Spotlight: Foster the People Deserve a Second Look

Their perfect two-song set on Saturday Night Live brings new focus to the band.

By , Columnist

After Foster the People's pumped up performances on Saturday Night Live, it feels right to bring back a bit of notice just in case you didn't catch them on the May release of their debut album, Torches. It would be hard to believe that you haven't heard their phenomenal “Pumped Up Kicks” by now. But sometimes that's just how the ball rolls. If you happen to be one of those late to the party and did not see their recent SNL performance, here's the opportunity to jump in and catch up to what many already know.

Foster the People is an LA band that combines a current, edgy, synth pop style with one that reminds of early '80s new wave. With just three members in the band, they sure can pull some big rabbits out of the hat. “Miss You” is a danceable and commanding track that shows off the band's ability to rock out. But the real talent shows up in “Pumped Up Kicks,” a recognizable and instant radio-friendly hit that has already sold over two million copies. With other well crafted tunes like “Houdini,” which was also showcased on SNL with a surprise visit by Kenny G, “Waste,” “I Would Do Anything For You,” and “Don't Stop (Color On The Wall),” Foster the People are still making their beat felt.


With so many bands moving through rock's turnstiles so quickly, disappearing almost as fast as it takes for you to create a new, up-to-date playlist for your iPod, it's quite refreshing to find a band with as much forward promise as Foster the People. Part of that allure comes from the band's namesake, Mark Foster.

Mark Foster, along with bassist Cubbie Fink and drummer/percussionist Mark Pontius, weave together a bit of an updated My Life In The Bush of Ghosts (Eno/Byrne) with songs like “Life On the Nickel” followed by “Warrant.” Foster the People leave an impression that lasts a long time, giving you a reason to keep an eye out for this band with the big beat and sustaining pop/rock class.

If you were lucky to have seen the band's two-song performance on SNL, then you already know how well they can stage a show. Leaving room for further song innovation like they did when Kenny G joined them only further cements the genius that this band is quite capable of. But while I still enjoy the music found on Torches easily enough, I'm awaiting their next album. And judging by their electric sets on SNL, I'd say their live shows are equally satisfying.

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Matt Rowe began his life with an AM radio, listening to anything that was considered music. Since, he has labored intently to build a collection of music, paring it down, rebuilding, and refining as he sees fit. His decided goal is to keep up with new music by panning for the nuggets among literal mountains…

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