One day, the culture-bloggin’ world will use more effective modifiers for both Animal Collective and Gaspar Noé than "trippy," and yet, here we are. The Argentine filmmaker and big Kubrick fan, who previously blew minds/melted faces/what have you with the neon-lit thriller Enter the Void and gut-wrenching Irréversible, helmed the latest video from Animal Collective’s very-good 2012 release, Centipede Hz. In the video for the spiraling, spacious "Applesauce," a pixelated woman slowly eats fruit against a stuttering, flickering bright colored background, like a screensaver on the fritz.
Watching it in the dark intensifies the colors, the sensory overload and the unwitting feeling of dread, almost like being at a popular dance club on the wrong night and everyone around you is just a little too sweaty and it’s all a bit too claustrophobic. Try for yourself below, and be wary of potential seizure risk caused by the images.
With spastic, psychedlic melodies and distorted sonic warbling, Animal Collective’s new video for their song "Applesauce" is intended to be viewed in complete darkness. And to be fair, most music sounds better after sundown with the curtains closed tight, but in this case, the request for lightlessness stems from the visually entrancing nature of their latest video, directed by maestro of fucked-up cinema, Gaspar Noé, whose affinty for sexuality and neon-colored violence is like a swallowing a pill succumbing to whatever he puts before you.
"Applesauce" comes off Animal Collective’s latest album, Centipede Hz, and stars model Lindsay Wixon. Featuring five and a half minutes of flashing vibrant color juxtaposed by a colorless close-up of the model’s mouth as she eats fruit in a way akin to Noe’s signature sense of grotesque sexuality, the film also has elements of Paul Sharits’ 1968 short film “N:O:T:H:I:N:G." Recently, Noé directed the shadowy video for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds "We No Who U R."
Hey y’all, it’s literally the last day of summer! I, for one, am not particularly excited about the changing of the seasons, given that I am from California and believe that anything under 50 degrees is the arctic. I’m already annoyed by having to carry a sweater around, and I will even rebel against that bastion of autumnal culture, the pumpkin spice latte. One thing I have going for me is that I don’t own any white pants to feel sad about not wearing, so that’s something, at least. In mourning, here’s a selection of what comes up when you search for “summer” in my music library.
Girls Aloud – “Long Hot Summer”
Fact: unabashedly manufactured pop music sounds better during the summertime. British girl group Girls Aloud transcend any idea of there being guilt in their listening pleasure.
The Drums – “Let’s Go Surfing”
Has indie rock ever been so fixated on the beach as it has for the past few years? It’s a justifiable obsession, whether you grew up landlocked or not. Here’s one of the definitive tracks of the trend.
Eternal Summers – “Millions”
Look at what this band is called. Including them is obligatory.
Vacationer – “Summer End”
Lush, smartly produced indie pop with a smack of regret really just hits the spot today.
Coconut Records – “The Summer”
You probably didn’t need reminding that Jason Schwartzman is a perfect human, but here you go.
Animal Collective – “Summertime Clothes”
If you, like many other people on the internet, were disappointed with Animal Collective’s offerings on Centipede Hz, it’s always a good time to revisit Merriweather Post Pavilion. This song also serves as a reminder of how I’m finding it hard to let go of this aggressively tacky shirt with a pattern of palm trees on it.
Belle & Sebastian – “A Summer Wasting”
Granted, it’s also pretty easy to spend an autumn wasting, except now we’ll all be wearing sweaters and chugging pumpkin spice lattes.
Summer Camp – “Summer Camp”
I never went to a real summer camp, but maybe you did! Regardless, I think I still like the nostalgic British duo enough to make up for it.
Soso – “I Never Thought You’d Come In Summer”
Swedish chanteuse Soso combines hauntingly catchy production with the kind of vocal delivery that just oozes star power.
Kreayshawn – “Summertime” (ft. V-Nasty)
This is one of the more bizarre offerings on Kreayshawn’s much-delayed debut album, and I say that as someone who actually sort of enjoyed hearing the constant ads for “Gucci Gucci” on Spotify last year. I’m sorry.
