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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

December 16, 2005
Animal Collective is one of the most confounding bands around right now. Incredibly difficult to pin down to a definitive style, they skirt around multiple genres, including listenable and unlistenable. With their discography being full of contradictions and unexpected moments, I hadn't the faintest clue how any of their music would translate to a live performance. Being a fan of the band and still not knowing what I was getting myself into, I decided to take a friend who had never even heard of them, assuring that someone would be able to deliver an unbiased opinion. Instead of the punch in the face I was half expecting after the show, my friend was very enthusiastic about the events that had transpired over the preceding hour and a half.

The lights were still dim when a hum began emanating from onstage. Standing in the back of the room, I could make out four figures moving about, but was not quite sure where the noise was coming from. Over the next few minutes the hum increased in intensity and pitch, filling the room with alternating screeches and drones. The amplified wash never became a discernable song over the course of ten or so minutes, and was later classified by my friend as sounding something akin to "a temperamental washing machine."

Not simply as a sound check or warm up, Animal Collective used knob-twiddling interstitials to bridge the gaps between their more structured songs. At times jarring, the interludes nonetheless help the show flow along the meandering course from one mood to the next. Relying primarily on conventional instruments - the only exception beside guitar, bass, and drums appearing to be a pile of electronics being manipulated in the center of the stage - the quartet is capable, when so inclined, of fairly accurately recreating tracks off from their albums. Songs like "Loch Raven" and "Banshee Beat" were played fairly straight forward, their hushed beauty filling the music hall, while faster songs like "The Purple Bottle" took on a more enthusiastic, but still distinguishable beat.

At other times the band became the experimentalists they are known for, tweaking and expanding their songs into drawn out jams. Sounding almost tribal, the Collective yelped out lyrics, took turns banging on cymbals, and played the hell out of their instruments. Jumping about onstage, it was not hard to imagine them in the woods, being possessed by the tree spirits or something neo-hippy like that.

Occasionally requiring patience, the band nonetheless easily held the audience captivated throughout the show. They provided a good mix of material; playing many of their most accessible songs while not being afraid to tread into the weirder waters of their canon. While I would show caution when suggesting some of their albums, I would not hesitate a recommendation of an Animal Collective live show.

SEE ALSO: www.myanimalhome.net
SEE ALSO: www.paw-tracks.com
SEE ALSO: www.fat-cat.co.uk

--
Kevin Alfoldy
An aspiring global adventurer who cut his teeth on the sandy beaches and dirty bitches of Southern California, Kevin Alfoldy now spends his non-vacation days in Brooklyn, New York, where he occasionally finds the time to rub the crust out of his eyes long enough to contribute reviews and feature articles for LAS. A longtime staff member, Kevin also captains the tattered, often half-sunk raft of EPmd, our irregular column of EP reviews.

See other articles by Kevin Alfoldy.

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