The Animal Collective get in there and mix things up. - Oh My Rockness

Rockness Recommends

The Animal Collective get in there and mix things up.

November 16, 2005
Who are these guys? The abstract-freak-folk ensemble known as Animal Collective (primarily featuring Avey Tare and Panda Bear) beg you to ask this question. With enigmatic, nonsensical lyrics, and operating in an indefinable genre, Animal Collective are one of the more intriguing and imaginative groups in the NYC scene. And they've been known to play in the dark. Yikes! They did just releases their best album, Feels, so maybe that will give them the self-confidence to finally turn on the lights.

Animal Collective, combining psychedelic freak-outs with Appalachian folk and the hooks of good old-fashioned punk, create something bordering on surreal euphoria. Throw in some Can-like symphonics, add a little prankster merriment, and you get a sound you have never heard before. Animal Collective are at their best when they take subtle, seductive sounds, like lush acoustic guitars, and throw them into their "Noise Mangler 3000." Ok, I just made that name up, but it seems more fitting than just calling the machine that masters music manipulation a "computer." It's easy to imagine Animal Collective piling all these sweet, pastoral sounds into a big metallic bin, flicking on big red switch, sitting back as it rumbles, and waiting for the beautiful sounds to emerge.

Like Black Dice, you aren't exactly sure what Animal Collective and their "thing" is all about. But if you can put on that dusty imagination hat you last wore when you were seven, Animal Collective's music has the ability to sweep you away to never never indie land. In fact, the case could be made that Animal Collective are really just making children's music under the guise of mysterious indie rock troubadours (I mean the one guy's name is Panda Bear, for goodness sake). With bouncing rhythms and a whimsical tone, this beats Raffi any day.

Also on the bill is NYC's own Excepter, a band that's into electro-psych filled with scattered beats, programmed pulses, and squiggly synths. Fueled by minimalistic male & female vocals/cries/wails, Excepter lulls you into a hypnotic trance with their experimental acid-y noises and repetitive glitchy clicks. This is music that is as challenging as it is beautiful. There's some work involved in listening to these drones, but the payoff is unexpected twists, turns and noise improvisations that work towards a cathartic and entirely unpredictable experience in sound.

The Animal Collective play with Excepter at Webster Hall, Sunday, November 20th (get tickets).


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