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Year-end lists are rarely as definitive as they claim, but they’re pretty good at calling winners and losers for the year. And while our post-Talking Heads pals didn’t do as well as we hoped in hipster bible Pitchfork’s Top 50 of the Year, we can’t dispute their #1 pick.

This year, it went to the Bruegel-loving harmonizers Fleet Foxes, a well-timed throwback to David Crosby’s California. Of course, it’s not 1966 anymore and they’re representing Seattle, not Southen California, which makes the mood a bit more pastoral and a lot less poppy. And unlike most other songwriters making their way through the blogosphere, the Foxes’ Robin Pecknold has serious music theory chops, so there are a few key changes mixed into the usual folkiness and the harmonies can get downright baroque.

Of course, all that nature means a lot of flannel and a lot of beard. So they should fit right in when they pass through Portland…

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom