Veckatamist (05.09, Warp)
Byline: Already a forgone conclusion. Flawless.
For: Final Fantasy, DM Stith, Animal Collective
Every time I hear the opening piano lines of "Two Weeks" I have an unrealistic hope that I will suddenly hear Jay-Z's angelic voice come over the speakers and say something like, "Uh, turn the bass line up" or "Alright, Grizzly Bear, Jigga, Remix". My hopes are in vain until some real collaboration happens, seriously, the "Two Weeks" remix could be the best thing to happen to 2009. Barring the non-existant remix, Veckatamist is pretty much perfect. Following up the equally amazing Yellow House, Veckatamist is an album for the people. The ridiculously complex vocal and acoustic-electonic instrumental layering are still very much the base of the compositions, but Grizzly Bear is in metamorphosis or is the culmination of a transition to a more pop based aesthetic. Aside from the musical shift it is the little flourishes, the seemingly easy victory laps that Grizzly Bear pull on this album that make it all the more compelling, the Nico Muhly collaborated tracks stand out as the most intricite and beautiful, there is a full choir and symphony on "I live with you" and "Cheerleader". The way that Daniel Rossen broods over his vowels in the line "We are all faltering/how can I help with that?" along with the saxophone in "I live with you" are some of the most thrilling moments on the album. And lest we forget the money maker, "Two Weeks", which is a viable contender with David Byrne + Dirty Projectors' "Knotty Pine" for single of the year. Veckatamist is like a zeppelin of of musical aspirations and huge 21 st century ideas. Do yourself a favor and listen to this album on repeat.