The New Old Guard: The Return (And State Of) ’00s Indie In 2017

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By the end of 2016, it was easy to feel overwhelmed by what had occurred in the music world. The major releases had arrived furiously, often with little or no warning, dropping out of the sky and immediately redirecting our attention from whichever other acclaimed album had just come out a week or two beforehand. More »

Watch Grizzly Bear Play Three Songs On CBS This Morning

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Grizzly Bear went on CBS This Morning this morning, stopping by to perform a few songs from their new album Painted Ruins for the show’s Saturday Sessions series. They did “Losing All Sense,” “Mourning Sound,” and “Cut Out,” and you can watch all three performances below; note that the labels for the latter two are … More »

Grizzly Bear – “Easy To Be Around” (Diane Cluck Cover)

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Grizzly Bear came back this summer with the new album Painted Ruins. More recently, they headed to Spotify’s New York studio to perform early single “Mourning Sound” and a cover of Diane Cluck’s “Easy To Be Around” live in-studio for the streaming service’s Spotify Singles series. Listen below. More »

Watch Grizzly Bear Play “Mourning Sound” On Jools Holland

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Along with SZA and King Krule, Grizzly Bear served as the musical guests on tonight’s episode of the BBC music show Later… With Jools Holland. Ed Droste braved “101 temp and a major head cold” to lead the band in a performance of the Painted Ruins single “Mourning Sound,” and you … More »

Songs That Inspire Everything Everything [Guest List]

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Award-winning Manchester band Everything Everything is currently on a mini-tour to follow up the release of their album A Fever Dream. We asked them which songs meant the most to them, and here is what they gave us.

“This playlist represents songs we’ve gravitated towards recently during the making and release of our new album, A Fever Dream. Songs we listened to at the end of a day of recording to refresh our ears and brains; songs we heard while driving around the country promoting the album in record stores, and songs we play in dressing rooms through our little speaker to get us excited to play shows.”

 

Deerhoof – I Will Spite Survive


One of our favourite bands. This song kind of sounds like Paramore but badly recorded (in a good way) with some Bach counterpoint organ on top getting it wrong (in a good way). 

Joe Jackson  – Steppin’ Out 


Recently rediscovered this song. My mum used to have it on a compilation cassette in the car when I was a child. Obviously I thought it was awful at the time. 

Mica Levi – Children 


It’s been amazing and quite surreal to see Mica go from making strange little pop songs with The Shapes to being on red carpets in Hollywood for her mesmerising film scores. This piece is from the Jackie soundrack and we listened to it through the very large and expensive speakers of the studio when we were recording our album, A Fever Dream.

Sigrid – Don’t Kill My Vibe


This song is about Sigrid co-writing with some male songwriters and feeling talked down to and disrespected by them. It feels timely and honest and, above all else, is a brilliant song. 

Weezer – No Other One


We’ve been listening to this song in our dressing room recently. I went back and listened to Pinkerton a few months ago, having missed it the first time round, and was surprised how good it was as an album. No Other One is probably my favourite  track on it from a band that seem to always change yet never change.

Solange – Cranes In The Sky


Solange was the best artist I saw at Glastonbury. Her highly-choreographed show felt old-school like James Brown while also feeling like the most future-thinking and focussed production of the Glastonbury weekend. This song is particularly special.

The Yardbirds – For Your Love


I don’t really know The Yardbirds but enjoyed hearing For Your Love on the radio recently. It’s got a surprisingly otherworldly sound and feel to it, a bit like the Odyssey and Oracle album by The Zombies, which we love. 

Public Image Ltd. – Rise


Such a strange tone to this song. It’s angry and downtrodden yet euphoric and uplifting. PIL itself are a strange beast and under-appreaciated. 

Mr Jukes – When Your Light Goes Out 


This is Jack from Bombay Bicycle Club’s new band and features our friend Lianne La Havas on vocals. It has a kind of lilting effortlessness and subtle hooks that made it immediately stand out to me. 

Lorde – Green Light


Just a banging pop song by a special artist. 

Grizzly Bear – Wasted Acres


This album came out on the same day that ours did in the UK, which annoyed me a bit at the time. It’s music for a band written like it’s for an orchestra and  beautifully executed. 

The Brothers Johnson – Strawberry Letter 23


Heard this in a record shop in Nottingham while touring round the UK doing in-store shows on release week of our album and remembered how good it is. Such a weird and wonderful way to start the song too… 

Thundercat – Bus In These Streets


This song reminds me of watching American TV Shows when I was a kid. Sounds like something from Sesame Street but with lyrics about very 2017 concerns such as social media and over-sharing.

Blur – On My Way To The Club


One of the highlights from the only Blur album that was almost entirely bereft of guitarist Graham Coxon, this could have been at the darker end of Gorrillaz output. Damon’s best work all contains the sense of melancholy on show here, and the lyrics seem to be about the loss of his friend, and the phrasing owes much to David Bowie.

Michael Jackson – Leave Me Alone


Through a series of events that I still don’t quite understand, I saw this video on a cinema screen last week. Despite the fairly serious message of the lyrics the video is witty, irreverent and deftly crafted. 

