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Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks

“Animal Collective on Halloween” is a reductive way of summarizing the vibe of Avey Tare’s new band with members of Ponytail and Dirty Projectors. Debut Welcome to the Slasher House leans on a decidedly more bumptious sense of rhythm, laying on greasepaint murk, dinky pop, and cheap sound effects thick. There’s a Haunted House silliness to the whole shebang – if you can’t crack a smile during “Little Fang,” get help – that makes it easier to digest than, say, anything on Centipede Hz or Merriweather Post Pavilion, which felt earnest almost to a fault.

Sat., Oct. 4, 6 p.m., 2014

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NORTHERN EXPOSURE

While Governors Ball is island-bound and CMJ is perhaps too scattered, the Northside Festival homes in on the already established musical centers in the city — read: Williamsburg — drawing big acts like Albert Hammond Jr. and an Animal Collective DJ set, both slated for this evening. The fest’s seven days also include plenty of indie films and talks, but odds are the Pitchfork-curated showcase featuring break-out twee sensation Frankie Cosmos, or the subsequent double hit of woozy psychedelia and harmony-haze that is The War on Drugs and Woods, will draw in the biggest crowd. Week-long badges are available for purchase, but each concert is also its own ticketed event, open to the public.

Mondays-Sundays, noon. Starts: June 12. Continues through June 19, 2014

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HORROR SHOW

When Avey Tare (the stage persona of David Portner) isn’t busy with Animal Collective, he’s flexing his even more intensely experimental muscles with some solo and side projects. It’s been a year since Tare announced the ghoulishly named Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, a supergroup of sorts that includes Angel Deradoorian (formerly of Dirty Projectors) and Jeremy Hyman (formerly of Ponytail). This month, they unleashed Enter the Slasher House, an album not nearly as terrifying as it sounds. Well-received by critics and fans alike, it keeps in line with Tare’s psychedelic freakishness while still being catchy and classically jazzy. Their ability to pull off that combination may be the spookiest part of all.

Mon., April 21, 9 p.m., 2014

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Black Dice

Black Dice are a bunch of weirdos who daringly indulge in nearly every electronic-based avenue that avails itself, from thrash-influenced noise to ambient psych fuckery. Currently based in Brooklyn, the band has been through a lot of identity crises and on a lot of tours over the past 16 years. Like Animal Collective with more pedals and less vocals, Black Dice create bizarre sonic panoramas that make you feel that transcendental kind of stoned, and everything’s okay.

Sat., Nov. 2, 8 p.m., 2013

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NOSTALGIA, ULTRA

Behold, the first annual (in theory) Cassette Store Day! Considering the remarkable success of Record Store Day, this sort of event—a slightly (but only slightly tongue-in-cheek gathering with limited-edition compacts for sale from bands like Fucked Up, Animal Collective, and the Blow—might have been inevitable, but among those who traverse the BQE in old autos equipped with only a tape player, it should be greeted in all seriousness. Since there aren’t actually any cassette stores, you’ll have to do your shopping at Silent Barn’s evening Cassette Fair, then stick around for a show ($5 cover) featuring Lame Drivers, Imperial Topaz, Tabajo, and local favs Sleepies.

Sat., Sept. 7, 5 p.m., 2013

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Beck

It’s been amusing to watch Beck Hansen sidle out of the public eye, then grift back in, sideways, as though he wasn’t even trying anymore: cassette series collabos, sheet-music album, laudable producer credits, killer Philip Glass remix. Stockpiling sketches and notions in the interim between 2008’s Modern Guilt and now, the Californian pop alchemist is stepping out with synthesizer-infused oddities that suggest Animal Collective B-sides. As comebacks go, this one is so far quietly thrilling—and that’s enough, for now.

Sun., Aug. 4, 7 p.m., 2013

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Ariel Pink

L.A.-based Ariel Pink emerged from obscurity to semi-obscurity in 2004, releasing his moody outsider music on Animal Collective’s label five years after he first recorded them at home. With darkly-rendered 1960s jangle-pop that reads as part-parody part-sincerity, Pink’s music has been tough for many to swallow, leaving listeners with almost 50/50 split on whether the man’s a genius or a phony. Although later commercial releases cleaned up some of the almost-gothic grittiness, the mesmerizing uncanniness of his work remains, whisking you away to a darkly dreamy world of botched Beach Boys tunes and lo-fi soap commercial jingles.

Thu., June 6, 8 p.m., 2013

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Animal Collective Show In Williamsburg Park Tonight Is CANCELLED

The collective of humans known as Animal Collective will NOT be playing in Williamsburg Park tonight. The culprit: Laryngitis! Here’s the statement from the band:

“We really wish we didn’t have to be writing this right now, but after taking Dave to the doctor this morning it turns out that he has laryngitis and unfortunately we are unable to play the show tonight. We are already in the middle of trying to reschedule NY dates in the next couple of months to make up for this cancellation. Due to circumstances beyond both our and the promoter’s control, we are unable to honor the tickets for tonight’s show. Fans that have tickets will be able to get full refunds at the place of purchase, and we will let everyone know as soon as we have new dates scheduled. Again, our sincere apologies to fans anticipating this show. We are always psyched to play NYC and will make it up to you.”

