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Archive for the ‘Animal Collective’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: BÉGAYER-“L’image du manque” (2018).

At the end of every year publications and sites post year end lists.  I like to look at them to see if I missed any albums of significance.  But my favorite year end list comes from Lars Gottrich at NPR.  For the past ten years, Viking’s Choice has posted a list of obscure and often overlooked bands.  Gottrich also has one of the broadest tastes of anyone I know (myself included–he likes a lot of genres I don’t).  

Since I’m behind on my posts at the beginning of this year, I’m taking this opportunity to highlight the bands that he mentions on this year’s list.  I’m only listening to the one song unless I’m inspired to listen to more.

I certainly didn’t know Bégayer before hearing them here.  Bégayer is a trio from the south of France that howls in French and Arabic, bangs on homemade instruments and leaves a path of delirious distortion in its wake.

Lars describes them as a combination of Animal Collective, Malian desert rock and Eugene Chadbourne thrown off a cliff.

This song starts with a kind of unsure-sounding opening foray into a guitar riff (very Malian in style), after twenty seconds, the high-pitched guitar notes resolve into a furious frenzy–an almost amelodious riff that flies around at breakneck speed.   The super fast drums help to propel the chaos along.

After a minute or so the vocals kick in–they are sparse and peculiar–more keening than singing at times and I have no idea what he is singing.  On a few occasions, the guitar seems to almost have a breakdown while he is singing although by the end he starts to sound like Jeff Buckley having a bit of breakdown himself. It’s bizarre and eerily compelling.

The whole album plays around with these sounds for a different experience with each song.

[READ: December 29, 2018] “Feast of the Epiphany”

This surreal story was published in 2016 in Gronzi’s collection Claustrophobias.

It begins with this bizarre, hilarious opening

It must’ve been either my thirty-third or my thirty-ninth birthday, if one is to believe the numerological charts, and there must’ve been some kind of adult arrangement involving children or else I would’ve never agreed to show myself in public in the company of three or four diversely aged creatures whose cumulative understanding of metaphysics was equivalent to the curiosity of a wart on the nose of a Rajasthani kaan-saaf wallah cleaning people’s ears in the streets of Paharganj.

This dinner becomes farcical with the introduction of the waiter:

Unable to appreciate the animated performance of the waiter who insisted on joining his forefingers over his head and doing a little dance every time he mentioned the rabbit in orange and thyme sauce, I finished the rather cheerless ten-year-old Hermitage before I even read the menu.

Before the appetizer is even over, the narrator makes his excuses and heads for the restroom. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 31, 2017] Fleet Foxes

I recently made a list of the bands that I’d like to see live.  Fleet Foxes was one of them.  So even though getting to the Mann is a hassle, it was a great venue to watch them.

Their debut album is just brilliant.  I recently listened to their second album and realized I didn’t know it that well. Their new album is, I will admit, a bit challenging to get into.  Bit the melodies and the harmonies…oh the harmonies!

I knew that they were playing pretty much the entire new album, but also a lot of the debut album, which is what I came for.  Robin Pecknold’s voice was tremendous (I guess six years off was good for the vocal chords).  And the harmonies of the rest of the band were outstanding.  With 22 songs in about 2 hours, they sounded great. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 31, 2017] Animal Collective

The Mann Center is a gorgeous venue, but it’s a real hassle for us to get to–for a 7PM show it takes about 2 hours.  Which is absurd.  I swore we wouldn’t go back again, and then they announced Sigur Rós back in June and then Fleet Foxes and Belle and Sebastian this week.

So much for not going.

Well, this early show indeed meant that after two hours in the car we still missed at least one song from Animal Collective.

I’ve known about Animal Collective for a long time–they’re pretty legendary.  I’ve never really gotten into them, although they do have a few songs that I like.

They are a headlining band in their own right with their own dedicated fanbase–who were out in force, dancing everywhere during their set.  And checking recent setlists, it sounds like their shows are typically much longer than this one (about 70 minutes). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: The Believer July/August 2008 Music Issue Compilation CD: The Volatile But Symbiotic Relationship of Mabel and Anabel (2008).

The previous Believer CD expanded the palette of music by introducing a lot of hard-edged bands.  But this CD smashes any complaints about one-dimensionality.  It is designed around a concept of “world” music which they have designated as MABEL (Musicians of American, British, or [Western] European Lineage) and ANABEL (Artists Not of American, British, or [Western] European Lineage).

The internet has introduced a huge amount of ANABEL music to MABEL musicians.  And this has led to Western musicians experimenting with very different musical styles.

The problem, such as it is, with this disc is that it is comprised almost entirely of ANABEL songs.  So, although the disc is designed to show the influences of these artists there’s not a whole lot of tracks that show the western bands using them.  (In fairness, you can only do so much with 72 minutes).  And yes, there are a number of clearly MABEL artists here: Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors.

However, as an introduction to a few cultures’ worth of music, it’s pretty great.  I admit that I don’t love every song on this disc.  But after a few listens I’ve really grown to appreciate these tracks from Iran, Jamaica (dancehall), India and Bulgaria.

Some artists that really impressed me were: Googoosh, and her traditional Iranian track from the 70s.  Enemble Pirin, a subset of the Le Mysterè des Voix Bulgares (whom I’ve liked for years).  And Beat Konducta.  It also introduced me to Aceyalone, who I’ve heard of but never listened to.  And I really enjoyed the superfast rapping in the start of Busy Signal’s track.

I wouldn’t listen to this disc a lot, but it would be fun to throw a track or two from this on a mix CD and see how well it fit.

The track listing is here.

[READ: December 15, 2009] Shenanigans

I usually really enjoy the slice of life/romancey comics from Oni Press.  But I have some major gripes with this one.

The art is pretty cool.  I’m intrigued by the fact that the pupils of the characters are white (like L i’l Orphan Annie).  I found it very disconcerting at first, but once I got used to it, I rather liked it.  And the characters were always very expressive.

It’s the story that I have a problem with. (more…)

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