FLEET FOXES is an American indie folk band formed in
Washington . Their first two albums were released by the
Sub Pop and
Bella Union record labels, with their third by Nonesuch and Bella
Union. The band came to prominence in 2008 with the release of their
second EP, _
Sun Giant _, and their self-titled debut album . Both
received much critical praise and reviewers often noted the band's use
of refined lyrics and vocal harmonies. Fleet Foxes' second studio
Helplessness Blues _, was released on May 3, 2011, and their
third album, _Crack-Up _, was released on June 16, 2017 on Nonesuch
* 1 History
* 1.1 Formation and early years (2006–07)
* 1.2 Rise to prominence (2007–08)
* 1.3 Second album (2009–12)
* 1.4 Hiatus and _Crack-Up_ (2013–present)
* 2 Members
* 2.1 Former members
* 2.2 Timeline
* 3 Discography
* 4 References
* 5 External links
FORMATION AND EARLY YEARS (2006–07)
Robin Pecknold and Skyler Skjelset both attended Lake Washington High
School in Kirkland , a suburb of Seattle, and soon became close
friends. Pecknold and Skjelset bonded over a mutual appreciation of
Bob Dylan and
Neil Young and began making music together. Their
parents influenced their musical tastes early on—Skjelset's mother
Peggi was a keen listener to both
Bob Dylan and
Hank Williams while
Pecknold's father Greg was a member of The Fathoms, a local 1960s soul
group. The two were interested in the achievements of Dylan and Brian
Wilson and realized the importance of practicing music from a young
age. Pecknold played bass for Seattle's
Dolour on a US tour in 2005,
shortly before forming the first incarnation of Fleet Foxes.
Originally going by the name "The Pineapples", a name clash with
another local band prompted a change and Pecknold decided upon "Fleet
Foxes", suggesting that it was "evocative of some weird English
activity like fox hunting". Pecknold took up the role of principal
songwriter, both singing and playing guitar, while Skjelset played
lead guitar. Pecknold's late-sixties pop style caught the attention
Phil Ek and he helped them record their first
demo in 2006, the self-released _
Fleet Foxes _ EP. Ek was impressed
with the band's songwriting, and on hearing Pecknold for the first
time, noted, "It was obvious he had talent coming out of his ass." By
late 2006 the
Seattle press began to take notice of the band; Tom
Scanlon of the _
Seattle Times _ stated that he was impressed with the
band's lyrics and musical maturity.
With growing popularity on the local circuit, the band set about
making their first album in early 2007, spending time in the studio
with producer Ek in addition to recording material at home. However,
funds for recording were tight, so the band members cobbled together
what funds they had, which limited the time they had in the studio,
and so the majority of the tracks were recorded in various band
members' apartments, other spaces, or the basement of Pecknold's
RISE TO PROMINENCE (2007–08)
Fleet Foxes performing in
Copenhagen , 2008.
Fleet Foxes were becoming increasingly popular and by late 2007, they
had attracted over a quarter of a million song plays over two months
Myspace site. Although the band had not released any of
their recordings, they benefited from word of mouth exposure and their
success soon translated into a record deal, signing with Warner Music
subsidiary record label
Sub Pop on January 18, 2008. According to Sub
A&R , Sue Busch, at the time of signing the band was still a
relatively primitive set-up, being without manager or legal
representation. Robin's sister Aja Pecknold then assumed the role of
band manager. The band's frontman, Robin Pecknold, attributes much of
their success and popularity to illegal file sharing .
The band tracked their second EP, _
Sun Giant _, at Bear Creek Studio
and performed overdubs and mixed at Seattle's Avast! Recording Co.,
around the same time in preparation for upcoming tours. Fleet Foxes
began their spring tour with another Northwest band
Blitzen Trapper on
February 28, 2008. The band's performances, first at the SXSW
festival in March 2008, and then the
Sasquatch! festival in May 2008,
moved the band into the public consciousness, notably attracting
attention from the European press for the first time.
