These Seattle song birds broke into the folk scene and demanded attention with their impeccable harmonies and year-round flannel. It took only three years and two albums for the foxes to cement themselves as one of the forerunners of the modern folk movement.
Critics couldn't wait to praise the release of their first self-titled album Fleet Foxes and their 2011 follow up Helplessness Blues saw even greater acclaim. Paste Magazine named their 2011 title track, "Helplessness Blues" the #1 anthem of our generation for its commentary on what lead singer, Robin Pecknold, says is the struggle between who you are and who you really want to be. As the song goes: "I was raised up believing I was somehow unique/ Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see/And now after some thinking, I'd say I'd rather be/ A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me/But I don't, I don't know what that will beI'll get back to you someday soon you will see."
Their 2008 debut record Fleet Foxes went platinum in the UK and despite major success in the US, the band has seen greater record sales in Europe.
The band made the cover of the 2011 April issue of Spin magazine with the headline "Fleet Foxes And The Year's Most Beautiful Album." In this issue we also learned that Pecknold has a vice for carcinogens and smokes all natural American Spirit cigarettes.
The band was birthed in Pecknold's junior high bedroom where he first starting playing music with Skye Skjelset. Originally named "Pineapple," the band was forced to take the name Fleet Foxes because another Seattle act already claimed the title.
They recorded their first album in the same building that was home to the production of major records like Nirvana's Bleach. Nirvana was also signed at the band's label, Sub Pop records.
The expert unification of their voices during their hailed harmonies has been compared to the Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash. The most popular example of this is in their debut single "White Winter Hymnal
Their 2011 record Helplessness Blues transverses both the folk and alt-country music plains. The instrumentation includes: 12-String guitar, the hammered dulcimer, zither, upright bass, wood flute, tympani, Moog synthesizer, the tamboura, the fiddle, the marxophone, clarinet, the music box, pedal steel guitar, lap steel guitar, Tibetan singing bowls, and vibraphone.
Robin Pecknold is an avid supporter of illegal file sharing. He explained that music has no inherent cash value, and he went on to tell the Sunday Times that he attributes the band's rapid rise to fame to the consumption of his music through free downloads.
Robin Pecknold's older sister, Aja, serves as the band's manager, and his older brother Sean shoots many of the group's videos. Sean has also directed visuals for the likes of Beach House ("Used to Be") and Grizzly Bear ("While You Wait For The Others
While making Helplessness Blues, Pecknold broke up with his girlfriend of five years. "We ended up breaking up because of the record," he told Q magazine. "It took all of my attention and my capacity for being present in the moment."
Drummer Josh Tillman quit Fleet Foxes by email in 2012. He recalled to Uncut: "There's something kind of ludicrous about that email. 'Look, guys, I'm just a selfish monster. And it's best for everyone if I just engage that.' You know, like best for everyone? Like what does a monster care about that?"
Asked by Q Magazine if Fleet Foxes have a pre gig ritual, Robin Pecknold replied: "Yeah, we do a huddle - sports style. I've been thinking about shows less in musical terms and more in athletic ones. Singing for two hours at the top of my range is an athletic feat, it requires maintenance. Now I can sing old songs and they're interesting because I'm like a ball player who's trying to play their best game."