Artist: Fleet Foxes Track: "White Winter Hymnal" Album: Fleet Foxes Listen

The opening lines of Fleet Foxes -- something about squirrels and s--- -- almost had me turn off the record and throw it out the window, hopefully hitting the kind of street-level indie-rock knob who defines himself by loving off-key songs about squirrels and s---. My friend Daniel McKewen raved about these guys, and I feared for a second he might be one of them. He did name his company Seagull Bags.

These are trying times -- times when America is forced to reckon with all ugly the things we support just by being Americans -- and the last thing I needed was a soft, harmonic throwback to a time when we could actually look ourselves straight in the face. Riding in a car yesterday, Black Flag was pleasant. Angry sounded right.

In the end, I threw nothing.

Fleet Foxes have recorded a fantastic album that is lush in all the right ways, beautiful only where it needs to be and perfectly played throughout. For those who haven't jumped on the only bandwagon that could unseat TV on the Radio from capturing album of the year honors, Foxes borrow from Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Roches, Arcade Fire, headier Beach Boys and The Thrills.

The band wanders, sure, but always come back at the instant before they lose sight of their path. You could call this music folk, but folk came from a people, or at least the idea of one. This music has a thousands birthplaces, a thousand points of contact, all centered on a sound that a great band has made its own.