a) This isn’t for me. There are lots of reasons I don’t like certain stuff. An album might be really overrated (Bon Iver, LCD Soundsystem), too precious (Death Cab for Cutie, The Wrens), too boring (No Age, Burial), too irritating (Destroyer, MIA), a combination of all these factors (Animal Collective, Panda Bear), or too much of an MC whose idea of “rapping” is telling mundane stories while speaking in a cockney accent over garage beats (The Streets). Okay, fine, all of the previously mentioned artists have a few cool tracks, but you get the point.
b) This is a work of genius! I’m going to listen to this album a 10,000 times over the next few days and talk everybody’s ear off about it … then overdose and burn out on it completely. These albums can be “pixie discs,” delivering an exciting sugar rush with little nutritional value (The Strokes, MGMT, Black Kids) – or one trick ponies (Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, Clinic), bands that do one thing really well, but give you so much of that one good thing that it becomes old really fast.
c) I don’t know if I liked that or not. These are the “difficult” albums. They’re strange and alien at first, but also vaguely familiar, and there’s something (a surprising lyric/chord change/mix of influences, an oddly compelling singer, etc) that piques your interest – a thing that makes you go “hmm,” to quote our good friends at Music Factory, C&C. These usually end up being my favorite records, my desert island discs, if you will.
Veckatimest, the new album from Brooklyn art rockers Grizzly Bear is a perfect example of the Type C category. Last year, I missed them open for fellow Type C-ers Radiohead, in Mansfield, MA, but I didn’t realize what I was missing. Early reviews for Veckatimest (leaked months ago) were all loaded with foaming at the mouth / NME-style praise. I’m always skeptical of (and usually disappointed with) albums that get this level of hype, but this time I was pleasantly surprised.
Two songs, “Two Weeks” and “As You Wait for the Others” – the album’s catchiest, most melodic tracks – stood out immediately. The vocal harmonies on the chorus of “As You Wait” gives me goosebumps; it’s one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long time (see video clip below). “Southern Point” opens the album on an ominous note then launches into a great little acoustic guitar riff and primal, galloping drums. Others like “Fine for Now” and “Cheerleader” develop slowly and take a bit longer to grow on you, but are worth the effort. Veckatimest closes with “Foreground,” a stark and beautiful song with a hint of dread – it sounds like something Radiohead might choose to end one of their albums (like “The Tourist” or “Motion Picture Soundtrack”).
Super highly recommended.
Oh shit – Grizzly Bear is playing at the Berklee Performance Center tonight! (it’s sold out – stop smiling). Instead you’ll have to settle for watching a crappy quality YouTube clip of their new music video for “Two Weeks,” a disturbing “Black Hole Sun” homage. Enjoy!