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Album Review: Animal Collective – Fall Be Kind (Domino)

fall be kindHow can Animal Collective follow up on Merriweather Post Pavilion, and all the hype that came with it? Remember all of that? Everybody was gushing about how great it was going to be. The Web Sheriff roamed the internet and sent cease and desist orders to any blog that dare leak it, causing somebody to literally hack into Geologist’s e-mail account and write a fake e-mail saying the band wanted the whole thing out there so it could be properly heard as a full album. Eventually Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste got caught in the Sheriff’s crosshairs when he posted “Brother Sport” on his band’s blog and got involved in a strange internet battle that ended with him issuing an apology letter.  MT-frickin’-V.com wrote an article (there wasn’t enough Miley Cyrus news that day?) about how the vinyl might land on Billboard’s Albums Chart (it didn’t).

Then it finally came out. The CD version did, however, make the Billboard Albums Chart, and the band got caught up in a whirlwind of buzz and media attention that vaulted it to being one of the most talked about acts in indie rock, opening them up to a whole new audience. Some declared it the best album of 2009 back in January, and ever since it has been dissected and rebuilt by fans, bloggers, and critics alike. A contingent of the band’s older fans, including our own Nolan Conaway, lamented that the album lacked the same elements that caused them to fall in love with the band in the first place (more on this later).

That about brings us up to speed, where we now receive Fall Be Kind, a five-song EP comprised mostly of Merriweather-era leftovers. EPs are usually pretty insignificant when considering a band’s entire body of work, but Animal Collective has spent their entire career putting out EPs that sonically differentiate from the albums that preceded them while still remaining equally as challenging. Fall Be Kind is perhaps their best. And unlike most EPs released by any artist, this seems to have a natural flow and cohesion that make it far more than just a collection of what was lying around from the studio sessions.

Read the rest…

Live Review: Animal Collective, Daniel Higgs @ the Ottobar (2009.05.09)


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MP3: Animal Collective – Who Could Win A Rabbit

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MP3: Animal Collective – Summertime Clothes

Animal Collective’s cult-like status was built on elements like their masked press photos and indecipherable lyrics, but the stuff of legend was found in their live performances. For all previous tours, the trio would use their live shows to preview tracks from upcoming releases…which is why anybody who saw them tour off of Strawberry Jam probably heard “My Girls” before it was remixed by a thousand DJs. Furthermore, interviews with the band revealed that not only had they lost or destroyed the samples of a lot of their older material…but that they’d actually forgotten the words to some of their fans’ favorite songs. So, if you really liked that one song off of Sung Tongs and couldn’t wait to see it live…you’d probably have to keep waiting.

Yet, based on their performance Sunday night, Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist appear to have thrown some of this dogma out of the window. Read the rest…

Album Review: Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)

medium_animal-collectiveWhat is this?

I remember the days when Animal Collective would whirl me along in their otherworldly tornado when I put my headphones on. Remember “Leaf House”? Those two-and-a-half minutes of perfection? I do.

And “The Purple Bottle”? The formless wonder-pop of Feels? Remember when Avey Tare and Panda Bear would bedazzle you with lyrics that seemed like a task to decipher? I remember.

If Merriweather Post Pavilion is any indication of the Baltimore natives’ future aspirations, those days of unconventional song structure and general madness are long gone. On Merriweather, Animal Collective offer us their most predictable album yet; but rather than disappointing, they place a very necessary lid on the bottle of joy that they’ve been pouring out consistently since they started making music way back in high school. Read the rest…