_Sun Giant_ was released internationally on April 8, 2008 and the
group's brand of folk, rock and pop, marked by their use of vocal
harmonies, was well received by the press. Despite the warm critical
reception, the group said that the EP did not represent their full
ambitions, serving merely as a CD to sell while on tour. In May 2008,
the band chose to extend their North American and European tour until
September in support of their forthcoming album. The band grew in
number as the songwriters
Christian Wargo and
Josh Tillman joined on
guitars and drums respectively. Their first full-length album, _Fleet
Foxes _, was released shortly afterwards on 3 June 2008. The album
achieved similar critical success as the previous EP. _Fleet Foxes_
received four out of five stars from _
Rolling Stone _, which compared
it to the likes of the
Beach Boys ,
Animal Collective , and Crosby,
Stills the Dutch newspaper _
De Volkskrant _ said their show in
Paradiso induced goosebumps. In 2008 and 2009, the band played
globally ending the tour in September with a final European leg. Fleet
Foxes played at the
Bridge School Benefit curated by
Neil Young on
October 24 and 25, 2009 at the
Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain
View, California . This was the second time that they had supported
Young after a summer bill in
Hyde Park, London .
Fleet Foxes returned
Way Out West Festival (at which they first performed in 2008)
Gothenburg on August 12, 2011. They played at the Henry Miller
Memorial Library in
Big Sur on September 11, 2011. The band was
Jeff Mangum of
Neutral Milk Hotel
Neutral Milk Hotel to perform at the All
Tomorrow\'s Parties festival that he curated in December 2011 in
SECOND ALBUM (2009–12)
Fleet Foxes performing at the
Coachella Festival .
Pecknold said that he would have liked the album to be released in
2009; however, the band's touring schedule delayed rehearsals of the
new songs until February 2009. These sessions took place in a rented
house outside Seattle, but were mostly scrapped, losing the band
$60,000 of their own money. Further delays ensued because the drummer,
Tillman, was scheduled to play a solo tour in Europe and North America
throughout the 2009–10 winter. Pecknold later sent some demos to
Phil Ek and expressed the hope that the second LP would
emerge in late 2010.
In December 2009, Pecknold said he wanted the new LP to sound "less
poppy, less upbeat and more groove-based". He referenced the 12-string
guitar sound from Roy Harper 's folk album _Stormcock _, saying, "That
will be the primary sonic distancing from the last record." He wanted
the band to record very quickly, with "vocal takes in one go, so even
if there are fuck-ups, I want them to be on there. I want there to be
guitar mistakes. I want there to be not totally flawless vocals. I
want to record it and have that kind of cohesive sound. Van Morrison
Astral Weeks _, to me, is the best-sounding album because it
sounds like there were only six hours in the universe for that album
to be recorded in. So I want it to have that feeling." The band
eventually began recording in April 2010 in various locations
(including West Hurley, New York) and decided to scrap the earlier
idea of a fast recording (though according to the band many of the
initial vocals were done in one take). The album features a new
six-piece band line up, with the addition of the former Blood Brothers
Morgan Henderson on upright bass and woodwind instruments.
The album, _
Helplessness Blues _, was released on May 3, 2011 with a
cover illustrated by the
Seattle artist Toby Liebowitz and painted by
Christopher Alderson. The title track was released via free download
on January 31, 2011, and the album's fourth track, "Battery Kinzie",
was premiered in the UK on
Zane Lowe 's radio show on March 22, 2011.
Sub Pop record label released a downloadable music video of the
track "Grown Ocean", with footage of the album's recording, on its
website in support of the album. A 12" vinyl double A-side single of
"Helplessness Blues" and "Grown Ocean" was released for Record Store
Day on April 16, 2011. On November 1, 2011, Pecknold's brother, Sean
Pecknold, released the official music video for "The Shrine / An
On January 18, 2012, drummer Tillman announced that he had left the
band. He would go on to reinvent himself and record several albums as
Father John Misty , notable for his ironic sense of humor in lyrics
and media as well as often criticizing both the record industry and
society in interviews and on stage.
_Helplessness Blues_ was nominated
Best Folk Album at the 2012 Grammy
Awards, held February 12, 2012.
