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March 19, 2009

Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

via Grizzly Bear Blog

I’ve been really torn about whether or not I should be writing this post so far in advance of Veckatimest’s official release date of May 26. But, now that a high-quality “Cheerleader” is available for legally free download, I feel like I’ve been given the green light. That being said, if you don’t give this album a listen, then you are missing out on one of the best albums of the year. I don’t want to spark a debate on whether Veckatimest is better than Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavillion (You can head over to the comments on Brooklynvegan or Stereogum for that entertainment), but this new Grizzly Bear album is particularly special to me because it’s made me reevaluate my thoughts on the way humans consume and pay for recorded music. Even if Veckatimest is not enlightening in that way for you, at the very least you will listen to some wonderful tunes.

Recently on Idolator, there was an article about how an initial reaction to music can be similar to the physical effects of love at first sight. I can’t think of a better way to describe my first reaction to Veckatimest than to say that I fell in love with it, as corny as that sounds. Even with the crappy quality of the leaked rip (that spurred a lot of douchebaggery on Twitter), I am confident in saying that I really really really like it. The album opens with “Southern Point,” such an explosive start that I could have repeatedly hit the back button for the next few days. Musically playful with interplay between the acoustic guitar and the other instruments, this song is just fun to listen to. Fun is a word that I don’t normally associate with Grizzly Bear. Beautiful, haunting, and heartbreaking are adjectives I would generally use to describe the band’s music. With the first song, Veckatimest is already changing everything that I thought I knew about the band. And, from there, the album continues to delight the senses, whether it’s with the soft harmonies of “Two Weeks” or Grizzly Bear’s signature hollow body guitar sounds in “While You Wait for the Others” and many other songs. And, thanks to this high-quality download of “Cheerleader,” legally available here, you can actually hear and appreciate the production on the album. If you’re a talented live band like Grizzly Bear, then the goal of production is to make recorded music sound as close to the real thing as possible. But, how do you capture the essence of a band in a recording?? ‘Tis a mystery that the talented Chris Taylor has solved, methinks.

Generally, Veckatimest is much sunnier and more poppy compared to previous Grizzly Bear albums. Compared to Yellow House, an album that I have grown to love, Veckatimest is much more of an immediate like. But, it has areas that take more time to appreciate, which makes for a rewarding listen. Basically, Veckatimest has the crisp first sips of Pepsi but the overall more satisfying drink of Coca-Cola. But, what makes this album and the band so good is their ability to invoke different images and emotions with their music. Maybe I’m alone in saying this, but I listened to Veckatimest with more than just my mind, all unintentionally. There is a certain musical je ne sais quoi to the album that just encourages me to let down my guard and get lost in the music. And, folks, this magical quality is the reason why I love music.

Yes, so you get that Veckatimest is a good album. But how has it changed the way I think about music consumption? Well, I first listened to this album in the same way that you probably did. I downloaded it and listened to it on my computer. While listening to the album, I talked to a couple friends online about the songs. Sound familiar? This is how I consume most new music, and you probably do too, whether you want to admit it or not. In the modern day, listening to and sharing recorded music has become too easy. What we've gained in convenience, we've lost in human interaction. When I was listening to Veckatimest for the first time, I wished that I could have shared that moment with someone in person. For me, a part of my music experience is the sharing of said experience. That's why I started this blog in the first place. But, writing things here is not the same as saying them in real-time. We still pack venues to see bands, so we can't all be lazy hermits. Still, I don't know anyone who still holds listening parties, besides the people who hosted them for the "unheard" Sufjan song. So, I have a proposition. Next time you plan on listening to an album in its entirety, invite some people over. Humanize sharing again. It doesn't even matter if you and the other people have all heard it before. I may even host a listening party in Brooklyn for Veckatimest if there's any interest...

Of course, everything I've said about the album up to here is all a premature evaluation since I haven't had a proper listen yet. I've decided to stop listening to the leaked rip, as much as I can help it, until I get the real thing on vinyl. That's right, I'm paying for music. And, I've decided to start buying vinyls of albums that I consider to be incredible so that I feel like I'm actually getting something of everlasting value when I pay for recorded music. Pre-order information for Veckatimest can be found here. It's worth it.

Post on Grizzly Bear's show at BAM with the Brooklyn Philharmonic here.

Grizzly Bear, see you at Pitchfork. Grizzly Bear play Town Hall on May 28 and May 29.

Cheerleader - Grizzly Bear

Two Weeks (Live @ Boston MFA 08.14.08) - Grizzly Bear | Alternative Link

While You Wait for the Others (Live on Morning Becomes Eclectic) - Grizzly Bear | Alternative Link


Nate on March 19, 2009 at 9:11 PM said...

can't take this post seriously cause of low quality rip

Nate on March 19, 2009 at 9:19 PM said...

But you're completely right about
a) listening to music with bros

Something I've always wished to do is to go back in time to the year 2000 and listen to Kid A when it came out with a group of friends and have our minds blown together.

b) Buying music

I have a weird way of buying/downloading music. Like, a moral code. I'll only download an album if the band is old, the band is signed to a major, the band seems like a bunch of douchebags, or its an old release of a new band that I have purchased new music from. It's weird. And even though this badly cramps my ability to get a lot of new music, in the end I feel kind of good. Even though that's a really cliched feeling.

mimi on March 20, 2009 at 12:14 AM said...

first of all, the low qual rip comment belongs on bv/stereogum. hah, :)

either it's the norm to buy music and i'm the weird one...or you're the weird/ethical one for paying for music. on the one hand, i feel like i support bands by going to shows, but now i'm feeling that it's not enough to do just that. i'm telling you, ed's twitter and blog skills are getting to me. i feel an attachment to him, and i feel bad when he shares how much time and effort went into that album. so i have this belief about buying books, and now i'm applying it to music. with books, i only buy the ones that i know i will read again and again in the future. and i will buy albums that i will listen to, in their entirety, over and over in the future.

Anonymous said...

Grizzly Bear discography http://www.discoogle.com/wiki/Grizzly_Bear_Discography
& Lyrics: http://www.discoogle.com/wiki/Grizzly_Bear_Lyrics
Good Work

Anonymous said...

I love lamp

Brian Tran on January 6, 2010 at 3:39 AM said...

Hey guys,

My name's Brian Tran
and i would like to share my music
video i did of the song Two-weeks by Grizzly Bear

Heres the link

If you liked it, please help my out by just spreading the word!


canvas prints on October 5, 2011 at 6:23 AM said...

Thanks for the great article, when it comes to downloading music I hate doing but but only do it if I;m broke or the band is on a top record deal but if it's an upcoming or unknown band I'll always fork out.

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