Monday, December 14, 2009


Part four, or, the Animal Collective edition. The band has a stunning three (3) tracks in this section. Catch the last part as soon as it gets published in the upcoming Sunday edition of The Observer (Bookends section).

20: Dead Man’s Bones
For Weddings and Funerals

Ryan Gosling as a band with fellow ghouls and this is very interesting. A little polka riff, some ghoulish vocals and Zach Shields utterly shivering wailing all combine for some pretty terrific stuff.

19: Andrew Bird
Oh No

With his signature whistling to guide him, Bird takes arresting flight among the very same harmless psychos that he so lovingly describes.

18: Elvis Perkins
Heard Your Voice in Dresden

Its big-tent revivalism peels away layers of structure for an emotional connection that is refreshing.

17: Grizzly Bear
Two Weeks

Like angelic choir music, Two Weeks is the track on Veckatimest that most enhances the band’s reputation for grand statement. It shows great maturity and adventure too. Quite a few pundits have noted how similar the track is to Dr. Dre’s Still D.R.E, with the persistent keyboard loops and indeed Grizzly Bear appear to be showcasing nuance in their choral aesthetic. Of course this can only be a good thing.

16: Animal Collective
In the Flowers

MPP’s opening track is a statement on a grand stage, with the directive of the band clear. For their many followers this was the tribute…the summation of what it feels like being on the road so far away from families, from partners, from a comfort zone. I won’t be this way too long, croons Tare and for a full minute as he loses himself into the psychedelic bliss, the whole thing collapses into shocking pink beauty. Then he cleans up in the end creating a type of cinematic sound that only a mature band could pull off.

15: Animal Collective
Also Frightened

Dub-step meets persistent electronic waves of distortion; trust Animal Collective to unearth a sub-genre within their cadre of sound. The great thing about MPP is how relatable it is to everyday situations. With the global recession still raging, the shadowy concern on Also Frightened feels terribly real. The imagery of a parent watching over their kids wondering if they are as frightened of the future as they are is worrisome but the song rises to the challenge with a defiance that gives heart. The concern seems mainly fatherly, as if welcoming a new birth into the world and wondering so many things simultaneously.

14: Prince

While his fans continue to wait in vain for one more brilliant entire album, Prince has at least rewarded them with this gem reportedly written for Selma Hayek’s daughter. The chorus playfully recalls his heyday of effortless yet provoking music

13: Swan Lake
Paper Lace

Soul-weariness manifest yet evinces great strength even as Krug, Mercer and Bejar tackle a conventional topic such as marriage.

12: Animal Collective

A lovesick Panda Bear gets erotic in describing his lust and love for the woman he loves but the intimacy of the detail espoused is shocking. One never thinks freak/folk as a sexual genre but here the thought of cunnilingus comes to mind in the purest love-making way. The title may refer then to the indescribable feeling the persona gets after the act and relaxing still on a high. The bubbly soundscapes juxtaposed to the low-wattage vocal style compliments the feeling of calmness.

11: FrYars
Benedict Arnold

A seamless beat ripped up with flowing Brit poetry and undoubting wry sensibilities. ‘Here on your final hour/ take your shelter/ in the shower/ I’m on your side/ in this life, in this life’, rails Garrett in a sublime fit of crashing beats and evocative multiple vocal work.