A few weeks ago, after Grizzly Bear released the cover & tracklist for Veckatimest, Ed Droste relayed, in this Pitchfork interview, some of his perspectives on album sales and leaking of unreleased tracks:
“My philosophy is that, people buying records is dying. Generally speaking, at the level we’re at, most of the people who buy our albums do it because they want to support us. Or they’re a new fan and they haven’t heard us before. But let’s put it this way: If we were putting out music in the early 90s, I don’t think you’d be interviewing me. I don’t think we’d have the fanbase that we have if it were not for out songs being able to spread around the internet and gain attention. I think it’d be harder, if not impossible, for a band like us to have gotten where we’ve gotten. So I’m incredibly grateful for the internet age.
Of course, the amount of work and effort we’ve put into this album is staggering. And sometimes it’s a bit disheartening to think you can just download it really easily and dismiss it if you don’t like it. But that’s also the nature of the beast. You just have to deal with it. Of course I’d love to sell a ton of records and chart and stuff. But realistically speaking, it’s going to leak. I think a lot of people who I’ve spoken to if they really like it, they’ll buy the vinyl or they’ll go buy the CD to support us or on iTunes. Other people support the band by coming to a show. So, of course I’d love to sell a lot of records and chart and stuff but realistically speaking, it’s going to leak.”
Well, it has. And even though I’m aboot to pre-order it on vinyl (unless someone wants to order it for my birthday!), I still have been yearning to hear it, and this, not fully mastered, buzzy fuzzy version will satisfy my urges until I get it. Oh yeah, did I mention it comes out a few days after my birthday?
It’s good people. I mean really good. At this point, I’ve only had about two cycles through the whole thing, but this is the kind of album I want to listen to when I want a cohesive soundrack of stylistically similar songs but with a formidable progression within the album, a growth of layers and grit, a well-orchestrated array of vocal layerings and seemingly field-recorded samples (as Droste has shown a penchance for in the past, mostly on Horn of Plenty (2004, 2005[remixes]) and also on Yellow House (2006)). Recorded and primarily written over about a year, this album is a perfect example of, in my opinion, ‘the new pop’. Highlights include the swingy-jazzy first track, “Southern Point,” reminiscent of Donovan-era swanky-sexy rock that makes the ladies swoon with a nice crisp build-up to the chorus, “In the end, you’ll never find me now..” with layered nylon-string-sounding guitars and a rocking percussion track, and though it’s hard to hear at this point, maybe some flute in there somewhere, with a finish of a dueling build-up-cascade back to the Spanish sounding guitar. “Two Weeks” was awesome live on Letterman, which is really how I fell in love with Grizzly Bear, and the album version is way more awesome than I expected. Structurally similar to the live version, just tighter, crisper harmonies, more deliberate key tracks (maybe a nice organ that wasn’t audible in the live version?). “While You Wait for the Others” epitomizes and carries on the entire album’s effective vintage feel, “I Live With You” has some awesome husky lead vocals, angelic female harmonies, and an escalating, crunchy, dirty-hard breakdown, “Hold Still” recaptures the simplicity and softness of Yellow House, and “Ready, Able” gets a little weird and epic in the way of echo and reverb, to a very pleasing effect. But really, the whole album is a gem, altogether.