Animal Collective is an experimental psychedelic band from Baltimore, Maryland. The band consists of Avey Tare (David Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Geologist (Brian Weitz), and Deakin (Josh Dibb). Avey Tare is said by members of the band to be the de facto leader and writes the majority of the tracks. Panda Bear is an equally important member with the most successful solo career of the 4. His catalog is definitely worth a listen as well with a couple of albums that or on par with the best of Animal Collective.
Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished Their first album was actually released as Avey Tare and Panda Bear not Animal Collective, and all tracks were written by Avey Tare. A very abrasive yet pop-like album, it's originality helps illuminate it's sparkle. Not an incredibly accessible record, but an incredible record nonetheless.
Album Highlights
April and The Phantom
Penny Dreadfuls
Chocolate Girl
Someday I'll Grow to Be as Tall as the Giant
Danse Manatee Their most unpopular album by both fans and critics, it still has it's gems. More candy coated than their first album, it's a more saturated noise-pop. They released this album under the name Avey Tare, Panda Bear, and Geologist. Essplode resembles the experimental pop of their previous album, and remains one of the strongest tracks on the record.
Album Highlights
Runnin' the Round Ball
Throwin' the Round Ball
Hollindagain Their first live album that also featured some original tracks. Worth a listen the whole way through to feel the energy of the band. A lot of noise on the album, making it chaotic especially on the first half, but it's beautiful noise. Hard to put standout tracks for this one, I can only really listen to it as an album.
Campfire Songs A brilliant record recorded back to back to back with five tracks. Released under the name Campfire Songs and featured Avey Tare, Panda Bear, and Deakin. No Geologist for this one. And the first with an active Deakin. Here, like with many of their records, you really feel the presence of their music. It's not just something to listen to, but to feel. From the very opening of their first track Queen in My Pictures, the strings strumming and the qooing voices set the tone for an amazing trip. Really hard again for this album to pick standout tracks, but the most accessible is probably Doggy.
Album Highlights
Here Comes the Indian The first album actually credited as Animal Collective although all previous albums are retrospectively called Animal Collective albums obviously. It's a very energetic, percussive, loud, rhythmic, tribal record. The first couple tracks have a percussive buildup only relieved by Avey Tare and Panda Bear yelling. Whilst the description may make it seem like chaos, it flows together so easily, you'll forget how hectic and chaotic it really is. Again, like most AnCo records, it's record for you to really experience and not just listen to. Listening to their records at high volumes and just taking every second all in is really something.
Album Highlights
Hey Light
Sung Tongs This album is magnificent. One of my favorite of all time and really transports you. Filled with stripped down acoustic instrumentation and a child's imagination, it's really an adventure. Every track is worth a listen. The first half is much more accessible before switching to more ambient and experimental with Visiting Friends. Sweet Road is an underrated track, but it's really fun and short.
Album Highlights
Leaf House
Who Could Win A Rabbit
Winters Love
Kids On Holiday
We Tigers
Prospect Hummer Nice little EP of four tracks featuring Vashti Bunyan on vocals for tracks 1, 2, and 4. The first two tracks consist of outtakes rerecorded with Bunyan from Sung Tongs. The 3rd track is an instrumental by primarily Geologist, and the final track is a buoyant short pop tune which nicely closes the short 16 minute EP.
Album Highlights
It's You (Sorry about the montage video, only one I could find)
Prospect Hummer
Feels I honestly believe this album is masterpiece. Animal Collective maintains their unique experimental sound while adding an indie taste that allows their music to talk to a bit larger audience. Their first track (Did You See the Words), and most outright "indie rock" track on the record (if even that) shows their development as a group. Grass is one of Avey's best tracks and the percussion keeps the track feel grounded while Avey Tare's yell compliments Panda Bear "ooh's" perfectly. The Purple Bottle to Bees to Banshee Beat triple shot is brilliant. Purple Bottle is more pop but irresistibly while Bees changes the album's mood to a more gentle, spacey yet earthly sound. Banshee Beat is in my opinion the greatest Animal Collective song ever recorded. It's progression from it's constant softer sound into this beautiful piece with Avey Tare's fragile vocals make the track unbreakable. It's like a caterpillar crawling along elegantly then evolving into one hell of a butterfly. Daffy Duck feels a lot like Bees but a bit more complex and evolving. Loch Raven is a nice enchanting song that feels like night and transports you with Panda Bear's "ooh ooh ooh's" at the 3:45 mark. Turn Into Something picks up the tempo and ends the album with a bang.
Album Highlights
Did You See the Words
The Purple Bottle
Banshee Beat
People Another 4 track EP by Animal Collective. Not quite as good as Prospect Hummer, but still a solid EP. Animal Collective releases an accompanying EP for each album Sung Tongs and on. The first track is wonderful. It's pretty simple and repetitive, but each yell of "yeah, ye-AH" and then the climax yell of "People!" carries the track and carries you to a new place. It keeps it going. And the soft little tapping percussion adds the perfect kick needed to keep the song in place. The following track Tikwid is more upbeat. The 3rd track features strange vocal effects and isn't much special. The album closes with a live version of the opener.
