Album of the Week: Foxygen’s “Hang”

January 20, 2017 • Music

Foxygen have always been a supremely challenging band. Their breakout full-length, 2013’s We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, was a sprawling, sumptuous mess of psychedelic mash-ups and classic-rock noodling. Its follow-up, 2014’s … And Star Power, was a 24-song all-you-eat-buffet of wildly diverse experimentation that mirrored the band’s reputation as notorious live-date-cancelling, onstage-meltdown trainwrecks. I almost saw them in 2013, only to find out that singer Sam France had broken his leg falling off stage the night before.

But the France and Jonathan Rado-penned songs always win out over such notoriety. And Hang, the duo’s first album recorded in a professional studio and most recent for the esteemed and eccentric Jagjaguwar label, proves it. Tracked to analog two-inch tape with a 40-piece orchestra, Hang’s eight songs present a radically streamlined amalgamation of Elton John, Tin Pan Alley, ‘80s disco, and power pop. “Avalon” is a jaunty blend of vaudeville jazz and Broadway show tunes, while “America” is as messily beautiful as its beleaguered namesake (with a devastatingly beautiful cinematic coda that should give us all hope). As usual, Foxygen crams 100 years of American musical history into one album (and sometimes one song), but this time around things feel far more focused. Savor “On Lankershim’s” snappy AM gold chord changes or “Trauma’s” impassioned big band drum-backed chorus and you’ll get it. Who knows whether Foxygen will make any live shows in 2017 — but they’ve made a masterpiece on Hang.

Foxygen tour dates:

03/21 – Richmond, VA @ The National
03/22 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
03/24 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
03/25 – Boston, MA @ The Paradise
03/26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
03/28 – Toronto, ON @ Opera House
03/30 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
03/31 – Chicago, IL @ Vic Theatre
04/01 – Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre
04/02 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave
04/04 – Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre
04/05 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room
04/07 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
04/08 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda
04/09 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
04/11 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
04/13 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
04/14 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
04/15 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
04/17 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks
04/18 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
04/19 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
04/20 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
05/23 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House
05/24 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
05/25 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theater
05/26 – George, WA – Sasquatch! Festival
05/27 – George, WA – Sasquatch! Festival
05/28 – George, WA – Sasquatch! Festival
07/14 – Louisville, KY – Forecastle Festival
07/15 – Louisville, KY – Forecastle Festival
07/16 – Louisville, KY – Forecastle Festival
07/28 – New York, NY – Panorama Music & Arts Festival

Foxygen

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