Animal Collective remains one of the most defiantly-unique musical acts in the world, never comprising their ever-evolving sound to appeal to the masses. Their stage shows are one-of-a-kind bright, beautiful, kaleidoscopic wonders. For instance, on their most-recent Centipede Hz tour, the band preformed inside a geometric rainbow mouth with trippy distorted visuals projected onto the teeth.
On February 19, 2016 Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist return with their 15th studio album, Painting With, their first since co-founding member Josh “Deakin” Dibbs left the band to pursue solo efforts. For our first taste of what the new album will offer, Animal Collective released the first single from the LP, “Floridada,” a fast, bouncy, almost tropical track that would fit easily into 2009’s Marriweather Post Pavillon, as well as an equally psychedelic and colorful music video to accompany the single.
On the upcoming tour the band will undoubtedly play a lot of new material. In fact, Painting With is the first AnCo album that will not have any tracks that were previously performed live. On their most recent tour, the band only played one song from 2009’s masterpiece Strawberry Jam, the opening track, “Peacebone,” yet they played several popular, rare songs from Feels, including “Did You See The Words?” and “Purple Bottle,” but not much from before this era. One has to wonder if they’ll exclude nearly everything pre-2005 once again this time around?
In anticipation of Animal Collectives upcoming world tour, here are 10 dream songs DAB would like to hear Animal Collective intersperse with the new tracks from Painting With. It’s important to note that these songs are a wish list, and not a realistic list. Most songs are linked to videos of live performances:
“People” – 2006’s People is a short EP, yet it remains one of Animal Collective’s most cohesive works to date, each track fitting perfectly into the next. The title track would make for an incredible song to begin a setlist as they did at a show in 2005 in Haverford, PA. “People” begins with a slow-building intro that would allow the band to keep the crowd in baited suspense, until the tension is finally cut by a high-pitched, manic shriek when Avey Tare screams, “PEOPLEEEEEEEEE,” before calming the crowd down with the soft repetition of “yeah, yeah, yeah…”
“We Tigers” – Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs marks a turning point in the band’s sound. On the 2004 album, Avey and Panda write beautiful songs about returning to an old house, doing nothing with friends and making sounds with bones. This is also a time when the band really started to craft a sound that focused less on warped synthesizer radio static, and more on soft, quirky acoustic tracks that invoke nostalgia. “We Tigers” remains a fan-favorite with it’s eerie, repetitive “I’m like this, you’re like this” intro, leading into a dark chanting poem about making weird sounds with sticks, when suddenly Avey breaks out into a happy, bright, a-couple-octaves-too-high “Everybody’s lovin” rallying call. The song is full of the band’s memories from their early days in Baltimore, when Avey and Panda were just trading cassette tapes and making strange noises, unknowingly reshaping the electronic indie rock music scene forever.
“Slippi” – A track that hasn’t been played live since 2009, “Slippi” would be a rare gem to catch on the Painting With Tour. It’s frantic ups and downs, paired with erratic drums, and spikes in screams would only be magnified in a live version, like this version of “Purple Bottle” from Bonnaroo 2013. (this is my favorite recording of this song, I recommend listening to the whole 12 minute version, but Avey’s beautiful, blood-curdling screams can be found at the 9:11 mark).
“Hey Light” – One of the most unique call-and-response songs by any band, “Hey Light” is a standout track from 2003’s Here Comes the Indian. The static-y, disjointed intro is purposefully unnerving, until about 40 seconds into the track when lead singer Avey Tare starts a chanting scream that would no doubt be infectious; spreading through the crowd until the yells culminate in a fever pitch. The following verses allow would allow Panda Bear to showcase his drumming before finishing in a slow-clap funeral durge as the track fades out.
“Who Could Win a Rabbit” – Another standout track from Sung Tongs, “Who Could Win a Rabbit?” is heavily driven by acoustic guitar, a strong variation from many of the songs on this list. WCWAR subject matter focuses on taking care of yourself, and asks that you slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life like a hot cup of coffee and reminds us to “find our good habits.” The “do-do-do-do” chorus that wraps the song up would make for a great, upbeat sing-along on the Painting With Tour.
“Kids on Holiday” – I once was asked the question that if Animal Collective wasn’t the name of the band, what would they be called. I think “Kids on Holiday” would be a great second choice. Beginning with a garbled mess reminiscent of the intro to Avey Tare’s Down There, the song quickly transforms into a catchy acoustic/static beat with strain-of-consciousness lyrics that recount odd encounters at an airport. Given that Painting With was previewed exclusively at the Baltimore Airport, this song would be a great companion to “Floidada.”
“Grass” & “Fickle Cycle” – The three-track EP Grass is a short 10-minute audio journey that is reminiscent of several AnCo albums, making Grass an excellent introduction to the bands sometimes unforgiving accessibility. It is also a companion piece to Feels, of which “Grass” also appears on. “Grass” is a nostalgic, sing-songy tune that echoes the sounds found on the band’s ode to unrequited love, “Purple Bottle” from their 2005 masterpiece Feels; the unabashed screams also recall the shouts found throughout Here Comes the Indian. “Fickle Cycle,” final track on the EP begins with a super catchy hip-hop drum beat that’s hard to not dance to. It is also here that we find Avey performing at one of the most lyrically fast-paced tracks in their catalogue, reminding the listener of parts of Strawberry Jam’s “Peacebone.” Indeed, the lyrics are delivered almost as a rap, and complements the beat perfectly. The songs ends on the repetitive chant, “Fickle Cycle,” a call-and-response that could really get the crowd involved.
“For Reverend Green” – My favorite Animal Collective album is Strawberry Jam. With tracks such as “Fireworks” and “Derek” the band produces a catchy, poppy sound not found on any previous records, yet continues to be heard throughout every album since. While “Fireworks” may be considered the song of the album and was my first introduction to the band, I’m going to play devil’s advocate and hope out for a vocal chord-ruining rendition of “For Revered Green” on this tour. Not only is the track easy to sing along with, but the tense build up at the end of the song leads to a cathartic eruption of screams from the frontman.
“Alvin Row” – As the last track off their first LP Spirit They’ve Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished, “Alvin’s Row” begins as a a high-pitched static-y mess intertwined with twinkling grand piano keys and an erratic drum beat by Panda Bear. As the song begins to take shape, it trades the static for Avey’s lullaby lyrics about the naivety of childhood and concludes with these perfectly eerie lyrics, a distorted sample of a child repeating “…My singing voice is gone! …My singing voice is gone!…My singing voice is…”
To hear all the tracks on this wishlist, check out DAB’s Spotify Playlist of the 10 Songs We Hope Animal Collective Plays on the Painting With Tour:
Animal Collective will soon embark on a world tour in support of Painting With and we at DAB are excited to see what new version of themselves the band will share with us. Full tour information can be found on their website.