Robin Pecknold teases new Fleet Foxes record ‘Ylajali’
image credit: wikimedia We have seen a number of interesting marketing tactics in the music industry in the past few years, from Beyoncé dropping her self-titled album with no warning in 2013, to Radiohead members steadily deleting their entire social media accounts and website leading up to the release of ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ in 2016. No doubt, with the advent of the internet, this new type of “guerrilla marketing” has become a powerful tool in the hands of a competent marketing team, allowing for the exposure to surpass what is capable with traditional promotion. Perhaps this is what Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold was aiming for when he recently hinted at a new album on Instagram, and then promptly deleted the post. The image showed a playlist in Pecknold’s iTunes library containing the indie folk band’s three releases and a fourth, unknown record by the title of Ylajali (the name of a character from Knut Hamsun’s modernist classic “Hunger”).
Pecknold had referenced the eventual release of a follow up album to 2011’s “Helplessness Blues” prior to this post, originally titled ‘Crack Up’, but this title has since changed. A few eagle-eyed reddit users managed to catch the tracklisting while the post was up, and can confirm that “Crack Up” will be one of the new tracks. A few songs that Pecknold played on his 2016 solo tour are also among the new songs, such as the sublime “Northern Dancer / Kept Woman”. Also of note is the logo of Warner owned label Nonesuch Records, indicating the end of band’s contract with Sub Pop.
Along with the announcement of a 2017 tour, this record will break the band’s 5 year hiatus, which saw the departure of drummer Josh Tillman (who went on to rebirth his solo career as Father John Misty). He has since been replaced by Neal Morgan. Pecknold has said that the album may have a “folk-soul” sound to it (which for me, only conjures thoughts of “Rubber Soul”), which would be an interesting contrast to the more indie, reverb heavy sound of the self-titled debut and the “Sun Giant” EP, and the more traditional, intricate sound of “Helplessness Blues”. Whatever it is that the Foxes have in store, it is bound to make for an interesting new chapter in the book of American folk music.