Michael Todd Berland and Christian Novelli have been releasing music together as Fox Academy for about a decade now, crafting drowsy and adventurous indie rock that will probably appeal to fans of American Pleasure Club, Alex G, Strange Ranger, Oso Oso, and artists of that ilk. Their particular spin on bedroom pop is a bit more woodsy on average, and it involves lots of pop culture references and low-key humor despite the prevailing melancholy vibes. For instance, last year’s Angel Hair includes songs called “NASCAR” and “Property Brothers” and begins with the statement, “I got metal in my headphones/ Metal in my face/ I put metal in the microwave.”
Today the Portland duo adds to their vast discography with rabbit, another batch of bleary guitar tracks dense with emotion and musical ingenuity. There’s certainly an emo undercurrent here — the last two songs profess “Nothing hurts like growing up” and “I hope that I see you tomorrow” — but the aesthetic is more like homespun lo-fi slowcore. And although a handful of guests appear throughout, including Jordana mirroring lyrics such as “How can I help you feel better?” on the stubbly electronic slow jam “Luck,” it mainly feels like stepping inside a mind-meld between two friends who have tapped into the sedated spirit of the times while also upholding a longstanding DIY tradition.
This is ideal music for chilling out, zoning out, or feeling what some millennials refer to as “all the feels.” If that appeals to you, stream rabbit below.