Tag Archives: Animal Collective


Animal Collective Stretch the Limits at Brooklyn Steel on Tuesday

May 24th, 2017

Animal Collective – Brooklyn Steel – May 23, 2017

We have arrived at the stage where there is absolutely no telling what you’re going to get at an Animal Collective show. Essentially, they are the computer-generation equivalent of the Grateful Dead and Phish when it comes to live-performance unpredictability. Impulse and whim stir together with rote knowledge of every song in their nearly 15 years of recordings that have traveled through woods and rocketed into the space age. Their familiarity with one another’s moves from playing on- and offstage is such that the holy triumvirate of Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist can wander off trail to blaze another, then find their way back without a compass. The collective experience akin to being tugged into velvet, open-lake waters, a first time water skier on their rippling currents of electronic sound.

Last night, Animal Collective swam about the confines of Brooklyn Steel like betas in a fish bowl, stretching the limits. Releasing a deluge of strawberry electro jams that oozed outward like they’d been left out in the sun, the band treated the opportunity as kids would a new neighborhood playground, sonically leaping and bounding and beckoning others to join in the frolicking. Over the course of the run of shows since releasing last year’s Painting With, it’s been each member at his control station of sound backed by a drummer. The character of their live performances, without fourth member Deakin, has then taken on the more cubic and elastic tone of Painting With, which didn’t feature Deakin.

From the quicksand of cosmic slop Animal Collective create emerged the type A–personality bounce of “FloriDada” and “Hocus Pocus,” and staying in that key, the wild bunch stretched out their legs on the subsequent The Painters EP by hurling “Peacemaker” into the room to bounce about in a manner resembling Atari’s Breakout. Avey Tare and Panda Bear’s vocal interplay formed a snake dance on “Lying in the Grass” before the gang took us back to older fare like “Summertime Clothes” and “Guys Eyes.” Songs melted into one another as an up-tempo trance-hop version of “Bees” spread over the sizeable room. On some of the set’s jumpier tunes, Tare came forth to dance loosely along with his animalistic vocal calls. When Animal Collective returned for the encore, it was to extend the evening for as long as they could hold their breath under their water world of experiments. Thanking friends and family for coming out to see them at a new playground, the band plunged back in, to the delight of all. On this night, Brooklyn Steel was where the wild things were. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com


Brooklyn Steel Shows Go on Sale This Friday at Noon

December 12th, 2016

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Our newest venue, Brooklyn Steel—which will be Kings County’s biggest general-admission room—kicks off this spring with some pretty great shows, including the Decemberists on 4/17-19, PJ Harvey on 4/20, Two Door Cinema Club on 5/1, the Black Angels on 5/2, Tycho on 5/3, San Fermin on 5/13, Laura Marling on 5/20, Animal Collective on 5/23 and Whitney on 5/24—all of which go on sale this Friday at noon.


Animal Collective Deliver in Spectacular Form at Terminal 5

November 3rd, 2016

Animal Collective – Terminal 5 – November 2, 2016

Animal Collective – Terminal 5 – November 2, 2016
There’s only one thing that could have competed with the Cubs finally winning the World Series (in extra innings of the seventh game, no less) last night and that was seeing Animal Collective do a serious deep dive at Terminal 5. For one thing, there’s the instinctively staggered vocal interplay between Avey Tare and Panda Bear, whose bird calls from an alternate universe boomerang in and out of one another’s in transfixing patterns. For another, there’s the fortitude of recreating and reshaping their recorded material with peerless imagination—and there are like nine other things that leave you speechless, a happy party to the wild rumpus that gradually builds into a human wave.

Terminal 5 turned into an aquarium of the rolling, swimming Animal Collective faithful last night, an ideal setting for the almost unfathomable set that drew broadly from their discography of distinct aural treasures now 13 years in the making. The wonderfully wacky impressionist art onstage immediately let you know who you were there to see, and older songs from masterpiece albums like Sung Tongs, Feels and Merriweather Post Pavilion filtered in to the set list. It all played like a warped journey into the group’s projected creativity, marvelous departures that danced and floated like a laundry line of sheets in the winds of their fancy. Particularly entrancing were long, winding plays of “Loch Raven,” which sent all into dreamland, and an electro-dub-warped variation of the originally acoustic “Kids on Holiday.” It’s really up in the air with a live Animal Collective set: There’s no telling from which corner of an album or obscure EP they’ll pull a song to play—or how the version will unfold and materialize.

