Among the slew of rising Michigan artists in the music industry, Grand Rapids’ Watching for Foxes are the ones with the most to prove. Reworking their process as a band from the bottom-up over the past year, the seven-piece folk outlet revitalized and refreshed their music into a brand that they’ve called “flannel rock”, pulling from influences such as Arcade Fire, Father John Misty, and Mumford & Sons to craft an amalgam experience not quite exactly like either of the aforementioned.
They have met their respective local music scene with a verve that had not previously been detectable since this latest realization, which has naturally brought a lot of interest to their upcoming album, Undone Bird, due out June 10. The band is premiering Undone Bird ahead of its release exclusively to PopMatters.
About the album, frontman Joey Frendo says, “This project was really a labor of love for us. We spent a ton of time crafting this album, from track sequencing and album art, to rehashing old songs and creating new ones, and we hope that hard work and attention to detail really shines through. The band has a belief about how albums should be a sonic experience on their own, a cohesive piece of arts that impacts the listener.”
“Ben Zito, our engineer and producer for this album, really helped us drill down on what we wanted to highlight and how we would make this album unique. He did a fantastic job, and we really feel like the album has a moment-in-time feel. The album itself is polished enough but has a lot of takes that were live because we loved how raw it sounded. A lot of the first albums from bands we love have that feel, that aesthetic. You can tell that they poured everything into those albums and they recorded it in a way that toed this beautiful line between control and chaos, allowing them to capture not only a story within the songs, but an additional story behind the actual making of the album. That’s what we had in mind when creating Undone Bird.”
“On the content of the album, it’s a concept album that follows a really formative and somewhat tumultuous time in my personal life. This album is about transition, a lot of proverbial death and rebirth between the various cycles that my life was going though. A couple handful of albums really pushed me to write something undeniably personal, something that was so much about my own struggles, albums including Carry the Ghost by Noah Gundersen, Southeastern by Jason Isbell, HEAL by Strand of Oaks, I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty, and I Forget Where We Were by Ben Howard. Not only do these albums have things sonically that draw you in, they have honest, emotional storytelling that is hyper-personal; we aimed to achieve the same with Undone Bird.”
“Music and literature have really given me an outlet and an escape, especially during the particular time Undone Bird was being written, and I really used those albums as crutches through my own difficult time, and I hope that people can hear where we draw from those records. In that same way, my hope is that my stories and the stories the band as a whole is able to create through these songs can resonate with others and help in some way, shape, or form.”