Epic Sound from Fitz and the Tantrums

Fitz and the Tantrums seemed to come out of nowhere overnight, with a cool Motown sound, but an undeniably current edge.

“We wanted to mix all these sounds together—old Motown drums with some hip-hop beats and electronic drums with vintage organ and ’80s synth,” band frontman Michael Fitzpatrick told CMJ in April.

And while their song, “Out of My League,” off the 2013 album, “More than Just a Dream” seems to be everywhere at the moment, this six piece band has been around since 2009.

You’ve most likely heard their 2010 single “MoneyGrabber” more recently too. The song is finding a resurgence in a New Amsterdam Vodka commercial. (Aside: Sometimes I feel like I discover all my favorite new music from commercials!)

I’m surprised I just heard of this band more recently, but what could be the culprit is that radio stations wouldn’t touch the original album. This of course has changed for their 2013 release — “Out of My League” and “The Walker” are radio regulars at the moment.

Despite radio’s reluctance to feature them at the beginning, Fitz and the Tantrums  grew a fan base by touring and performing high energy shows that left people hooked.

And the band has made some interesting choices, musically, along the way. On Fitz and the Tantrums first album, “Picking of the Pieces,” there were no guitars present. Fitzpatrick told The Waster he was sick of hearing guitars and wanted to make a “big sounding record” without them.

More recently on the 2013 release, “More than Just a Dream,” guitars were used, but Fitzpatrick says they won’t dominate in their music. The band’s frontman said their were no rules when making their most recent album.

By deemphasizing the importance of guitar the band can focus on the many other instruments present in their music. The band consists of Michael Fitzpatrick (lead vocals and keyboards), Noelle Scaggs (vocals and percussion), James King (saxophone, flute, keyboard, percussion and guitar), Joseph Karnes (bass guitar), Jeremy Ruzumna (keyboards) and John Wicks (drums and percussion).

Scaggs says of the 2013 record’s direction, “We wanted to make a record for how we sound live. It still has a real organic feel to it. We wanted the focus to bridge our music with our live shows. It’s going to be that record where everyone has his or her own favorite songs.”

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