Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Once more with feeling

Sorry for being MIA the past two years.  Been doing some soul searching and whatnot.  Writing music, playing music.  I moved out to Chicago a few months ago and just trying to plant roots here.  Will keep you updated with anything else going on in my life just as soon as something exciting happens to it.  In the two years since I graduated, I formed a band, a solo project, called the California Rain Mission.  I also have an electronic project I dabble in from time to time.  Just a casual thing.  That one's called Computer Gandalf.

You can find both projects by clicking on these links:



Also, in an attempt to make this blog a bit more genuine sounding, I deleted all of my original posts in which I sound like an uppity college boy.  Still keeping the Foxygen album review though.  I still love that record.  Might even do a follow up review of Hang.

Because I was a naive little headcase.

x J

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review - Foxygen: ...And Star Power

If there is one thing Sam France and Jonathan Rado are familiar with, it's quantity.

Specifically, 82 minutes and 7 seconds of quantity.  Or thereabouts.

Foxygen's third album ...And Star Power is an album filled with cacophony, and it lasts for almost as long as feature length film.  Upon the first listen, ...And Star Power sounds like a classic case of identity crisis, meandering in and out of songs with more fade outs than a middle schooler's poorly constructed Powerpoint project.  But the album never loses its energy, and that's what makes this album such a stunner.

"How can you really love someone who can't love you

How can you love someone you can't leave" 

Sam France moans, channeling his inner Marc Bolan on glam rock throwback, "How Can You Really."  But that's not all the band offers the listener on its rock n' roll smorgasbord.  "Cosmic Vibrations" starts off with an aggressive proto-punk whirl of guitar distortion that sounds at home on an MC5 record, but quickly descends into a psychedelic journey that's more reminiscent of a Jim Morrison monologue.  Songs change tempo, often multiple times at once and without warning, but that's all a part of the grand design.  Foxygen are in the driver's seat on this album, and they're content to take you on this journey at their speed.

A cursory look at the overall length of the album (82:07), and one could assume that Star Power feels more like an attempt at grandiose posturing than anything else, but Sam France and Jonathan Rado aren't strangers to crafting artwork of this size and magnitude.  Their first album, Jurrassic Exxplosion Phillipic, clocks in at a conventional 58:52, but contains a full 36 tracks total - far cry from their middle two albums, both clocking in at 36 minutes each and each containing less than 10 tracks.  The reason why it works so well for them is because they know how to establish the mood in a way that doesn't feel like "been there done that."  They touch upon a plethora of styles including, but not limited to: R&B ("How Can You Really"), folk ("I Don't Have Anything/The Gate" and "The Game"), and proto-punk ("Brooklyn Police Station").  Upon listening for the first time, you feel as though Foxygen has created the ultimate retrospective look into the history of rock music.

For Foxygen, ...And Star Power is the result what happens when a well-established rock band is allowed to creatively expand to new horizons and test out different ideas.  For Foxygen, there is subtlety but also theatrics; and there is a balance between the two, but Foxygen are having too much fun to let that be known.  Go out and listen to this album if you want to buy every rock album from the Beatles to T. Rex but don't have the money to do it.  This album is more than enough of a substitute.

Rating: 4.5/5

What do you think of Foxygen's new album?  Let us know in the comments below.