Robin Pecknold wrote and produced the band’s fourth studio album, Shore, on his own, using the guitar like a composer to make textured, orchestral songs that uplift.

Fleet Foxes

Shore

Following a three-year break, indie-folk outfit Fleet Foxes has returned with its fourth studio album, Shore, released this autumnal equinox. Their 2017 release, Crack-Up, saw songwriter Robin Pecknold traipsing into structurally abstract territory. On Shore, Pecknold takes his orchestral, reinvented-’60s-rock sound and places it into a more contextualized format, generously embroidering it with Seattle-born brass quartet, the Westerlies. An intently uplifting work, Shore was written and produced by Pecknold without his bandmates—a first under the Fleet Foxes name.

Pecknold uses the guitar like a composer, writing simple motifs from which he extrapolates scenic, technicolor arrangements featuring acoustic and electric interplay, guiding with melodic lines (“Sunblind” and “Thymia”), creating gentle textures on songs like “Featherweight” and “A Long Way Past the Past,” and at times echoing his Beach Boys-esque, reverb-bathed vocals (“Maestranza”). Shore breathes with a sense of midsummer freedom and contemplation, offering a new heart to a tiring season.

Must-hear tracks: “Featherweight,” “Maestranza”


A father-and-son team work together to create an original, futuristic gold guitar, and the result is extremely satisfying.

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While Monolord has no shortage of the dark and heavy, guitarist and vocalist Thomas V Jäger comes at it from a perspective more common to pop songsmiths.

Photo by Chad Kelco

Melodies, hooks, clean tones, and no guitar solos. Are we sure this Elliott Smith fan fronts a doom-metal band? (We’re sure!)

Legend has it the name Monolord refers to a friend of the band with the same moniker who lost hearing in his left ear, and later said it didn’t matter if the band recorded anything in stereo, because he could not hear it anyway. It’s a funny, though slightly tragic, bit of backstory, but that handle is befitting in yet another, perhaps even more profound, way. Doom and stoner metal are arguably the torch-bearing subgenres for hard rock guitar players, and if any band seems to hold the keys to the castle at this moment, it’s Monolord.

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