Tag: Grizzly Bear
It’s a Friday morning in Portland. The sky is blue and the sun is actually blinding me through my office window. It’s one of those surprisingly random moments of perfect stillness, and coincidentally the ideal time for me to have just discovered this “remix” that Phoenix put out 3 years ago. Goddamn, these French fellas just never cease to amaze me. To put it quite simply, their own words about this little project do the best justice: A long time ago Grizzly Bear asked us to remix one of their tracks, but we never found the boldness to mess with their beautiful songs. So the other day we figured, maybe if we combine great things together (Grizzly Bear, Eno, chance), it would create something good.
Basically, all they did was acknowledge that Grizzly Bear‘s delicately lovely track “Foreground” off 2009′s Veckatimisest is in the key of D Major, and never really wavers from there except some slight variations into the relative minor of B Minor. Then they took the most well-known song ever to be in D Major, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major” and set the two side by side. You know the Canon even if you don’t think you do – about half the brides in America walk down the aisle to it at their wedding. Why? Because it’s an incredibly beautiful song. But they didn’t use just any version of “Canon in D Major,” they used one of the epically divine variations that Brian Eno crafted for his 1975 album, Discreet Music. His variations combine different angels of the song in different patterns to create a much more ethereal and ambient vibe – essentially eliminating the structure of the song and just leaving a psychedelic drift-off behind. I believe this specific variation is actually titled “Fullness of Wind.”
Anyway, the drifting nature of both tracks means you can essentially start them at any random times and they will syncopate into something truly beautiful, and truly worthy of the word divine. It’s like synching Dark Side of the Moon to The Wizard of Oz but not stressing about hitting play right when the lion roars. I’m already on my 4th go-round this morning, and the timing is really never off. Go HERE NOW to experience it yourself. If you can, don’t be afraid to close your eyes for a second.
20) Grimes – Visions
I gotta admit, it took me a hot minute to board the Claire Boucher train, but I’ve come to love this album. Cute and sinister haven’t coexisted this well together since The Christmas Critters episode of South Park. This was one of my go-to late night driving albums this year.
19) The Walkmen – Heaven
The most underrated band on the planet makes their most poignant album of all time with Heaven. This is the kind of shit modern rock aficionados dream of, and the title track is easily my favorite song of the year.
18) Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill
Ten minutes into the half-hour opening cut off Pill, you say to yourself – “Holy shit, this is some of the greatest rocking Neil Young I’ve ever fucking heard.” This album is both a blessing and a testament to the fact that you can make relevant and amazing rock music well past it’s time to start collecting your social security benefits.
17) The XX – Coexist
Things get a little bit more of a back-beat on The XX’s follow-up to their 2009 debut, but luckily sound just as spooky and drift-worthy. Being sad and British hasn’t seemed this appealing since The Cure first hit the scene.
16) Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light
When J. Spaceman is on, the results can be truly breathtaking, and this latest record is just as epic as the hugest works from his past. If you want massive soul-rock, then this is about as big as it gets – their live gig in Portland this year was possibly my favorite show of 2012.
15) Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
After a decade of silence, I never thought we’d hear again from the deepest band on the planet. Allelujah continues their legacy of making huuuuge, epic, half-drone tunes that no other band would ever have the audacity or balls to attempt. This is probably the greatest and most unexpected reunion of the past 5 years.
14) Grizzly Bear – Shields
Finally these guys put out an album that wasn’t made to put preschoolers to sleep. If they hadn’t obnoxiously complained about not being nominated for a Grammy, I’d be totally excited for whatever was coming next, but now I feel like this will go down as their finest work. There’s no doubt that it’s the most brilliant indie-rock of the year.
13) Tame Impala – Lonerism
Thank God these Australians realized that dream-pop still had somewhere to grow and evolve to. Psychedelic floating over great melodies and fantastic lyrics – shit can’t be beat. If these guys keep their progression up, they could be one of the greatest bands on the planet in a couple more years.
12) Dan Deacon – America
I think the “U.S.A. Suite” on this record could be the line in the sand between folks who love music and folks who just love redundant pop. More so than ever, each track on Deacon’s latest is an honest-to-goodness journey through the literal wirings of modern sound’s potential. Dude’s my hero.
11) Jack White – Blunderbuss
This is the album Mr. White has been hoping to make for 15 years. This is the sound he envisioned for The White Stripes before embracing the fact that his ex-wife had absolutely no drumming skill whatsoever. This is the most influential artist of the past decade at the top of his game. Rock and roll survival music.