Be sure to check out Everything Everything on the final few dates of their tour:

10/13 – Irving Plaza – New York, NY – TICKETS
10/14 – Black Cat – Washington, D.C – TICKETS
10/15 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA – TICKETS

Stream Moonlight Director Barry Jenkins & Chopstars’ Chopped & Screwed Grizzly Bear Album Purple Veckatimest / Painted Ruins

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Well, here’s a fascinating cultural intersection for you: Moonlight director Barry Jenkins has teamed with DJ Candlestick, a member of Houston collective OG Ron C & the Chopstars, to produce chopped and screwed versions of two Grizzly Bear albums, 2009’s Veckatimest and this year’s Painted Ruins. Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste tweeted about the … More »

The 5 Best Videos Of The Week

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It’s not on this list, but “Hi Bish” — the new video from Bhad Bhabie, née Danielle Bregoli, née “Cash Me Ousside” girl — fucking rules. She sits in the back of a white convertible, which is being pulled by a while horse, which is in turn being led by a leather gimp. More »

Watch Grizzly Bear Bring “Losing All Sense” And “Cut-Out” On Kimmel

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Jimmy Kimmel Live! has become appointment viewing lately due to Kimmel’s nuanced monologues critiquing the Republicans’ proposed healthcare reform, and last night there was the added bonus of a Grizzly Bear performance. The band performed two songs from their recent Painted Ruins, doing the bouncy “Losing All Sense” during the broadcast and tacking on “Cut-Out” … More »

Music Review: Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins

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Grizzly Bear

Painted Ruins

[RCA; 2017]

Rating: 2/5

For the past decade and a half, Grizzly Bear have been working to establish a lingua franca between the historically uncool prog rock and the sporadically trendy indie rock. This idiom the group has created often combines protean song structures with affecting first-person lyricism in order to defy the capricious gauges of hipness to which so many indie acts submit themselves. It also abides the occasional pop concession that demands a more conspicuous mix of Ed Droste’s vocals amid the erudite, imperious instrumentation by the rest of the group. Consequently, Grizzly Bear’s conception of rock music is one of inclusive open-mindedness and generic metamorphosis, allowing for frequent experimentation while still leaving the band’s identity and accessibility intact. Yet here, on Painted Ruins, sonic exploration causes the album’s atmosphere to rise to salience and all but divest its songs of distinctiveness and viscera.

As the title suggests, Painted Ruins features Droste examining the past — more specifically, his personal history — but while the album’s use of the modifier “Painted” intimates a kind of revisionism or whitewashing, its lyrics depict an unflinching appraisal of the singer’s previous missteps and transgressions. At turns, Droste plays the defeatist, conceding his wrongheadedness while acknowledging the incorrigibility of his actions, like on “Mourning Sounds:” “I made a mistake/ I should have never tried.” Elsewhere, he promotes an occlusion from the past, as on “Aquarian,” in which Droste advises an “astral actor” to “lay [his/her] body on the burning ground/ That separates this mind from all that’s passed.” Ultimately, though, Droste and co. learn to accept the past as inextricable from the present (and future). The band uses epiphany as a pathway to atonement, as evidenced by “Sky Took Hold,” in which a world-weary Droste reconsiders his identity (“Who I am beneath the surface/ Hiding out so long inside my mind”) and, upon confronting the facet of himself he’d so tirelessly worked to hide, finally gives it the attention it deserves: “I’ve grown to accept it, let it take the stage.”

Unfortunately, these metaphysical abstractions are buttressed by an underwhelming, contemplative instrumentation befitting such intellectual ideas. Whether the group are aping Low-era Bowie (“Wasted Acres”), playacting as a heavily-sedated Steely Dan (“Glass Hillside”), or adopting the pale aloofness that marred Franz Ferdinand’s Tonight (“Cut-Out”), Grizzly Bear match the ruminative nature of their introspective lyrics with equally subdued music. The tracks often drift into one large ether of synth sounds bereft of any virility. Not even the 6/8 time signature of “Three Rings,” for example, can engender enough vim to redeem the song’s slow-burning dynamics and nebulous vocals. Painted Ruins, however, isn’t without its excitations; boasting the album’s most developed melody and undergirded by Christopher Bear’s no-frills drumming, “Mourning Sound” finds Grizzly Bear at their zenith on the album, pairing dreamy synth-rock with a near-earworm chorus. Likewise, the commanding yet androgynous vocals of “Systole” complement the song’s warm, florid instrumentation, rendering it evocative of the rush of blood to which the song title refers. Through the synthetic miasma of Painted Ruins, there shines the scant beacon.

Grizzly Bear have never been a group to temper their idiosyncratic proclivities in the name of commercialism; their liberal approach to song structure and production has effectively stymied their commercial success (excepting Shields and Veckatimest), yet it’s also afforded them unwavering indie-kid adoration. But as we see fellow alternative rock compatriots Animal Collective and Arcade Fire shooting themselves in the foot by making safe, benign music of late, it bears repeating that experimentation in rock & roll simply can’t sustain itself. This writing is carved on the walls of the indelibly scarred psyches of Brian Wilson, Roky Erickson, and Jeff Mangum. So on the new album, The Grizzlies obfuscate their own future by indulging in retrospection and trudging ahead with the electronic sound that allotted them their initial success. But with nary an aural step forward from their hitherto records, Painted Ruins ends much in the same way it begins, not with a bang, but with a drone.

Stream Grizzly Bear Painted Ruins

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Let’s get this chamber popping! Painted Ruins, Grizzly Bear’s first album in five years, is officially out now. You’ve heard advance singles “Three Rings,” “Mourning Sound,” “Four Cypresses,” and “Neighbors” and read our review. Now it’s time to take in the whole album and draw your own conclusions. Listen and … More »