Days fog, can’t see past the edge of what’s gone, but I’m hoping I’ll try. And the rain shines, and the showers and the fawns in the field arrange in my eyes, so why fight? With nature’s call around, you talk about frights in the verse of every song. You tell me what’s wrong, but what’s right? You’re seeing creation, that crushing never-ending change is so full of love. And so you’re waking to face the change in your role, and with each restless shiver you wretch from your soul, you’re asking is that something I’m not anymore? A brother to shake these broken chords ‘till they turn gold. And I tried to survive without that gold, and wondering why our exchange can never hold. Am I what’s wrong? Well what’s right? Stop trusting in demons. You’re scattered, ever-lonely buddy, but so full love. Please stop repeating your terror, you choose what you see. It’s always “what if?” and “why not?” Man, you gotta just be. Simplify, define your goals and watch them grow. Be your own true self, the you that I know. Days gone, as I peer past the edge of what’s lost. I’m starting to cry, but the rain’s fine. And the tears feel warm and my body is humming alive. In time, you’ll revive what you thought dead. You’ve stopped your own climb on the verge of every end. You tell me what’s wrong, but what’s right? Stop believing your being’s been shattered and distorted, ‘cause brother you’re so full of love. And so you’re hoping to make a change in your role, repeating mantras to find some ground for your soul. Stop asking. Is that something I’m not anymore? A brother to shake these broken chords ‘till they turn gold. 

Animal Collective's 6 favorite songs to listen to on a boat

For more than 15 years, indie darlings Animal Collective have been releasing springy and bright experimental pop, and their newest creation is no exception. The wildly colorful Painting With sounds like a Dadaist work looks — with bits and pieces “connected by sutures,” as the lyrics in single “FloriDaDa” go.

The band, composed of members Noah Lennox (a.k.a. Panda Bear), David Portner (a.k.a. Avey Tare), and Brian Weitz (a.k.a Geologist), outfitted their studio with baby pools and plastered the walls with dinosaur sketches to help inspire the record’s primitive rhythms. But if it was up to Weitz, he would’ve been splashing around in a much bigger pool.

A longtime scuba diving enthusiast, Weitz and sometimes-bandmate Josh Dibb (a.k.a Deakin) enjoy nearly annual, week-long diving trips in the middle of the ocean. “There’s a lot of down time when you’re on the boat,” explains Weitz, “because you have to get rid of the nitrogen that you absorb when you’re underwater, and then you have to metabolize it.” That means divers tend to spend a lot of time just sitting around on the boat. “Listening to music is a really good pastime.”

That makes Weitz something of an expert on the best music to listen to while out to sea. So next time you find yourself on a boat, enjoy this nautical playlist curated by Weitz:

1. Crosby, Stills, & Nash, “Wooden Ships”

“This was almost a tie with ‘Laughing’ off of David Crosby’s first solo album. This one wins based on subject matter. How can you set off on a week long boat trip to sea and not start with this song?”

2. Neil Young, “Cortez the Killer”

“I played this on a boat when diving at Poor Knights in New Zealand and the pace worked well. It also reminds you to be respectful in a foreign place, and no matter where you are in the world, if you’re underwater, you’re a guest… so be polite.”

3. Tully, “Thank You”

“This is from the soundtrack to a '70s surf film called Sea of Joy. Basically thanks the sea for everything, so it’s another no-brainer.”

See the full list here. 


Golden Gal by Animal Collective

Painting With is experimental psych band Animal Collective’s tenth studio LP. This time with a line up that includes Avey Tare(David Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), and Geologist (Brian Weitz), Deakin (Josh Dibb) sat this one out recording his own solo album. I’ve been a big fan of the band for awhile, enjoying listening to the evolution of their sound in albums like Strawberry Jam and Merriweather Post Pavilion. Though I’d dug their previous effort Centipede Hz, it was a little cluttered musically and ultimately didn’t hold up to previous efforts from the band. Still, I’m always excited for a new Animal Collective release because they’re a band forever growing, expanding and looking to find something new but still feels true to Animal Collective.

This time around the band was heavily influenced by visual arts and painting whether it’d be dadaism, modern art or cave drawings, hence the title Painting With. You can definitely hear that come out in the music, with a sound crafted by Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist that’s often a collage of squishy, bouncy and fluid sounds that are densely splattered across the mix. Take that and mix it with the eccentric exuberance presented by Animal Collective and you get what is the core what they’re doing on this album. The best and funnest example of this is the albums energetic opener, “Floridada” which describes taking hometown pride a little too far. The album never gets more exciting from the opener, although “Lying On The Grass” comes close with Avey and Panda Bear’s vocals cascading around the track and an equally bouncy groove complete with effects and even a horns coming in. Golden Gal“ is another highlight, the springy, warped track is catchy ode to strong women.

There are influences and flaws in execution on Painting With that keep that album from impressing the way Animal Collective have in the past. Avey Tare and Panda generally the two main songwriters and vocal performers in the group and much like on Centipede Hz Avey dominates this album in both songwriting and performance. The best songs on the album are the ones that he wrote or his vocals take the lead. He brings a level of energy and charisma to songs that’s just winning. Noah Lennox, on the other hand, feels like he’s a songwriting slump and his performances don’t feel nearly as urgent. This is somewhat carried over from Panda Bear’s solo album Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper a project I thought was okay but had tracks that tended to stagnate structurally. This shows up here on tracks like “Spilling Guts” and “Summing The Wretch” where Panda’s vocals has a sort of a choppy staccato delivery and the tracks are generally linear and they really don’t add much to the album. I often look for Panda bring a level of melody and pop sensibility to counterbalance Avey’s vocal eccentricities and I don’t feel it’s here.

Animal Collective were also inspired by bands like the Ramones to make shorter to the point songs and though it sounds like a good idea paper to take the magic of Animal Collective and cram it, I don’t think it works out for the best here. Tracks like “The Burglars” and “Verticals” are nice because the energies there and the sound is intriguing but they miss the mark on some of the more flatter tracks that don’t do much within the 2-3 minute time frame. They’re a band often known to take two different sections of music and fuse it to make a smooth glorious whole and that’s mostly absent from this album. I respect the fact they’re trying new techniques but the boundless wonder of songs like “Applesauce” and “Monkey Riches” is no where to be found here.

All and all, Painting With is a good album but by Animal Collective standards? It’s probably their  worst album in over a decade. An Animal Collective is always a sonic journey and Painting With presents cool sounds but they just never take me anywhere, not this time. 

But you never know what the next album will bring with Animal Collective, so I’ll no doubt be interested in what they do next.

You can find more of Patrick’s writing here