|Active||for too long|
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Animal Collective is a critically acclaimed New York City/Washington, D.C/Lisbon based music collective of avant-garde musicians from Baltimore, Maryland. The band consists of Avey Tare (David Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Deakin (Josh Dibb), and Geologist (Brian Weitz). Records released under the name Animal Collective may include contributions from any or all of these members; the lineup is not uniform. The band members met in school and started recording together in various forms of collaboration from a young age. Although the band is often classified as psych folk or noise rock, it is hard to define the Animal Collective sound as they often experiment with diverse styles and ideas from album to album. The group also runs the record label Paw Tracks on which they have released their own material as well as material by artists such as Ariel Pink, Terrestrial Tones, and The Peppermints.
Animal Collective grew out of the roots of childhood friendships in Baltimore County. Panda Bear and Deakin met in the second grade and became good friends. Panda went away to Pennsylvania for high school, while Deakin attended The Park School of Baltimore where Avey Tare and recent Philadelphia transplant Geologist went. Avey, Geologist and Deakin were in an indie rock band called Automine with schoolmates Brendan Fowler (a.k.a. BARR) and David Shpritz. Deakin introduced Panda to Avey and Geologist. The four of them played music in different variations and often solo, swapping homemade recordings and sharing ideas.
Panda and Deakin both went off to college in the Boston area (Boston University and Brandeis University), while Avey and Geologist attended schools in New York City (NYU and Columbia University). Panda and Deakin assembled Panda's eponymous debut album Panda Bear during this time from the multitude of recordings Panda had made in the previous years and established their own label, Soccer Star Records, to release it.
Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished—Here Comes The Indian
Avey was also working on a record, which would eventually become Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished. Avey asked Panda to play drums on the record, which was released under the name Avey Tare and Panda Bear. Soccer Star morphed into the Animal label, with the intention of putting out music that came from the four musicians.
Panda and Deakin both left school and moved to New York in 2000, around the time of Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished. The group's music became much more collaborative in nature, and Avey and Panda began playing clubs around New York. Geologist soon came on board and began performing with the group.
Much of the live material from this time would eventually end up on Danse Manatee, on the Catsup Plate label. Danse Manatee was released in 2001 under the name of Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist. This process of preparing material in the live setting and then recording and often retiring songs would become a hallmark of Animal Collective. The group's first tour, with friends Black Dice, was captured on the 2002 album Hollinndagain. The live album was released by St. Ives, a boutique label run by Secretly Canadian which releases limited edition vinyl only records. Limited to 300 copies, each of which featured a one-of-a-kind handmade cover, Hollinndagain is among the rarest of Animal Collective artifacts. Hollinndagain was re-released, both on CD and vinyl, on October 31, 2006 through the Paw Tracks label.
At this point, Deakin began to perform with the group. The next album to be released was Campfire Songs, again working with Catsup Plate in 2003. The Campfire Songs concept and some of the material dated back to the earliest Avey Tare and Panda Bear shows in New York. Recorded live in 2001 on a screened-in porch in Monkton, Maryland, the record is one take of five songs played straight through. Attempting to make a record as warm and inviting as a campfire, the band recorded their performance straight to minidisc, with one recorder outside to grab the ambient sound of the environment. Field recordings of the surrounding area were also added. In 2002, Animal Collective also attained notoriety for their appearance on Arto Lindsay's album Invoke (Righteous Babe Records).
Worrying that Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Deakin and Geologist would be too long-winded a moniker, and with record companies advising that a unifying name would be necessary for the marketplace, the group decided to adopt a catch-all name. Using their old label of Animal as inspiration they picked "Animal Collective". This formation was to be different from a straightforward band, giving the musicians the freedom to work in combinations of two to four, as dictated by the project at hand or their mood. Their first entry under this name was Here Comes the Indian, which was released in 2003 by their newly formed record label, Paw Tracks. Paw Tracks was formed with Todd Hyman from Carpark records. Animal Collective makes decisions on what Paw Tracks would release, while Hyman runs the day-to-day operations. The group was happy to find someone like Hyman, who had experience running a label and was dedicated to the group's music; the Animal label was more or less abandoned upon the formation of Paw Tracks. Here Comes the Indian was the first record to feature all four of Animal Collective and its dense textures and energetic performances widened the exposure of the group significantly.
The two releases in 2003 attracted much attention and the group began a relationship with one of their new admirers, the Fat Cat Records label. The first Fat Cat release from the Collective was a double disc package of Spirit and Danse Manatee, which were previously only available or well-known in and around New York.
Sung Tongs—Strawberry Jam
After the dense soundscapes of Here Comes the Indian, Avey and Panda decided to concentrate on more stripped-down material. Each of them began composing material and they performed as a duo usually with just acoustic guitars, a single drum, some effects and their voices. The duo toured the world for the better part of a year with this new material, opening for múm and Four Tet among others, before retreating to Lamar, Colorado to record the material with Rusty Santos, a New York musician and friend. The result was Sung Tongs, released on Fat Cat Records in 2004. Sung Tongs received a great deal of critical acclaim for its strong harmonies, exotic textures, hummable melodies and free-wheeling nature.
The group was introduced to Vashti Bunyan in Scotland by Kieran Hebden (AKA Four Tet), who had recently played in Bunyan's band. Being fans of the cult folk singer's 1970 album Just Another Diamond Day, they started a friendship and asked her to collaborate on some recordings. With the group's encouragement, Bunyan sang lead vocals on three songs left over from the Sung Tongs era, released on the Prospect Hummer EP in early 2005. The release led to a Fat Cat Records signing for Vashti, who finally wrote, recorded and released a second album, ending a thirty year hiatus.
