on leaving home

Talented. Beautiful. Sweet. These are the words I’d use to describe Kelli Cohen if I was following the advice/rules of crappy internet dating sites. I met Kelli through a friend at the now-defunct Club 770. Our paths kept crossing and we decided we should probably just man up and be pals. A passion for music, photography, and whiskey runs common through our veins, and I quickly grew to love Kelli like a little sister. This summer while bonding over movie moments and summer nights, I tapped her to make a mix for M|H. Perfectly timed for the trading in of one year for the next, On Leaving Home explores change and embraces it. While Kelli and I no longer occupy the same city, leaving our trademark trails of red lipstick and dominating karaoke with “Dog Days Are Over” and the doubled power of our voices, I sit secure in the fact that absence only makes the heart grow fonder.

01| She’s Leaving Home by The Beatles
02| I Don’t Feel Young by  Wye Oak
03| Everyday by Rogue Wave
04| Lost Coastlines by Okkervil River
05| What Me Worry? by St. Vincent
06| Never Going Back Again by Fleetwood Mac
07| Chains, Chains, Chains by Elvis Perkins in Dearland
08| Winds of Change by Fitz and the Tantrums
09| Don’t Forget Me by Neko Case
10| The Past and Pending by The Shins
11| Troubled by Land of Talk
12| Ghost Town by First Aid Kit
13| Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right by Bob Dylan
14| Murder in the City by The Avett Brothers
15| See You Then by Roberta Flack

the sound of ancient voices ringing soft upon your ear

On their self-titled LP, Fleet Foxes sound like the Beach Boys had they grown up in the middle of a forest instead of a sunny beach. Or like My Morning Jacket if MMJ was made up of classically-trained choir kids. Or The Shins on a granola high. Fleet Foxes paradoxically sound like everyone and no one at the same time.

The group’s main feature is their mastery of vocal harmony. It’s thick and echoing and cathedral-worthy and used more often than not, which makes lead singer Robin Pecknold’s voice that much more powerful and striking when heard on its own.

Several of Fleet Foxes’s songs evoke quasi-nebulous places, like the country road sunset of “Ragged Wood” and the dusty southwestern sprawl of “Your Protector”.

The non-verbal humming on “Heard Them Stirring” completes the overall tapestry of the piece (yes, Fleet Foxes make you use words like ‘tapestry’ – but without gagging) and the short piano addendum to “He Doesn’t Know Why” is downright beautiful.

Tracks like “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” and “Meadowlarks” wouldn’t be out of place in your average New Age shop, but they translate well enough into the indie-folk world to keep people from smashing their heads into the wall from boredom and spite (it may be from the merciful lack of pan flutes and chimes).

Fleet Foxes dropped 06/03/08.
For the MP3 and video of “White Winter Hymnal” click here.