Yesterday, Grizzly Bear kicked off their new album cycle with “Sleeping Ute,” a tempestuous Rossen-penned gem that the comment section wanted to marry. (“I do!” – You guys.) The band’s still-untitled record comes 9/18 via Warp, and it is something we will probably talk about a fair bit around here, because it’s been three solid years since Veckatimest was our #2 record of 2009. That’s awhile in blogyears. But if it feels like Grizzly Bear never left, it’s because they never really did. Jointly they’ve been hibernating, but severally Grizzly Bear’s members have proven themselves creatively restless, and increasingly, individually accomplished. Here’s all you need to know about what Dan, Ed, and the Chrisses have been doing since their last record together.
Between launching a label, producing a bunch of records, and launching a solo project with a pseudonym and everything, Grizzly Bear’s bassist/multi-instrumentalist and resident producer had the pack’s most ambitious couple of years. First there’s Terrible Records, the label Taylor co-founded which has pressed releases by Twin Shadow, Chairlift, Class Actress, Blood Orange, and most recently, Kindness — not to mention CANT, Taylor’s own outfit (which featured Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes in its touring lineup). Chris introduced CANT with the single “Ghosts” in October 2009, not long after Veckatimest’s release, but it wasn’t until last year that he unleashed Dreams Come True, the CANT debut full-length. Here’s “Answer,” a track from that LP:
In addition to the Dreams Come True LP and its support tour, Chris produced a couple of indie blockbusters with Twin Shadow’s Forget and the morning benders’ Big Echo. He also co-produced Jamie Lidell’s Compass LP. He also made a song with Solange Knowles and George Lewis Jr. called “Kenya” to benefit the RAIN initiative, addressing the lack of potable water in troubled regions of Africa in 2011. He is busier than you.
The clarion call to Grizzly Bear’s LP4, “Sleeping Ute,” is a Rossen song through and through, and it’s an easy bridge to the band’s new record given the recent time we’ve spent with Daniel’s first solo EP, from this year, titled Silent Hour/Golden Mile. It’s a quick and moving set, fingerpicked and personal, explosive and singular. “Saint Nothing” and it’s woodwinds is a fine place to start, if you’re just getting caught up:
Elsewhere and a few years ago, Rossen turned up on a Judee Sill covers and rarities comp titled, interestingly enough, Dreams Come True. Chris Taylor agrees, that is a good LP name. Here’s Daniel’s take on Sill’s “Waterfall”:
Along the way Daniel produced a great song called “Again” for Family Band, joined St. Vincent on stage in Switzerland, and perhaps most excellently, allowed a dear one to upload his impression of Elvis as a five-year-old. A classic moment in Grizzly Bear history:
Ed’s side-projects have had less to do with music, and considerably more to do with matrimony. Droste’s hitched, mazel tov! He’s also returned to Twitter and fired up an active Instagram. And you know, co-written the new Grizzly Bear record. Social media and marriage aside, Ed’s lent his voice to a few high-profile collabos. Most downloadably, he did a song called “I’m Losing Myself” with Robin Pecknold for the Fleet Fox’s solo EP.
He also turned up with old tourmate/”Two Weeks” chum Victoria Legrand to honor Serge Gainsbourg at the Hollywood Bowl, and turned up with old tourmate/2007 chum Feist to duet on her “Cicadas And Gulls” at the CBC’s 75th anniversary show.
Ed’s past three years in a nutshell: The man recognizes a worthy occasion.
Grizzly Bear’s gifted drummer/vocalist spent some of his down time working on non-band music, though the bulk of his creative time was spent writing and honing the Grizzly Bear record. Which is a fair thing to do when you are following up a record as uniformly praised as Veckatimest. The guys have skewed our perception of the years since that last album’s release by maintaining a robust tag archive, which is a very solid way to keep a fanbase engaged. Now to see if they left themselves enough free time to make another great record. Your move, The Grizzly Bears.