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Top 100 Artists of the Decade: #49 Fleet Foxes

 

The Top 100 Artists of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one artist and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 artist of the decade!

Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.

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#49 Fleet Foxes

If you haven't heard Fleet Foxes by now, listen. If you haven't seen Fleet Foxes live by now, go. I've been to hundreds of shows in my life - possibly approaching 4 figures. Never in my life has a band sounded as perfect live as Fleet Foxes. Fleet Foxes plays every part, sings every harmony, and pushes every vocal cord to their limits, just as they did on their recently released debut EP and full-length. To see and hear these songs played live on a large sound system is awe-inspiring. There are no lighting effects, no dances, no solos, no props, no pyrotechnics, and no tangents. It's just songs from the Sun Giant EP and Fleet Foxes played perfectly - crystal clear. Such faithful, note-and-pitch-perfect rendition of their recorded material is awe inspiring.

And why Fleet Foxes over any number of other Americana bands on this list? They're relatively new arrivals to an old genre, but the arrangements just seem more immeshed, the imagery keener. Robin Pecknold doesn't crutch on contrived nature imagery - nothing about his lyricism is forced, and the sense of naturalism comes from how easy the sound feels. Their catalogue takes the best parts of My Morning Jacket's work, laces it with Beach Boys harmonies, and infuses it with the urgent, yet dreary sound of Fleetwood Mac. The backing vocal harmonies emphasize the strength of Pecknold's voice and the touches of reverb emulate the brawn of a southern gospel choir. In fact, "White Winter Hymnal" sounds like the chant of a Southern Baptist choir singing at the bank of a rushing river, watching a minister baptize a newborn in the water. Fleet Foxes treads the waters of southern folk-rock on a ship made from the sunshine pop of the Beach Boys and The Zombies. It is a sandy beach along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is the summit of the Smoky Mountains breaking the surface of the Pacific Ocean. It's one of the most clean and refreshing sounds in years.

[ play ] | [ download mp3 ] Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal

Check back tomorrow for the next artist! To see the full list of the Top 100 Artists of the Decade, click here.

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