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Sunday’s Best: Animal Collective

posted August 26, 2012, 12:09 pm by Ben Oliver | Filed Under Editorial, General Interest, Music News, Releases, Sunday's Best | comment Leave a Comment


Back in the day, when this place was crawling with forums and chats about random acts of music, we used to poll ourselves to see which release by an artist not only set them atop of the industry but stapled them in as musical gods.

Animal Collective are a group of four best friends who grew up playing and recording music together in Baltimore County Maryland. Now this group of avant-garde musicians are New York City/Washington, D.C/Lisbon based.  They are set to release their new highly anticipated album Centipede Hz September 4th.

Animal Collective consists of Avey Tare (David Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Deakin (Josh Dibb), and Geologist (Brian Weitz). Records released under the name Animal Collective may include contributions from any or all of these members; the lineup is not uniform. The band members met in school and started recording together in various forms of collaboration from a young age. Although the band is often classified as psych folk or noise rock, it is hard to define the Animal Collective sound as they often experiment with diverse styles and ideas from album to album. The group also runs the record label Paw Tracks on whichthey have released their own material as well as material by artists such as Ariel Pink, Terrestrial Tones, and The Peppermints. Paw Tracks’ latest signee is Tickley Feather, with whom the band recently toured.

Why Animal?

Because it’s the only word we could think of that made any remote connection to what we thought our sound was, and, of course, we love our fellow animals very much.

Why Collective?

Because we have always wanted to be the ones who define what and who AC are. Two people? Four people? Why not?

Don’t be surprised if you come to see us and it’s not what you thought it would be, and try not to get too upset. AC continues to make music after seven years, six studio records and one live record, that combines a love of sonic free form electronic horror gospel hip hop soul pop madness and brings it all together into something that is (hopefully) at times totally pleasing and at others completely scary and confusing but most importantly is refreshing in this crazy, crazy world.

The Collective released their debut album, Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished (originally titled Avey Tare and Panda Bear) in 2000 on the band’s own Animal imprint. It was the first in a pair of captivating releases; the other was 2001′s Danse Manatee (originally titled Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist), which explored the fringes and intersecting boundaries of freak folk, noise rock, ambient drone, and twisting, melodic psychedelia. The live album Hollinndagain, which documented the band’s debut tour alongside Black Dice, arrived in 2002, followed by 2003′s Campfire Songs and Here Comes the Indian, the first albums to commit to the name Animal Collective and the first to feature all four members. The latter record was released on the group’s newly minted Paw Tracks label.

As the Collective’s popularity grew, so did their reach, resulting in a distribution deal with English independent label Fat Cat, which issued their first two albums as a package deal and paved the way for subsequent releases. The band returned in May 2004 with the triumphant Sung Tongs, a mysterious, fragilely melodic album that garnered positive press both at home and overseas, resulting in a series of successful international tours. The Prospect Hummer EP, which featured a collaboration with underground British folk legend Vashti Bunyan, arrived in early 2005, followed by the commercially and critically acclaimed full-length Feels later in the year. The band released the People EP in 2006, followed by the much heralded full-length Strawberry Jam in 2007, the band’s first for Domino Records.

Merriweather Post Pavilion, the group’s eighth and most accessible record to date, was released in 2009. It cracked the Top 20 in America and peaked at number 26 in the U.K., making Animal Collective the toast of the international blogosphere while also establishing their strength as a commercial force. Touring kept them busy for much of the year, but they did find some time to return to the studio and finish a short EP, Fall Be Kind, which appeared in November. In 2010 the group expanded its experimental sound into the visual realm with ODDSAC, a “visual album” that featured new material as the psychedelic soundtrack to a film starring the members of Animal Collective and directed by Danny Perez. Their next proper full-length, Centipede Hz, is set for release in 2012.

What is the all time best Animal Collective album?

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