Kman418
Kyle Mangione-Smith
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07.06.15 how to get into animal collective 04.20.15 whats up fam
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how to get into animal collective

now that ethos and skeames are gone and demi hardly posts anymore there aren’t enough hard bros to post in anco threads when i bump them and im BUMMED OUT cause they’re probably the best band ever and feels/mpp/strawberrry jam are the only albums anyone on here listens to and you guys are missing out so…… hard….. no other band ive heard has approached texture and color and emotion in music the same way and its really changed how i even approach it as an art form and opened my mind up in a ton of different ways. ive been listening to them a lot more than usual lately so i figured it'd be fun to make a list like this. so ANYWAYS if u have any interest in them or psychedelic poppy bubbly music with tendencies towards yelping at all then this should hopefully help. i’ll cover all their albums and all the really noteworthy EPs plus what i think are the noteworthy solo albums, everything else is solid but u don’t need to get to it unless you’ve already been through everything else on here
1Animal Collective
Merriweather Post Pavilion


this is sort of an obvious starting point because of the reputation its garnered over the last 6 years and also because its by far their most poppy and accessible album. most of these songs are incredibly densely textured with murky watery vibes only for that to be pierced by bouncy synths and vocal melodies. think of pet sounds era beach boys if it was submerged in water and drenched in color. its an incredible summer album, very mellow but with enough charm and personality to be engaging. behind the surface level appeal of all the melodies and interesting textures theres a lot of emotional depth and intricacies to this album that unfortunately not a lot of people appreciate (it was something that took me a good year or so to pick up on), but regardless of this its a good way to warm up to the bands sound if you’re a newcomer
2Animal Collective
Strawberry Jam


alternatively if merriweather didn’t do it for you (or if it did and you’re looking for more) go here. in a way it serves as a transitional album between their older more unrestrained sound and the mellowed out poppy vibes of merriweather, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t just as quality. its much more reliant on guitars rather than synths and does more experimentation with texture than possibly any of their other work, but the main thing that seperates strawberry jam from the rest of their work is how FUN and energetic and uncontrolled it is. most of these songs are much more bombastic and off the wall while still keeping the melodies and hooks making it good for newcomers. i think the most distinctive feature about strawberry jam though is how juvenile and exciting it feels, its like being a child again and thinking the world is fucking huge and amazing and running around and discovering everything for the first time and not caring what anyone thinks about it.
3Animal Collective
Feels


this album rounds out what people generally think of as their major 3 albums and is most likely my favorite album from the band. the interesting thing about feels is the shift between the first and second half where they transition from more involved rock like songs similar to strawberry jam to the second half, being filled with hazey soundscapes of guitars and sounds you expect to hear walking through a forest. the two halves are far from dichotomous however, and how they work together and play off each other is largely whats so genius about this album. while maintaining the melodies of strawberry jam and merriweather feels has a lot of the folk tendencies that you hear earlier in their discography, and the blend of the two ends up in an album absolutely DRENCHED in emotion with some of the most beautiful music ever created. its incredible warm and comforting and a great album for late summer afternoons
4Animal Collective
Fall Be Kind


imagine the song structures used on the second half of feels mashed with the pop sensibilities of merriweather and you have fall be kind. while this EP does have the same spaced out airey quality to it that much of feels does its clear that these songs are much more intentionally structured and planned, giving them a certain punch that not much else in their discog has. likewise, it has the same immense beauty to it that feels does which is most likely why this is their most highly regarded EP. if you want more unconventional spacey pop songs driven by vocal melodies and textures that you get on merriweather, fall be kind will suit you well
5Animal Collective
Water Curses


this is the last of their notable material thats heavily melody based, though the atmosphere of water curses certainly makes it stand out in comparison to the rest of their work from this era. while it has the spaced out feeling that fall be kind has, it has a sort of wet, melancholic, almost dark atmosphere to it thats unlike anything else they’ve put out. that’s not to say its a sad or off putting release though, cause most of these songs do feel very welcoming and calming, but in the way a dark winter evening illuminated by streetlights feels calm and welcoming. the only complaint ive ever really felt about water curses is that the title track most definitely sticks out in terms of atmosphere and structure from the rest (though it is still a good track), but this is a great EP to have if you’re still getting into the band
6Panda Bear
Person Pitch


by far the most notable solo release from any of the members person pitch explores melody and texture in a way nothing else they’ve done really has. even put up against panda bear’s other solo material, person pitch really isn’t comparable to anything else. while most of these songs are driven by vocal melodies )that are incredibly reminiscent of brian wilson at that) a lot of them mix these more poppy aspects with some pretty noisy and odd textures which really give person pitch its distinctive personality. my only major gripe with person pitch is that similarly to water curses there are a few tracks that stick out that break and hazy otherworldly atmosphere, specifically the good girl half of good girl / carrots. regardless of this, person pitch still takes a really unique approach to pop music that nothing else ive heard really has and it has some pretty astounding results
7Animal Collective
Sung Tongs


at this point the melody and poppy nature of the first few releases on this list start to get put on the back burner and more room is opened up for experimentation in structure and instrumentation. its pretty easy to see how they got to the folkier aspects of feels through this album, cause almost this whole thing is focused around acoustic instrumentation and less strictly melodic vocals. while this release is certainly less experimental in comparison to some of their earlier albums, it certainly has its fair share of yelling and weird bouts of sound experimentation and manipulation. where sung tongs really shines however is in its longer soundscape based songs like visiting friends and the softest voice where they manage to capture some of the most interesting textures and natural vibes they ever have, cause listening to these songs you can almost immediately imagine yourself walking through the woods alone late in the day in october when all the leaves are turning orange and yellow
8Animal Collective
Spirit They're Gone...


