Posts Tagged ‘Foxwarren’

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Andy Shauf’s excellent 2016 album The Party – a wallflower indie pop concept album about the depressing aspects of drinking and socializing – brought his approach and sound to the mainstream, making fans eager for his next offering. For Toronto-via-Saskatchewan’s multi-instrumentalist baroque pop prince, it comes in the form of a self-titled debut from his hometown band, Foxwarren. Actually, this is technically Foxwarren’s sophomore album, but Shauf has been rather secretive about the group’s past work.

From a musical standpoint, Foxwarren – featuring Shauf’s ethereal, honey-toned, voice and his acoustic guitar, his childhood friends D.A. and Avery Kissick and Dallas Bryson – is quite similar to the sound of The Party. Still, Foxwarren doesn’t feel like Andy Shauf and his backing band; it feels like a creative, cohesive group.

Opening track To Be sets up the themes of the album without hesitation. Much like Shauf’s solo work, motifs of isolation, depression and other sombre notes live within the songs.

The instrumentation is eccentrically diverse and well thought out. Foxwarren seems to be a band that, at times, throws traditional song convention out the window. Everything Apart begins with a lone, steady snare drum and morphs into an almost psychedelic organ prog rock epic, then blissfully comes to a close with a standard indie guitar line. It takes tremendous production skill to make those jumps seem effortless.

The album does, however, have its fault with the song I’ll Be Alright, featuring Shauf and his acoustic. It sounds like a B-side of his solo work and falls slightly flat when compared to a song like Fall Into A Dream, a jumpy groove that makes perfect use of its indie funk guitar riff and angelic harmonies. The song brings to mind the early days of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, highlighting a droney, psychotropic jam between the Kissick brothers, Bryson and Shauf.

I truly hope Foxwarren remains one of the main projects for Shauf. While he certainly didn’t take a back seat during Foxwarren’s process, it’s refreshing hearing him in a new, collaborative light.

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Foxwarren

Subtle and thoughtful, Foxwarren – the four person band comprised of Toronto solo artist Andy Shauf and his hometown friends, who released their self-titled debut album last year – draws parallels to Shauf’s solo work while leaning on collaboration and looseness rather than Shauf’s meticulous arrangements. The new music video for Foxwarren’s “Lost on You” also makes a strong case for following your gut instincts. Canadian filmmakers Mark Klassen and Hope Little were about to depart on a road trip across Nevada’s Death Valley to the Pacific Coast of California and at the last minute decided to bring their lighting design equipment with them, to experiment with along the trip’s route. Along the way they stopped when the conditions were just right to film and from this footage the “Lost on You” video was born.

“Lost on You” by Foxwarren from the self-titled album, available now on Anti- and Arts & Crafts

Foxwarren’s backstory reads like a page torn from the manual of rock & roll authenticity, as this group of siblings and childhood friends originally formed more than a decade ago. Growing up in scattered small towns across the Canadian prairies, Andy Shauf (guitars/keys/vocals), Dallas Bryson (guitar/vocals), and brothers Darryl Kissick (bass) and Avery Kissick (drums & percussion) eventually found themselves in Regina, Saskatchewan. The initial sessions for their self-titled debut began in the Kissicks’ parents’ farmhouse while they were away on vacation. Upon their return, Foxwarren were forced to relocate and recording resumed back in Regina in a rented house where the members lived as roommates. The band’s name comes from the Kissick brothers’ family home in Foxwarren, Manitoba.

Foxwarren initially bonded over Pedro the Lion and drew influence from The Band and Paul Simon. Now a decade in to the project, Shauf reflects on their debut release: “So much time and effort went into making this album; it’s something I think we’re all really proud of. My touring and recording schedule got pretty wild over the past three or four years, so it put the Foxwarren album on the backburner. Making the album was such an enjoyable time – the collaboration and frustration of it all. All of us trying to make something better than we previously had. I’m excited to get it out into the world and have other people listen to it. We’ve been a band for 10 years or so and never properly released an album, so this is special for the four of us.” The self-titled album will be released on November 30th, 2018 via ANTI- Records.