HIATUS AND _CRACK-UP_ (2013–PRESENT)
On June 15, 2013, an image of a home recording set-up–including a
laptop computer, microphone and guitar–was posted on the Fleet Foxes
Facebook page with the caption "Step one". On June 16, 2013, an image
of a broken mandolin with the caption "Step two" was posted. These
images were later deleted, but led to speculation that the group was
working on a new project, possibly a third studio album. On April
Robin Pecknold posted to the band's Facebook page that he
had moved to New York to get his undergraduate degree at the Columbia
University School of General Studies , a liberal arts college of
Columbia University in
New York City
New York City .
On May 18, 2016, while answering fan questions on his Instagram
account, Pecknold confirmed that
Fleet Foxes were working on new
material with drummer and frequent collaborator
Neal Morgan , best
known for his work with
Joanna Newsom and Bill Callahan . Describing
Morgan as a "full Fox", Pecknold also admitted he "had to up my
songwriting game for homeboy." However, when Pecknold posted a photo
of the band minus Morgan on Instagram, he clarified that Morgan was
one of three drummers involved in the new album, and that for the time
Fleet Foxes would consist of Pecknold, Skjelset, Wescott, Wargo
and Henderson as a "five-piece 'core band'", but they would still use
a drummer for live performances and additional musicians for certain
shows. Pecknold also said that the new material would be "a different
vibe" compared to Fleet Foxes' previous output. On November 14, 2016,
the band confirmed (via their Facebook account) that their new album
was nearly complete.
On December 25, 2016, Pecknold posted a photo on his Instagram
account which showed four albums in the Fleet Foxes' queue in his
iTunes library: the first studio album _Fleet Foxes_; the _Sun Giant_
EP; the second studio album _Helplessness Blues_; and an unknown third
album entitled _Ylajali_. This led to speculation that the band's
third album would: 1) be named after a character from
Knut Hamsun 's
novel _Hunger _; 2) contain a photo from Japanese photographer Hiroshi
Hamaya as the cover art; and 3) be released through
Nonesuch Records ,
since the label's logo can be seen on the album cover.
In an email newsletter on January 1, 2017, production company Mason
Jar Music confirmed that
Fleet Foxes was working on a new album, since
they contributed to the production. The album was called _Crack-Up_,
F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald essay of the same name . The album is a
concept album and was recorded at
Electric Lady Studios and Sear Sound
in New York City.
On March 7, 2017,
Fleet Foxes announced their third studio album,
_Crack-Up _, released on June 16, 2017 via
Nonesuch Records , a new
label for the band. The lead single, "Third of May / Ōdaigahara", was
released the same day. On April 4, 2017, the band posted on YouTube
the album trailer for the new album. The trailer briefly presents
various songs from the album and shows some images while they were
recording them. The video was made by Sean Pecknold, Robin's brother.
On May 15, 2017,
Fleet Foxes made their live return at the Wilma
Theatre in Missoula, in which they performed nine songs from
_Crack-Up_ along with a selection of older material and a cover of "In
the Morning " by
Bee Gees . The band's current live line-up includes
Matt Barrick of
The Walkmen , who is also one of the three drummers
that contributed to _Crack-Up_.
Fleet Foxes performing in
Seattle , 2008.
Robin Pecknold – lead vocals, guitar (2006–present)
* Skyler Skjelset – guitar, mandolin, vocals (2006–present)
* Casey Wescott – keyboards, mandolin, vocals (2006–present)
Christian Wargo – bass guitar, guitar, vocals (2008–present)
Morgan Henderson – upright bass, guitar, woodwinds, violin,
percussion, saxophone (2010–present)
* Bryn Lumsden – bass guitar (2006)
* Craig Curran – bass guitar (2006–2008)
* Nicholas Peterson – drums, percussion, vocals (2006–2008)
Josh Tillman – drums, percussion, vocals (2008–2012)
Fleet Foxes discography
Fleet Foxes _ (2008)
Helplessness Blues _ (2011)
* _Crack-Up _ (2017)
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* Official website
Fleet Foxes at