Panda Bear Tomboy

After listening to the pre-album singles, checking out the cover, and getting a taste of the proper Tomboy tracks, we can finally listen to all of Tomboy. Visit NPR to listen to the whole record (either as a continuous stream, or as individual tracks) then cruise back and tell us what you think. How do they compare to the 7-inch versions? If you like what you hear, you can get a t-shirt and vinyl bundle as part of Record Store Day.

Tomboy is out 4/11 via Paw Tracks.

Comments (91)
  1. I like it and I think repeat listens will only make it better.

  2. My only complaint is that he does that one-vowel-per-second thing on nearly every track. It’s a nice effect, but it gets a little monotonous. Other than that, the sheer sound of this thing is blowing my mind.

  3. Afterburner is amazing

  4. I gotta admit, i never really “got” person pitch. I’ve never seen what the big deal was, it was boring to me. I like this a lot more, don’t know what it is it just seems more exciting and less monotonous.

    (Feel free to tell me I’m dumb for not liking person pitch, or for my reason for liking tomboy better)

    • You know, Person Pitch was one record that was REALLY hard for me to get into. I just kept it on shuffle and after a couple months started to get it. If you’re digging Tomboy I would recommend casual listening for a while just to let it sink in. It’s worth the wait

  5. I haven’t loved an album on first listen this much in a very long time. He’s outdone himself.

  6. my original thought when all the singles were being released was that i would only wanna listen to the tracks i havent heard over and over the last couple of months… but all the reworkings (see “tomboy”) and final touches really won me over quickly

    benfica… that song could go on forever!!

  7. Great idea on the “Comment Party: Stream The Album, Post Your Reviews”. This is exactly what I want to see… everyone discusses the album and weighs in. Double takes almost annoyed me enough to never visit this site again. I still need to give the album a listen, I’ll report back.

    • I think they just say that every time some news hits that they know will shoot straight up to “Most Commented.” (Because everyone will have a strong opinion on it.)

      • Just trying to mix it up — some reviews, some watercooler posts.

        • I would like to applaud Stereogum for the comment party AND the Double Takes. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with re-evaluating an album, or ya know…having an opinion. That said, I think the new Panda Bear album is amazing! I would have preferred less singles upfront so there was more completely new content, but a top 10 end of year record for sure, if not the top spot. I say: James Blake who? Benfica <3

        • No problem with that, Scott … however, in response to colinskys: I predict there will be a Double Take on this album at some point. SGum held a Comment Party about “The King of Limbs”–followed by a Double Take a few weeks later. (Or maybe this album’s such a masterpiece even Brandon won’t be able to bring himself to knock on it :-P)

  8. I know it was available online before, but “Surfer’s Hymn” is ridiculously good. Noah’s voice just fucking soars over the sounds of those crashing waves. Whole album is bomb! Peace, Love and Panda Bear

  9. The bits Peter Kember added to the mix seem very loud. Maybe it’s because i’m used to the songs without but some of the bits on Slow Motion and Tomboy sound overwhelming. You Can Count On Me now sounds even better though.

    Hard to find any criticism in an album as enjoyable as this.

    • That noise on Slow Motion is gonna take some getting used to. I like what he did with Tomboy though, including the loud effect in the beginning.

  10. I wish he had kept the drum track on “Surfer’s Hymn,” that sounded a little bit cooler at Governors Island. Certainly doesn’t take much away from the album though.


  12. Man, this is good. Just a whole world of sound and reverb. Really looking forward to repeat listens and dissecting this one.

  13. I like elements of this. Ultimately, he remains too monotonous in his vocal deliveries. The melodies/harmonies are pretty, but his intonation is too languid. It works sometimes, but for an entire album it becomes tiresome. I know it’s really really uncool to diss on anything Noah Lennox related, but I’m surprised people are bugging out over it. Seems like a solid B/B-, at times it seems like he over thought it.

    • Honestly, after two listens I’m already in love with this album so obviously I disagree, but I’m relieved to see at least a few people not totally gushing over this album.

