Boy Willows

Light is a frustrating, incurious thing to convey in art. To trap it, reshape it, mold it with intent and focus is a valuable and distinctive skill. You either have it, or you don’t, but you always know when someone has it. Landon Fleischman, the Los Angeles-via-Maryland musician who records as Boy Willows, has it, undeniably so. The vocalist, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist makes music that is spacious and special; his songs, while about specific experiences and moments, also capture those unique, diaphanous moments that seem to only exist in memory: the feeling of the sun filtering through threadbare curtains, or club lights captured from behind the eyelids. His immersive, wrenching vignettes hit with the weight of lost moments reclaimed again, so vivid as they are. Fleischman’s music plays like a personal history of influences mixed and refocused to the point that he is the only definable nexus point. Across the Boy Willows oeuvre, you can hear delicate, indelible harmonies and an innate sense of propulsion, drawn from the R&B and classic rock CDs his father would play him in the car as a child; the intimate pop miniaturism of high school favorites like Sylvan Esso and Jose Gonzalez; daggy but virtuosic tween heroes like Chromeo and Coldplay; and the rich, organic beatwork of J Dilla. At the same time, Fleischman’s music conveys the sense of craft and detail expressed in his extra-musical interests, like set and lighting design, visual art, and embroidery. Although some of these references are undeniably more important to Fleischman’s music than others, they all have a place in his world, fragments of time and personality that coalesce into a sound all his own, defined by warm, warping guitars, hushed-but-brilliant hooks, and dazzling instrumental passages. Like Arthur Russell refracted through the lens of Gen Z, Boy Willows’ music tells a story of unbridled, modernist creativity.