Tag Archives: Banshee Beat

The Full Picture: Animal Collective

This is the second edition of a new series of posts here on Airwaves. In The Full Picture we will look over a notable alternative artist’s entire discography and note how the sound evolved from album to album, as well as pointing out each album’s best tracks using the magical powers of hindsight. This edition’s band is a bunch of dads who make extraordinary electronic music: Animal Collective

Animal Collective- Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished
Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished (2000)

The earliest Animal Collective release has the chaotic and experimental features that the band has become known for today with far less production and pleasantness present. Animal Collective does some weird things in their music, it’s a part of their appeal, and on Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished things are pretty close to being at the extreme end of that spectrum. There’s some very ambitious long tracks, and many which are difficult listens, but the project is consistently interesting in laying down the groundwork for the band which at this point was only Panda Bear and Avey Tare.

Track Picks: “Bat You’ll Fly”, “April and the Phantom“, “Penny Dreadfulls

Animal Collective- Danse Manatee
Animal Collective- Danse Manatee (2001)

Geologist joins the band at this point as Danse Manatee takes the band which was near the extreme in weirdness another step closer. This is the sort of album which could spark a dumb debate in a room about ‘what music actually is’ because the tracks are gradual, experimental, and seemingly random and uncategorized. At this point with the band it becomes pretty clear that although the lyrics can be fascinating and mean something that the ultimate meaning of the song has to be something beyond them because of their cryptic nature. The music gets interpreted as a mindset rather than a meaning from my viewpoint, and Danse Manatee can be a difficult viewpoint to adopt.

Track Picks: “Essplode”, “In the Singing Box“, “Bad Crumbs

220px-Campfire_Songs
Animal Collective- Campfire Songs (2003)

Honestly I feel awful doing this in a post, but I don’t know enough about this album to discuss it and it’s not in my iTunes music library. I’ve read that it compares to the other early works are mentioned in this post very much, and that’s discouraged me from prioritizing going back for a listen because I prefer Animal Collective from Sung Tongs onward.

Animal Collective- Here Comes the Indian
Animal Collective- Here Comes the Indian (2003)

Some of the sounds on Here Comes the Indian are downright scary to listen to, like the track “Panic” which gets placed in the middle of the album and features the vocals of a yell being repeated for the first two and a half minutes of the track. The chaos feels dark and potentially threatening on this album leading you to wonder what exactly is it that they are trying to portray to you through their music here. There was a defined fan base for the band at this point who focused upon the band’s strengths: Their energy, their originality, and their freedom to turn whatever they’d like into music, but it’s an incredibly difficult sound for me even as a self-proclaimed fan of the band

Track Picks: “Native Belle”, “Infant Dressing Table“, “Panic

Animal Collective- Sung Tongs (2004)
Animal Collective- Sung Tongs (2004)

A very important album to understand in the context of their discography, Sung Tongs is the first time that you could look at an Animal Collective and it’s importance doesn’t lie in it’s odd and experimental methods. Those qualities didn’t disappear, in fact they still haven’t in the band’s modern releases, but on Sung Tongs the weirdness all of a sudden becomes a pleasant listen and surprisingly understandable. Compare “You Could Win a Rabbit” to any song that came beforehand and the difference is astounding, and “Kids on Holiday” is a track where the focus is actually turned onto the vocals over a dull guitar strum. This is the birthing of a more accessible version of Animal Collective, and this is the album which a lot of people should trace back to when trying to place where their favorite Animal Collective sounds came from.

Track Picks: “Kids on Holiday”, “Who Could Win A Rabbit“, “Sweet Road


Continue reading The Full Picture: Animal Collective

Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 50-41

Here are numbers 50-41 on my countdown of my 100 favorite songs.

50. Animal Collective- The Purple Bottle

“Sometimes your quiet and/ Sometimes I’m quiet/ Hallelujah!”

This one can interpreted two ways. For one, it’s an absolutely gorgeous song about falling in love with someone and having everything seem to be magically right. It’s the idealism which Animal Collective specializes in focused on David Portner(Avey Tare)’s relationship with Kría Brekkan, and it captures the absolute joy of believing you have found the perfect person. I like to view the song this way because even if songs last the test of time, their ultimate context has to be viewed in terms of when the song was originally released. I say this because Portner and Brekkan ended up having a divorce, which could change your perception from this being one of the most beautiful love songs out there into an absolutely tragic piece about what was lost. This is one of few songs that I choose to take the optimistic route on though, and I always smile when “The Purple Bottle” comes on.

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49. The Beatles- She Said She Said

“I know what it’s like to be dead

I came so damn close to becoming one of those guys who stopped listening to the Beatles once he listened to alternative music, but “She Said She Said” saved me. Someone who approached John Lennon started to talk to him about the nonsense in their mind where he had a picture for what Lennon must be based upon how his music had effected his life, and Lennon had to let him know that he wasn’t that person. It’s such a quick and standard Beatles song but I adore it because of the feeling of obligation to tell people that you’re not the person they think you are upon introduction, and because Revolver is really an early influential album for the alternative rock scene.

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48. Neutral Milk Hotel- Two Headed Boy (Part Two)

“When we break we’ll wait for our miracle/ God is a place you will wait for the rest of your life.”

My love for Neutral Milk Hotel is a bit awkward because Mangum is drastically more confident in religion than me . Mangum presents a perspective which shows that he not only believes in a god but that he’s confident that what that god does will be just, and thus the Two-Headed Boy will wake from this life to learn that he has been rewarded for the pain that he endured on the Earth, and that will last for the remainder of time. It’s not something I actually believe in, but hearing Mangum sing it is so beautiful that you find yourself praying for it to be true so there can be a happy ending, and because within that line of thinking a new possibility becomes available; Mangum meeting Anne Frank.

Continue reading Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 50-41