Despite modest publicity via a few respectful online reviews and banner ads on indie-soul friendly networks like Fusicology.com, Phonte says "the demand for it has been high." It has sold nearly 20,000 copies, solid numbers for a solid indie release.
This unusual (albeit increasingly common) approach to issuing Leave It All Behind has only enhanced its intrinsic preciousness. For all its depth, the Foreign Exchange's music is very slick and clean. One of Nicolay's inspirations is Coldplay, which has reduced U2 arena rock theatrics to a hard science. Yet Nicolay's music isn't as cold; it burns with intensity. People who listen to Leave It All Behind without someone to hold them may feel weird and self-conscious.
Neither Phonte nor Nicolay can explain why they're drawn to such lush soul. But they won't apologize for it, either. "It seems to be a recurring theme throughout my career," Phonte says. "Those positive vibrations ... it just makes me feel good."
THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Sat/12, 11:55 p.m., $25$28 (standing room only)
Yoshi's San Francisco
1330 Fillmore, SF