Irreverent LA band Foxygen are set to bring their riotous blend of late 60s drug-fuelled psychedelia to The Kazimier in May, Getintothis’ Paul Higham is on hand to report.
Another one to add to the ever-expanding Liverpool 2015 gig-guide! Acclaimed LA-based duo Foxygen have just announced that they will be stopping off at the Kazimier on Thursday 7 May as part of the band’s biggest tour to date.
Foxygen are the product of the fertile minds of 24 year-old songwriting duo Jonathan Rado and Sam France who formed the band while still at high school and said to be in the midst of a Brian Jonestown Massacre obsession. Certainly the influence of the Anton Newcombe-led collective looms large over the sound of the band with its primary influences being derived from the lysergic sounds of the mind-expanding late-60s psychedelic watershed.
After a handful of self-released CD-R EPs, debut album Take The Kids Off Broadway was released by Jagjaguwar following an encounter with producer Richard Swift. It is said that Rado and France thrust a self-recorded CD of the LP into the hands of Swift following one of his shows in New York’s Lower East Side. Swift liked what he heard and remixed the album. The rest, as they say, is history.
Take The Kids Off Broadway offered the wider-world the first tantalising glimpse of the band’s potential. Consciously evoking the sounds of the late-60s, the record is easy to initially dismiss as pastiche, aping the sounds of Dylan, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones without offering anything new. What carried the album though was its playful irreverence, the boisterousness of youth, and the desire to meld and warp old sounds to create something that, if not entirely new, was certainly different. It was like viewing the late 60s through a defiantly 21st century lens.
Follow up offering, We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, offered more of the same. Indeed, this release proved nothing if not divisive. Our friends over at The Quietus didn’t much care for it yet to dismiss it in such a way is almost to miss the point. Its charm lies in its sense of fun and the sound of a band unwilling to be bound by convention and unafraid to say this is what we like and this is the music we want to make. Like its predecessor, it didn’t shamelessly imitate rather its infectious grooves carried the band to new fans.
Last year’s double-album …And Star Power was one that we feared that would never be made. The often troubled relationship between Rado and France seemed to have come to a head amid rumours of in-fighting, exhaustion and tour cancellations. Thankfully it saw the light of day, aided by the likes of The Flaming Lips, of Montreal‘s Kevin Barnes and Tim Presley of White Fence.
The first album to made without Swift‘s assistance it saw the band head off in an, if not altogether new direction, certainly a different one. While the key reference points of their earlier releases remained present and correct, a broader sonic palette revealed itself. It’s wildly varied, more modern sounding and less self-consciously retro. It draws as much from the sounds of its collaborators as from their 60s forebears.
Heck, it even pastiches the concept album. According to the band, “it starts out as a classic Foxygen album, and then it’s gradually taken over by this band called Star Power. They’re from space. Maybe. I don’t know. It’s a loose concept.” In keeping with the spirit of the earlier albums this is one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Critics pointed out that they perhaps didn’t have the songs to justify a double-album and while there is some credence to that standpoint it is nonetheless a thrilling and wildly engaging listen.
As a live unit the band has become renowned for their wildly exuberant and unpredictable gigs – you’re never quite sure whether the band will be able to hold it together or if the wheels will fall off entirely. This lack of polish together with a sense of spontaneity reminds that the well-honed and over-rehearsed can sometimes be, well, a bit boring.
Boring this one won’t be. Bring on May, we can’t wait.