It was seven years after they started playing together that Los Angeles’ Francisco the Man recorded and released their first LP. It likely would have happened sooner, but life kept intervening following the band’s formation in 2007: They were all finishing up college, their original guitar player left, three of the four members got married.
“When you stop, you lose a certain amount of momentum creatively,” said Abdeel Ortega, the band’s drummer and one of its founding members. “Every time we’d take a hiatus, it was like starting over again. … Having the time to think about songs is great, but losing that momentum sucks. It kind of affects the creative process. That’s been a battle for us, but as of lately we’ve been playing a lot more, and everyone is pushing to make this a real thing.”
It seems appropriate, then, that Francisco the Man’s debut album is titled “Loose Ends,” since it represents a huge sigh of relief for the band – the musical equivalent of crossing a major item off of a to-do list. The band just embarked on their first official tour, and their Saturday show at the Bartlett will be their third stop.
“Loose Ends” is the first record that the band didn’t exclusively record itself – having released several EPs before “Loose Ends” – and Ortega says it differs from their earlier material, which had a rustic, folky vibe inspired primarily by Wilco. Their newer songs have more of an edge, a dreamier, poppier sound reminiscent of bands like Interpol or Band of Horses or Deerhunter.
“The album came together really quickly,” Ortega said. “Some of the songs have been floating around for awhile, but the way it came together was really quick. It was almost spontaneous. … Sometimes songs come to us really quickly. The way we write songs is we kind of jam songs out. We can write a song in an afternoon.”
Being a band in the cutthroat L.A. music scene is hard enough, but navigating it without an album to shill is harder.
“I think we felt the pressure of needing to put out an album,” Ortega said. “It was a now-or-never kind of thing. When you work under pressure, sometimes you think less about stuff and it comes out naturally. It’s more instinct. So having that pressure was a beneficial thing.”
Odds are, however, you won’t have to wait another seven years for Francisco the Man’s next album.
“We definitely want to tour; we definitely want to make a new record,” Ortega said. “As soon as we were done with the first album, we were like, ‘OK, let’s do something else. Let’s do another one.’ It was kind of a big deal for us, putting out this first album, that it just made us feel like something was lifted off of our shoulders. I feel like once we go into album two, there will be a lot more freedom. We won’t be bogged down by that kind of pressure.”
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