Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Move Over Radiohead

I will stand by a band that I think has complete and total creative control over music, pushing innovation in both the music and the marketplace. Radiohead, after seven full length albums, the massive success of The Bends and OK Computer, the subsequent departure and masterpieces of Kid A and Amnesiac, and the fantastic pay-if-you-want In Rainbows are still masters of their craft. Even their efforts for independent music and environmentalism are fantastic. Of Radiohead on their recent tour, the Liars said this:

"In a world full of fear and ripe with insincerity its such a relief to have met Radiohead.
They are purveyors of truth, beauty and a moral responsibility to the planet.
We’ve been welcomed with literal open ams and thoroughly schooled
on how to function as a band -not just musically, but ethicly too.
The honor is in learning from the best and from the beginning we’ve been in class.
The important thing for us to make clear is just how awe inspiring this production is.
We’re not sure if there’s any information made public about the efforts
Radiohead go to to reduce their environmental impact.
But, there should be.
At the outset we were all given tour water flasks.
Plastic anything is like contraband.
Every bus and truck runs on bio-fuel.
There is no idling, rather some new-fangled way to deliver electricity cleanly.
They don’t do air-freight either.
The list goes on..
Everything is supremely managed to reduce the ‘footprint’
and it’s inspiring in that its ‘real’ and should set the standard for other big productions.
This all goes beyond the immediate impact of simply
being able to watch these 5 guys perform together each night.
Unlike any band we’ve seen they all contribute such an immense amount to the outcome.
Their extreme individual talents blending so naturally.
To witness this first-hand is an education in musicianship and vision
that’s certainly not been lost on us..
For now, we’d like to send our huge thanks to the Radiohead crew
for being so super crazy nice and supportive to us.
We’ll see them in Spain again for the Daydream Festival
and ofcourse during our West Coast tour with Radiohead in August -
so no tears yet..
We Liars head to Europe now…
following a luxurious 2 day break and will be re-tracing
some of the steps missed due to the euphoria of living in rainbows."

Holy fuck. Radiohead are gods, even from the standpoint of one of the most innovative and experimental bands out there. I've even said Radiohead are the new Beatles. They appeal to everyone, and still continue to push the boundaries of music today. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, and I want to stress that I'm not discrediting Radiohead in ANY way, there's a new contender in the musical arena.

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion

This album, although I'm still in the first stages of obsession, is one of the best albums I've heard in a long time. It towers over Strawberry Jam and Feels. It unites the quirky, spastic songwriting of Avery Tare with the atmospheric sample-heavy Panda Bear. Animal Collective is truly the next revolutionary wave of music, and this is their Kid A.

I was a slow starter on this group. The first album I heard was Feels, and while I loved it, and Strawberry Jam even more, it wasn't until I saw them at Pitchfork when I realized how truly amazing they are. The live performance complements their music immensely, as you can see by this performance of "Daily Routine."

The lights, the samples, the three members interacting live to push out a complete experience of a song rather than a show. The audience is able to interact rather than watch, and I think that is most important.

Something else I want to emphasize is the true honesty of this band. Take a look at this video of "Purple Bottle" performed by Avery Tare and Kria Brekkan.

Or this performance of "Winter's Love" off of Sung Tongs

I don't want to bore you with a track-by-track review of Merriweather Post Pavillion, but in a nutshell it's my favorite album by Animal Collective. It's a groundbreaking piece of art, our generation's anthem. If you haven't heard it yet, you're missing out. That's all I have to say about it for now.


  1. I must disagree there is no way (1) Radiohead is the new Beatles, and (2) Animal Collective may be as good or better than Radiohead, but truthfully that isn't saying much.

  2. Musically, Radiohead and the Beatles have little in common, this is true. However, looking at the social impact of both groups, record sales, and what both bands have done to push the envelope musically, they are pretty similar. I doubt Radiohead will ever amass the popularity of the Beatles in such a convoluted age of independent music, or in such an age where there is SO much more music that is accessible with the internet, but they still manage to sell out multiple nights at huge venues and stay true to their craft, and THAT says a lot. In addition to their goals and ideals, I have a lot of respect for Radiohead.

    I don't know what you mean by number two, other than that both bands are band. Which I, of course, will disagree with. I invite you to bring on another artist/group that is doing such a drastically innovative or completely new idea with music today. I know there are a lot and I don't want to discredit them.