Release Date: Sep 3, 2013
Record label: Woodsist
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Indie Pop, Noise Pop, Neo-Psychedelia
Madness slowing to a soft roll must leave your head a little dry, achy, your bones brittle. Like a hangover. One might think the now-simmering wake Foxygen slam-dunked this spring would leave one-half of the brains, Jonathan Rado, feeling spent, sleepy, in need of a long bath. But after a disco nap and a fresh stick of gum, his debut solo album, Law and Order, suggests he recovered like a champ.
As half of the duo behind Foxygen, Jonathan Rado started off his musical career trying to jam as many ideas and sounds as he could into one song. Their early recordings are whiplash-inducing epics of youthful enthusiasm, but when the band began to channel their ideas into calmer, more traditionally understandable songs, Rado split off to make a solo record to explore as many sounds as he possibly could. Not in one song as he and Sam France had once attempted; on Law and Order, Rado takes a slightly calmer approach and uses each song to delve deeply into something unique.
Foxygen’s devotion to 60s rock knows no bounds. Along with adopting all of those paisley clothes and groovy organ sounds, the polarizing psych-pop duo even conforms to the era’s compressed sense of time. Similar to how the Beatles and the Rolling Stones released new albums every six months, and went through full-scale musical transformations pretty much every other year, Foxygen has already endured a career’s worth of ups and downs since the release of 2012’s Take the Kids Off Broadway EP.
Foxygen's Jonathan Rado and Sam France have been on a manic creative tear. The band recorded and self-released several albums before the EP Take the Kids Off Broadway caught the attention of Jagjaguwar and Richard Swift in the latter half of 2011. Jagjaguwar reissued Take the Kids... in 2012, and a new full-length LP—We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic—followed just six months later.
When Foxygen's Jonathan Rado announced his solo debut, it sounded like it would be a low-stakes respite from the live-blogged train wreck of his main gig. Then touring member and songwriting partner Elizabeth Fey, Sam France's girlfriend, wrote a revealing Tumblr post that alleged it was recorded behind the band's back and without their consent. Welcome to the world of buzz band drama, where even a recorded-at-home-on-an-8-track album comes embroiled in controversy.
Law and Order, Jonathan Rado’s debut solo LP, came to fruition during a short recess from his other project, the divisive Foxygen. The guitarist’s cooked up his fair share of distinctive sounds here, only he’s left the kitchen much too early, leaving a coarse selection of songs that rattle around like brittle skeletons hoping to be fleshed out. Not even White Fence’s Tim Presley, who lends an instrumental hand throughout, could bring this to a full course.
Let’s go back in time, shall we? To the psychedelic start of the year when love was in the air, freedom was tangible and bands got along. Back in February I interviewed Foxygen who were, at the time, getting a lot of attention on the PR hype train. Wooed over by their youthful exuberance, musical talent and overall enthusiasm as I was, one couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was bubbling underneath: this young bunch of musicians were tired, overworked and a bit unready for the media maelstorm their take on psych-rock, 1970s era music had released.