Release Date: May 23, 2011
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Electronic, Indie Pop, Neo-Psychedelia
Like their super-obvious influence MGMT, this L.A. trio bridge disco elation and psych-pop escapism to take a "hipster"-identified sound onto the radio. Their hit single even has the word "kids" in the chorus: "Pumped Up Kicks" floats lyrics about a happy school shooter in on a slinky groove, misty guitar flange and delicious astral-wimp vocals. The rest of their debut is genre-juggling, bedroom-dance-floor magic cut with moody-boy lyrics (on the Bee Gees-worthy "Helena Beat," Mark Foster sings about taking "a sip of something poison" to escape "the prison I was living in").
This dance-happy, new-wave-friendly California act’s self-titled EP was full of jumpy bass pops and thick synth hooks — the soundtrack to a Day-Glo-tinted barbecue in your brain. On their first CD, Torches, the trio reach for those same plateaus but can’t stretch that far, despite closing strong with the rugged neck-snapper ”Warrant.” Still, like the best dance parties, there are several opportunities to shake, sweat, and hug your neighbor. B Download These:Exuberant Pumped Up Kicks at Last.fmFiery Helena Beat at Last.fm See all of this week’s reviews .
Ah, the good ol’ indie crossover albatross. [b]‘Young Folks’[/b], [b]‘Kids’[/b], [b]‘Paris’[/b], [b]‘Paper Planes’[/b]… you can surely add [a]Foster The People[a/]’s [b]‘Pumped Up Kicks’[/b] to that list now. You know the score: artist writes (undeniably brilliant) pop song, makes it catchy as hell, but quirky enough for the ‘cool’ crowd, song subsequently gets some big pimping from every blog/radio station/Hype Machine user on the planet and, seemingly overnight, becomes utterly, irritatingly inescapable.
"You say, 'Now what's your style and who do you listen to?'" Mark Foster sings on Foster the People's first album, before adding defiantly, "Who cares?" Later, he punctuates "Call It What You Want" with the declaration, "What I got can't be bought." With just a few catchy singles and a reputation for energetic live shows, this L.A. trio already sounds defensive and cagey, as if bristling from some imagined attack. We've heard their sort of scene dissection before, mostly from younger bands entering a fractious pop arena (Arctic Monkeys, for instance), but Foster the People-- at distinct odds with their nurturing moniker-- seem to be daring you to categorize them, assess them, or, hell, even engage with them.
Foster the People's 2011 full-length debut Torches expands upon the indie electronic outfit's '80s synth-meets-'60s psych pop sound. Buoyed by the online buzz surrounding the band's single "Pumped Up Kicks," Foster the People have crafted a batch of similarly catchy, electro-lite dance-pop that fits nicely next to such contemporaries as MGMT and Phoenix. To these ends you get the aforementioned anthem "Pumped Up Kicks," as well as the hypnotic disco hop track "Call It What You Want.
Mark Foster, affable front-man and namesake of California's Foster the People, has recently been enjoying an ascent from destitute jingle writer to populist one-to-watch choice that’s been nothing short of remarkable. Moving to LA from Cleveland when he was just 18 and composing music for TV ads to make ends meet, Foster eventually put a band together, with Mark Pontius (drums) and Cubbie Fink (bass) in 2009, as an outlet to deal with the incessant melodies and choruses rattling around in his head. Then over two days in his dingy Venice Beach flat, he bashed out a catchy little tune about a teenager fantasizing about a killing spree, not knowing it would go on to change his life.
FOSTER THE PEOPLE play the Mod Club June 18 and Sound Academy October 1. Limited NXNE wristbands/passes accepted to Mod Club show. See listing. Rating: NNN Foster the People are often compared to MGMT, but a more accurate description is MGMT without the ambition. Rising to major label status on the ….
Review Summary: Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.Foster the People almost made me want to hate them from the beginning. Don’t get me wrong – “Pumped Up Kicks,” the band’s first single, is easy to love, a MGMT rehash filtered through the surly Strokes-ish vocals of leader Mark Foster, propelled by the kind of hook Apple marketing execs’ wet dreams are made of. No, it was more how I found the band playing a evening set at Coachella off the basis of a three-song EP; how, after enjoying said set, I browsed through summer concerts to see the synthpop group playing a two night set in L.A.
Recent summers have tended to throw up a hit that's slightly indie, slightly pop, and completely unavoidable. Think of Too Fake by Hockey, Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John, or Monster by the Automatic; often these groups find it impossible to sell another song. Foster the People look likely to be 2011's version of that phenomenon thanks to Pumped Up Kicks, which amounts to little more than a bassline and a chorus: "All the other kids with their pumped-up kicks/ Better run, better run, outrun my gun." It's as irresistible as it is infuriating, and by a distance the most memorable thing on their debut.
Kickass debut, a recipe: the Dandy Warhols' glam nihilism, Passion Pit-style dance beats, and Animal Collective experimentation. Shake vigorously, pour over ice, and garnish with dreamy 1960s harmonies impaled on one of those plastic sword thingies. Voilà, you've got Torches, an arsenic-laced fizzy lemonade cocktail. Right now the L.A.
Shabazz Palaces “Clear some space out so we could space out,” Palaceer Lazaro raps on Shabazz Palaces’ debut album, “Black Up” (Sub Pop), summing up the group’s aesthetic. Ishmael Butler, a k a Palaceer Lazaro, called himself Butterfly when he was a leader of the jazz-loving, Grammy-winning New York hip-hop group Digable Planets in the 1990s. Shabazz Palaces, based in Seattle, is far sparser and stranger, and darkly innovative.
A debut of MGMT-like magic to leave you pumped up for more. Mark Beaumont 2011 Indie rock is undergoing a much-needed regeneration of late. Reedy guitars hold less sway, funk punk is finally packing up its cowbell and the glum cells of black-clad doom-mongers imitating Ian Curtis because they can’t actually sing are headed for the shadowy obscurity to which they so tediously aspired.