Foxhole
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Foxhole

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Score: 8/10

I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t really get Foxhole for a rather long time. High ranking postitions on The Silent Ballet Top 50 lists not-withstanding, I didn’t really understand the praise that was being heaped on them by certain critical outlets – in this case, my own. I certainly had nothing against Foxhole. I thought that they were an extremely solid band of the instrumental persuasion, if perhaps nothing extraordinarily special. Yes, you could say that my opinion would’ve been adequately summed up by that wonderful expression: “Pretty good, I guess.” Even after more than a couple spins of this re-release of Foxhole’s debut LP – an act for which we should all be thanking the wonderful people over at Burnt Toast Vinyl - it just wasn’t clicking. They just seemed to be playing the same thing over and over. I was quite prepared to just give the album a 6.0 and call it a day.

But the astute reader will already be aware that this did not end up happening. What precipitated this abrupt elevation of score? As it happens, the story is a bit round-about. The staff of The Silent Ballet is currently preparing to release yet another one of our retrospective Top 50 lists, this time focusing on the year 2002. Having tired slightly of We the Wintering Tree, I decided to do some research for my input to that list: this meant listening to The Mercury Program’s incredible effort from that year, A Data Learn the Language. This is an album that at times seems to be constructed of nothing more than variations in pattern of the same five or so notes, but every possible interpretation of those notes is examined, and the result is pure beauty. Then, right in the middle of “Slightly Drifting,” it hit me: Foxhole and The Mercury Program are kindred spirits. They both display the same willingness to mull over all the possibilities of their music, shining lights into every corner and making sure that each contextual approach receives the same respect. This was a startling revelation.

Armed with this new insight, I returned to We the Wintering Tree and was subsequently blown away. It’s rather amazing what revelations a fresh perspective can bring. What previously seemed tedious now was methodical; what was repetitive became analytical; what was already dynamic now seemed positively tornadic.We the Wintering Tree, I realized at long last, is essentially one massive idea, taken apart, rearranged, and reintroduced multiple times throughout the course the album.

Album-opener “A Series of Springs and Falls” begins slowly, with multiple measures containing no more than a single guitar down-stroke. Eventually it is joined by bass, trumpet, and some of the heaviest and most reverb-laden drum kicks I’ve ever heard. This is actually a very intentional aspect of the album’s production: it was recorded live in a small country church which essentially consisted of one big room. An imaginative listener can almost see the bass drum’s sound waves bouncing off multiple walls, each imbued with humble country piety, accumulating the subtle spirit of these hallowed grounds with every reverberation. “A Series of Springs and Falls” represents a halting, hesitant look at life, one which has known joy, but also much sorrow. To use but one word in every possible shade of its meaning, this song is anxious.

And then a bell rings out, and we are blessed with “The End of Dying,” a much faster and more upbeat song. Where the last track exuded a sense of insecurity about the future, this one instead finds the possibility of unremitting joy. The trumpet is used to full effect here, blasting out with all of the friendliness and warmth for which that instrument has become so renowned – think of “Stolen Moments” by The Six Parts Seven if a more concrete example would help (the two songs are not actually very similar, but the trumpet is used in much the same way). Interestingly, the brass doesn’t even make it in until the song is halfway over. This serves to make its eventual arrival all the more noticeable, and we begin to understand why brass instruments were used in the past to herald welcome news – in this case, perhaps an angelic messenger proclaiming the title of this song.

The next song, “Dead Rimes,” presents a rather gloomier interpretation of this one-way street we call “life” – but the contrast between this song title and the last probably told you that already. “Spectacle,” the fourth track, presents an observational note, and the aptly named “Lent” gives us a short fasting period immediately following. In case you’ve been picking up on a trend here, all of the tracks are superbly titled; although fans of instrumental music know that the relevance of song titles to their content will oftentimes be shaky at best, the correspondence between content and label in this case is really quite astounding.

After a few more sonic gems, we arrive at the next-to-last track, “A Lion in Winter/Long Live the King.” Even before my sud - The Silent Ballet, www.thesilentballet.org


(Translated from the French)

Foxhole, quintet American post-rock'n'roll ... which exists since 2000, is based since the beginning in Bowling Green, in Kentucky, not far from Louisville and which thus they lived in real time and on line the birth of a kind, the first steps of the post-rock'n'roll in those of the post-hardcore, through formations like Slint, Rodan or Rachel' S.

