! = recommended
* = all-ages
Don't see your show on our calendar? Contact our calendar editor.
Rolling Stone continues improving and setting new standards (again) of late with their review section. People who pick on the covers and some of the other editorial choices but don't notice how much their reviews are written by great critics like David Fricke and Robert Christgau and Christian Hoard, are missing a lot of quality music assessment.
Now that the esteemed Will Hermes is writing for them, a scholar and a gentleman and man of incredible taste who for years always kept me buying things I'd read about in SPIN (thus I'm broke as hell, thanks Will), they have knocked their reviews section up even further.
If you're a local and wondered, "Is it just me, or are the Fleet Foxes going to be HUGE?" after seeing them live and realizing just how unique and enjoyable their joyful, intelligent music is, Mr. Hermes backs you up:
"Indie rock is undergoing a folk renaissance, which has spawned some great harmony singing. Case in point: Fleet Foxes' debut opens with a woozy a cappella that's part sacred-harp-choral tradition, part Beach Boys, and it resolves into a Celtic-flavored march with a searing Richard Thompson-style guitar line. The 11 songs are mostly pastorals — the sun rises, snow falls, spring comes, birds fly and, on "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song," the "tall grasses wave/They do not know you anymore." (Dis!) This style is what critics used to label "freak folk" before the term became verboten, though plain freakin' lovely is more to the point. A lower-dosage Animal Collective, the Foxes stuff their free-form songs with rich, swirling melodies; billowing clouds of organs, tom-toms, bells and assorted stringed instruments cloak group vocals whose secular-gospel, suede-fringed precision owes plenty to Crosby, Stills and Nash (check out the gorgeous intro to "He Doesn't Know Why"). The lyrics are haunted by mortality — one song finds the singer "staggering through premonitions of my death," and another's narrator finds a drowned child on the banks of a river — but the exquisite voices thrum with life." FOUR STARS --Will Hermes