Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Animal Collective Jr.

It’s a common phenomenon: A band strikes a chord with the populace and other bands of a similar nature start popping up, though few of them end up having the staying power of the original act. 90’s boy bands were a great example of this. The popularity of New Kids on the Block fueled a boy band scramble that brought us the likes of The Guys Next Door (who even had their own TV show), Take That (New Kids with British accents - plus their Donnie had dreads) and most inexplicably, Linear (I think seeing their picture is what made me gay).

I’ve most recently noticed this “sound-alike” phenomenon with a slew of Animal Collective-esque bands. Back in the day, the major labels were awesome at blatant popularity coat tailing. If this were the 1990’s, the big label folks would think nothing of telling their A&R guys, “What about that Animal Collection band the kids are raving about on their Twitters? Let’s get us one of those!” Next thing you know Warner Brothers would be pushing “Zoo Bunch” and Arista's “Mammal Group” would be getting heavy rotation on MTV’s Buzz Bin.

Thankfully, none of the following bands are the product of a garish and offensive major label market share grab. And chances are there is somebody out there who loves Animal Collective so much, they want to listen to any band with a similar sound. There are probably many others (like me) who will hear these and think, “I’ll just stick with Animal Collective, thanks.” But if you are an obsessed Animal Collective fan who's hunger cannot be satiated, these bands are for you:

Our Brother the Native– When I first heard the name of this band, I thought it might be yet another Randy Chabot pseudonym, especially since I first saw the name on the listing for the Frightened Rabbit show at the Magic Stick a week or so ago. Though not another Randy side-project, they are local – from Ann Arbor. Also, apparently their parents adopted a baby from one of Michigan’s many Indian reservations, a fact that inspires their musical explorations. I made that last part up.

Alvin Band – This is a side project from one of the guys from Miniature Tigers, not the Chipmunks as I originally assumed. Much to my dismay, the press release for Alvin Band's Mantis Preying record contains the following line: “While stationed in Phoenix, AZ during the recording of Miniature Tiger’s Tell It To The Volcano Rick holed up in a friend’s bathroom with a microphone and a Powerbook and went to town.” Um, I really wish this was worded differently. Maybe leaving out the “holed up in a friend’s bathroom” and the “going to town” part would be a good start. Regardless of this unfortunate imagery, there's some interesting stuff here.

Sin Fang Bous – My sister is in love with this band, but I can’t help but wonder if this is largely influenced by her love of this SNL skit where Kristen Wiig plays Bjork. This is my favorite of these three, even though the record cover hurts my eyes. Then again, Merriweather Post Pavilion's cover hurts me eyes too, so…


Jasper said...

the new City Center album = Sung Tongs.

D'Anne Witkowski said...

I do like them, but it's not like Sin Fang Bous makes me want to hole up in my bathroom and go to town or anything.

Laura said...

Well that’s good to hear. And really, even if a band DID have that effect on you, I’d hope you’d talk to your publicist about maybe leaving that part out of your next press release.

nhennies said...

Have you heard this abomination against all that is good and holy of a band called Passion Pit? It is like someone heard Animal Collective and said, "hey we could make a lot more money off this if we slowed it down and took out all the weird stuff".

Horrendous. And of course, they're wildly successful.

And I completely agree about all the AC soundalikes popping up. The sooner that vocal style goes away the better.

Laura said...

I have heard Passion Pit - and while they don't send me into an abomination-state, I just find them rather boring. We went to see Ra Ra Riot in Ann Arbor several months ago, and Passion Pit was on the bill until like, a week before the concert. It became clear that LOTS of people were there to see them and were mad they weren't there. I was mad that they didn't know about the line-up change, because then they would've possibly stayed home and the show would have been less oppressively crowded.

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