Words & photos by Shanning Newell :::
The first time I heard the melodies of the psychedelic rock-and-roll day-trip that is Foxygen was shortly after the debut of their second album We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic.
It was 4:30am, and I was crammed between two giant suitcases in the back seat of a car heading for New Orleans. It was pouring rain, and I was holding on for dear life as the tiny tin can I was in barreled down the interstate faster than I care to think back on. My roommate put in a Foxygen CD and in her usual calm collected tone, firmly told me to chill. We were en route to catch a mega bus bound for Austin, TX to see Foxygen, whom I had never heard before then. What I heard during my 100 mile near death experience was sort of a nostalgic and eclectic mixture of everything I grew up listening to with an edge to suit the imaginative. Foxygen’s music clearly reflects an influence drawn from the Rolling Stones with a touch of Velvet Underground, a decent amount MGMT’s childlike nuances and lots of plain old psychedelia. By “No Destruction,” the second track on the album, I was hooked. Sam France’s contagiously sexy vibes and Jonathan Rado’s touch on the keys that begged calmness and lulled me into a daze. I never made it to that show to see Foxygen, but without effort We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic made it to the top of my 2013 summer playlist and never really left.
Almost two years later, I was pretty intrigued when I heard Foxygen was releasing a new album, and that they would be making their debut in Nashville at none other than the famed Exit/In as part of their latest tour. The ambitious double album titled … And Star Power, being called a “cinematic auditory adventure,” by their label JagJaguwar, gladly gets trippy, mentioning aliens, haunted studios and tuning into radio stations that you can only hear if you believe. The album bears resemblance to Bowie’s famed Ziggy Stardust and features 24 tracks, most of which have something to do with extraterrestrials and the cosmos. …And Star Power testifies to the fact that Foxygen has always been heavily influenced by the some of the classics, but has the ability to stand alone creatively. And judging from the packed audience’s response to the psychedelic rockers, if they continue putting on shows like they did Thursday night, they can be as weird as they want, and they will still be unstoppable.
– Shanning N.