Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
Grizzly Bear attack! Shields Up! Win tickets! Rahhhr!
Barbara AnastacioFor a band that’s made their name on stately, carefully crafted chamber pop, Brooklyn’s Grizzly Bear are surprisingly polarizing. Their proponents find the intricacy of their harmonies, arrangements, and musicianship exquisite while their naysayers just find them dull. I actually lean more towards the latter than the former, but temper it with a healthy amount of respect for what they do and how they do it.
So with that frame of reference established, take it for what it’s worth when I say their new album Shields is surprisingly raw and raucous. They haven’t changed up what they do or how they do it significantly – okay, maybe the multi-part harmonies are dialed down some – but the songs themselves have more punch and presence than past efforts, and it’s a pleasant surprise. It’s unlikely to change anyone’s opinion on Grizzly Bear dramatically, but if you’re a fence-sitter it’s reasonable to think this effort will fall rather definitively on the “favoured” side.
But don’t take my word for it – hear for yourself. In a week leading up to some pretty major releases, and thus meaning a week of some pretty major pre-release streams, Shields is the main attraction of NPR’s First Listen feature right now. To go along with that, there’s features on the band – surely the first of many this Fall – at Clash and Stereogum, and they’re a central pillar in this Spin feature about the ongoing gentrification of indie rock.
Shields is out next Tuesday and the band are at at Massey Hall on September 26. Tickets for the show range from $29.50 to $42.50 plus fees, but courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got a pair of tickets to the show to give away. To enter, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “I want to see Grizzly Bear” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me by midnight, September 19.
Also with a new record out next week and in town shortly thereafter is Dinosaur Jr, with I Bet On Sky – their third post-reunion album. It’s doing the stream thing at NPR right now, giving you enough time to learn all the songs so as to be able to sing along with the guitar solos when they hit Lee’s Palace for three nights from September 24 to 26. Don’t pretend you don’t.
Not likely to be a whole lot of guitar solos on Charmer, the latest from Aimee Mann, but more superb songwriting is a given. NPR has also got that stream and she’s at the Danforth Music Hall November 6.
Out next week but not streaming at NPR – the band has posted it themselves on Soundcloud – is Band Of Horses’ latest Mirage Rock. Ben Bridwell details the recording of the song “Slow Cruel Hands of Time” to Billboard and also talks to Contactmusic about the new record.
Stream: Band Of Horses / Mirage Rock
New York’s Savoir Adore have already completed their second album Our Nature and given it an October 16 release date, but they’ve turned to Kickstarter to enlist fans’ help to give the record the promotional push they think it deserves. And to help demonstrate what you’re supporting, they’ve made another track from the album available to stream. They’ve also announced their Fall tour in support of the record, and as happy as I am that they’re coming back to Toronto – look for them October 13 at Rancho Relaxo – was it really necessary to schedule the show the same night as Beach House? Le sigh.
Video: Howler – “Told You Once”
Yo La Tengo is doing stuff. A new single entitled “Stupid Things” is coming September 25 and a new full-length will be out in late January, presumably January 28 since the last week of that month is when all the big releases come out. And a new Yo La Tengo album counts as a big release, methinks.