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Crate Digger’s Gold: Animal Collective- Merriweather Pavilion

September 3, 2018

I recently picked up a used vinyl copy of Animal Collective’s Merriweather Pavilion.  The Electric Fetus is my main record store. I went there for a couple of new releases (The Internet and Charles Lloyd) and couldn’t resist this one. I had completely forgotten about this album and how good it is. I had a nicely packaged CD from when it came out in 2009. Loved it then, but it slipped off my radar and I have not been hooked by any of Animal Collective’s other albums – so it was really off my radar.

To be honest I did not really crate dig this one. The LP was displayed on the “Fetus wall” (staff picks from the recent crop of used records and highlights the best catches). So it easily caught my attention.

When I got home there was no question what the priority was. I dropped the needle on Animal Collective: bliss.

I love finding original used LPs from the CD era. They are almost always issued with care. They tend to be expensive ($15 to $20), but they are high quality stamps. So it is worth it. The year 2009 was early in the vinyl renaissance, so should not be a surprise that a sound oriented act like Animal Collective were going to make sure the wax was perfectly executed. This is one of the best sounding albums from the last ten years. The LP sounds clean. It is more organic and softer than the WAV file.

This is a well-tended LP, but well-played. I wonder what the sad story is? How is it that this got in a crate? According to Discogs the version I found is an original US edition from 2009.  The Fetus staff knew this was a high-profile item so it was on “the wall” and not in the crates. The Fetus had it at market rate at $15.99, but I had a $3 off coupon to make it a deal/steal.

If you have not checked out Animal Collective – I am speaking to my generation – think Peter Gabriel era Genesis. If you like The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, you will probably like this. Another reference would be the weirder side of Lindsey Buckingham and Pink Floyd’s Meddle.

Merriweather Pavilion sounds like the the late aughts, it would not be out-of-place on a playlist with The Shins and Vampire Weekend. But it is on the weirder end of the alternative spectrum. This is thinking man’s pop-rock.

This is classic headphone music. The music swirls around you and is more sound effects than melody. The band has almost Beach Boys harmonies over ambient rhythmic keyboards. If you ever wondered what Pet Sounds would sound like in the 21st Century check out Animal Collective’s Merriweather Pavilion.

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One Comment
  1. The Gabriel/Lamb reference has my attention.

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