Underrated Bands #8: Foster the People

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Promotional image for "Sacred Hearts Club", Foster the People's latest album

Trevor Schmitt, Reporter

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Foster the People (left to right): Mark Pontius, Mark Foster, Isom Innis, Sean Cimino

Foster the People are an Indie pop band from Los Angeles, California. The band was formed in 2009. Foster the People consists of Mark Foster (lead vocalist), Sean Cimino (lead guitarist), Isom Innis (keyboardist), and Mark Pontius (drummer). The band was formed after Foster’s years of being a struggling musician and working as a commercial jingle writer. The band is most known for their single, entitled “Pumped Up Kicks”, which was released in 2010.

The band initially started out with two members: Foster and Pontius. Pontius was impressed with the variety of songs that Foster had written beforehand. Shortly after, Cubbie Fink joined the band. Fink was a long-time friend of Foster’s who had lost his job during the 2008 recession. Foster changed the band’s name from “Foster & the People” to “Foster the People” after many people had misheard it as the former, but Foster liked the idea of “taking care” of people and changed the band’s name as a result.

Cover art for “Torches”

In 2010, Foster wrote and recorded “Pumped Up Kicks” and released it as a free download on his website. The band received more fame by performing at the South by Southwest music festival (stylized as SxSW) in March 2010. The band was soon signed with Startime International, a subsidiary of Columbia Records. The band then spent July to September 2010 writing new material for their debut album. “Pumped Up Kicks” was released as the band’s debut single in September 2010. The band released a self-titled EP featuring “Houdini”, “Pumped Up Kicks”, and “Helena Beat” on January 18, 2011. The band then released their debut album entitled “Torches” on May 23, 2011. Over half of the songs on the album were licensed for commercial use: “Pumped Up Kicks”, “Houdini”, “Helena Beat”, “Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls)”, and “Call It What You Want”. The band received two Grammy awards at the end of 2011: Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Pumped Up Kicks” and Best Alternative Music Album for “Torches”. During this ceremony, the band performed with Maroon 5 and The Beach Boys to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beach Boys. At the end of the Torches tour in July 2012, the band had played 295 shows in that 16 month period.

Cover art for “Supermodel”

In 2013, Foster the People were meant to release a new album. At the 2013 Firefly Music Festival, the band debuted four new songs: “A Beginner’s Guide To Destroying The Moon”, “Pseudologia Fantastica”, “Fire Escape”, and “Coming of Age”. With an original release date of November 2013, the band’s second album was delayed to January 2014 to ensure that it wouldn’t “die quickly” in such a busy time of the year. The aforementioned “Coming of Age” was released as a single in January 2014. A mural of the second album’s cover art was painted in downtown Los Angeles, only to be painted over due to some legal controversy. The band’s second album, “Supermodel”, was released on March 18, 2014. Foster announced that the band was working on a third album in March 2015, claiming it to be a bit more “hip-hop”. In September 2015, Cubbie Fink left the band to pursue other opportunities.

Cover art for “Sacred Hearts Club”

In October 2016, the band played at the Rocking the Daisies Music Festival, debuting three new songs from their upcoming album: “Lotus Eater”, “Doing It for the Money”, and “Pay the Man”. In April 2017, the band released an EP entitled “III”. The EP included the aforementioned “Doing it for the Money” and “Pay the Man”, as well as a new song entitled “SHC”. The band released their third album, entitled “Sacred Hearts Club”, on July 21, 2017. This release also marked the first release with Isom Innis and Sean Cimino as official members. The band provided vocals for The Knocks’ “Ride or Die” in March 2018. The band then released a single, entitled “Worst Nites”, in November 2018. The band then released a single, entitled “Style”, in March 2019.

 

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