Monday, November 21, 2016

Animal Collective Live in New York, November 2016

Animal Collective live in Atlanta, May 2016
We'll be honest with you, friends, and be open and truthful in much the same manner as Damien Jurado was on Thursday night at The Earl - we haven't been doing very well.  The election and the prospect of four year of a Trump presidency really have us down.  We try not to think about it, we try to reconcile ourselves with it, we try to find that still, quiet spot in the center of our mind, but we still want to punch our fist through a wall.  

Music has been, at best, a distraction for us, but we haven't heard anything since November 8th that made us think, "Yes, everything is going to be alright."  Or at least, "Okay, life sucks, but here's a way to make it better."  We've been listening to a lot of Thee Silver Mount Zion Orchestra lately, reveling in their moodiness and shifts from extreme pessimism to cautious optimism, but then to be honest, we had been listening to them a lot before the election as well, so nothing's really changed there. 

We're desperately waiting for the next big, game-changing record, the breakout album by a new band - or redirection by an old band - that would have the same effect on our consciousness as, say, Fear of Music by The Talking Heads, or London's Calling by The Clash, or even early Arcade Fire or LCD Soundsystem - something so compelling and innovative that it will restore our hope for the future. 

We could include some of Animal Collective's breakout recordings in that list of breakthroughs, but to be brutally frank, they haven't been bringing it lately.  They seem to have reached some sort of peak with Merriweather Post Pavilion (which isn't even their best record), and since then have been actively backing away from issuing any kind of music that might even suggest they were interested in trying to top that earlier peak.  

This live set isn't that return to form, or our sought-after sonic reason to keep on living.  But we caught Animal Collective's tour here in Atlanta back in May, and this recording from New York's Terminal 5 on November 2 (a week before Election Day) finds them much further down the road with the new songs from Painting With than they were back then.  They seem to be much more comfortable with living in the skins of the new compositions, and more willing to once again experiment and explore new sonic terrain and see where the songs might lead them, and are also digging back into their older material as well. This doesn't change our dismal outlook on the world, but it does provide a glowing, psychedelic alternate universe we can retreat to for a couple hours. 

This set set isn't the breakthrough recording we need to hear right now, but it gives us a quantum of solace that the breakthrough might be coming some day, and in the Trump Era, that might be all that we can expect.

So, once again, thanks to the good people over at NYC Taper for recording and posting this, and to Animal Collective for allowing it to happen and for doing all that they're still doing.

01. Recycling
02. Lying in the Grass
03. Golden Gal
04. Summing the Wretch
05. Loch Raven
06. On Delay
07. Jimmy Mack [Martha Reeves and The Vandellas]
08. Water Curses
09. FloriDada
10. The Burglars
11. Kids on Holiday
12. [encore break]
13. Hocus Pocus
14. Guys Eyes
15. Summertime Clothes

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