2008: Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
In the span of just a few months last year, I saw Seattle’s young Fleet Foxes fill the tiny Hi-Dive bar in Denver and then, just after my feature interview with the band for Westword, cram a much-larger-than-capacity crowd into the funky Oriental Theater across town. Now they’re headlining major festivals and will no doubt play the Fillmore their next time out. Thus, at this point it’s pretty tough to say anything original about the truly breathtaking beauty that still is the Fleet Foxes picturesque debut LP, which quickly underwent a metamorphosis from underground revelation to Starbucks ubiquity. It may sound new-agey, but if you haven’t yet, try listening to the woodsy charm of “Sun It Rises” and “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” while hiking at dawn; don’t forget on your harmony-enhanced walk that socially-anxious front-kid Robin Pecknold was only 21 when Fleet Foxes was recorded, though his strong, tender and original voice was already ageless. Like the bulk of Midlake’s own recent masterpiece Van Occupanther, these organically stoic tunes about forests and ghosts probably could’ve found a similarly receptive audience in 1808.
Honorable mention: Jolie Holland The Living and the Dead (Anti), Dr. Dog Fate (Park the Van), The Black Angels Directions to See a Ghost (Light in the Attic)