F.G.F. Releases Fourth Album Under Pseudonym
“Fantastic Planet” Explores Roots, Loss
Santa Fe, NM, June 18, 2009 – Felonious Groove Foundation has garnered a loyal following for its bombastic, freewheeling funk-Latin albums and dance-oriented, alcohol-fueled live performances. But the collective reveals a darker and more introspective face with “Felonious Groove Foundation Presents…Fantastic Planet,” the group’s fourth outing since forming in 2000 and most recent effort since 2005’s “Paper Tiger.” The album signals the band’s return to form after a four-month recording break.
“Fantastic Planet” trades in the resounding horns, Latin rhythms and protracted compositions of past FGF albums for a more calculated approach, one focused on songwriting, stringed instruments, vocal harmonies and tightly constructed songs. “We spent years thinking that making a club go crazy was the ultimate goal. So in many ways, ‘Fantastic Planet’ is our anti-funk album,” said Todd Eric Lovato, who with Cali Soberanes, formed FGF in 2000. “But at the same time, I think, somewhat ironically, that ‘Fantastic Planet’ is also the band’s most accessible album. It won’t be a curveball to anyone who knows our music but I also think people will be pleasantly surprised.”
The sound of Fantastic Planet is best explained through its instrumentation, which is made up of a classic rock ‘n’ roll rhythm section (drums, bass, a pair of guitars), and some added twists. Intrigued by the pathos of alt.country and folk, the throwback charm of arpeggiated synthesizers and vintage keyboards and the irresistible four-on-the-floor thump of dance rock, Fantastic Planet draws inspiration from a variety of instruments including banjo, lap steel, subsonic bass, trumpet, vintage keyboards, synths and melodica.
Originating as a side-project of F.G.F., Fantastic Planet formed in January 2008 as a warm-up act for the funk band, an excuse for Lovato and Soberanes to hash out new songs in front of live audiences before dipping into their F.G.F. material. Steadily however, the warm-up material began to steal the spotlight from the headliners, and eventually, the line between F.G.F. and Felonious became ambiguous, which is where the collective stands today. Both bands are now composed of the same members, Lovato (vocals, bass, guitar, lap steel, keys, banjo), Soberanes (vocals, guitar), Paul Cornett (bass), and Ragon Espinoza (drums). The band also performs with local groove maven Noah Walter on keyboards and trumpeter Bryan Highill, a recent California transplant who is nearing completion on his debut solo album, "Lumpy".
Despite the kaleidoscope of sound on “Fantastic Planet,” one musical voice is painfully missing from the new recording. On April 9, just two days before recording sessions for the new album were scheduled, saxophonist David Diaz passed away at age 35 from health complications. Diaz was a current member of FGF/Fantastic Planet and a former member of Latin band Nosotros.
“With Dave gone so suddenly, we thought we might scrap the project, or at least put it off for a while,” said Lovato. “But Dave’s whole life was music and he would’ve insisted that we continue moving forward. The whole recording process turned into a way of creatively channeling that mourning we were all going through – it was therapeutic.” The album is dedicated to Diaz.
“Fantastic Planet” is the band’s second album recorded with award-winning Andrew Click of Stepbridge Studios behind the soundboard. The album was produced by Todd “Skinnyfat” Lovato. Original artwork for the album was produced by local illustrator and graphic artist Jon Sanchez, a recent finalist in the Flight of the Conchords Poster Search and a tour poster artist for musical acts like Neko Case, Calexico, Cursive and Iron and Wine.
For more information, visit www.penguinorecords.com or contact:
Todd Eric Lovato: Partner, Penguino Records (505) 480-3865
Cali Soberanes: Partner, Penguino Records (505) 620-4893