Helplessness Blues 5/3
A few bumps have turned up on the road to the harmony-happy folkies' second album, including a fire scare at the band's Seattle studio and a week of recording scuttled by technical difficulties. But Fleet Foxes' biggest obstacle has been their own high standards. "I don't think we'll do a record with this level of scrutiny again, because I like records that feel a little more tossed off," says singer Robin Pecknold. "We just wanted to make sure we were happy with everything." Their meticulousness has paid off for fans: The contemplative lead single "Helplessness Blues," the eight-minute epic "The Shrine/An Argument" and the stirring album closer "Grown Ocean" all hum with an intensity that comes only through great care. - Josh Eells
-Listen: "Helplessness Blues"