Thursday, April 14, 2011

Panda Bear {& the more the merrier}

As you would assume, I've been hard-pressed to properly post as of late. As a genetic default, this puts me into a spiral of guilt that perpetuates delayed postings which equals no postings which equals more guilt which means I'm blaming my mother.

Isn't that what I'm supposed to do in my late-20s when I'm questioning inherent personal behaviors?

Since taking over for Mckay two years ago, I have a lot of heart for ES and being able to share music with the five or six of you that check back from time to time. To be sure we keep the ES closet full, I've decided to bring on guests writers - particular people particularly passionate about music. They're only requirements are to stoke the blog fires, exercise witty banter and be scorchingly good-looking. We've set a high-bar around here.

So without further ado - ladies and gentlemen: the reputable Dustin Artz!
{f*ck...i gotta step up my game}

xx, chirgo


I like lists.

Every year on my phone I make a list of all the new albums about to come out. Next to each sits a number denoting how many times I'll eventually listen to it.


For most of 2010 Panda Bear's name sat on that list with a big 0. His album "Tomboy" kept getting delayed and delayed, and that stubborn little zero brought me a pang of disappointment every time I glanced at it.

So I'd listen to "Person Pitch" one more time. Every track on it flawless, just as relevant today as it was four years ago; hazy, warm and dream-like, so simple yet so overwhelmingly grand and lush. Something sacred about it. Add to that the accessibility of "Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavillion," and my anticipation for "Tomboy" couldn't have been any greater.

So I might be a bad guest host critic for this one.

"Tomboy" is solid, don't get me wrong. The songs are shorter, but still contain the simple, repetitive melodies that put you in a trance. They just end sooner. Long, repeated choruses like "Know you can count on me," still make you feel somehow more pure just for listening to them. Percussion like that on "Slow Motion" still gets your head nodding, recalling the stutter stop of throwback Audio Two's "Top Billin." Interwined with all the reverb and repetition to come, Panda Bear still creates magic.

And yet while the formula is still mostly there, the biggest shift on this album seems to be an emotional one. While Panda Bear is always reflective, at his most impactful he dwells in the land of optimism and triumph. E.g. Noah yelling at his brother at the top of his lungs to open up his throat…"MATTTTT!!!!!!!" This album on the other hand is enveloped in a bit of darkness, the songs increasingly tinged with loneliness as "Tomboy" progresses. There is something uneasy lurking in the corner. And instead of leading us out, like the guitar that strains to be heard and eventually prevails on "Bros," Panda Bear lets doubt sit with us as the album stops spinning.

Which, of course, is not always a bad thing. If I threw away all the self-absorbed melancholy in my CD collection I wouldn't have much left. But when you look up to a musician like some sort of Holyman the way I do Noah Lennox, well, to be frank, it just kind of bums me out.

That said, I'm probably going to listen to it a hundred times and have it end up on my best of 2011 list.

Panda Bear // Slow Motion

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