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Alternative & Indie - Released January 22, 2013 | Jagjaguwar

Booklet Distinctions 3F de Télérama - 4 étoiles Rock and Folk - Pitchfork: Best New Music
With their album-length 2012 EP Take the Kids Off Broadway, backwards-looking concept rockers Foxygen arrived with so many classic rock reference points you could have made a bingo card out of the various nods to various heroes contained in their still somehow undeniably hooky songs. Proper full-length We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic is even more stuffed full of familiar sound cues and convincing '60s and '70s pop star mimicry, this time with heightened production from Richard Swift taking the album out of the lo-fi realm, and more personal lyrics adding some character to the artifice. Picking apart the blatant, intentional references to different classic songs that cycle verse-to-verse throughout the album is a fun game for record collector types; from the nod to the intro of Sgt. Pepper's on album-opener "In the Darkness" to the bold-faced Dylanisms (and less overt but equally strong Al Stewart-isms) of the incredible, big city lament "No Destruction." Bowie, Lou Reed, all eras of Mick Jagger, specific doo wop songs, and even moments of the Band; no oldies are safe from Foxygen's pure-hearted appropriation. Their reconstructive surgery of various influences is an interesting approach for a band made up of kids in their early twenties circa 2013, but it isn't the entire formula for what makes this record so great. Lots of bands before Foxygen have dealt with quick changes and sonic patchworks of older influences, but few have managed to craft songs as moving and catchy as these. The thick accents and psychedelic swirl of "San Francisco" walk the line of being patronizingly nostalgic until the hook-heavy chorus comes in, distant guest vocals from Jessie Baylin and Sarah Versprille answering singer Sam France's "I left my love in San Francisco" with refrains of "That's okay, I was bored anyway" and "That's okay, I was born in L.A." This one move disarms any cloying elements of the song and reminds the listener that Foxygen are in complete songwriting control, not just throwing back-dated pop culture references at the wall and hoping something sticks. In their earliest days, Of Montreal had a similar knack for updating their favorite records with their own personalities, as did many artists of the Elephant 6 collective, but WAT21CAOPAM is more tuned in, clear-headed, and full of intent than any of Foxygen's more immediate predecessors. It's a gorgeous and non-stop convergence of ideas, some borrowed, some original, some refurbished, and some outright stolen. In the end, however, the album's coherence comes in its incredible architecture of all these ideas, and the way the band sells them with everything they've got, taking what could be incredibly obtuse music back into the realm of pop from which it was born. ~ Fred Thomas
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 26, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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You’d expect nothing less from these two. Sam France and Jonathan Rado, the wacky duo who have come to embody the psychedelic rock scene of the late 2010s with their verbose creativity, have released their fifth record. But is it their best? It certainly is in terms of maturity. The lack-luster …And Star Power (2014) left much to be desired due to its trippy and hallucinogenic sound that appeared to rip off Todd Rundgen. The following album Hang (2017) was a vast improvement and not far off the classic We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic (2013). Sam and Jonathan will soon be entering their thirties; their faces have matured along with their rock’n’roll sound. “How does it feel to be livin’ a lie” sings Sam on Livin’ a lie before he concludes “We should just be friends” on The Conclusion. The duo has aged, mixed things up, and above all, wizened. Rado has practically become an invaluable and omnipresent member of the world of indie rock: he has worked as a producer for the Lemon Twigs and has been called in for assistance by artists such as Alex Cameron and Father John Misty. He is also responsible for the production of Weyes Blood’s impressive Titanic Rising. With such a résumé Rado is, indeed, indispensable. With Seeing Other People, the duo displays an eighties rock-funk sound, like MGMT had done with Little Dark Age; an arsenal of synths (Face the Facts), a new voice (that of a weathered seducer on Mona) and their own new sense of orchestration (Livin’ a lie). The melodies, while less forceful, are more complex and richer. One wonders what they will achieve in their forties. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 20, 2017 | Jagjaguwar

