music crushin’: Foals

6 (2016_08_04 22_28_34 UTC)

As a large crowd settled in for Foals’ main-stage set at Lollapalooza last weekend, it was fitting that a hazy August mist loomed overhead. Hailing from Oxford, England, Foals know how to make music that goes well with fog. Coolly entering the stage, the rockers kicked off their afternoon slot with Snake Oil from their 2016 album What Went Down. Crisp yet psychedelic ramblings from a plethora of instruments, including singer Yannis Philippakis and his Gibson electric, began to rumble out as the five Englishmen wielded their blend of contradictory indie rock.

Listening to Foals is a mind-consuming experience. The band, which has been around for just over a decade, manages to incorporate airy vibes of psychedelics (especially with earlier albums such as Antidotes and Total Life Forever) while coming together in full to be a polished, intricate, and edgy sound, a phenomenon witnessed with other 2000s-born indie rock bands like TV on The Radio and Portugal The Man. What Went Down, released by the band in 2015, is by far Foals’ most mainstream and radio-ready record. However, most Foals fans wouldn’t cite this as a bad thing. The record has been wildly successful: it won the NME Award for Best Album in 2016, and two of its hits, Mountain at My Gates and What Went Down, get regular air time on alternative radio stations. The broad appeal can likely be attributed to the album’s combination of the intricate, funky beats that long-time Foals fans know and love, and a smooth, danceable pop sound that the band has been honing since hit song “My Number” on their 2013 album Holy Fire. It’s also arguably the most “rock” album the band has made, featuring intense, escalating guitar riffs in many of its songs.

“Oh man, I forgot they even played this song!,” A girl next to me exclaimed, gleaming as she bouncily started to sway into the upbeat rhythm of “My Number”. I wouldn’t peg the majority of crowd constituents at Foals’ set as major fans; truthfully, it seemed like the kind of audience that knew one or two hits, or stumbled across it while waiting for another band. For me, this kind of experience is fascinating to witness, and in this case I watched Foals impress themselves upon the mood of the crowd. During most of the set, you had a classic array– hardcore fans dancing jumping around in the very front, and the rest a general consensus of head bobbing and the occasional hands in the air when the vibe amped up. But whether the band picked up on this or not, you wouldn’t know. Instead, all that could be interpreted was Foals’ consistent ability to crank out musically intricate tunes with such beautiful live efficiency. In this way, their set was perhaps most emblematic of the journey of a band; you make your music, try to do it well, and put it out there for the world to hear (and hopefully like). 

By the band’s closer, which was the smooth, edgy, and popular tune What Went Down, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the crowd had experienced a spiritual transition into die-hard Foals fans. But there was a noticeable atmosphere of appreciation and enjoyment radiating from the large gathering of strangers while the skilled musicians boomed their music into the foggy air. Foals might have been going through the typical plight of a band, but this day, they experienced the end goal: make music, do it really freaking well, and get people to love it, too.

drift

 

nicotine pillow pricks keeping me calm
and the sweet song of sky lifts me up and beyond
I’m dreaming of you
or the you that I want,
and their soft hands, soft lips
guiding me on.
spontaneity is key,
and I’m kind of high,
and it’s moments like these:
drifting,
high,
lustful,
mine
that scare me
and gulp me
and help me get by

tropical weather makes for terrible writing

sans mute, brooding clouds

and soul-filling cold,

what is a writer to do?

 
for God knows our air

must match our despair,

so our words can be dark and deep too.

 
how must we write

when our heart is alight

with the tropical sea’s pale blue hues?

 
or the sun glistening down

like a heavenly crown,

washing our minds anew

 
sins must we write,

and take joy in the rite

of pencils singing the blues

 
for if we stopped,

we’d lose our excuse

to be sad,

and depressed,

and acknowledge that truth.

sanctuary

 

 

exit (a poem by kelly page)

the first time i stepped

out of my window, onto the roof

i started with just one foot,

to see if it could hold my weight.

 

i found that the slats were solid,

and did not ripple under me

so i walked out into the sky.

humid air ran through the window

 

over my head and moved my curtains:

a spirit making herself known

which had been quiet in my heart

for too long. we flew away.

fear talk

OTPZ0337

it’s a strange feeling when the world is at your fingertips, and all you can be is afraid.

i am going to a fantastic school in a city i love, with family and friends at close call. i will be challenged, motivated, and inspired, given a chance to engage in the city of Baltimore, and placed in a track for a top-notch career. i’ll be around intellectual people where my interests and passion won’t be seen as strange, but rather accepted as part of a eclectic, smart, and diverse group of humans. in theory, i’m going to my dream school.

so why the f*ck am i scared?

luckily for you, the anxious brain enjoys picking the brain for these kinds of thoughts, so some answers to that question prevail.

i’m not usually one for cliches, but the short and sweet adage “too much of a good thing” has been on the mind lately, particularly in the context of the social atmosphere i’ll be entering.

feeling out of place in high school is, admittedly, something I’ve come to savor. i’ve spent the last four years unabashedly embracing my passions and personality, even when they don’t fit my idea of the social norm. my intentions were good, but they led me down a narcisstic path. feeling like i was somehow different from my peers made me feel like a special little snowflake, and i liked the attention of wielding an intellect and passion that i viewed as beyond the norm.

but where i’m headed, being smart and passionate is nothing special. this doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing– passion and intellect is accepted and embraced with open arms, and if anything, expected from your peers. this means that i likely won’t be the odd one out–instead, what’ll be odd about the situation is the fact that i might not like that.

in all aspects, I am fearing change. what if I decide I no longer love the environment? will I like being in a city? will I lose my love for learning because I care too much about grades? will people like me? will I like myself?

truthfully, I don’t know. but at this point, I must embrace fear and move forward.

I am going to a place I love, and I am afraid.

but change is good–

at least, that’s what they say.

 

 

 

 

buzz

 

i like the way it feels when the liquid

of coarsed, crush life

flows beneath my veins.

 

the brown and bitter

that’s sweet when it swirls

and on the right kind of day makes my

soul whirl.

 

it makes my brain fuzzy

and my life go in spurts,

and write weird poems like this

as the coffee buzz flows