Animal Collective are an experimental band from Baltimore, formed by David Portner (Avey Tare), Noah Lennox (Panda Bear), Josh Dibb (Deakin) and Brian Weitz (Geologist). The formation has changed a few times over the years, with Lennox and Portner as the only fixed members. They're seen as one of the most important bands in contemporary popular music. The band are also in charge of Paw Tracks, on which they release their and other artist's music.
The members of Animal Collective met in Baltimore when they were still in school. Lennox and Dibb went to the same junior school, whilst Dibb, Portner and Weitz met at high school. After playing together in several bands, the first release by the pair appeared in 2000. The album, credited to Portner and Lennox, was called “Spirit They're Gone Spirit They've Vanished” and was very experimental, psychedelic and noisy. Sometime later, Weitz joined the group and they made “Danse Manatee”, on which they started to define their personal sound - navigating the territory between freak folk, noise rock, ambient drone and melodic psychedelia. After a live album, in 2003 they released “Here Comes The Indian”. The band started to gain notoriety around that time, and they signed a distribution contract with Fat Cat.
Their first big leap forward was “Sung Tongs”, released in 2004. It was still experimental, but more orderly and concrete, focussing on experimental folk. With the album, they started to become a key band in their field, confirmed with the release of “Feels”. With this album, released in 2005, they moved away from folk and focussed on psychedelia, presenting a melodic and fragile sound, which led people to compare them to bands like Mercury Rev. In 2007 both Portner and Lennox released solo records, while the band presented “Strawberry Jam”, their first on Domino. The LP sounded poppier and was made almost exclusively from samples, rather than conventional instruments.
In 2009 they released “Merriweather Post Pavillion”, their most accessible and commercially successful record to date: experimental pop made with electronic sounds and samples, with a great eye for detail. It's considered one of the most important pop albums of the past decade. In 2010 came “ODDSAC”, a “visual album” made in collaboration with director Danny Perez. The band are currently recording their tenth album, slated for release in late 2012.
“Here Comes The Indian” (Paw Tracks, 2003)
“Sung Tongs” (Fat Cat, 2004)
“Feels” (Fat Cat, 2005)
“Stawberry Jam” (Domino, 2007)
“Merriweather Post Pavillion” (Domino, 2009)