      • I am in no way trying to say people aren’t genuinely enjoying this, but I will say there is a definite group-think mentality when it comes to anything Animal Collective related. They are the sacred cow whether they like it or not. He’s doing more interesting stuff than most people out there, but that doesn’t mean this album ‘slays’ or is ‘mind blowing’, it’s an experiment that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. It’s frustrating and silly to see all the AC fanatics go ape shit on it, because a lot of it rings a bit false. Who knows, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this is reinventing the wheel. Ultimately, it’s exhausting to listen to, and not in a rewarding way. That’s the best description I can give it.

        • Do you think that the Fleet Foxes record is better than this?

        • I agree with you totally Trinity. This is a very tiresome album without very much sonic variation. Too repetitious at times and beats you over the head instead of easing its way in. By about song 4 I am very tired of hearing reverb drenched sound. I loved his last record and have tried many times to give this album a go. What is funny is that I wouldn’t have given it so much of a second thought had it not been Panda Bear. it reminds me a lot of the reaction to Burials – Untrue record which has absolutely no sonic variation.

    • Totally agreed. I like the sounds and layers of the album, but Lennox’s voice needs some more energy. I personally prefer Portner’s voice – and the songs that feature him on AC albums (think For Reverend Green), he gets wild.

    • See, I think his voice is benign at worst and incredible at best. Yes, there are songs where it’s monotonous, but if he were just a bad singer instead of a singer that chose a bad singing style, people would tell you to get over it and enjoy the music, which works. The music is great. And then there are songs like Benfica where his melodic sense makes the song stunning and enjoyable as well as the music. Admittedly, I’ve never cared whether a singer was good or bad or whether their singing style choice was good or bad, though.

  14. Last night at the jetty, best song of 2011 so far. So mesmerizing.

  15. Love the vocals but I miss the beats. Slow Motion still slays.

  16. Benfica is beautiful, holy fuck.

  17. I was in the same boat with people who were just kind of meh on Panda Bear. But this is really interesting, especially with the vocals being a lot clearer at times, (Last Night at the Jetty )

    Alsoooo loooooove Slow Motion

  18. This is amazing. “You Can Count On Me” is a great, great decision for the album opener – it relentlessly drags you into the mindset of Tomboy. I personally love Person Pitch, but I could myself liking this more sonically. It just feels a bit heavier. Can’t wait to let this one soak in with Summer. Best release of 2011 so far….now let’s get that Woods album…

    • I think it seems a lot meatier too. Person Pitch was great but for practical purposes only a couple of the songs were really listenable. This seems a lot more like a solid pop album that you digest in tracks and groups as well as a whole– I’m looking forward to letting it last

  19. Also, am I the only one that’s glad “Drone” didn’t make the album.

    He should’ve included “The Preakness” though….

    • Drone made the album bro. I think it’s one of the most interesting songs on the album. It leaves me awestruck, like the first time I saw ‘Oddsac’, like I didn’t really comprehend everything that just happened but it was awesome.

      I also like ‘the preakness’ but i think Deakin’s song off the mixtape was best-in-show.

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  21. The Sonic Boom mixes were a good idea. Really solid album. I miss the density of Person Pitch, but I guess sparsity comes with with the solitary vibe he was going for. Also, I think this album is a good reminder of how important the Avey Tare contribution of an A.C. album is.

    • It confirms my suspicion that Avey Tare, to date at least, is a much better collaborator than solo artist. He writes good vocals and I’m sure contributes a lot musically to AnCo, but “Down There” just isn’t even close to this album or “Person Pitch.”

      • Actually I can draw a lot of comparisons between “Down There” and “Tomboy”. For one, both are trying to set a mood, so the albums turn entirely self-focused. Enter the one dimensionality of the two albums. I know this is an AnCo staple, but the random sound effects surrounding the two albums are quite similar sounding and at the same time vastly different. For one, Tomboy seems more positive with the random whispering (see You Can Count on Me) and Down There holds much more negative samples (see every Down There song save ’3 umbrellas’). The sense of mood building in songs off both albums can and often create songs without a clear hook or a clear sense of purpose, but that seems to be the point. I find it funny how the two create similar albums at the same point in their careers.

