Posts Tagged ‘Foxing’

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Foxing has become one of indie-rock’s most juiced-up alpha-sluggers, calling its towering shots and clobbering homers into the Busch Stadium parking lot. The valiant six-piece led by singer Conor Murphy swung big with their soaring 2018 LP Nearer My God, which landed somewhere between American Football’s disconsolate debut and Radiohead’s blinking Hail to the Thief.

It’s a sincerely commanding effort; 90 seconds into the emphatic album opener “Grand Paradise,” as Murphy shrieks the unforgettable phrase “shock-collared at the gates of heaven!” and the full band kicks in, it’s an arena-worthy moment for a band that plays to hundreds, not thousands. Yet those live shows are teeming with the group’s unapologetic self-belief — Foxing plays like it wants to be the rock band that saves your life. If concerts ever return, you better believe those clubs will be full.

“Nearer My God,” the title track, in all its triumphant, anguished, soul-affirming glory — the Hotelier-worshipping Missouri grandson of Queen’s “I Want to Break Free.”

Band Members
Jon, Conor, Eric, Ricky

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The St. Louis band’s rise has been both rapid and bumpy, first emerging on the emo-revival scene with The Albatross in 2013 before slipping somewhat out of that style with the divisive (though excellent) Dealer in 2015. Last year’s Nearer My Godexposed them to a larger audience at the possible expense of some of their older fans, but this was a risk Murphy and his bandmates were willing to take in order to make something impactful.

Murphy isn’t shy about expressing his ambition. He wants Foxing to be a band who releases great records and also performs great live shows—the latter of which has already undeniably been accomplished, reaching near-mythic proportions. With that aspect of Foxing’s attack fully-formed, they’ve relentlessly pursued perfection in the studio on their upcoming fourth LP, in hopes of equaling Nearer My God. That album presented its ideas nakedly, unflinching and unafraid. It was big and bombastic, an explosion of punk and rock and emo that never committed to any of those ideals fully. In short, it was tremendous, and Murphy might be pursuing a fool’s errand in trying to make a record that will appease rabid fans of their live shows. Still, his goal of embodying the best possible iteration of Foxing propels the band forward. He just wants to see them get bigger and better.

While the album touches upon the universal angst felt by many people in the nation, Nearer My God is also deeply personal. The standout track, “Five Cups,” is a haunting nine-minute dirge where Murphy recounts the desperate moments of trying to communicate with the recently deceased. He name-checks several friends who have died, lamenting how these losses have left him with a void that cannot be replaced.

Murphy’s evocative lyrics and elastic vocals — which shift at times from the baritone of the National’s Matt Berninger to the caustic screams of Desaparecidos-era Conor Oberst — highlight the album, but Foxing are far from a one-man effort. Guitarist Eric Hudson helped produce the album (alongside Death Cab for Cutie vet Chris Walla), and each track reflects equal creative contributions from the band (guitarist Ricky Sampson and drummer John Hellwig round out the quartet).

Foxing “Heartbeats” from the album Nearer My God

For the first minute and a half, Nearer My God sounds like a lot of indie music that comes out nowadays. There’s a pulsing synth, electronic handclaps, an R&B-inspired falsetto — you know, the kind of thing you’re basically guaranteed to hear if you turn on Alt Nation or show up to some band’s set at Lollapalooza. And then Conor Murphy screams “I’m Shock Collared At The Gates Of Heaven,” live drums come in, and all of a sudden you’re listening to some of the most crushing post-hardcore to be released this year. It’s a sudden 180, but it’s also the same kind of post-genre experience that many internet-era listeners arrange for themselves anyway. Do you like The Blood Brothers, but also TV on the Radio, but also Radiohead, but also M83, but also Frank Ocean? It’s not that weird to answer yes, and if you did, then Nearer My God is for you.

The level of ambition it takes to pull something like this off, and getting it right nearly destroyed Foxing. But, with help from producer and former Death Cab For Cutie member Chris Walla (who called Nearer My God “one of the bravest and best records I’ve ever been a part of”), they pulled it off like experts. It’s an innovative, risk-taking album that cares about accessible pop appeal as much as it cares about schizophrenic prog-punk fury (“Gameshark”) and long stretches of meditative ambience (“Five Cups”). It’s an album you can rock out to and scream your lungs out to as much as it’s an album you can spend alone time with and really pay attention to the many intricate details.


It’s less common than it used to be to get indie rock albums with this level of masterful ambition, but it doesn’t feel right to tie this album in with a past era. Nearer My God is looking nowhere but forward, and there’s hardly anything else like it.

