MMW: Foals

Foals will be played on MMW at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

I can’t remember exactly how I came upon Foals, but I do know it was love at first listen. It was during my math/electro-rock phase (other bands that were getting heavy plays at the time were Klaxons and Kasabian). Foals’ first album, Antidotes, rocked my world. Being a drummer and loving weird beats, this was perfect for my developing skills. I listened almost exclusively to the album and tried to mimic the patterns I was hearing on my set, and it was pretty difficult, since there was a lot of subtle stuff going on. I think that hyper-attentiveness caused me to grow a deeper attachment the album as a whole. My favorite song from that album was, and still is, “Two Steps Twice.” Probably because it has the most interesting drum part, but I also love the ¾ time going into a fucking rockin’ dance beat. So I listened to them for about a year and a half solid.

Then their second album was announced, Total Life Forever. They released the first single, “Spanish Sahara,” and it was quite different from the band I had come to know and love. The song starts out soft and quiet, with not much more than a piano and vocals. I was skeptical. Then the build started to happen. It built and built, and it turned into a beautifully articulate piece. Though it lacked the math-rockiness that I had always associated with Foals, it was amazing. It was Foals, but it was a new, more robust, fuller version. I was taken aback by it, and I was hungry for more; I wanted to know what other changes they had made to their sound, or if this was just one song that showed off that they were branching out a bit. I had to wait a month or so, but eventually their second single dropped, “This Orient.” Here was the upbeat, dance music that I had, admittedly, missed after they released the former single. It still was nowhere near as rhythmically intricate as the stuff from their freshman album, but it showed that they could still make the music I loved them for. All I had to do now was to wait for the album to drop. I was so impatient that I even dropped a bit of extra cash to get it a few days before it was released.

And drop it did. I listened to the first song, and was in love. They had done it. After listening to it again and again, I was convinced that Foals’ sophomore lived up to and even rivaled their first album in terms of greatness. TLF might not quite reach the pure dance/math rock awesomeness that was Antidotes, but it is a great piece of art. It’s also more approachable and accessible than Antidotes was, simply because it’s not dancey and mathy. Today, I think I might actually like TLF more than Antidotes (except for “Two Steps Twice,” which still may be my favorite song they’ve put out). My only request would be for them to FUCKING COME TO PITTSBURGH BECAUSE I WANT TO SEE THEM LIVE AND I’M SERIOUS YOU GUYS.

If you’re interested in hearing a collection of my favorite Foals songs and some very good b-sides and covers by them, tune in to MMW at 5pm on Sunday! I’ve marked up a rough list of what I’ll be playing below:

Astronauts & All (Hummer B-Side)
Two Steps Twice (Antidotes)
This Orient (Total Life Forever)
Hollaback Girl (Gwen Stefani Cover)
Balloons (Antidotes)
Wear and Tear (Miami B-Side)
What Remains (Total Life Forever)
One (Swedish House Mafia Cover)