Monday, June 16, 2014

Stream Phox's Delightful Debut LP

By Evan Rytlewski
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2014 is shaping up to be a banner year for debut albums from artists with Wisconsin ties that listeners can't help but fall completely in love with on first listen. First came last month's invigorating debut from Sylvan Esso, a duo featuring Milwaukee native Nick Sanborn on production, and this month it's been followed by the self-titled album from the rising Baraboo, Wis. ensemble Phox, a soulful indie-pop septet with an unusually soft touch.

The album is streaming this week at NPR, where music editor Stephen Thompson writes that the record is executed with "the approachably stylish calm that helped Norah Jones sell tens of millions of records. The band's sweetly sullen folk-pop isn't showy, needy, brash or melismatic, and it's not bound up in a melodramatic backstory. It's ingratiating without crossing into pushiness." He's spot on. In an era where indie-pop bands are falling over themselves to create the flashiest, chirpiest, most marketable Dell computer commercial music possible, Phox are the rare act that trusts their audience to meet them halfway. The album is a delight.

Phox will return to Milwaukee on Wednesday, Aug. 6 for a headlining show at the Turner Hall Ballroom (tickets are $10 and on sale now). We caught up with the group last winter before their New Year's Eve show at the Riverside Theater; you can read that interview here.

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