Album Highlights
Strawberry Jam Strawberry Jam is just as good as Feels and many argue that it's better. The first half is more poppy than the more experimental second. The album appears to be more focused than Feels and features another great back to back, For Reverend Green which features some of Avey Tare's best vocals thus far and then Fireworks. Winter Wonder Land is a very fun, fast tempo track with thrilling vocals from Avey Tare and Panda Bear's lovable backing vocals. Both of Panda Bear's tracks on the album ("Chores" and "Derek") are very catchy and his voice, like always, carries the songs to better depths. Every single track stands on its own.
Album Highlights
For Reverend Green
Water Curses A wonderful EP by Animal Collective. The opening, title track is one of the greatest songs in the Animal Collective oeuvre. It features many intricate layers that shouldn't come together, but work perfectly to create this wonderfully catchy pop song. The next 2 tracks are pretty chill, and very listenable. The final track, "Seal Eyeing" is very aquatic and has a very ambient feel.
Album Highlights
Water Curses
Merriweather Post Pavilion The popular, critically acclaimed masterpiece Merriweather Post Pavilion. Needless to say you should definitely listen to this album as a whole. It's energy, constant buildup and explosion, and blissfully catchy songs make the album like no other. The lyricism of the album also is step forward for Animal Collective. Formerly cryptic and hard to really decipher (except for a few tracks) these mostly deal with the necessities of life, existentialism and the beauty in love. With Deakin gone for this album's recording, the band uses a lot more samples which Panda Bear grew to love. In the Flowers is beautiful track that really opens up at 2:30 after Avey Tare sings "If I could just leave my body for a night." And this album is really something that can allow you to do just that. Each track is brilliant in its own way. My Girls, builds up from the very beginning, with a repetitive verse, that plays nicely being repeated until finally he changes to just one line before the sound explodes and the beauty of music is realized in one song. The underrated Bluish features wonderful musical arrangements especially at the chorus. Guys Eyes is another perfect song that was formerly Panda Bear's "Song For Ariel". The album closer is another brilliant composition written for Panda Bear's brother. Their most accessible album, and a good starting point to listen. Or SF or Feels.
Album Highlights
My Girls
Guys Eyes
Lion In A Coma
Brother Sport
Fall Be Kind Animal Collective's best EP. This time containing 5 tracks that flow together so well, it's comparable to that of an album. "Graze" the album opener starts with ambiance and slow until the second half jovially starts into this stomp that is equally if not more amusing. the second track ("What Would I Want? Sky") is another one of their best tracks recorded. It features a sample by the Grateful Dead that fits perfectly into the song. The first half build a tension that is finally cut halfway with a beautiful melody and aching vocal performance by Avey Tare. The next track ("Bleed") is pretty ambient and the complimenting Avey Tare and Panda Bear vocals is quite worth the listen. "On A Highway" is another underrated track of theirs in my opinion. It's one of Avey Tare's more personal songs. The final track builds a sort of tension until it finally explodes into the title's name with Panda Bear sings "I think I can." Each song is great.
Album Highlights
What Would I Want? Sky
On A Highway
Animal Crack Box Another Animal Collective live album, but this time a box set. the box set contains mostly songs from their more experimental days but is worth a listen nonetheless. Hard to pick any standout tracks. I'd like to say it's only for hardcore fans but...
ODDSAC ODDSAC is a visual album made in a collaborative effort with Danny Perez. Quite a watch and quite a listen. The band themselves said the visual is irremovable from the music and it's obvious that you should watch/listen to the whole thing in one sitting and in order, so I'd rather not make a standout track list even though there are some obvious highlights like the opener or Green Beans. Really trippy, but really good. If you familiarize yourself with the rest of the band's body of work and like it, I'd strongly recommend you to buy this and watch it to support them.
Keep + Animal Collective A four track cassette released as a promotion for the Keep store. It features solos by each of the band members. It's an interesting listen, but to be honest, nothing really seemed incredible in it so I didn't listen to it more than a couple times.
Transverse Temporal Gyrus It's free to download and comes with an interesting visual bit again by Danny Perez. It's downloadable as a program and is different each time you listen to it! It's not one solid body of music so no tracks to list obviously. Link.
Honeycomb/Gotham [Non-album Single] Two track single released just prior to Centipede Hz. "Honeycomb is brilliant and somewhat of a melancholy song. Panda Bear's part will make you sing along and worth several repeat listens. The B-side "Gotham" is also just as good. The sound of the single is very much a departure from their former sound. While little bits of Feels can be heard in Honeycomb, the overall technical sound is foreshadowing of their album Centipede Hz's sound.
Centipede Hz A much more abrasive and in your face sound than the other albums. It has a very industrial sound and acts almost as if thinking too fast. Great album, and it's hard to compare to MPP. "Moonjock" opens the album witha new sound that is unlike the band's other work. But Animal Collective's work has never really stayed the same, and always has been changing. It makes them an unpredictable band, and all the more fun at the same time. It features the band using live instruments such as a sit-down drum set. Deakin's first vocal solo is present with Wide Eyed, but the song seems too long to really bear a good presence. The rest of the album is however pretty good. It has few gems, but when they shine, they really shine, like on today's Supernatural or Monkey Riches.
Album Highlights
Today's Supernatural
New Town Burnout
Monkey Riches
Monkey Been to Burntown Their latest release, the EP that features only remixes from Centipede Hz. 3 different remixes of Monkey Riches and 1 of New Town Burnout. Interesting to listen to, but nothing that is close to surpassing the original. Worth a pass to buy, a try to listen.