Part Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys, part Animal Collective, part something else completely, Grizzly Bear have a unique sound that’s tricky to categorize. This is not music you will necessarily dance to, but you will be moved. The Brooklyn-based band hits Toronto on Tuesday at Lee’s Palace with Dirty Projectors to promote their newest (and critically acclaimed) record Yellow House.
Despite ranking their last show in Toronto in support of TV on the Radio their worst of the tour, Ed Droste, original member and frontman (sporting the white thermal), insists that they love Toronto. “The Opera House just has bad sound, and it wasn’t a great venue [Droste explains on his blog that it smelled of poop backstage]. This drunk guy was yelling at us the whole time that we were playing. He was like, ‘Get off the stage! YOU SUUUUCK!’ He was like, some drunk, saggy dude that was there for TV on the Radio and didn’t give a shit about us.” He adds, “I’ve heard great things about Lee’s Palace though, so we’re really psyched about coming back.”
Droste’s insistence that they love Toronto sounds superficial, but it isn’t. The band became good friends with Torontoist crush Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy, who they met when he remixed “Don’t Ask” off the band’s first record Horn of Plenty. “Then he saw us at CMJ, and then he invited me to his live show with the Arcade Fire when they played in Central Park like a year and a half ago. We hit it off, and we became friendly, and then he invited us to come open for him for a string of Canadian dates last spring. We always try to overlap tour dates every time we can.”
Unfortunately for fans and lovers of mash-ups and fun, Grizzly Bear won’t be releasing another remix record as they did for their last release. “The first remix project was sort of something that I did on a whim, but when I look back on it it seems self-indulgent and silly.” Luckily, mash-up master Girl Talk recently finished a remix of “Knife”, and mixes the album’s catchiest track with Clipse‘s “Wamp Wamp”. The result is probably the most danceable form of Grizzly Bear anyone will ever hear. “I find it to be simultaneously brilliant and catchy and I never really imagined us being put together with Clipse, but he made it work. He’s amazing. I was so psyched with the results.”
Along with the rest of the world (or those who listen to experimental psych-folk), the band is also ‘psyched’ about their latest record. “The first record was the clichéd, boy-in-a-bedroom kind of bullshit, but the new record was a total début for us as a band and it features everybody. Dan [blue shirt] joined the band and is a chief song-writer, everyone sang, and Chris Bear [flannel plaid shirt] did all the production and engineering on the album. It’s a lot clearer, it’s a lot more dynamic, and the song-writing is stronger. There are four people collaborating together.”
Despite a difficult European tour with TV on the Radio on which all of their gear was stolen from their van in Brussels, Droste sounds excited for the new tour. “We’re in Philly, and two of us are getting over colds, but we’re all pumped full of steroids and ready to go.”
Photo courtesy of grizzly-bear.net. Listen to some tracks here.