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Foxing knew exactly what they were getting into by interpolating “Nearer My God to Thee” as the title of their third album, which was already tempting fate—there are few things that indie rock artists are less willing to publicly admit than the desire to make a classic album, but this is exactly the challenge producer Chris Walla placed before them and the one they go to every possible length to meet.The band’s previous albums, The Albatross and Dealer, were bookended by muted introductions and finales, hand-crafted keepsakes meant to be dog-eared and footnoted. Nearer My God is likewise a closed system bound with melodic and lyrical leitmotifs, but designed more like a multimedia extravaganza. About two minutes into the opener “Grand Paradise,” Murphy is “shock-collared at the gates of heaven” when the drums finally come in and it’s a legit drop for light shows they’ll never afford at festivals that have never considered booking them. Nearly an hour later, he cries, “Heaven won’t take me in” on the closing “Lambert,” a “Mr. November”-style victory lap where Murphy could walk into the crowd to be mobbed during the final surge. In between, “Five Cups” anchors Nearer My God with a nine-minute montage for Murphy’s dead friends.

They brought in a guy to play bagpipes. There are songs that swap out bass guitars for Volca sequencers, immaculately recorded drums for 8-bit synth triggers, guitars for string samples and Murphy’s clean vocals for mutated and pitch-shifted versions of itself.Foxing “Nearer My God” from the full length Nearer My God

There is a sense that, with Nearer My God, Foxing have made their masterpiece. — NPR

There is a sense that, with Nearer My God, Foxing have made their masterpiece. They almost didn’t. The title of the album alludes to impending — Pitchfork

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Foxing initially won me over by being such a towering live band (if you haven’t seen them, seriously fix that ASAP), but their second album Dealer went the opposite direction of their shows. It goes into more somber, intimate territory, and it’s the best thing they’ve done yet. The album takes on soaring post-rock, tear-jerking piano ballads, downtempo glitch, melancholic horns and strings, and highly vivid lyrics, all brought together by some of the richest-sounding rock production of the year (courtesy of Minus the Bear/Mastodon producer Matt Bayles).


It’s an album that stops me in my tracks every time I listen to it, whether it’s Conor Murphy’s gorgeous falsetto or the weight of the keys on “Winding Cloth” or the sudden moments where the band sound twice as large as they are. There’s a certain type of record that comes along every now and then, when an indie band swings for the fences but maintains delicacy and evokes real emotion from the listener. I’m thinking of albums like The Antlers’ Hospice album and self-titled Bon Iver, and now I’d add Dealer to that list too.

The band Foxing have always been ambitious. From its ornate music videos to the post-rock sprawl of 2015’s album Dealer, the band has never taken the direct route to anything. This was evident even before Nearer My God was released, as the band put out five different versions of the title track, each one seeing vocalist Conor Murphy tackle the song in a different language. It was impressive, not only because it showcased how strong Murphy’s singing has become since the release of Foxing’s debut album, The Albatross, in 2013, but also because it hinted at the full scope of the group’s latest.

While Foxing was once pegged as an emo band, it always wanted to achieve more, and Nearer My Godis proof of it. Opener “Grand Paradise” is more Prince than The Promise Ring, with thunderous electronic claps serving as the backbeat to Murphy’s effects-drenched voice. Even when Foxing plays the part of a rock band, the songs buck easy definition. “Slapstick,” “Nearer My God,” and “Crown Candy” are all expansive works that pull from post-rock, indie, soul, and electronic without feeling like some ham-fisted combination. It’s as impressive as it is expansive, .

No one song easily encapsulates the record, but listen to “Slapstick” and watch the accompanying video to get a sense of the sheer scope of this thing.

Foxing – “Slapstick” from the album Nearer My God

The world has never been smaller than it is right at this moment. With increased internet connectivity for everyone and the proliferation of social media, human beings are connected to one another to a level unimaginable even ten years ago. The one barrier that continues to separate, however, remains language. With their latest single “Nearer My God,” which also happens to be the title track to their upcoming album, the band Foxing attempted to break down those walls, and put together five different language versions of the song,

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If you’ve ever looked at an old document and noticed brown spots on it, what you are seeing are signs of aging. It’s not exactly clear what specifically causes them, but one day, the page will completely brown over and be no more. This is called foxing.
A group of St. Louis musicians took this idea and turned it into a band. “From the conception of the band, we realized: we’re not gonna be around forever,” says Foxing singer Conor Murphy. “There’s classic literature that over time grows really old. But hopefully, you can make something that meant something at some point and will mean something down the road, even if it is aged and dated.
Foxing’s forthright lyrical honesty paired with their stunning orchestral sound quickly started earning them devoted fans, It’s something Foxing didn’t expect and certainly were not prepared for. “I was really surprised at the reception we got from this record because it’s very, very specific and personal so it’s weird to have people grasp that and feel a kindredness to it, that’s insane to me,” says Coll. In addition to the new fans who were responding to Foxing’s music in such a personal way, the band also caught the attention of Triple Crown Records. The label took notice of the organic buzz surrounding the band and are re-mastering and rereleasing The Albatross.


