The survival of Foxygen

The mere concept of Foxygen’s upcoming release, …And Star Power, is as tantalizing as can be. Already I’ve managed to wear out 2012’s Take the Kids Off Broadway, as well as last year’s We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, so knowing their forthcoming album is a double LP, stacked with 24 brand new songs, is alluring as hell.

I expect …And Star Power, due out October 14th on Jagjaguwar, to be marvelous, and that’s just based off what Foxygen has provided for us in these last two albums. They’ve got such a vintage appeal, and their brand of psych rock developed nicely over their few years together as a band. Getting their start with a definitively garage sound segued nicely into more produced tunes for their sophomore album, partly because Foxygen has no trouble maintaining their retro demeanor.

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Lead singer Sam France seems to be doing his best to pull a Jim Morrison, however, both with his vocal range and onstage antics, and it could be the thing that kills the band. There’s been plenty of reports of France’s bratty behavior during sets, and it’s possible this kind of messing around led to his fall off stage at First Avenue in Minneapolis last July, a fall that broke his leg and caused the band to cancel the rest of their tour.

Foxygen co-founder Jonathan Rado went on to release a solo record that fall, and drummer Shaun Fleming remained active in other bands, making it look as if Foxygen were veering towards break-up. In a Pitchfork review of Rado’s debut, Law and Order, Steven Hyden wrote “Foxygen’s handlers insist that the group isn’t falling apart”, so there’s that. But isn’t it what any PR agent would say in such dire times?

Thankfully the group has remained active through today, and their newest LP will hopefully band them together even further. Watch the video for their first album tease, convincingly ’70s AM radio track “How Can You Really”, and listen to “Cosmic Vibrations” below, as France clocks in at the lowest register I’ve heard him sing at yet. It definitely opens in a similarly Foxygen way, but redirects into something a bit unlike what the band is known for. So who’s to say what …And Star Power will be made of. Guess we’ll find out in October.

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