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this is American music

August 26, 2008

I come late to the Fleet Foxes party, but I’m already drunk and under the table.

So is everyone, apparently. The snotty hipsters at Pitchfork gave their Sub Pop release a 9.0. Unheard of!
Two Swedish sisters go out into the forest to cover Tiger Mountain Peasant Song in loving harmonies maybe only shared blood can conjure. The Carter Sisters are smiling down from afar.

Writers compare Fleet Foxes to My Morning Jacket in every article I’ve seen. But in its effusion, Pitchfork fails to mention that the song “Ragged Wood” sounds just a bit too much in rhythm, melody, and style like “Golden,” the classic MMJ tune that fuels all my seasons and will be on any CD mix I ever make you. hmph. Robin Pecknold sounds remarkably like Jim James, and you can’t fault him for that. Having two transporting voices, a healthy touch of reverb, and joyful, distinctly American singing on the pop music scene makes me giddy, I won’t lie; but Fleet Foxes’ starry emergence just when MMJ released such a crappy record, one so disappointing I couldn’t even write about it–well, it hurts a bit.

I couldn’t say where MMJ might have taken their sound, rather than try to emulate Prince or AM radio, but it sounds like Fleet Foxes went where lots of people wish MMJ had gone.

So I’m in. All I’ve heard is online in the last 1.5 days, but I want the liner notes in my hands and the record playing till I know all the words. To quote MMJ in “The Way That He Sings,”

Why does my mind blow to bits every time they play that song?
It’s just the way that he sings,
not the words that he says, or the band.
Im in love with this soul, it’s a meaning that I understand.

Listen to a whole concert and hear for yourself.

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