Monday, January 26, 2009

"Trying to kind of go to 'Where the Streets Have No Name'..."

StandinOntheEdgeofMe from the official Switchfoot Message Boards found a great interview with Jon Foreman on ShineFM, where he talks about the new Switchfoot record with some more exciting news. I've transcribed some of it below:

Basically, we've tracked about 70 songs, probably more than that, but we've sorta narrowed them down. And I think, with that, there are several directions we can go to. One's a lot more beat driven, one's a little bit more what one of the guys has called "punchy," which is maybe a little bit more traditional, what we've been doing. And one's a little bit broader, ethereal. Trying to kind of go to "Where the Streets Have No Name" type of thing. So yeah, its just a matter of where or what song we want to play for the next ten years, and so I think its gonna be some sort of amalgam between those three elements.

Listen/download the whole interview clip here

To here the rest of that radio show, go here

(New Switchfoot Album Timeline Page has been updated!)


TWLOHA posted a high-quality video of Jon and the rest of the crew on their encore performance at the "Heavy and Light" TWLOHA benefit show.

With a Little Help From My Friends

Still epic as ever.


Here is a review of Fiction Family's album by Paste Magazine with a not-so-shining cap on Sean Watkins' voice.

PASTE Magazine (64%)

Note: the page is currently down for some reason.

The softly orchestrated “Betrayal” and the creaky “Mostly Prove Me Wrong” could be B-sides from Foreman’s Winter EP (a fourth of his moody solo project based on the seasons). In his own songs—a majority of the record—Foreman’s M. Wardian vocals share the spotlight with his sentimental but gritty lyrics. He goes wild with similes and metaphors and other literary devices you learn about in middle school (her eyes were like the winter, love is red, love is a dollar that’s already spent, we were both drinking fiction, there’s war in my blood, etc.), but it’s rarely trite, and otherwise cryptic lyrics balance his sometimes-precious wordplay. “Betrayal” typifies Foreman’s lyrical style: “I watched her as you put me in the dirt / She had my wallet wrapped inside her skirt / And I went numb, I went numb / So I’m not dead if what you did don’t hurt.”

Watkins’ lyrics, on the other hand, are cute at best and egregious at worst. In the pitchy “Elements Combined,” he sings, “You are elements combined / Earth, air, fire wine / Someday you’ll be mine.” First of all, how cheesy. Secondly, what is fire wine (other than NOT AN ELEMENT)? Maybe he’s trying to pull off some sort of metaphor a la Foreman, but either way, it just doesn’t work. The mopey “Not Sure” is as bland as its title: “How long will it take / For these ties to you to break / They’re much stronger than I thought / I’m not sure that I’ll get over you / I’m not sure that I want to.”

While Watkins’ higher voice harmonizes well with Foreman’s, his lead vocals aren’t as strong. The three songs that are entirely written and led by Watkins feel like wet rags—hearing Foreman’s voice at the beginning of a song is more of a relief than it should be, considering that the guys are supposedly equal partners in this Family. Foreman says in the band’s bio, “We came up with a few cowboy rules for the project: No double tracking. No pussyfooting. No tuning of vocals. etc.” The no-tuning rule is admirable, but it becomes a distraction because Watkins sometimes has trouble singing on-key. And the “no pussyfooting” part is debatable.



Another: (4/5)

When you're listening to new music and names like Lennon and McCartney, Difford and Tilbrook, and Neil Finn start rushing to mind, you know you have something good in your earbuds. When you mix that songwriting prowess with the instrumental dexterity of leaders of two of the most accomplished bands currently open for business, you have the first unqualified triumph of our young year.

Fiction Family is the collaboration of Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman and Nickel Creek guitarist and singer Sean Watkins. The two reportedly met at a gig played by their respective bands plus R.E.M. and Wilco, which is to say Fiction Family was born of some great music.


IndieVision Music (8/10)

Jon Foreman is a busy guy. His main band, Switchfoot, has been seeing significant mainstream rock success since they released “The Beautiful Letdown” in 2005. Then, over the past year, he released four solo EPs, with six songs for each season. Now he’s been collaborating with Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek to create a 12 song album for their new band, Fiction Family.

This record is more of an art project than it is another album to be put on the market. Everything sounds very organic, as each singer takes the lead for a number of songs and each offers something unique to the mix. Jon’s influence is more along the lines of his solo material, with tender vocals and diverse instrumentation over acoustic indie-folk-pop, while Sean brings the bluegrass/ roots rock feel, including some harmonica and the classic harmonized vocals. Now, I’ve never actually listened to Nickel Creek, but what I do know about each of these artists would lead me to believe that this album is something new for each of them, as they push themselves towards artistic growth and greater creativity, rather than a basic combination of what each of them already had. While my press copy of the album didn’t come with lyrics for me to fully examine, they seem like they’d also be a strong point to the album. One of the things I appreciate most about Fiction Family right now is that there are a lot of quality loves songs on here, which is something most new music I’ve acquired lately seems to be lacking.

While the duo may have been unexpected, this release is exactly what I expected after finding out the two were working together. Two great voices and two great songwriting styles come together for what will surely be enjoyed by a wide range of music fans. While you can typically tell which artist each song belongs to, it doesn’t sound like they just threw together a split EP or something. It definitely works well together to created a blended style and a consistent overall feel.

1 comment:

chris Triebold said...

shineFM! thats my station...walked there today. they're awesome :)