Friday, September 07, 2007

Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam

Animal Collective isn't a prototypical "band" by any stretch of the imagination. Based in NYC with members from Baltimore, MD their lineup changes depending on who's making the music. They don't have one type of sound, they don't always work together, and they don't go by they're real names (Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Deakin, and Geologist). Mostly, they are classified as psych-folk or noise rock but have been known to dabble and experiment with many other styles. They are nothing if not prolific in their music making. Their latest effort Strawberry Jam is their 8th record since their formation in 2000. They were put on my musical map with 2004 release Sung Tongs and again in 2005 with Feels. The newest record (again, coming out on Sept. 11) consists of songs that were played extensively during their 2005-2006 touring schedule. That practice and familiarity is clearly reflected in both the confidence in which they're played and their lengths (only 2 of 9 tracks under 4.5 minutes). While these longer songs may hint at a lack of focus, this doesn't seem to be the case on Strawberry Jam. Their style takes some getting used to, and has to be appreciated for what it is. This is not the stuff of Top 40 radio. This stuff is: College Radio being broadcast from the basement of the student union listened to by 200 people if you're lucky. The two tracks below are a bit on the longer side, but both are well worth a listen. "Fireworks" will be the second single released on November 5, and "Safer" is a track that was played a lot live and recorded in the studio, but didn't make the final cut on the album due to its length, thus released as a B-side to the lead single "Peacebone."

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