By this point, Foxygen’s earned as much attention for its antics as its music. To recap: In the past year, the group released their excellent debut We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic but also its core members Sam France and Jonathan Rado had a fake breakup at CMJ, France walked off stage at one of their SXSW shows after threatening an audience member, and, most recently, his girlfriend and former touring member Elizabeth Fey claimed that the band was on the verge of breaking up due to tension between he and Rado. (According to their publicist, however, they’re not.)
But, soon, the focus should shift back to their music because the group is already working on the followup to We Are…, which carries the relatively concise title Foxygen & Star Power. (Star Power shares its name with the now-withdrawn solo album that France posted online last year, Fey cited in her tumblr post.) “We wrote it over the last 10 months,” Rado recently told Hive. “There’s like 50 or 60 songs right now. It’s kind of all over the place. There’s some stuff that sounds like Nick Drake, Fleetwood Mac — there’s a song that sounds like R.E.M.. It’s going to be wacky. We’re playing a few new ones. We’re playing a song called “Brooklyn Police Station” and a song called “Cosmic Vibrations.”
That eclectic, retro approach was also purposefully evident on the group’s breakthrough — indeed, it’s become their signature sound. “There’s a very specific sound that lasted from ’68 to ’72, maybe, that’s right when they figured out how to perfect recording — when albums became pieces of art, rather than just a band playing and I think that’s what Sam and I are most interested in capturing, and recreating that feeling. We want to make the album a special thing.”
Their intentions might explain why the pair weren’t surprised by the position reception of We Are… “I knew that people would like it because it was done in sort of an unpretentious manner and I feel like people don’t really hate a lot of music that’s done like that,” Rado continued. “I feel like there’s something pretty genuine about it and people respond to that. So I wasn’t surprised that people like it — I’m surprised that it blew up as much as it did. I feel like people can sense if a record is made with ego or things like that and that could be fine — there’s some great records that are egotistical — but I feel like it’s kind of hard to hate something that’s earnest.”
For now, the group don’t have a release date in mind. “It’s not even recorded yet. It might be a while. There’s a lot of songs.” But in the meantime, Rado’s solo debut Law and Order is due out September 3 on Woodsist and, the songwriter says, it offers a similarly ranging sound. “It’s pretty lo-fi. I made it in my bedroom. It’s a varied record.Every song sounds completely different: there’s an ‘80s song, there’s some gritty lo-fi stuff, there’s a Tom Petty-sounding song, there’s other weird crap on it.”
We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic is out now on Jagjaguwar.