Austin City Limits - Fleet Foxes / Joanna Newsom

Updated Wed, Jan 4, 2012 1:31 pm

Austin City Limits - Fleet Foxes / Joanna Newsom

Saturday, Jan. 21, 10 p.m.


Folk meets indie rock with Fleet Foxes and Joanna Newsom. Fleet Foxes draw from their latest LP Helplessness Blues. Joanna Newsom follows with her ethereal acid folk.

Since their eponymous debut, Fleet Foxes’ inimitable blend of pastoral harmonies with vivid lyricism and gentle baroque instrumentation has clearly demonstrated the band’s ability to captivate a widespread audience. Tonight, the band brings their modern folk ballads to the Austin City Limits stage for their first appearance on the show.

The Seattle quintet formed in 2006 through friendship and a mutual appreciation of Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Shortly after, Fleet Foxes released their first demo, the self-released Fleet Foxes EP, and quickly acquired growing popularity on their local circuit. The band had attracted over a quarter million song plays on their MySpace purely by word of mouth by the end of 2007, which soon translated into a record deal with Sub Pop Records. By 2008, the band’s self-titled debut album achieved tremendous success from fans and music critics alike and became one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2008. Rolling Stone included the album in their list of 100 Best Albums of the 2000s, while The Guardian described it to be “a landmark in American music, an instant classic.”

With the release of their newest album, Helplessness Blues, in May of this year, the band’s rise to prominence has yet to stall. Singer-songwriter and guitarist Robin Pecknold said he had intended for the album to sound “less poppy, less upbeat and more groove-based.” Focused more on cohesion and all- in-one-take recordings reminiscent of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, the album’s slight departure from their signature sound has proven to entice audiences even further.

Avant-garde folk princess Joanna Newsom has wooed audiences from all over with her unique songs that reflect her deep running, musical roots. Critics and fans have fallen for her ability to express strong emotion and feeling through her unparalleled voice. Tonight, Newsom makes her debut on the Austin City Limits television show.

Growing up in a musically gifted family, Newsom started taking piano lessons at a very early age. She took a liking to many musical instruments including the harp, which she began playing at age seven. Newsom often went to folk music camps in the summer. In high school, she pursued composing while also studying song writing on the side.

Eventually, she decided to meld her love of creative writing with her vast compositional knowledge. Her debut album, The Milk-Eyed Mender (2004), received recognition from music reviewers such as Pitchfork for exhibiting a “highly individualized and eccentric” sound. The praise was just beginning, as her sophomore album, Ys (2006), “demonstrated more nuance, depth of feeling, and originality than a hundred bedazzling pop divas” (Pop Matters). With Newsom’s third and most recent record, Have One On Me (2010), the young vocalist continued to receive acclamation.