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Animal Collective Roars!


While the spotlight on Tuesday will be on the inauguration, it’s also a big day for the music business. Among several important CD releases is the new full length from Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavillion (Domino). Hua Hsu wrote an article about the building interest in the band leading up its release in Sunday’s New York Times. 

It’s interesting to note that Merriweather is already posting significant sales numbers, particularly for an ‘out’ rock release, on strength of the vinyl version alone (released Jan.6). The recording has quickly become the darling of the blogosphere, garnering a cherished high rating from Pitchfork.

What one imagines will be of even more interest to S21 readers is the level of experimentation Animal Collective deploys on Merriweather. Noise has become an intrinsic part of the band’s soundworld; samples of breaking glass and feedback squalls compete on equal footing with the more conventional materials of pop song. True, part of their aesthetic comes out of the psych-rock movement; but there’s certainly more than a casual nod to daring electronics of the contemporary concert music persuasion.

And, one hastens to add, this is no Kid A, where Radiohead was able to indulge their penchant for new music (including sampling Lansky) by salvaging the songs for pop consumption; placing more ‘widely palatable’ material above the debris. Merriweather is full of the unexpected throughout, entreating listeners to wade into decidedly off-kilter music-making, particularly for an album with this much mainstream buzz (pardon the pun!).


Comment from Jeremy Podgursky
Time: January 19, 2009, 6:40 pm

Thanks for featuring one of the most exciting acts of the last few years. They are amazing live (whirling dervishes of sound, tribal/shamanic beats) and the records keep getting better and better. Listening to Animal Collective always makes me giddy.

Comment from Trevor
Time: January 19, 2009, 7:23 pm

I’d only question the notion that noise has “become an intrinsic part of their sound.” If anything, Merriweather is the band finally placing a ‘more palatable’ structuring over their past noise-based efforts. This is a band thats been gradually dipping its toes in accessibility (or, if you wish, greater coherence) over their last few releases, not a pop band beginning to indulge in experimentation.

Comment from Christian Carey
Time: January 19, 2009, 10:31 pm


Yes. That’s why, to me, it’s very distinct from Radiohead’s trajectory.

Comment from Patrick
Time: January 19, 2009, 11:08 pm

I think the really interesting thing about this album is the two hugely different possible receptions. The reviews are definitely bringing in a lot of new fans (which they’ve long deserved, but seemed to not want – check out their Letterman appearance from last year) but it’s interesting how different the album sounds whether you have the context of the band’s older music or not.

Comment from Christian Carey
Time: January 21, 2009, 11:47 am

For those interested, Stereogum has tour dates, a new song, and a link to streaming of the album.