Tag Archives: Animal Collective

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Mutual Benefit Headline The Bowery Ballroom Tomorrow Night

September 12th, 2014

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jordan Lee founded his band, Mutual Benefit, in Austin, Texas, making experimental music influenced by folk and psychedelic rock that earned him comparisons to Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens and Animal Collective. But he soon decamped for Boston to record and play with some friends there. Lee has since made his way to Brooklyn, but he continues Mutual Benefit (above, performing “Animal Falconry” for KEXP FM) with a rotating lineup of talented musicians. The band’s debut album, Love’s Crushing Diamond (stream it below), came out last fall to rave reviews. “The songs are fully formed and finely detailed, each taking on a life of its own,” according to Consequence of Sound. “Much like a great book keeps a reader riveted until the last pages are turned, Love’s Crushing Diamond leaves a hope that it could continue on and on.” Baltimore chamber-folk ensemble Soft Cat and Brooklyn four-piece Bellows open.

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No Reason to Fear Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks at The Bowery Ballroom

April 22nd, 2014

Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks – The Bowery Ballroom – April, 21, 2014

(Photo: Jeremy Ross)

(Photo: Jeremy Ross)

With a band name like Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, you’d figure the music would be weird and spooky. And what do you know, their sold-out show last night at The Bowery Ballroom was indeed just that. The spookiness was mostly provided by the stage setup, which included oversized skulls, like leftover Halloween decorations. These were lit with colorful projections to a somewhat trippy effect while the band remained cloaked in the dark shadows between them, virtually invisible to the crowd. The weird was provided by the music, played by Tare (Dave Portner), from Animal Collective, on guitar and vocals, Angel Deradoorian, formerly of Dirty Projectors, on keyboards and vocals, and Jeremy Hyman, formerly of Ponytail, on drums. The set list was mainly comprised of material from the trio’s lone album, Enter the Slasher House—songs that combine the aesthetics of the member’s musical roots.

As the set began, the music seemed to resist melody altogether, feeling almost like a collage of sounds and lyrics. With Deradoorian and Portner pushing the boundary between an almost doo-wop-y pop and free-form psychedelic, it was Hyman who became the focus, his drumming added to the chaos while controlling it and reining it in. Eventually, the show found its groove without sacrificing its quirky, rotated feel. The Billy Joel–on-acid sound made way for a Blondie-cracked-open-and-scrambled disco feel, with Deradoorian filling in with pulsing basslines on her synthesizer. It was like your eyes getting acclimated to the dark, finally seeing the details of the musicians lurking between the skulls and hearing the music they made for what it was. And as it turns out, the Slasher Flicks are nothing to be afraid of. —A. Stein

 

 

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Animal Collective Continue to Take Risks

October 29th, 2013

Animal Collective – Union Transfer – October 28, 2013

(Photo: Jared Levy)

Animal Collective maintain a following by continually challenging and redefining their sound. There’s nothing easy about listening to radio interference and white noise, but buried in the experimental band’s musical trances are subtle shifts and changes. The pleasures are similar to gazing at a piece of visual art where you start with base enjoyment and then peel back layers of understanding until there’s confusion … and then what?

The dial was continually turned on last night at the second sold-out show of Animal Collective’s two-night stay at Union Transfer in Philadelphia. Most of the songs came from their latest album, Centipede Hz, where the idea of crafting a live show through radio mimicry was originated. The stage setup, designed with dangling teeth and a projection screen coiled around a pointy felt tail, also drew from the album. The images were that of tropical-colored spin art flashed in time to the music. The night’s theme was Halloween, and costumed attendees filled the venue. Some dressed as animals, perhaps as an ode to Animal Collective, but the band members looked more like a collection of smoked-out zombies. There was little talking—some kind words about the opener, Dan Deacon, and Halloween—but screeches and industrial-noise loops cued the next song and then the next song until one began that everyone knew: “My Girls” with the chorus repeating, “I don’t mean to seem like I care about material things, like our social stats/ I just want four walls and adobe slats for my girls.”

It was during this song—along with some other tracks off Merriweather Post Pavilion—in which people pushed forward and even the quietest attendees mouthed the words. Still, there were distinctively difficult moments, notably the breaks before “What Would I Want? Sky” and “Peacebone.” These numbers blossomed from a struggle to arrive at the opening notes. Risky behavior for some bands, but for Animal Collective, the pleasure of their music is intrinsic to the process of its creation: four minds molding and dismantling sound. —Jared Levy

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A Trippy First Night of Animal Collective

December 5th, 2012

Animal Collective – Terminal 5 – December 4, 2012


Back in early October, if you listened very closely, you could almost hear entire parts of Brooklyn collectively sighing upon hearing the news that Animal Collective’s Williamsburg Waterfront show was cancelled. All right, so maybe that’s not entirely true, but luckily for fans, the band is back in New York City to make good on their earlier reservation, playing two nights at Terminal 5 with a healthy Avey Tare and an extra month of touring behind them.

