pop. “Dance Away Your Ego” is a slice of mid-’60s instrumental pop, with Mr. Rado playing on a big period organ he found on Craigslist.

Though the disc at times is as loose as a rehearsal tape, Mr. Rado doesn’t suppress his considerable skills as an instrumentalist. On “I Wanna Feel It Now!!!” he invokes the early Jimi Hendrix Experience by playing all the instruments, including the heavy bass and fuzz guitar. The title track has the feel of one of the instrumentals on the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds.” Again, Mr. Rado is the sole instrumentalist on the track. His bubbling synths give “Seven Horses” its prog-rock grandeur.

As “Law & Order” unfolds, Mr. Rado emerges as a talented, somewhat bemused artist with a fascination, but not necessarily a reverence, for rock’s ever-distant past. The album delights in its own joyful, skewed spirit.

The Wall Street Journal review also includes an interview with Rado where he discusses the creation process:

“I just sort of compiled 20 or 30 songs that I thought were a good representation of what I do,” he said. “Then I sent them to friends. It was never designed as a solo product. I just wanted to show my friends the stupid stuff I do.”

The tracks his friends received were what appears on “Law & Order,” mostly without additional embellishment. Mr. Rado nearly played all the instruments— Tim Presley of White Fence pitched in on acoustic guitar. Jaclyn Cohen, Mr. Rado’s girlfriend, was his Nancy Sinatra on “Hand in Mine.”

His friends’ responses were mixed. Most said they didn’t like “Hand in Mine,” but said they enjoyed “Looking 4a Girl Like You,” a five-minute blast of screeching, squealing guitar and Mr. Rado’s distorted voice.

“It’s supposed to be funny,” he said of “Girl.” “It started out as this Ennio Morricone song, but it kept getting funkier. It turned into a Prince slow jam. Then I started to scream over it. I’m singing in a key I can’t sing in.”

He said the public’s reaction to “Girl” differs from his friends’. “It’s the one song everybody hates. Now I hate my friends.”

Pitchfork describes it as a low-fi extension of Rado’s work with Foxygen, and gave it a 6.3:

No matter what lies ahead in Foxygen’s future, Law & Order suggests that Rado is fully prepared to make Foxygen records on his own. As a singer, he’s not as dynamic as Sam France, whose ability to ape various 60s icons– Jagger, Lennon, and Barrett are his main touchstones– adds extra authenticity to the group’s studious genre exercises. Rado’s vocals, meanwhile, are serviceable though not exactly essential, which might explain why he often buries them in effects (like on the demented late-night soul ballad “Looking 4a Girl Like U”) and abrasive guitar fuzz (on the clanking garage-rocker “I Wood”), or removes them completely (on the swinging Booker T. and the MGs homage “Dance Away Your Ego”).

Rado didn’t set out to make a record as pristine as We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors; Law & Order is a homemade grab-bag of jams and rough-cut gems that sounds like it was hashed out in a matter of days. It’s basically Rado’s version of McCartney, which is one among approximately 83 classic-rock references on Law & Order smothered in the requisite air quotes.

Rado might be derivative, but at least there’s an admirable consistency to his prodigious output. Studying the masters has taught him how to put together catchy songs seemingly at will. The best tracks on Law & Order are frontloaded: The album-opening “Seven Horses” blobs along on a trippy groove that’s surprisingly funky, and “Hand in Mine” is an enjoyable callback to the sexy camp of those old Lee Hazelwood/Nancy Sinatra duets. Things get weirder in the album’s second half– “I Wanna Feel It Now!!!” recalls the thrilling cacophony of Broadway– but the glitchy closer “Pot of Gold” is Rado’s most focused pop song yet. He even indulges in a slick yacht-rock guitar solo– is this a sign that he’s moving on to the 70s, as all 60s heroes must eventually do? Knowing Rado, the wait won’t be long to find out.

Now found it enjoyable in parts, but inconsistent:

It’s funny that Foxygen have become such a hype/backlash lightning rod, given the breezy, retro-tinged nature of their music. Like their concerts, Rado’s solo album is as frustrating as it is infectious. Songs like Seven Horses, Hand In Mine and the shuffling Booker T-evoking instrumental Dance Away Your Ego hit the kind of familiar, nostalgic, winsome notes that would sound at home on a Wes Anderson soundtrack.

But then hissy distorted drones like Looking 4a Girl Like U and I Wanna Feel It Now!!! come along and send you scrambling for the next groove. Fun and charming in places, barely listenable in others.

 

Foxygen Cancel More Tour Dates Due to Sam’s Injury

Foxygen announced that they have cancelled more tour dates due to Sam’s leg injury from July. They’re hoping to make their return to the stage at Austin City Limits in early October:

Meanwhile, the psych-pop posturers have canceled several more tour dates while France recovers from the tumble he took off-stage earlier this summer. Foxygen have nixed 11 upcoming gigs to accommodate the frontman’s fractured tibia and fibula (read: shin and calf bones). As of now, the band’s performance at this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival is still on schedule, as is a pair of New York shows