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11/19/2005

(Revision/Return/Remix) Where We're Going We Don't Need Roads

ONCE MORE INTO THE BLUE


So I had a long post about getting back on the Animal Collective Live Carousel for the seventh (eighth? can't remember) time, but really, all my thoughts got lost in sub-space. Now, if you don't remember sub-space, it's the part of Super Mario Brothers 2 that you get to if you take the potion; it's essentially a negative image of the normal landscape except that A) it's unpopulated and B) you find things there that you can't find in the normal world. Forehead-smacking drug trip reference, okay. Still, I remember being a kid and wondering why you couldn't stay in sub-space longer and wishing that you could.

Animal Collective flips the sub-space switch in my brain; last night, all bathed in purple, I saw the band as better bros with nightglow sherpas like the Cocteau Twins than perennial Halloweiners Excepter (who also seared my brain in their own neo-dread way). I had gone in thinking about Jess Harvell's thing, which, like mine, talks about humanism, though I've mostly been stuck on Nick Catucci's phrase "radically sincere."

I had already stumbled on as much during and after talking to Antony back in January. While I'm not sure both groups are taking the same path, I think they're holding on to a similar Idea. A sold out crowd at Webster Hall - at least twice as big of a crowd as any of their other shows I've been to - and the band still had the faith and guts to devote more than half its set to brand-new material. (For those that haven't seen them, this is the norm, but I was pretty sure they'd bow to expectations in the wake of publicity-jizz; instead, the audience got an extra-viscous, screwed "Grass" that reminded me that it's a goddamn reggae song after all, a capella astral travelling on "Good Lovin' Outside," and a couple other songs from Sung Tongs and Feels whose tempo and energy belied a weird reluctance to perform them after they'd already been loosed on the world.)

And here's my riff.

I realized after reading Nick's post and thinking about what might be AC's "shortcomings" that I had almost completely thought about Simon's love of the almighty Movement. Now, this is exactly what Antony and I had really talked about; whether or not these bands were a bunch of stars forming a constellation, shining however independently of one another. The thing I realized that I hadn't really thought about before, is that you'll hear AC's name in conjunction with Antony (at least there in that particular conversation); you'll hear them with Ariel Pink and Devendra and Excepter, but you'll never hear anyone talk about Devendra and Excepter without AC. I think it's a testament to their staying power, a strange glue in a non-existent model. The band is always walking that line between the chummy/elfin/"soph-hop" types and the hardass city kids looking for a new head on the totem pole, i.e. the mystic taint of Excepter or NNCK or (stunted Wire references to ill-fated terminology). And funnily enough, the more they exist as a bridge between all these bands, the more they seem to define their individual worth, to be following a different feeling rather than simply mummifying a jumbled, well-publicized but only halfway articulated old one.

What I do know is that the band means a lot to me, and it's not because of anything deep, dark, and personal so much as it's just a reflection on my perception that, as always, what the world still needs now is more of that unapologetic positivity, however gnarled, moonlit, and googly-eyed; these guys carry it by the bucketful, from sub-space to treetops and back again.

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