“Indica Two” was recorded in Seattle, Washington
performed by Foxing and produced by Matt Bayles
strings performed by Emma Tiemann
additional vocals by Jess Abbott
“Redwoods Two” was recorded in Saint Louis, Missouri
arrangement composed and produced by E.M. Hudson of Foxing
vocals by Lena Woods

Foxing have done a lot of touring this past year in continued support of last year’s album “Dealer” (among one of our favourite records of that year). They’ve now made a new video for “Dealer” standout track “Indica” and you can watch that below.  LP Dealer, out now on Triple Crown Records.  Full of emotional vocals and meaningful songs.The whole album flows perfectly and each track has its own feeling.

Foxing debut release The Albatross became a self-fulfilling prophecy for this St Louis band Foxing. The group’s relentless touring enabled the slow-build success of their debut, the aching opening track on Dealer recounts the effect of Conor Murphy having to repeat ugly truths about himself night after night for the better part of two years: “I am caught up in the guilt/ Making a living off of drowning.” Though Dealer is an artistic triumph and a significant advance from The Albatross, it’s even heavier, more compositionally complex, and more personally revealing than its predecessor. And that’s why, from its very first second, Murphy sounds drained over the prospect of doing it all over again every night  Dealer is not an easy listen.

It’s in Foxing’s nature to welcome a challenge, they made the most demanding, unique and self-assured debut. It certainly earned the genre tag—silvery guitar figures streaked and twinkled like Explosions In The Sky, while Murphy’s vocals delivered confrontational and caustic story-led lyrics with spasmodic, burst-and-bloom dynamics. he ripped his heart out while it was still beating and shoved it directly in your face.

“Indica”, which recounts Colls time as a soldier in Afghanistan. Few, if any, indie rock bands have access to this kind of firsthand experience, Aside from a brief clatter of field snares, there’s little but a single, clean guitar and Murphy’s vocal catatonic from both PTSD and self-medication: “Could I give back the sounds of their children’s screams?/ Let go of what I’ve seen?” Dealer isn’t a narrative, but both his civilian and Coll’s soldier could share the exhaustion of closer “Three on a Match”—”For what we did, my love, I’m sorry…the Lord won’t let me in/ I’m survived by the weight of my own sins.” .

Dealer pulls all of Foxing’s influences inward, constructed like an expensive timepiece where you can see every exacting movement behind a glossy lacquer. Murphy’s much-improved vocals negotiate the curvature of “Weave”‘s mournful melody . While there were short instrumental passages on The Albatross, “Winding Cloth” is a full-on string orchestration, offering four minutes to absorb the shell shocked war reportage of “Indica” before segueing into the heavy-hearted poetry of “Redwoods”.

When Murphy and bassist/co-songwriter Josh Coll take on universal topics like sex, religion and war, they’re framed through personal experiences: “The Magdalene” is the most dour song about losing one’s virginity drawing on strict Catholic upbringings that instilled what Coll has said “the internal fear that spirits are in the room witnessing ‘sin’ in action”: “Mother of God on the rosary/ Is she here with us?/ Does she want what she sees?” The guilt carries on to the present day as Murphy becomes choked by the supposedly no-strings hook-ups in “Night Channels” and “Glass Coughs”. Both build up from spare, plaintive introductions to restrained screams and contained, brassy cacophony—Murphy allows you to feel every pang and writhe of guilt.

Foxing are going on an extensive European tour in 2017. Those dates are listed below.

Mar 13 Stereo Glasgow, United Kingdom
Mar 14 Deaf Institute Manchester, United Kingdom
Mar 15 BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB Leeds, United Kingdom
Mar 16 Scala London, United Kingdom
Mar 17 Firebug Leicester, United Kingdom
Mar 18 Bodega Nottingham, United Kingdom
Mar 19 The Exchange St Philips, United Kingdom
Mar 21 Joiners Southampton, United Kingdom
Mar 22 Green Door Store Brighton, United Kingdom