What one finds at Foxhole, it is not so much the heritage of these group which especially their manner of being and of thinking, part of their intelligence. And ' We the wintering tree' to dissociate vague post-rock'n'roll very clearly, with a music particularly significant, shivering and original, of the spontaneous structures for which have is completely unable to predict what will arrive thirty seconds later. In this direction, Foxhole is the anti-explosion ones in the Sky, in the sense that there succeeds in remaining enthralling. Obviously, it is post-rock'n'roll, but more with the manner of Red Stars Theory, Unwed Sailor, Seam, Rachels, Boys Life, C-Clamp, The Player Piano or first This is has process of has still life.

It is an album particularly difficult to encircle bus inside its extreme coherence one feels musical influences much broader and an extreme ease and self-confidence. Each one of their compositions keeps something of open, as if their writing were not completely finished, registered in the moment when it is played.

With Foxhole one finds feelings which one had not little had for ten years, of this time when the kind was still young person and free and where each group could bring its vision. It is a little as if Foxhole had not been intended to become a post-rock'n'roll group, that by chance their music returned in the definition of the kind.

' We the wintering tree' is thus a formidable success bus at the same time it fills the purists and proposes a directly perceptible, fluid and fascinating approach. For as much one is not really with speaking about masterpiece bus beyond his smoothness and of its successes, the group seems able to go even further, to aim higher. But at least it is a question of an album post-rock'n'roll to be kept among essential kind.

There is no title in particular which will unchain passions, it is the whole of these cinquante-trois minutes rather which distils a charm difficult to point particularly. "A Series of Springs and Falls" is a beautiful introduction between sensitive guitar and coppers.

"The end of dying" attacks on the math-rock'n'roll plan of the iceberg but with an extraordinary fluidity, reaching even a contemplative apogee very of coppers covered. Only for this piece, the group would deserve to be signed on 54°40 ' gold Fight!, because it equalizes there best 31Knots, Dilute or Eyes of Autumn.

Always impressing a wrongfully calm and slackened "Dead rhymes" but which in fact are a formidable work of tension maintained then slackened, defused explosions with half and dynamic escapes ahead, the whole with a precision out of the commun run, worthy of Shipping News of the beginnings or Seam. To listen in loop while having the impression to go at the edge of a chasm, the cut breath, the adrenalin which runs in the arteries.

Surprised, a song intimist starts accompanied by a delicate guitar on "Spectacle", as invaluable as of Red Stars Theory, god as this group left too quickly. Amen, of pure the slowcore atmospheric actually. The kind of piece to be only listened, trembling, in the black. Pretty decorated interlude of piano and small bells for "Slow".

On glorious and luminous "At right angles" one thinks somewhat of Mineral of ' EndSerenading '. Sink, stripped, slow and night, "A children' S canto" rises like fogs dancing on the plane surface of a lake, one or two degrees only above zero, the piece as is unfortunately not ended as it would be hoped for and Foxhole seems to be to let wedge in a funerary neo-classic screen.

But this smaller piece is intelligently placed before a epic figure eight minutes, a "Lamentation" velvety of coppers and a sun reddening on the countryside of semi-be. One imagines without sorrow the silhouette of reaping-machines threshing-machines in action on the horizon, some birds which plane high in the sky, the breeze which agitates the frondaisons of thickets, there are the taste of happinesses and joys simple at Foxhole.

Unfortunately, the group mixes again a little the brushes in "A long lion in winter/live the king" too confused. Fortunately the album finishes on the poignant sadness of a "Through bone and marrow" as somebody who would move away little by little while walking and which one ineluctably looks at little by little the silhouette étioler and to be based in the landscape.