The infectious first single “Everything Apart” is built around a robotic bass line and came together very quickly. “We wrote it late one night,” remembers Darryl, “Andy was home between tours, and the skeleton of the song came together really quickly. This one felt like a real experiment and was almost left off the album; it seemed like an outlier.”

In contrast, the second single “To Be” was one of the first songs written for the project. “We tinkered with it for ages and ended up drastically reworking it the weekend it was recorded. We knew early on that it was going to be the opening song on the record,” states Darryl.

“It was a guitar riff that I’d been playing for a few years at least, trying to figure out what to do with it,”adds Shauf. “It went through quite a few versions if I remember correctly. Foxwarren have a bad habit of never finishing vocal melodies and lyrics before we finish the music, so it made it a bit tricky and ended up being overhauled at the last minute.”

Subtle and thoughtful, it draws parallels to frontman Andy Shauf’s solo work while leaning on collaboration and looseness rather than Shauf’s meticulous arrangements. Where Shauf leaves space for orchestration, Foxwarren take time to ruminate on passages and themes. Propped up by warm driving rhythms and a familiar voice, and coloured with soft electronics and coarse guitars, it’s a record that ultimately hinges on sincerity. It captures the feeling of friends pushing each other, of a band looking inward for inspiration instead of outward for influence.

The Band : Andy Shauf / D.A. Kissick / Avery Koissick / Dallas Bryson

“Sunset Canyon” by Foxwarren from the self-titled album, available now on Anti- and Arts & Crafts

Foxwarren

Foxwarren comprises Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf (please check out his solo albums) along with his childhood friends Dallas Bryson and brothers Darryl Kissick and Avery Kissick. Last year, they released a self-titled debut album, and today are announcing their first-ever tour, which kicks off in their hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan at the end of May. To celebrate, the band have a brand new video for the dreamy “Sunset Canyon.” Directed by Laura-Lynn Petrick, the video is shot through a warmly lit vintage filter, capturing a glamorous cruise along the winding California hillside.

The video features actress turned talk show host and honest-to-God amazing person –– Busy Philipps. “Working with Laura-Lynn on the video was so amazing,” says Philipps in a press release. “She is such a talent and I loved the easy going vibe of the day, wandering through the canyon with her in my mom’s dress from the sixties.”This track from Foxwarren just fits the aesthetic faultlessly.

“Sunset Canyon” by Foxwarren from the self-titled album, available now on Anti- and Arts & Crafts

This group of siblings and childhood friends originally formed more than a decade ago. Growing up in scattered small towns across the Canadian prairies, Andy Shauf, Dallas Bryson, and brothers Darryl Kissick and Avery Kissick eventually found themselves under one roof in Regina, Saskatchewan, where they completed work on what became this album: Foxwarren. 

In the release of Andy Shauf’s side-band debut album, nearly a decade in the making, there is much of The Party’s deserved success. The style of the record is very much in the vein of Andy’s solo release, again a blend of Elliott Smith’s attitude and vocal style and a taste for 70s songwriting and arrangements (Randy Newman being a personal hero for the Canadian).

Foxwarren is a nice compendium to The Party, in the sense that all those who were left enchanted by that record will likely appreciate this new one. There are some more “self-standing” instrument themes, like the sparkling guitar riff in ‘Fall Into A Dream’ or the motoric arrangement of ‘Everything Apart’, where Andy peeks into a slightly more modern, “experimental” songwriting style.

The Party had a revivalist style and it was a record that clearly was produced and created by a single mind. Despite not being cutting-edge avant-garde or the best song Andy’s written, ‘Everything Apart’ promises, instead, possible fruitful interactions with other creative minds.

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In general, all the songs probably lack the conceptual allure of The Party’s almost cinematic setting, or even the melodic clarity of Andy’s previous songs. So Foxwarren represents a sort of B-side collection to his solo record, and maybe also a way to close a very relevant artistic period.

Released November 30th, 2018
Foxwarren is:
Dallas Bryson,
Avery Kissick,
Darryl Kissick,
Andy Shauf,

all songs written and arranged by Foxwarren