It was only four years ago that Fitz and the Tantrums were sweating it out on the Los Angeles club circuit, relentlessly promoting their first EP. Recorded in frontman Michael Fitzpatrick’s house, Songs for a Breakup, Vol. 1 was only out for a few months before the band exploded on the national scene. One of the many people to pick up a copy was a local tattoo artist who liked it enough to play it in his shop while he worked. It was in the middle of a tattoo when one of his regular customers asked who they were listening to. Eager to talk about his recent discovery, the tattoo artist explained that it was a band from right there in L.A. and gave him a copy of the EP. That customer was Adam Levine, who promptly got Fitz on the phone and invited them to join Maroon 5 on their upcoming arena tour as main support a few weeks later.
It wasn’t long before their debut album, 2010’s Picking Up the Pieces, had them topping the charts and touring the world. Propelled by the raucous single “MoneyGrabber,” fans and critics alike were instantly hooked by the band’s aggressive take on the retro soul sound and the chemistry between co-vocalists Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs. Spin praised Fitz’s emotionally charged vocals, commenting that he sounded like he was “so pissed-off that he could flatten you.” Others were blown away by the dynamic sound created by a band without a guitarist. Is there anything baritone sax can’t do?
To keep things from getting stale, the band brought on producer Tony Hoffer (Depeche Mode, M83) and traded in their Hammond organs for synthesizers on More Than Just a Dream. It’s one of the most diverse pop albums of the year, adding elements of R&B, electro, and new wave to the band’s signature sound. The artwork, a heart-shaped neon sign set against a dark forest, reflects this new 80s-inspired approach while keeping the themes of love and loss alive. As comparisons to Hall & Oates suddenly gained validity, soulful pop gems like “Out Of My League” skyrocketed to the Top 40 and let the world know that Fitz and the Tantrums wouldn’t be going anywhere soon.
Need something to hold you over until Fitz and the Tantrums light up LouFest this fall? Check out live clips, comedy shorts, and behind the scenes footage from the recording of More Than Just a Dream on their official YouTube channel.