        Now saying that, I could see myself listening to Tomboy a lot and leaving Down There for those bleak moments, but there ya go.

    • Though yes, I agree: Avey’s contributions to AnCo’s music are absolutely essential; it’s an entirely different project than Panda’s and excellent in a very different way.

  22. i listened to the full stream once. honestly liked the 7″ better, specifically noah’s voice. maybe i hyped it too much and i’ll def have to keep it on rotation

  23. I would like to join the chorus of voices and say that this album is amazing and my mind is blown

  24. Even being familiar with the singles and their mixes (and really loving them), it was still not disappointing to hear the Sonic Boom mixes on the album. Interestingly, all of the singles are in the front of the album, and the last 4 tracks really only seem like the ‘new’ tracks. Altogether, however, the album still rules. I also think its funny how press is calling this album more ‘serious’ and ‘darker. Anything is going to sound dark when you’re coming off of Person Pitch. Even Person Pitch Pt 2 would sound darker. But if people can only compare it to Person Pitch then this baby is going nowhere. This is the NEW album, and it also happens to kick a ton of ass, in a new way.

  25. I would like this album more if it was fun. But it’s not fun. Where is the joy so present in Animal Collective releases? I find this to be pretty, but it’s also pretty repetitive and gray. Why do so many consider it groundbreaking?

    • I think that’s a valid criticism. Person Pitch was a wonderful summer album. Tomboy feels closed off somehow and purposefully one dimensional. Every song develops in one direction along a relatively straight line. I like the album. I will be excited to pay money to own a copy. But I’m not blown away or shocked in any way–the singles pretty much revealed the style and form far ahead of time–and I find some of the reactions to the album so far rather curious. All in all I’m bemused by Tomboy. There’s a strange tension in the songs, in how the melodies develop in adventurous, unexpected directions over rigid, taut, unwavering techno beats.

  26. This album is fantastic. Honestly, it’s my favorite of 2011 so far. Noah sings with such passion in his music. It definitely stands out to me especially in this album more so than his previous work. I thought it was going to be really good, but not nearly as great as it is!
    If I have one beef it’s that “Atiba Song” was left off, though I’m not sure how well it would blend into this particular album. I just really would love to hear a studio version of that track. Wonderful stuff.

  27. I love how this thread almost immediately descends (*ascends, IMHO) into audio production geekery, analyzing how much reverb was added or how the EQ on the drums was tweaked. That’s what I love about how dense Panda Bear and AnCo’s music is, and I’m glad so many other people can appreciate all the subtlety that makes their music.

  28. I am a huge AnCo fan, and i really dug Down There by Avey Tare (so what wanna fight?). What I really dig about these solo records is the classic AnCo sound with the intimacy of a solo sound. Ya know? Like it’s got the fun weird experimental music sound with this sense of solitude, which is good sometimes. Go outside at night and listen to tomboy and down there, maybe by some water just by yourself. You’ll thank me later.

  29. Honestly, AnCo together is the only way it works out great. Sure this album is good but there is no need for separation. Merriweather Post Pavilion is just too good to even picture this.

  30. hipster boners everywhere (in skinny jeans)

  31. I like it

  32. They should’ve included Atiba Song. That song would’ve fit on this album great, and is better than a lot of it. But otherwise, enjoying the album. Need to give it another listen or two before forming a more solid opinion.

