Panda Bear @ Warsaw, Brooklyn 5/18/14
UPDATE: You can download a fan recording of the concert at two-sails. Here’s a sample:
Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s Warsaw is about as idiosyncratic as venues get: pierogis, kielbasa, and Zywiec for sale as elderly Polish women oversee the proceedings. Last night, it provided a fitting home for Noah Lennox to test out his new record for the devoted throng. As part of the ever-popular Red Bull Music Academy, Lennox — as Panda Bear — cycled through tracks from his upcoming album, tentatively titled Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper, and did so one song after another. The visuals were handled by Animal Collective cohort Danny Perez: He selected some super-trippy videos that included — but were not limited to — face-painted women eating ice cream and, later, throwing up. The laser-based lights would’ve made Daft Punk and/or Obi-Wan Kenobi jealous. What follows is a track-by-track description of the set of mostly new songs, for which Dâm-Funk and Torn Hawk opened. Not to heap too much praise too early but Grim Reaper is almost definitely going to be a tremendous album. Get excited.
1. An organ track gives way to the kind of church-like music associated with Young Prayer and Person Pitch.
2. This one is a stone groove, with some real get-up-and-go that spins out and isn’t likely to become very friendly with the dance-averse.
3. A xylophone-ish intro breaks into a rhythm that kicks in strongly.
4. This track is heavy on deep electronic notes and features stilted lyrics that make you feel like you’re riding a carousel while smoking a joint. A highlight.
5. The punctuated keys here are layered atop undertones that sound straight out of the ’80s, like an alternate soundtrack to The Running Man. Slow out the gate, the rhythms get boosted as it unfurls.
6. A floral intro gives way to a baroque, harp-laden crux. Lennox sings the lyrics “all in the family” as part of the chorus; this song is so strong it could win over Archie Bunker.
7. This might be a two-parter along the lines of “Good Girls/Carrots.” A relatively short symphonic part leaks into a punchy backbone.
8. There’s a “Bros”-like sample that drives into a theme which marches. Another winner.
9. This closer might be the most rock ‘n’ roll track, chugging along as Lennox sings his heart out.
Encore: a vibrant “Last Night At The Jetty,” before “Scheherazade,” and “Surfer’s Hymn.”
According to a commenter at Collected Animals, the entire set will be streamed online later this week. Below, check out two of the new songs as performed by Lennox at Austin Psych Fest earlier this month and another one recorded at his show at the 9:30 Club in D.C..
[Photos by Erik Erikson/Stereogum.]