Francis and the Lights

I first heard Francis and the Lights in 2008. I still talked to people about music in 2008 and a friend just sent a link to a video and asked me what I thought. “Tom Waits meets Prince.” For the first couple years—they had the first two EPs out when I started listening—but they were just streaming. The videos were out there, and are awesome—The White Room is a whole show, it’s great too—but it wasn’t until 2010 I realized the EPs had shown up for sale online. 2010 was when It’ll Be Better came out and there was an actual CD. I can’t remember if I bought the CD or just the iTunes or what. But it seemed like Francis and the Lights were going to get recognized. Then they didn’t. Again. There’s nothing rough about the first two releases, which are almost ten years old now. I think Francis and the Lights was what got me accepting non-label of any kind, Internet-first music publishing. I had been wanting to ignore it because I wanted indie labels to make it. I was a late iPod adopter too. I liked grandiose CD collection; it was obnoxious. And there’s something physical to the CD listening experience. Less than the LP or even the cassette tape to some degree. I liked hunting for CDs, I loved finding the store with ancient eighties imports and being able to finally get the Fine Young Cannibals single with the b-side from Tin Men. All digital changes it. But, wow, the new Francis and the Lights is awesome. Farewell, Starlite! And you can just listen to it (for now), because Francis and the Lights are Internet hippies. It’s simultaneously the most commercial and the most wildly ambitious.

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