Posts Tagged ‘panda bear’

(Editor’s Note: This piece appears on The Bowery Presents The House List. Check it out here)

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.

Photo courtesy of Charles Steinberg

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Hey Playtonics,

Check out my review of Saturday night’s Panda Bear concert at The Bowery Presents The House List:


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Afternoon Playtonics,

For those of you who don’t know, in addition to writing semi-daily for Playtonic Dialogues, I am also a contributing photographer and writer for The Bowery Presents The House List. Since moving to New York, I have written reviews for Animal Collective and Arcade Fire, as well as many other concerts produced at all New York venues currently booked by The Bowery Presents, including the Mercury Lounge, the Bowery Ballroom, Webster Hall, the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Terminal 5, the Brooklyn Bowl, and more… This month I will be contributing reviews for the following shows:

9/6: Big Boi, Brooklyn Bowl

9/11: Panda Bear, Governors Island

9/21: Ra Ra Riot, Bowery Ballroom

9/28: El Guincho, Mercury Lounge

Look out for my reviews and photos which will be on The Bowery Presents The House List as well as this site.

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The balmy escapism of beach tape was great while it lasted, but now that it’s mid-February I’ve resigned myself to the enduring cold of the  New England winter.  When I think of winter music, the sort of aesthetic that jumps to mind is one characterized by ephemeral vocals, distant instrumental layers, stark guitar picking and general bleakness of sound.  You’ll find songs on this side that fit that description, but I also labored to collect songs that managed to exist in winters that feature more emotions than the typical depression.  My hope is that this collection will bring you to peace with the inclemency of February and remind you that winter is not as awful as it makes your fingers feel.  (more…)

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