Friday, 6 February 2009
animal collective merriweather post pavilion
I've been listening the new Animal Collective CD in the car recently. It came in a neat little digi-pack with an outer box of optical illusion and an inner sleeve with their name on it. The album also seems to have a sort of double layer, and I've noticed that a few of the reviewers have referenced 'Beach Boys' and surf sounds as part of the description, perhaps because of the Press handout?
That's not really how I heard it, with it being a little reminiscent of how I'd imagine a 70s prog-rock group like "Yes" would play dance music, if such a thing were possible. There's plenty of layers of synthesizers and soaring guitars, with a kind of electro pop back-beat. There's some proper lyrics that move it from pure dance to something with stories. Probably an analyst's delight.
I'll define its genre as 'blog-rock' because it's one of those bands where the fan following is generated from on-line leaks of tracks and subsequent discourse. Part of the new music model and something that Amanda Palmer commented on during the gig on Wednesday. The need to find the connection from the artist to the fans in new ways. In the ballroom we all texted our email addresses to a special phone number during the gig to stay connected.
I suppose the difference is between the musicians who are in it for the long haul (AnCo started back somewhere in the nineties, I think) versus the sleb-based X factory productions speedily filling Mr Cowell's deep trousers.
In the UK around 80,000 sales of a single attain a chart number one to promote an album. Almost better for the record company to save the marketing budget, just buy up the quantity and get the chart position for the subsequent album.
Lily Allen just made the top spot with 'The Fear' describing celebrity vacuity, sold as an £2.97 EP with every track laced with ***** words. Not banned; yet the Palmer single about stark teenage denial banned everywhere except, intriguingly, the BBC.
I understand the need for innocent uplifting pap pop of the "It’s my time, my moment, I’m not gonna let go of it, I’ll stand proud, nothing I’m afraid of; I’ll show you what I’m made of, that its my time now" type. This can be used in song contests, stadiums and for political speeches with equivalent ease. "Clear the decks, light the lights". I almost feel a java song generator moment but I'll save it for another day.
Fortunately, whilst the labels such as 'progressive' and 'underground' may be deeply unfashionable, there's still enough alt.you-name-it music around to keep things interesting and even a resurgence in the old Yes-like bands with Rick Wakeman being granted permission to perform '6 Wives of Henry VIII' at Hampton Court after waiting a bizarre XXXVII years.
But enough dismantling, I feel should probably reach for a tie-dye tee shirt to just listen to Animal Collective, perhaps whilst staring at the cover art.
John - will this do?