Can anyone tell me what purpose the Grammy Awards serve anymore?
I’m sure there was a time that they were kind of like the Oscars for music, giving out their trophies to artists and musicians who really pushed the boundaries and put forth some truly stunning works of art. But now, not so much.
The Grammy committee is the brain dead entity that nominates the worst or most mediocre in the music world…largely for their own self aggrandizing reasons. Lets take a look at what they awarded this year starting with Best New Artist, which went to Adele.
Now I like Adele, and think she has a lot of promise, but Best New Artist??? In what universe? I have to assume that those who did the voting didn’t listen to much last year…especially since they also nominated The Jonas Brothers.
Moving on to Album of the Year, Allison Kraus and Robert Plant’s collaboration “Raising Sand” took top honors there, proving to myself and the rest of the music loving world that the prerequisite age for voting is somewhere north of 50. Combine this with the addition of worthless sub-categories like “Best Album Notes” and “Best Album Packaging” and you have an enormous waste of time dedicated to the industry’s love of patting themselves on their collective backs.
And one of their biggest crimes for 2008 was their complete omission of what was undeniably one of the best albums of the year…the self titled first full length from Fleet Foxes.
Singer/guitar player Robin Pecknold met guitarist Skyler Skjelset while both were attending Lake Washington High in the Seattle suburbs. Bonding over a shared love of artists like Bob Dylan and Neil young, the two began playing together regularly during lunch hours and after school in the parents basement. In fact, it was the influence of their parents vast music collections that inspired their sound. But it wasn’t until 2006 that the music left the basement and made it’s way onto the Seattle music scene.
By then Pecknold had stepped into the position of singer/songwriter, and together with Skjelset began sifting through their already substantial catalogue of songs…trashing and rehashing until their sound began to cohere. By then they had picked up a few extra personnel from the local scene with Casey Wescott on keys, Christian Wargo on bass, and Joshua Tillman on drums. Their sound caught the ear of family friend Phil Ek, who from the first listen knew he had something special, and he helped the band cobble together their first demo “Fleet Foxes” in late 2006.
In 2007, their popularity on the Seattle music scene and their mounting pile of songs led to the decision to record the now infamous “Sun Giant EP.” It was less of an album and more a CD to sell as they headed of on tour. The tour began to spread the word of Fleet Foxes at places like SXSW and over the internet when they were finally signed to Sub Pop and began to record their first full length album. But time, and money was tight..and most tracks ended up recorded in members apartments or the infamous Pecknold basement. The result was released shortly after the reissue of “Sun Giant” in 2008.
Filled with soaring melodies and ethereal harmonies, “Fleet Foxes” evokes a spirit of a bygone era of musical craftsmanship…think Crosby, Stills and Nash mixed with Animal Collective and a dash of old Neil Young. Actually, upon listening to it, you’ll hear a lot of influences. But Fleet Foxes manages to pull them all together into an organic woven sound that makes for a good listen. Add to that the fact that this is one of the first albums that I’ve heard in years that sounds like it was meant to be listened to as a whole.
If you missed out on these guys last year, catch up now before their next album drops later this year. That way you can act like you knew all along.