this is approaching the territory where things aren’t immediately accessible, so if you aren’t already hooked anco might not be for you. spirit sort of sticks out in comparison to the rest of their early work just in how much more structured and intentional it is compared to stuff like here comes the indian and danse manatee. it has a lot of the folky aspects that sung tongs has, but oddly enough it has an almost jazzy sound to it that not much else in their discog has covered (most notably in panda bear’s drum work). this album is absolutely essential for anyone whos into anco though. the amount of structure and intricacy and subtlety that songs like penny dreadfuls or alvin row display in a way validate the off the wall experimentation that follows this album, cause it shows that at its core these are incredibly talented and thoughtful musicians. with that said, given that the melodies are less readily accessible and there is a lot of noise experimentation, it can be off putting
9Animal Collective
Here Comes the Indian


by far the most experimental and off the wall of all their studio albums. half these songs are bouncy and chaotic, starting and stopping every few seconds, layered with bouts of screaming and shouting, fueled by pounding drumming that often leans more towards uncontrolled banging of drums. the other half are long drawn out soundscapes similar to the ones found on sung tongs but with an incredibly dense and unrelenting atmosphere that’ll leave your head spinning. this album is not for those that don’t already love the band. despite how off putting indian is on a surface level, after a few listens it begins to make sense. you see the intention behind all the unbridled energy, and once some of these songs stick they become some of the most memorable and important material in their library. in all honesty this album is starting to become one of my favorites by them, but it most definitely does take some time to warm up to
10Avey Tare
Down There


the most notable and well known release out of all of avey’s solo material. coming out after merriweather down there is still very melody based and poppy, though its mainly its atmosphere that makes it difficult for most people to penetrate. down there is THICK. avey’s said himself its supposed to have the atmosphere of a swamp and it most definitely does, its like trudging through the grimy muck of the wetlands and getting lost with all the weird unnerving wildlife around you. down there does have moments on it that are pretty genius like cemeteries and oliver twist, but the only reason it comes so far down on this list is because it doesn’t have as many outwardly gripping moments that their albums as a group do. with that said, it’s still something you should definitely check out if you’re a fan of the band
11Animal Collective
ODDSAC


oddsac is, appropriately enough, and incredibly odd release compared to most of their work from this period, and unfortunately an often overlooked one. avey’s said in interviews that they never really try to be poppy or experimental or folky or anything else, they just play whatever textures and sounds interest them at the time and they let it take them wherever. its clear they’ve held this sentiment dear after so many years, cause oddsac seems incredibly off the wall considering it came out after merriweather. primarily serving as a visual album with a movie to accompany it many of these songs are based around specific visuals, but they still work great on their own. they are incredibly weird and experimental (though in a very different way from their earlier material, its much more structured and feels less improvy with the experimental aspects coming in with how the sounds themselves are put together)
12Animal Collective
Campfire Songs


campfire is most comparable to a stripped down version of sung tongs seeing as it relies entirely on acoustic guitars as instrumentation and has a lot of similar long drawn out songs. the main difference here, and what makes this release stand out, is the conditions in which it was recorded. campfire was literally recorded on a tape deck in the middle of the woods with the members all playing surrounding it and singing into it, and as such it all runs as one recording with the ambient sounds of the forest filling the background. doggy is a pretty brilliant song, but the main appeal of campfire is its atmosphere, and what i mostly appreciate it for is the fact that it really gets at what animal collective are about. beyond all the discourse surrounding them they’re really just a group of 4 guys that love making music together and jamming. weird, folksy, experimental music that sounds like its recorded in the woods at that
13Animal Collective
Centipede Hz


following merriweather centipede hz is still very poppy and melodic, though with a much more frantic and dense approach to it. this is unfortunately its most major fault however, given that because it feels so dense and filled to the brim a lot of the ideas don’t have proper time to develop and come to fruition, and because of that it lacks the power that merriweather has. its still a pretty great album and tracks like rosie oh and monkey riches are awesome, but this isn’t one that you need to jump to immediately unless you’ve already heard everything else on this list and love what you’ve been hearing.
14Animal Collective
Hollinndagain


if you can imagine the types of songs off here comes the indian and (to some extent) danse manatee in a live setting, you essentially have hollinndagain. theres not too much else to be said for this release, its noisy and experimental and weird in the same ways that those albums are and a lot of genius moments arise out of the muck in the same way they do with those two releases, but other than i see you pan nothing on here is too essential. its still a great release to have if you want more of their crazy and unchained older material
15Animal Collective
Danse Manatee


this is their first release that really ventures into their weirder experimental sound aside from the noisy tracks on spirit. its most similar to here comes the indian, but it lacks the spontaneity and intention that makes that album what it is. its very clear at this point that they still didn’t have much experience with making weirder more experimental music and because of that a lot of these tracks fall flat. thats not to say danse manatee doesn’t have its moments, essplode, throwin the ball around and lablakely dress are all great, but a lot of the tracks in between are pretty unmemorable. then again i felt that way about indian at one point, so i could easily see myself loving this release in another few months
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