In October 2005, Animal Collective released their highly anticipated seventh album. Feels was met with acclaim from fans and critics both. Again the work of all four members of the collective, Feels was recorded in Seattle with Scott Colburn, known for his work with the Sun City Girls. Following the release of Feels, Animal Collective mounted their most extensive tour yet, which lasted into the Fall of 2006 and saw them visit Australia and New Zealand for the first time in addition to many European festivals and North American dates, including a headline set of the Carling Tent at the Reading and Leeds festival.
During their 2005 and 2006 tours, Animal Collective debuted several new songs, then only known by their working titles: "Reverend Green", "Fireworks" (formerly "Allman Vibe" and also "Bottle Rocket"), "Chores", "#1", "Safer", "Peace Bone", "Cuckoo" and "Street Flash." Most of these appear on their 2007 album Strawberry Jam, some under a slightly altered title.
March 20, 2007 saw the release of Panda Bear's solo album, Person Pitch. A series of EPs and singles led up to that release, beginning with "I'm Not/Comfy in Nautica" on United Acoustic Recordings (UUAR), "Bro's", a 12" on Fat Cat, and, most recently, "Carrots", a split with Excepter on Paw Tracks (all of these appeared on the album).
In the late fall of 2006, Animal Collective released People in Australia as a 7" on their Australian label Spunk Records, and worldwide as a 12" and CD EP in early 2007 on Fat Cat Records. It contains three studio songs, "People", "Tiwkid", and "My Favorite Colors", as well as a live version of "People".
In January 2007, Domino Recording Company announced that they would be releasing the new, then still unnamed, Animal Collective album. On July 4, 2007, Strawberry Jam was leaked online. The album was released in the U.S. on September 11, 2007. The album received immediate praise, due in part to a strong focus on vocals. Songs such as "For Reverend Green" serve as a showcase for the dynamic vocal range of Avey Tare. Further, the album closer "Derek" is reminiscent of the sound developed on Panda Bear's Person Pitch.
Post-Strawberry Jam and Merriweather Post Pavilion
The band toured extensively throughout 2007, completing several American and European tours. They played without Deakin, who decided to take time off from the band. Beginning in May 2007 the band debuted a brand new batch of post-Strawberry Jam live songs. These songs were written in an intense two-week session before the tour, months before the release of Strawberry Jam.On October 5, 2007, the band, in its full four-man line up (opposed to its three-man lineup performances in 2008) made their national television debut on Late Night with Conan O'Brien performing the song "#1" in support of Strawberry Jam.
During their live shows in 2007 and 2008, Animal Collective began reinvigorating older songs with new beats. Songs such as "Doggy," "Hey Light," "Chocolate Girl," "Essplode", "Leaf House," "Who Could Win a Rabbit," "Grass," and "Lablakely Dress" received makeovers and were frequently inserted into the live sets. This remixing process has become a way to incorporate medleys into their live sets, referencing their back catalogue with short samples. An example of a "medley" that the band performed in 2008 was "Lablakely Dress" (Danse Manatee) segueing into "Fireworks" (Strawberry Jam) into "Essplode" (Danse Manatee) back into "Fireworks."
In early 2008 and still as a three piece, the collective entered the studio to record tracks for their eighth studio album. The album, entitled Merriweather Post Pavilion, was officially announced on the band's official website on October 5, 2008, and is set to be released January 20th. The track listing was subsequently released on the same website on October 8th, and the album was eventually leaked on December 25, 2008.
Avey Tare (David Portner; vocals, guitar, samples, keys, percussion) - Name comes from "tearing" apart the name Davey, hence Avey Tare.
Deakin (Josh Dibb; guitar, vocals) - Name comes from letters he used to write to other members under the name Conrad Deacon.
Geologist (Brian Weitz; electronics, samples, vocals) - Name comes from the headlamp he wears in order to see the electronics during live shows. Also, people mistakenly thought Brian was in geology, rather than biology in college.
Panda Bear (Noah Lennox; vocals, percussion, samples, guitar) - Name comes from the panda he drew on the first set of songs he ever wrote.
- Main page: Animal Collective Discography
- Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished (August 2000) - Animal
- Danse Manatee (July 2001) - Catsup Plate
- Hollinndagain (2002, 2006) - St. Ives, Paw Tracks
- Campfire Songs (March, 2003) - Catsup Plate
- Here Comes the Indian (June 17, 2003) - Paw Tracks
- Sung Tongs (May 3, 2004) - Fat Cat Records
- Feels (October 18, 2005) - Fat Cat Records
- Strawberry Jam (September 10, 2007) - Domino Records
- Merriweather Post Pavilion (January 20, 2009) - Domino Records
- Prospect Hummer (May 24, 2005) - Fat Cat Records
- People (October 23, 2006) - Fat Cat Records
- Water Curses (May 6, 2008) - Domino Records
- "Who Could Win a Rabbit" (July 19, 2004) - Fat Cat Records
- "Grass" (September 26, 2005) - Fat Cat Records
- "The Purple Bottle" (July 4, 2006) - White label
- "Peacebone" (August 21, 2007) - Domino Records
- "Fireworks" (November 5, 2007) - Domino Records
- Wastered (w/ Black Dice) (2004) - Paw Tracks