On Their Grizzly (Bear)
Credit Stephen Colbert's least favorite band, Grizzly Bear, for intuitively understanding the nature of the Internet better than nearly anyone else after performing brilliant new cut, "2 Weeks" on Letterman last week and then immediately posting it for free download on their website. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's some savvy ursine hype-stoking scheme,* but like "While You Wait for the Others," another new and similarly transcendent track that the band performed in April on Morning Becomes Eclectic, "2 Weeks" has already managed to appear on most of the major music blogs and magazine websites.
So consider the fact that this post even exists a testament to how anxiously I'm awaiting the band's next record, reportedly not even supposed to drop until next April. In the meantime, there's these two songs, which are hard for me to distinguish from one another, not because they sound similar (which they don't) but more because they're the first time I've heard their recordings capture the richness and complexity of the band's live sound.
While I loved Yellow House, some tracks felt more like song sketches, pretty and fragile outlines that the band hadn't figured out how to color in. Yet both "Two Weeks," and "While You Wait.." seem almost suffused with light: airy harmonies elevate, Ed Droste's voice stretches infinitely, warm keyboards bounce like little kids walking home from school. Both cuts feel powerful and substantial yet retain that delicate homemade vibe that made the finest moments of Yellow House so special. There's something comforting and familiar here, not through some cliched derivation, but as though Grizzly Bear absorbed that poppy Brill Building brilliance via last year's cover of The Crystals' "He Hit Me."
The words for the day: even if Colbert's right and Grizzly Bear are in fact "soulless, godless, rampaging killing machines," I'm willing to overlook it if they keep on making songs like these.
*Though if if is a cynical hype-stoking plan, it's an outstanding one.
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