The crowd was putty in Animal Collective’s hands by the time “FloriDada” hopped into the fold, sheets of vibrant light momentarily revealing a sea of swirling bodies. Through an expansive and extended performance, Avey Tare was the vocal intermediary, periodically checking in and engaging with playful banter. And when the band answered the enthusiastic roar for an encore, he let out a giggle of surprise and humility at the prolonged cheers. He, Geologist and Panda Bear delivered in spectacular form. Only when experiencing a show so voluminous do you recognize how much it transcends ordinary concert experiences. Expectations were toyed with and convention scattered like puzzle pieces and then placed in new order to reveal the land of their design, where colors and characters are at once deceptive and familiar. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com


Spend 4/20 with Prince Rama at Rough Trade NYC

April 20th, 2016

Sisters Taraka (vocals, guitar and keys) and Nimai Larson (drums and vocals) formed Prince Rama nine years ago, making tribal, lo-fi psychedelic dance pop—and getting discovered by Animal Collective’s Avey Tare in the process. The band has fluctuated between a duo and a trio, with the Larsons now joined by Ryan Sciaino (guitar and synths). Prince Rama (above, performing “Now Is the Time of Emotion” for the Wild Honey Pie) have gone a little less experimental on their most recent release, the extreme-sports-influenced Xtreme Now (stream it below). PopMatters calls it “fun, inventive and exciting in a way that independent music rarely is in 2016.” They keep it local to play Rough Trade NYC tonight. And Pictureplane opens the show.


Panda Bear Puts On a Balancing Act at The Bowery Ballroom

October 14th, 2015

Panda Bear – The Bowery Ballroom – October 13, 2015

The most captivating part of Panda Bear’s performance last night at The Bowery Ballroom (the first of three sold out shows) was not Danny Perez’s incredible video art— mesmerizing as that was, morphing from images of gummy worms to retro cartoon snippets to gyrating women dressed as reptiles—but instead the intricate interplay between Noah Lennox and his musical equipment.

While Lennox may have possessed a modest, unassuming presence as he settled in behind a table filled with his samplers and synthesizers, once he got the elaborate setup humming and began to sing, it became clear that Lennox was masterminding a dizzying process to create his sound. With songs like “Mr. Noah” and “Crosswords,” he sang with utmost focus, simultaneously looping and singing over his own vocals. It’s a unique process that boggles the mind of those less familiar with audio-production techniques, and despite the array of colors and both beautiful and unsettling images projected behind him, it continued to draw attention back to Lennox.

In addition to performing many pieces from his latest full-length release, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, Lennox performed some rare treats for discerning fans, including “This Side of Paradise” and “Untying the Knot,” from the Mr. Noah EP, as well as “No Man’s Land,” off the Crosswords EP. Up until the very last note of “Surfer’s Hymn,” during the encore, Lennox’s concentration didn’t appear to waver, caught up in the trance of crafting his music live, a balance of great technical skill while still connecting deeply to his songs’ emotional core. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK


Ariel Pink Headlines Terminal 5 Tomorrow Night

February 24th, 2015

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ariel Rosenberg has been making music (from lo-fi psychedelic pop to smooth jazz to melodic dance beats) on his own terms as Ariel Pink for more than a decade. He’d recorded hundreds of tracks at home before sharing some of them with members of Animal Collective, who, ultimately, decided to release his music on their Paw Tracks label. After teaming up for several years with the talented backing band the Haunted Graffiti, Ariel Pink (above, doing “Put Your Number in My Phone” for Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW FM) decided to go solo (in name at least) for last year’s acclaimed double LP Pom Pom (stream it below). Per Spin, “Ariel Pink makes another wondrous mess with Pom Pom,” and “the 36-year-old mad scientist has finally developed a full-length that does right by the songwriting sensibility that’s led to collaborations with fellow pop-world oddballs simultaneously keeping his peculiar personality at the center.” But no matter who backs Pink, he remains an engaging live performer. And he just so happens to have one last stop on this leg of his American tour tomorrow night at Terminal 5. John Webster Johns’ Jack Name opens the show.


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.


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




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


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.)


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.


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.)


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


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


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