Last night Animal Collective performed before a setting of ever-changing Day-Glo colors, in what looked something like a live-action interpretation of the cover of their latest album, Centipede Hz. Although the band sampled heavily from the new LP, a few Merriweather Post Pavilion favorites also found their way into the set. Moments between tracks were filled with lengthy improvisational segues. At times it felt like their songs sprouted organically from the band tinkering away at the instruments. The audience lost it when a few yelps from the beginning of “Brother Sport” weaseled into the drawn-out ending of “Monkey Riches,” teasing fans that a favorite was on its way. “Brother Sport” has evolved substantially since its recorded version, becoming much more drawn out live. By the time it hit its repetitious catchy hook in the middle of the song, the bass became extra heavy, as if to ensure the hypnotic hook was drilled deep into the listeners’ subconscious.

And even with all the crazy multicolored projections barraging the senses, it was still plenty entertaining to watch psych spelunker Geologist, with his signature headlamp, rocking out onstage—with the severity of his head-banging serving as the best indicator of the music’s intensity. Animal Collective grew up huge fans of the Grateful Dead, and without going overboard with the comparisons, there’s plenty the two bands have in common: From a superdevoted fan base to the improvised nature of their live shows, history might look back at Animal Collective as a continuation of many Deadhead traditions. We’ll just have to wait to see how the rest of their career unfolds, but what a long strange trip it’s been so far. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

(Animal Collective play Terminal 5 again tonight.)

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Two Nights of Animal Collective at Terminal 5

December 4th, 2012

The four guys in Animal Collective—Josh Dibb (Deakin), Noah Lennox (Panda Bear), David Portner (Avery Tare) and Brian Weits (Geologist)—began playing music together in late-’90s Baltimore. They shared united interests in psychedelic folk and a wide range of musical genres, plus studio experimentation. But despite putting out albums—including side projects and solo efforts—since 2000, it wasn’t ’til the release of 2007’s Strawberry Jam and its ensuing tour that the four-piece really began to gain recognition. The spotlight didn’t cool down with their following release, Merriweather Post Pavilion, two years later, which received near universal acclaim. Deakin didn’t partake in the recording of that album or its tour, but now he’s returned to the band for their most recent LP, Centipede Hz (stream it below). Of course, with a new album comes a new tour, and Animal Collective (above, doing “Today’s Supernatural” last year at Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell) play Terminal 5 tonight and tomorrow.

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Yeasayer Close Out Tour in Central Park

September 13th, 2012

Yeasayer – Rumsey Playfield – September 12, 2012


Central Park! Yeasayer! Beautiful September weather! Babies! Put all these things together (OK, well, except for the babies) and you’ve got the essential ingredients for a perfect show to usher out the summer outdoor-concert season. Wednesday night was the final stop of Yeasayer’s tour promoting the release of their latest album, Fragrant World . Their tour is being cut short thanks to the birth of Yeasayer mult-instrumentalist Anand Wilder’s new baby daughter, who was born on Saturday. The guys in the band welcomed the good news like the baby was all of theirs. Chris Keating joked several times throughout the set that they were returning to their hometown, New York City, to raise the newborn as a group.

When it comes to all the bands that have come out of the mid-aughts, Yeasayser’s a bit of an outlier. In many ways, their songs sound like a grab-bag collection of familiar sounds that have come into vogue as of late. Tunes both new and old dabble in the psychedelic, hypnotic grooves from the school of Animal Collective. Songs like their latest single, “Henrietta,” seamlessly morph from MGMT-style electro dance grooves to M83-style synth sentimentalism. With three of the four band members swapping vocal responsibilities, sometimes they all sang together like in the breakout from their debut, “2080,” building up an epic wall of harmonies reminiscent of the Fleet Foxes.

Individually these things aren’t necessarily unique, but throw them all together and you’ve got one of the most original and strangest sounding bands to emerge from the new millennium’s indie renaissance. And then of course there is “Ambling Alp,” the show ender and clear crowd favorite. Sung in unison, the lyrics from the song felt like some perfect and timely advice for someone new to this world. What an appropriate way to conclude a tour cut short by the birth of child. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Alexis Maindrault | rockinpix.com

(Watch nine songs from last month’s Yeasayer show that streamed live on The Bowery Presents Live.)

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Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Bring New Music to Webster Hall

September 13th, 2012

Legend has it Ariel Rosenberg passed members of Animal Collective one of his home-recorded cassettes on tour. When they finally got around to listening to it they vowed to release it on their own Paw Tracks label, and Ariel Pink was born. He defies categorization because his songs don’t fit into any specific era of sound, combining everything from ’70s smooth jazz with super-produced Thriller-era ’80s dance beats. He records with such disregard for traditional techniques that the sound becomes its own unique whole, a combination that had, unfortunately, been difficult to re-create live. This was the dilemma Pink had created for himself in the past, but thanks to his incredible backing band, Haunted Graffiti (Kenny Gilmore on keys and guitar, and Tim Koh on bass), he now very capably pulls off songs from the recently released Mature Themes and 2010’s Before Today—each equally loved by Pitchfork—onstage. See for yourself when Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti (above, doing “Bright Lit Blue Skies,” for Fader TV) play Webster Hall tomorrow night—Jason Dean

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A Progression of Sound

July 13th, 2011

Animal Collective – Prospect Park Bandshell – July 12, 2011

Animal Collective’s mass appeal is inexplicable. Rising from relative obscurity to commercial viability with the single “My Girls,” the group does not pander. Their live show is notoriously inaccessible, often exploring new songs, fragmentally, and foregoing better-known works. Pop sensibility aside, their music, often classified as experimental, electronic or freak folk, is plain weird. The components of most songs consist of yelps and discordant sounds. The band members are reclusive, hiding behind aliases and taking extended hiatuses. And yet, on Tuesday night at the Prospect Park Bandshell, a sold-out crowd gathered and experienced, wittingly or unwittingly, a brilliant concert.