Centipede Hz, the new album from electronic soundscape creators Animal Collective, thunders out of the gate like none of their other work. The lead track “Moonrock” is a feverish ride on the back of the thunderous beat of a live kick drum. And that’s not the end of the live instruments: guitars strum, keyboards hit, and you can almost hear the drumsticks clacking. For most bands, this isn’t big news. But for Animal Collective, an outfit largely famous for their abstruse textural landscapes, it’s a revolution.
The quartet has always had a bit of an identity problem. They’re an experimental band who can make droning long-form songs that are supremely challenging to the average listener; they’re the pop band whose tracks “My Girls” or “Summertime Clothes” wouldn’t sound out of place synced to commercials for hybrid cars; they’re the band who, according to the internet, was “created by/for/on the internet,” yet they were so terrified of their music leaking online that every review copy came with a 300-word excoriation of file-sharers and a timeline for when it was permitted to mention having heard it on Facebook (August 1).
It’s hard to think that the same group that made “My Girls” also made aggressively rocking, inaccessible tracks like “Transverse Temporal Gyrus Part 1.” But perhaps this willingness to veer around, to make left turn after left turn, is what Geologist, the man largely responsible for the band’s heady layers of samples, means when he says Hz “feels like an Animal Collective record” since change is the only thing constant across their catalog. “We like to feel like every record is a bit of an unexpected departure,” he says.
But the band’s newfound focus on live instruments doesn’t mean they’ve come back down to earth too much. In addition to forging new musical terrain, Hz is also a full-on concept album, focusing on “the afterlife of radio signals.” There are garbled radio noises in the intros and outros of most songs, out of which swell songs, like “Father Time,” in which a ghostly semi-tropicalia beat shimmers into life before fading away.
In fact, much of the album feels like woozy station surfing, which is a good way to think of the non- teleological evolution of the band. If Centipede Hz isn’t for you, change the dial. “There’s enough in our discography that you can sort of pick and choose what sides of Animal Collective you like,” says Geologist, “without—I hope— being offended when we do something you don’t like.”
Somewhere between an acid-induced fever dream, an imagined trip to the Gathering of the Juggalos and an alternate ending to The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert lies the surreal new video for Animal Collective’s "Today’s Supernatural." Danny Perez, who helmed the band’s film venture, ODDSAC, directs the cut for the spiraling psych-pop track, which features ATV-driving Chinese New Year dragons, clown makeup, distortion, and plenty of other vivid and terrifying things.
"Today’s Supernatural" can be heard along with a stream of the rest of Animal Collective’s new album, Centipede Hz, on Sunday night on Animal Collective Radio. In the meantime, check out the clip below.
Have you ever listened to an Animal Collective song and thought, “Damn, this is a great band, but I’d really like to see what they’re capable of when given their own radio show”? Well, ahead of the band’s anticipated fall release, Centipede Hz (which drops in the U.S. Sept. 4th), they will be hosting several episodes of a weekly self-produced radio show, the appropriately named Animal Collective Radio.
The show, which airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EST, will feature curated picks and mixes from the band and its favored collaborators and top choices. The show starts this Sunday, July 29th and runs through August 19th, beginning with a show from Panda Bear, featuring one of his own mixes along with appearances on the decks from Haunted Graffiti, Sublime Frequencies and Black Dice.
Go to the site to check out a brief but blippy trailer for the show, which probably contains some sort of subliminal message.
Artist Doug Aitken’s latest project, Song 1, involves 11 high-definition projectors covering all 360 degrees of the shell of Washington, D.C.’s Hirschhorn Museum with moving images for the better part of a month. It’s pretty bad ass.
But tomorrow night, something that’s even more impressive will take place. Aitken is hosting one of his “Happening” events, featuring live music—all based around the old standby “I Only Have Eyes For You”—from the likes of No Age, High Places, members of Animal Collective and more. The event will be live in D.C. and will stream live for the rest of the world here.
To get you ready, Daniel Lopatin, of Ford & Lopatin and Oneohtrix Point Never, has posted to SoundCloud Oneohtrix’s weird, spacey version of the song—which Pitchfork already named Best New Track.
