"If only I knew you were in Paris for the weekend, I never would've been her fucking little lapdog..."
It's not common, but sometimes I recall the song that introduced me to a musician. For the band Foreign/National (https://foreignnational.bandcamp.com/) of Melbourne, that song was "Paris". A light, catchy, whimsical tune with lyrics of regret and resentment. In 2014, I found the song within large indie playlist that I had downloaded; back when downloading mp3 files was still a thing.
When consuming large amounts of music, you don't have time to digest everything. Even if you like a song from the playlist, you may never learn anything else about the musicians that made it. It's common to become a fan of a song without ever knowing the band; especially without a previous recommendation.
But for me, if that one song sticks with me long enough, I'll eventually browse their catalog. And while I forgot many songs from that downloaded playlist, "Paris" stuck with me. So two years after my introduction, I went back to check their other tunes.
The selection was limited. At that time, they had 3 singles and one 5 track self-tiled EP. All great tracks, each with something unique to offer. Talented musicians, using minimal effects on their instruments. Lead by distant floating vocals with emotional lyrics. Interesting tracks, each different from the last. I had heard enough to identify myself as a fan of the group. But I was afraid to fall in love.
This was a new band. And with any new band, there are uncertainties. Will they continue to make music? Will they ever release a full album or just occasional singles? Will I ever have a chance to see them perform without a flight to Australia? I followed their career with great interest.
Lucky for me, these guys were the real deal.
In February of 2017, following the release of their debut LP, Dépaysement, Foreign/National relocated to Europe. A run of headline shows in Paris, Stockholm, London and Madrid culminated in a support slot for fellow countrymen King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard in Berlin. The band remained in German capital and, in a small flat next to the Maybachufer canal, began work on their sophomore record. The vibrato-soaked pop of their earlier material gave way to a broader sonic and rhythmic palette: synthesizers took the mantle of guitars, and drum patterns blossomed into exciting poly-rhythmic grooves.
Returning home to Melbourne in 2018, the band spent the year fine-tuning their new album. In 2019, they recorded with Casey Hartnett (Sui Zhen, Dreamin' Wild, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard) in the quiet seaside town of Aireys Inlet before travelling to Los Angeles to mix with Jarvis Taveniere (Real Estate, Mild High Club, Sunflower Bean) at CMPNY Studios.
And now, Foreign/National's second album The Garden is complete. Do yourself a favor and give it spin after checking out our favorites below:
Alex @ EVRD