robin pecknold is the frontman of seattle’s favorite folk-rock collective fleet foxes, and while the foxes aren’t set to drop their sophomore lp until may, robin’s recently released a three-song acoustic ep entitled “three songs” for free via the fleet foxes twitter account. the lead-off, “i’m losing myself,” features a duet between pecknold and grizzly bear leader ed droste. their vocal harmonies weave together to form one of the more beautiful tracks pecknold’s ever done, lush and weathered over tender acoustic picking. stream and download all three tracks after the jump.
okkervil river’s particular brand of melancholy indie pop has gained them a sizable cult following, but they’ve yet to break into the mainstream. will scheff’s liberal use of literary songwriting may have been a factor, but in recent interview’s he’s stated that with the band’s forthcoming release, he aims to retreat from the cerebral and aim more towards the emotional. judging by single “mermaid,” it’s a good move – the tune tugs at the heartstrings without falling into introspective or clichéd territory. even his pained vocals sound more genuine than on the band’s fantastic (if depressing) the stage names. backed by what seems at times to be a full orchestra, piano, and choir, “mermaid” appears a proclamation of things to come. it’s not an unfamiliar sound, but lyrically it’s a welcome change from the sometimes heady songwriting of albums past.
okkervil river – i am very far is out may 10th on jagjaguwar.
local seattleites fleet foxes emerged in 2008 with a debut record that was so fully realized that it was hard to believe that any follow-up could live up to the massive hype they generated. that’s probably why they’ve waited three years to release any new material. but judging by their first 2011 single, “helplessness blues,” they’ve spent their time ironing out their sonic identity (when not touring). “blues” is as much rock as folk, and the foxes’ signature vocal harmonies are nothing if not flawless. that’s a good thing, too, because the vocals are much more emphasized on “blues” than anything on their previous releases – it’s almost three minutes before the full band makes their appearance. it sounds like the introduction to a concert: first the strumming, then the lead, and slowly all the other elements come together before a final explosion of folk-pop bliss.
fleet foxes – helplessness blues is out may 3rd on sub pop.