For a song that Aitken told Wired is “almost embedded in our DNA,” Lopatin’s rendition is almost unrecognizable, but that’s definitely not a bad thing. It’s artsy and offbeat and exactly what what watching Aitken’s dreamy, strange art stream across the curved face of a national museum should sound like. Check it out below.
Francois Hollande, a Socialist, beat tiny modelizer Nicholas Sarkozy in their race to the French presidency. Hollande, who has promised to tax those making more than a million euros a year at 75%, is known for saying ““Austerity need not be Europe’s fate.” France’s first elected Socialist president will take office May 15, right around the time we suspect Carla Bruni will develop a crush on him. [NYT]
A new single from indie rock favorites Animal Collective won’t be available until later in the summer, but late Sunday night the band shared the 7-inch’s tracks, “Honeycomb” and “Gotham,” via their website. [Animal Collective]
During an appearance on Meet The Press Sunday, Vice President Joseph Biden revealed that he is “absolutely comfortable with…men marrying men, and women marrying women,” a stance that doesn’t exactly jive with the White House’s stance on marriage. Less progressive? Biden’s pop-culture knowledge. The Veep went on to say, “When things really began to change is when the social culture changes. I think Will & Grace probably did more to educate the American public than almost anybody’s ever done so far. People fear that which is different. Now they’re beginning to understand.” [MTP]
Bloom, the new album from Baltimore’s own Beach House — a record we reviewed a week ago — has finally been made available to the listening public. Or at least the listening public that hasn’t yet downloaded a leaked copy. Check out the record our reviewer called “artful and captivating. [NPR]
In its multi-decade, 500+-episode run, The Simpsons has sported all sorts of popular culture references, from the Immortal Bard (a Hamlet parody still shown in high schools all across America by English teachers who want to get hip with the young people) to Spider-Pig (does whatever a spider-pig does).
Last night, The Simpsons aired a surprising homage to David Foster Wallace, titled “A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again,” which borrows its title — and plot — from DFW’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. The episode, in which Bart assumes the role of Wallace on his disdain-inducing luxury cruise, also includes musical snippets from Hot Chip (“Boy From School”) and Animal Collective (“Winter’s Love”).
With a television run as long as the one Matt Groening’s iconic series has had, there have been a whole lot of other surprising, notable and overall funny salutes to important literary tomes, from Hemingway to Stephen King to the Bible. Here’s a look back at just a few of the other key Simpsons moments that went by the book.
Edgar Allen Poe has been a rather popular source of inspiration, particularly with the Treehouse of Horror Halloween episodes. One of the first Halloween shorts was a direct take on "The Fall of the House of Usher;" in “Lisa’s Rival,” she replaces perfect Allison Taylor’s diorama of "The Tell-Tale Heart" with an actual beef heart, with the real diorama torturing her from the floorboards. But this early Treehouse of Horror installment, a retelling of “The Raven” featuring Marge as Lenore and Bart as the titular bird, is the best of these.
Lisa meets a group of college students in her gymnastics class and pretends to be one of them in order to belong to a group of her intellectual equals. One of her new friends is re-reading Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (one of a few Pynchon references that have appeared on the show), but more importantly, the episode includes one of The Simpsons’ best lit. moments. Lisa attends a reading from former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky (as himself), who gets some support from a group of frat dudes with “BASHO” painted on their stomachs. It did make us wonder about the possibility of a world where poetry slams sported SEC football-caliber tailgates.
Harry Potter has had a few nods as well, including a pretty-okay Treehouse of Horror installment. But it was Lisa’s encounter with the real J.K. Rowling that included the words all fans wanted to hear. When she asks the author what happens to Harry at the end of the series, she responds, “He grows up and marries you. Is that what you want to hear?”
And finally, the Hamlet episode, inspiring curricula since its airing. Although it’s certainly difficult to condense a five-act play into a digestible TV mini-sode, The Simpsons did it as only they could. The episode is notable for its expert use of Ralph Wiggum (“I’m gonna go kill Hamlet! Here’s my mad face.”), “Rosencarl and Guildenlenny,” Lisa’s brief cameo as Ophelia and Bart’s one-sentence review of the play, which sums up the feelings of so many: “How could a play with so much violence in it be so boring?”