Most immediately, the stage set drew attention. According to Twitter, friends and label mates of Animal Collective, Prince Rama, assisted in designing the backdrop, which looked like a combination of Superman’s fortress of solitude and a kindergarten classroom. Amidst hanging papier-mâché bats, light-up crystals and a giant skull with video screens for its eyes and mouth, the four current members of the band manipulated both digital and analog instruments. To some, this configuration of personnel and apparatus looked new. On their last tour supporting the album Merriweather Post Pavilion, only band members Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist performed live and their instrumentation consisted chiefly of samplers and mixers. But now with their original guitarist Deakin back on the road, the focus appears to be on a robust sonic approach.

During their hour-long set, a few familiar tunes were woven in among a bulk of yet unheard, often amorphous material. But taken as a practice in discovery, the band performed beautifully. Animal Collective’s albums clarify otherwise inaccessible musical expression, and judging from the sampling of new songs, the next offering looks to be an interesting progression of their sound. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg

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Animal Collective Plays Last NYC Show of the Year

August 17th, 2009

Animal Collective – Prospect Park Bandshell – August 15, 2009

Animal Collective - Prospect Park Bandshell - August 15, 2009
On a humid Saturday evening at the Prospect Park Bandshell, Animal Collective provided a cool, under-the-sea themed concert, the second of two sold-out shows. The Maryland-born, New York- based band currently consists of Avey Tare (David Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) and Geologist (Brian Weitz). They played in front of an undulating ocean backdrop complete with seafaring creatures while jellyfish-shaped string lights hung above the crowd. Midway through the show—when they played “#1,” off Strawberry Jam—a model shark lurked across the nautical set. All the while, two Pringles-can-shaped Aztec Jack-o’-lanterns with bowl cuts majestically stood on each side of the stage. The scenery whimsically complemented the night’s music.

Touring on the heels of their ninth studio album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Collective has amassed an impressive catalog that gives them range and versatility in their set lists. Toward the set’s beginning, the band played a revamped version of “Leaf House,” heavy on its original piano sample. Eventually the new track “What Would I Want Sky” (a Jerry Garcia sample jam with a skull-rattling bass) and songs from Panda Bear’s solo projects made their way into the set. While the band has traded an acoustic freak-folk sound for a more electronic-based groove, Animal Collective’s live shows continue to include innovative musicianship and spontaneity. Songs like “Also Frightened” showcased the increasing vocal interplay between Panda Bear and Avery Tare. For a band rooted in the Brooklyn music scene, the show was a welcome homecoming. As Avery Tare repeatedly told the crowd: “This is the best place to play in New York.” For their part, Animal Collective greatly contributed to a wonderful late summer evening. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of Morgan G. Harris | morgangharris.com

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Animal Collective on 8/14

August 11th, 2009

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You know you love them, and, yet, you couldn’t get a ticket to see Animal Collective this Friday at the Prospect Park Bandshell. Well, guess what? You’re in luck on two counts: 1) Tickets do remain for the band’s Saturday show, and 2) You can try to Grow a Pair of free tickets to Friday’s sold-out show from The House List. Just fill out the form below, listing your name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Animal Collective, 8/14) and—since it finally feels like summer—a brief message telling us your best tip to beat the heat. Eddie Bruiser, who could win a gold medal if sweating were an Olympic sport (sadly, it’s not), will notify the winner by noon on Friday, August 14th. Good luck.

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Animal Collective – Terminal 5 – May 13, 2009

May 14th, 2009

Animal Collective - Terminal 5 - May 13, 2009

photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | www.gregggreenwood.com

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to Animal Collective on May 13, 2009

May 8th, 2009

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Animal Collective, the loose group of avant-garde musicians, is touring on the heals of their eighth LP, Merriweather Post Pavilion. The terrific album has earned the band increased attention and bigger crowds. So tickets to next Wednesday’s show at Terminal 5 went fast (but they’re still available for their second Celebrate Brooklyn show on August 15th). And since you’re probably only reading this because you don’t have one, all you really need to know is that The House List is giving away two of them. Just fill out the form below, listing your name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Animal Collective, 5/13) and a brief message telling us the funniest thing that happened to you this week. (Beware: Eddie Bruiser can spot a lie a mile away. If it’s too funny to believe, he won’t.) If you’re the lucky one to Grow a Pair of free tickets, E. Bruise will e-mail you by noon on Wednesday, May 13th. Good luck.

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