Canadian trio Half Moon Run released their album Dark Eyes back in March and it definitely deserves some recognition.
It is evident right from the beginning of the album that these guys are extremely gifted musicians and they have tremendous amounts of chemistry with each other. Their tracks definitely feel a bit reminiscent of Grizzly Bear, however, they have far more complex grooves and energy under some powerful vocals. The vocals might just be the strongest aspect as it just lends so much personality to their songs as well as their lyrics which have a theme of being a bit twisted in a way that is odd considering how beautiful some of the harmonies are. Above all else these guys feel fresh any comparison that can be made is a relatively small one and that is always a great thing to see in music.
Historically, Grizzly Bear videos haven’t exactly sat all to well withe me. The claymation on “Ready, Able” just seemed kinda messy to me, “While You Wait For the Others” was just all over the place,” and “the Knife” just feels like a commercial for something when it’s not too busy creeping me out. Did I mention the “Two Weeks” gave me nightmares for at least two weeks?
However, this new video for “Yet Again” kept me interested, and fit the song’s cacophonous end perfectly. It all starts with an ice skater honing her skills, but then she goes on a kind of surreal journey, wandering her way to where she originally began.
Stream: Grizzly Bear – Shields
Thanks to the good folks over at NPR Music, you can now stream Grizzly Bear’s latest studio effort, Shields. The album is the highly acclaimed indie rock band’s fourth full-length album and their debut release on Warp Records. As one might expect from Grizzly Bear, Shields is complex and uncompromising with its psychedelic passages and explorative song structures yet accessible thanks to its exalted sense of grace. While some fans might be disappointed by the record’s focus on baroque instrumentation over the electronic experimentation found on Yellow House–the band did sign to Warp Records after all–it’s difficult to come up with a band that can craft dual-natured songs the way Grizzly Bear can.
With a new album from Dirty Projectors out now and records from Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear on the way, the upper-tier indie scene this year is looking a lot like it did in 2009. Grizzly Bear’s new single “Yet Again” is the second track to drop from their new record Shields, which will follow up 2009′s landmark chamber pop album Veckatimest. If “Yet Again” and the previous single “Sleeping Ute” are any indication, the band’s output is going to be a little more hard-edged this time around. Although it still bears the pretty harmonies and atmospheric elements that have always characterized Grizzly Bear’s music, the stark guitar chords and drums on this track indicate that they may be working more in some darker territory than that which they explored on their last album. Although Shields may not turn out as sunny or as refined as Veckatimest was, “Yet Again” suggests that maybe it’s not such a bad thing for this band to get their hands dirty again.
Stream “Yet Again” above and pre-order Shields now from Warp Records.
I was hoping for a Grizzly Bear album this year, and it seems like I’m gonna get it. After a handful of solo projects since the release of the band’s 2009 album, Veckatimest, the band is back with a new single titled “Sleeping Ute.” I’m actually very impressed with it, and it’s a surprise considering I wasn’t as big on Veckatimest as I was the band’s previous album, Yellow House.
To me, Veckatimest seemed to strip back the complexities I originally fell in love with in the band’s music, favoring a more straightforward approach in how these guys write their beautifully layered songs.
“Sleeping Ute” brings the complications back I love in this band’s music. Band member Chris Taylor’s production is, once again, a slice of perfection, successfully balancing a number of sounds both electric and acoustic. A watery guitar, Christopher Bear’s instinctive drumming, acoustic guitar, synths, and sax all come together into a display that feels somewhat symphonic at points. There are all sorts of hidden, sonic nuggets throughout the track, too. Replays are absolutely necessary here!
The structure of the track takes an interesting detour in its last third, venturing into beautiful interlude with Daniel Rossen’s beautifully finger-picked guitar arpeggios. The track bows out shortly after this monologue-type break in the song with Daniel’s vocal and guitar, and feels amazingly fresh and exciting despite the fact that Daniel just dropped a solo EP of stuff like this.
While Grizzly Bear hasn’t presented anything stunningly new in terms of direction on this new song, the band continues to present beauty, detail, and refinement with some seriously captivating energy. Look for this new, yet-to-be-titled Grizzly Bear album to drop in September.
I wish Silent Hour / Golden Mile was longer, but I still have to admit singer-songwriter Daniel Rossen has pulled together a solid collection of solo material on this 5-track EP. The man’s tunes are some of the most masterful in independent music right now.