By Fleet FoxesUpdated Jun 2019
Fleet Foxes is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington. Their first two albums were released by Sub Pop and Bella Union, with their third by Nonesuch and Bella Union. The band came to prominence…
Fleet Foxes is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington. Their first two albums were released by Sub Pop and Bella Union, with their third by Nonesuch and Bella Union. The band came to prominence in 2008 with the release of their second EP, Sun Giant, and their self-titled debut album. Both received much critical praise and reviewers often noted the band's use of refined lyrics and vocal harmonies. Fleet Foxes' second studio album, Helplessness Blues, was released on May 3, 2011, and their third album, Crack-Up, was released on June 16, 2017.
Robin Pecknold and Skyler Skjelset both attended Lake Washington High School in Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle, and soon became close friends. Pecknold and Skjelset bonded over a mutual appreciation of Bob Dylan and Neil Young and began making music together. Their parents influenced their musical tastes early on—Skjelset's mother Peggi was a keen listener to both Dylan and Hank Williams while Pecknold's father Greg was a member of The Fathoms, a local 1960s soul group. The two shared an interest in the music of Dylan and Brian Wilson. Pecknold played bass for Seattle's Dolour on a US tour in 2005, shortly before forming the first incarnation of Fleet Foxes.
Originally going by the name "The Pineapples", a name clash with another local band prompted a change and Pecknold decided upon "Fleet Foxes", suggesting that it was "evocative of some weird English activity like fox hunting". Pecknold took up the role of principal songwriter, both singing and playing guitar, while Skjelset played lead guitar. The original lineup was filled out by Casey Wescott on keyboards and backing vocals, Bryn Lumsden on bass and Nicholas Peterson on drums and backing vocals. Pecknold's late-sixties pop style caught the attention of the Seattle producer Phil Ek and he helped them record their first demo in 2006, the self-released Fleet Foxes EP. Ek was impressed with the band's songwriting, and on hearing Pecknold for the first time, noted, "It was obvious he had talent coming out of his ass." By late 2006 the Seattle press began to take notice of the band; Tom Scanlon of the Seattle Times stated that he was impressed with the band's lyrics and musical maturity. By the end of the year, Lumsden had been replaced on bass by Craig Curran, who would also handle many of the band's vocal harmonies.
With growing popularity on the local circuit, the band set about making their first album in early 2007, spending time in the studio with producer Ek in addition to recording material at home. However, funds for recording were tight, so the band members cobbled together what funds they had, which limited the time they had in the studio, and so the majority of the tracks were recorded in various band members' apartments, other spaces, or the basement of Pecknold's parents' house.