There has been quite a bit of talk about Foxygen so far in 2013. Leading up to the January 21, 2013 release of their breakout album We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic, music fans and professionals were chattering about the future of this young new rock band from Los Angeles. Citing influence from the volatile and chemically-infused Anton Newcombe and the well documented pop brilliance and self-destructiveness of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Foxygen fuses a similar magnetic cocktail of unpredictability and retro musical prowess.
On their recordings the co-band leaders Sam France and Jonathan Rado bring a multi-instrumental approach to 60’s psychedelic pop akin to the best moments of Syd Barrett and the Rolling Stones. Since the release of the album the band has quickly found themselves receiving critical praise and opportunities to play in front of larger audiences. The band’s path quick path to notoriety has had its setbacks recently, particularly with a well documented meltdown at SXSW by Sam France. France cited exhaustion as the cause for the verbal altercation with an audience member at their label Jagjaguwar’s showcase, and subsequently led them to the cancellation of their European tour. Foxygen scheduled six shows in three days, no wonder France felt like he “testing his physical limits” as he complained on stage.
This is a pretty typical sentiment for bands traveling to Austin for this massive festival. It can often be overwhelming and also a real disappointment with a feeling of being lost in a sea of thousands of bands, especially your first trip down. And for this reason the bands in high demand like Foxygen often feel obligated to make the most of their long trip and play multiple shows per day for several days. Meanwhile they are sometimes faced with makeshift venues, bad sound production, inexperienced temporary venue staff, lack of sleep, and days of free booze and endless parties. I saw Foxygen at SXSW, not at the infamous meltdown set, but at their second show of the festival the night before. They were relatively solid, but the cracks were already showing and they received a mixed response from the crowd. It’s worth noting to prove a point, that the singer for another one of our main picks for SXSW and recently published sessions The Orwells had similar meltdown in the time slot immediately before Foxygen at the show I went to due to the venue cutting their set time.
I hope that everyone will get to witness is a Foxygen show like this one at our Epitonic saki Session right before We Are The 21st Century... was released. In doing my normal research before engineering a session, I listened to their 2012 EP Take The Kids Off Broadway, and found it to be enjoyable, but not great. Within a few minutes of Foxygen’s session set, I was immediately enamoured with the new LP material and the recklessness and playfulness of France in particular, and how he interacted with the crowd and performed. Face to face with our audience in more of a loft or basement style setting, you can hear by the six tracks here are performed with a sense of spirited chaos mixed with an undeniable eccentric ear for pop. Foxygen’s set with us was a ton of fun, and real treasure for the audience at saki and with these six excellent renditions of some of their best songs, four from the new album, a track from last year’s EP, and the “Shuggie” single.
More information and music from Foxygen is available here: http://foxygen.bandcamp.com/
Recorded by Matt Irizarry and Justin Sinkovich
Mixed and mastered by Justin Sinkovich