' We the wintering tree' it is thus more the discovery of a group to the not very common sensitivity and the high potential which the true meeting with an entirely succeeded work. The heart of the musical myth that is Louisville start - Derives.net


Mar 7, 2008
By Matt Kiser

When the four children in C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe enter the back of the wardrobe and cross into the fantastical alter-world of Narnia, the concepts of time and space become confused, contrasting the rigid structures of society with a world stuck in a deep, solemn winter slumber. Like a critter crawling from hibernation, awakened to find autumn turned to spring, the beautiful, instrumental post-rock-ish songs of Bowling Green, Kentucky, band Foxhole sound this changing of seasons as the ebb and flow of winter's frozen silence begins to gradually thaw. Though originally released in 2004, this debut full-length has long been out-of-print, acting as the lost season in their evolution till now. As the horns slowly cry through a gale of plucked guitars, there is a sense of enchantment, but the story quickly changes into a rapid, adventurous slay ride through feverish, rhythmic and hypnotic angular guitar runs before being hit with a dissonant warning sound and a thick blanket of distortion, while the bass rumbles along in as if foreshadowing the changes to come. Like being frostbitten, Foxhole stunningly characterizes the forgotten woods draped in snow and the childhood fantasy adventures that occur within the ancient, ominous walls. - CMJ Weekly Email (Foxhole featured band)


Foxhole
We the Wintering Tree
Burnt Toast — US
Rock / Indie
7/10

Like their Kentucky brethren The Shipping News and Slint before them, Foxhole gravitates toward the crystalline and the thunderous, building crescendos and extended codas with each epic near-instrumental. And they're as equally into the math and lit, going so far to quote St. Augustine of Hippo's horny Christian Confessions on their MySpace Page. Sweeping, dynamic epics like "Lamentation" and "A Lion in Winter/Love Live the King" are pious exhortations of intertwining riffage, while even upbeat bangers like "The End of Dying" feel like they are trying to recruit with righteous anthems. The secularists should be comforted by the near total lack of vocals, but everyone who digs a hallowed, multi-part rock musical should feel that Foxhole's sonic Jesus is just all right with them.
- XLR8R Magazine


Discography

ALBUMS
"EP1", self-released five-song EP, recorded and hand-packaged in spring 2002.
"EP2:X", self-released, limited-edition live recordings of improvisational songs, self-issued at shows only in spring 2003.
"We the Wintering Tree," debut full-length. First released on Selah Records (Michigan) in spring 2004, produced and recorded by Foxhole, mixed at T.Bush Record Plant and mastered by John Golden Mastering. Reissued by Foxhole in 2006, reissued again (and on 2xLP vinyl) in 2008 by Burnt Toast Vinyl (Philadelphia, PA).
"Push/Pull" five-track "short album" released summer 2006 by Burnt Toast Vinyl; also appeared in abbreviated manner as one-fourth of a 2xLP, four-band compilation, also on Burnt Toast Vinyl.

SINGLES
"Ooee", featured on the forthcoming "Murkville" compilation, a soundtrack to a children's novel. Also included as a bonus track on vinyl reissue of "We the Wintering Tree"
"The End of Dying" featured on Mono Vs. Stereo compilation.
"The End of Dying" featured on Etnies BMX video.

CHARTS
"We the Wintering Tree" charted briefly on CMJ.

Photos

Bio

Oft compared to bands like Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You Black Emporer!, Foxhole has aspired to more than quiet-to-loud, layer-upon-layer riffage. No, their music is more neo-classical than post-rock, more stirring and substantial. After two self-released EPs, the group released their first full-length in 2004 via Michigan-based Selah Records (Anathallo, The Last Broadcast). “We the Wintering Tree,” a hour-long meditation on death and rebirth, was released to much acclaim; though missed by most major reviewers, the CD was praised by numerous indie zines including Bandoppler, and was listed as a “favorite” by bands as varied as Bleach and Sparta (ex-At The Drive In). A number of tracks made it into regular rotation on college radio from Atlanta to Alaska, even charting on CMJ for a time. It has since been reissued by Philadelphia’s Burnt Toast Vinyl.
Their latest short-album, “Push/Pull,” was recorded for Burnt Toast Vinyl and released in summer 2006. A graphic illustration of a friend’s death at sea, it further develops their expansive, lustrous soundscapes… their characteristic delayed guitars and muted trumpets are joined by keys, strings, and familiar sounds in unfamiliar settings.

Despite their varied careers (artists, entrepreneurs, English teachers, etc.), the group has played all over the U.S. with such bands as Danielson, Saxon Shore, Denison Witmer and Unwed Sailor. They’ve also been featured on various compilations in the U.S. and Europe.