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We Interviewed Crystal Castles Over Email and It Was Awkward

Crystal Castles work at the intersection of melody and nihilism. The band, made up of Ethan Kath and singer Alice Glass, is famously neglectful of the audience–one is tempted to say abusive, but that implies too much consideration of the audience as individuals with wants and needs. Its music assaults and punishes as much as it thrills and enlivens, with headsplitting volume and huge light towers that flash with blinding insistence, while singer Alice Glass swigs whisky and occasionally jumps into the crowd, fists and feet flying. On YouTube, it’s not hard to find videos of her punching fans or cracking them on the skull with her microphone. They are not party-starters; they are not good time DJs. The massive electronic crashes and crescendos in their music mean the end of the world more than they do a good time.

Many bands strike this pose of hostility. Crystal Castles mean it. Much of it has to do with Glass. She is icon amongst a certain set, a talisman of wanton expression, of not giving a fuck, of not putting up with bullshit, of doing whatever you want. At the same time, her bluster, and the musical noise made by Kath, seems to hide a deep vulnerability. In 2010, the band made the odd move of re-recording one of their songs, “Not In Love,” with The Cure’s Robert Smith replacing Glass on lead vocals. Removed of reverb and static, and imbued with Smith’s famously plaintive croon, the words shone with the combination of longing and hurt and despair that they had always had, if you could make them out: “Saw your picture hangin’ on the back of my door/ Won’t give you my heart /No one lives there anymore.”

In advance of their show at Roseland tonight, the band agreed to an email interview, one of the most wooden and unfulfilling forms of human communication. We despaired. What could we possibly learn by exchanging a single email?

As it happens, quite a lot. In interview, as in their music, they maximize minimalism, and communicate a wealth of scorn, hopefulness, despair, and mystery with the smallest amount of material possible. We left their answers as is. Sic everything.

See Also:
Live: Crystal Castles Rule Hard
Crystal Castles: Better Than Justice
Mess Up the Sound at A Crystal Castles Show at Your Own Risk, Apparently

It’s been two years since Crystal Castles released a proper album. I know you guys have been doing a lot of touring in the meantime. How has the band grown or changed in that time?

[no response]

How does this find expression in the new record?

[no response]

Is there anything more general you’d like to say about the album? Where did you record it? What were your goals for it when you started work, and how did those goals change and evolve?

Alice Glass:
I’m not sure I’ve ever had a real goal for anything.
safe to say we both have no goals.
we accept what happens but we didn’t intend anything.

Ethan Kath:
we recorded the album in warsaw.
we chose warsaw because we didn’t speak the language
and we don’t know anyone
and therefore we’d be completely isolated.
we liked the cold weather too.
we banned computers from the studio and living quarters
and used 1950s tape machines to track everything
we prefer our equipment to come infested with insects
and ghosts

Your band is obviously extremely popular live act around the world–you’ve headlined dozens of music festivals on many different continents. Where do you guys feel you fall on the “band that’s best experienced on album” and “band that’s best experienced live” continuum?

AG

we’ll poll people and get back to you

EK
i don’t think in terms like that. for me the live show is a
celebration that we can agree on something in a confusing world full
of bullshit

Has your popularity gotten you any weird offers you’ve passed on, strange products people want you to endorse, or offers to produce songs for teen stars or anything else where you just thought, “Why in fucking hell would anyone think I would ever do that?”

EK
we’ve passed on very big things
but we ‘d never name names. it was nice of them to think of us.

AG
most things that are offered feel ethnicly unsound.
i wouldn’t want our music to be the background noise
to an edible substance that can’t even naturally disintegrate.
whatever products we use or wear is for convenience, thats all.
we would never approve of a product because we don’t care enough about things.
i think there’s to much emphasis on objects anyways.
they are personified to a ridiculous degree.
most products are overpriced and made with the blood of foreign
factory workers.
we wouldn’t want to compromise our art by forcing you to think of
certain brands as you listen to us.

This summer has already seen one record by former indie superstars who’ve taken few years off–Animal Collective’s Centipede Hz–be released to mixed reviews and middling sales. Are you concerned that you might not have grown in the same way as your audience, and you might have lost some of that connection?

EK
we write for ourselves. we’ve never once considered anyone else.
its obvious when people try to write for others, i’m not interested in that.

AG
we’ve never taken time off. we constantly tour and make music .

Electronic music is enjoying a moment of extreme worldwide popularity. How do you guys feel about acts like Deadmaus and Skrillex? Do you think you guys do similar things in any way, or do you absolutely hate them?

AG
we feel neither of those emotions

There’s a quote from Alice floating around the internet: “I didn’t think I could lose faith in humanity any more than I already had, but after witnessing some things, it feels like the world is a dystopia where victims don’t get justice and corruption prevails. I’m one step away from being a vigilante to protect people and bring justice to the people I love. I’ve thought about it.” Would you like to expand on that, or clarify it?

[no response]

We’re excited for your show here in New York. Can you tell us what we can look forward to?

[no response]

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KID ROCK

Of the 100 or so cassette tapes and CD-Rs that L.A. home-recording mysterioso 
Ariel Pink has made over the course of his 33 years, none have been more important than the one that he passed along to the members of Animal Collective 10 years ago this summer: Soon after giving that record its first spins, the band signed him to their new label, Paw Tracks, and began releasing more like it, his masterpiece House Arrest included. These days, Pink is recording with a full band and touring behind his studio-polished Mature Themes, but he remains one of the most compelling figures in indie music, filtering an FM station’s worth of classic rock into a sound that has influenced everyone from John Maus to Animal Collective themselves.

Fri., Sept. 14, 7 p.m., 2012