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Sharing a title with the final track of their prior release, …And Star Power, Hang is the fourth LP from classic rock cognoscenti Foxygen. The duo of singer Sam France and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Rado present a dazzling confection here that's in stark contrast to its erratic 24-track predecessor. Hang's rather meticulous eight entries find France and Rado accompanied by a 40-plus-piece orchestra for the entire set, which also features appearances from the Lemon Twigs and the Flaming Lips' Steven Drozd. Drozd, who's credited not only with drums but tympani, electric guitar, and harpsichord, was not to be outdone by the Lemon Twigs' Michael D'Addario, whose work here includes drums and tap dancing. Also Foxygen's first professional-studio album, Hang was recorded at Vox Studios in Los Angeles with help from, among others, Trey Pollard (Natalie Prass, Matthew E. White), who arranged and conducted the orchestra. The band not only justifies but seems to maximize use of all of the above on an exuberant 32-minute LP that keeps upping the ante. Turn the dial to early-'70s AM gold for "Follow the Leader," with its funky groove, big brass, (surely choreographed) female backing vocalists, and France's sassy snarl. Changing gears, "Avalon" touches on Dixieland and ABBA, while "On Lankershim" takes on a sort of countrified Elton John. The album's centerpiece, however, is the anthemic "America," a tightly packed five-minute epic musical jambalaya that spans decades of jazz, rock, and show tunes as lyrics admonish: "If you're already there, then you're already dead/If you're living in America." A self-produced album that's more musically ambitious and larger in scope than many a Broadway musical, it still has the frenzied wackiness of Foxygen that's sure to continue to divide listeners. They go all in on Hang, so while it may draw its share of eye rolls, for those who play along, it's a triumph of extravagance and theatricality served with a wink and a chorus line. ~ Marcy Donelson
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 28, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 24, 2012 | Jagjaguwar

Foxygen, the bi-coastal duo of Olympia Washington's Sam France and N.Y.C.'s Jonathan Rado, don't make songs in the traditional sense as much as they mash every possible sonic reference point into schizophrenic micro-albums, cramming so many constantly changing sounds into their compositions, the songs threaten to overwhelm themselves. "Abandon My Toys," the six-minute opus that kicks off the group's first widely available release, Take the Kids Off Broadway, merges raw and wistful interpretations of '60s rock influences like the Kinks and Loaded-era Velvet Underground with some of the kitchen-sink freak folk of early Beck albums. Without ever repeating a chorus or verse, the song somehow keeps a plot that connects with the listener. "Abandon My Toys" has a hard time sitting still, but it's just a pace-setting first look into the album's frantic world of sound. "Make It Known" filters every era of Rolling Stones into a compact space, interjecting short, blasting horn sections and ending abruptly in a swell of electronics. The title track channels Bowie's glammy moments for a verse or two before making a series of sharp left turns into faux-girl group, blue-eyed soul, and back again. Much like the short-lived genius of the Unicorns, Foxygen's songs are bedroom symphonies, chock-full of precisely placed shifts so deliberate and chaotically orchestrated they risk sounding like alienating gibberish. The ten-minute plus "Teenage Alien Blues" runs an exhausting gambit of Suicide-esque vocal shouts to Jagger-meets-Reed snippets, borrowing melodies directly from each frontman's respective band before wandering into an inexplicably fuzzed-out bass section for a few seconds before moving on. Take the Kids Off Broadway is without a doubt a seemingly impenetrable beast, and it takes a moment to build up a filter from its ceaseless shifts and non-stop references to isolated moments from the history of classic rock. Despite its dense and initially off-putting nature, the seven songs become more than collages of favorite moments from the duo's record collections. Music this overbearingly organized and stuffed with spirit is no small feat, and repeat listens flatten out some of the insanity to reveal well-constructed if intentionally overwrought pop gems. Much like Of Montreal's self-analytical constant key-changing, or Olivia Tremor Control's homespun masterpieces, Foxygen has made something that reaches out for so many possibilities it ends up reverting inward, ultimately sounding insular, like a highway of endlessly firing synapses in someone elses' brain. ~ Fred Thomas
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 20, 2017 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 7, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 17, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 31, 2014 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 3, 2016 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 28, 2013 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 3, 2014 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 13, 2017 | Jagjaguwar