  33. I know people will probably get annoyed b/c this is totally a stereotypical comment to make, but for me this is totally the Live Evil to Person Pitch’s Bitches Brew. Or to put it on a scale more befitting that doesn’t compare Panda to Miles Freaking(capital F) Davis, its the Embryonic to Person Pitch’s Yoshimi/Soft Bulletin. Its weirder in a more maniacal than “just chill out dude” kind of way, its got rougher edges that I’m glad Sonic Boom didn’t saw off, the subject matter in the lyrics, or at least what I can hear, seems less optimistic in places.
    I’m not sure yet, but I think I’m going to love this album. When I saw Panda Bear at Hopscotch last year I wasn’t sure all the new sounds (you’d be hard pressed to call them songs at the time) would come together the way Person Pitch did, but so far so good. Very good in fact.

  34. Panda Bear – Tomboy: 49:56
    Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues: 49:53
    Does anyone else obsess over song/album lengths? For over a decade of buying/listening to music I have always paid attention to the lengths of songs and albums. I love how that book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die lists the album length. Kid A was 49:57. Does anyone else find this interesting or have thoughts to add? Other than the fact that those two albums will get the most rotation for the near future and are the same length.

  35. The album version of You Can Count On Me is such a great way to grab my attention. Not what I was expecting. so nice

  36. I’ve managed to listen to it about 5 times by now, and I must say, it gets better and better with each spin. Started out very good, now leaning toward excellent. This thing has a lot of depth to it, though. I’d advise those with any initial doubt to listen more. The melodies just soar… It’s really superb. Heartbreaking, even.

  37. i think this is a singular work by a very prolific artist. name dropping others even his bandmates pretty much discredits the work he has done considering that we haven’t really immersed ourselves with the album. declaring how it would fare in the 2011 top ten liztomania this early proves how obsessed some of us with these lists and not really the substance of music itself.

  38. I haven’t listened to the whole thing yet, but the small amount I’ve heard I’m really enjoying. I didn’t wanna listen to this album because the 7″ singles were just SO underwhelming.

  39. Panda Bear may be doing better as a solo artist, but I would say that Avey Tare embodies everything I initially fell in love with about AnCo.

    When I first heard Sung Tongs, Feels, and even S-Jam (all Avey Tare dominated), I felt like there might be something wrong with me for finding these ugly and awkward songs so irresistable. That was a new feeling.

    I only say this because I’m afraid that Panda Bear will go down as the leader of AnCo. It makes me bitter towards him, and I don’t want to be like that.

  40. i just want to reccomend that everyone buys this, or at least finds the 320 copy that just leaked yesterday… the stream was fine, but this is the bees knees! it sounds so damn good.

    anyway, most everything has been said already, i don’t have much to add. ive been obsessively following the build-up to Tomboy for like 16 months – we finally have it, and its amazing. sonic boom did great with production, and all the non-single songs blew my mind… i might have listened to the bootlegs and singles a bit too much, but thats not gonna stop me from blasting this for a long long time. (i can’t imagine what would have happened to me had i listened to this without knowing anything about it beforehand… oh man. if thats you – im jealous)
    Tomboy is just special, and definitely the only album of its kind. thank you Panda!

  41. I feel like a lot of the vocal melodies are kind of forced and monotonous to be honest, and I can’t say a single one jumped out at me the way, say, take pills or bros did. Hell, I don’t even remember most of them. But that was after one listen, maybe I’ll like it more the next couple times around.

    And even though it probably wouldn’t have fit well on the album, I still wish Atiba Song made the cut…such a great song.

  42. The beginning of Surfer’s Hymn sounds like when you get an item in Mario Kart.

  43. good tending to great from the first listen. now after 4 listens best new release I’ve heard. ever. Trouble is I’ll probably be over it in 2months at the rate I’m playing it.

  44. I got my copy of the white vinyl pressing today. Does anyone know what the breakdown of pressings will be? The Insound site said that the first 1000 pressings will be on white vinyl. What else are they pressing, clear vinyl? It comes with a download code to get the digital 320Kbps version plus a download of his live set at Governor’s Island on September 11, 2010.

  45. Hmm I got a clear copy yesterday.

  46. Album of the year bro….

  47. Only bring this up because they’re in the same band, but after 3 spins of Tomboy, I like Down There better. This is good, and I really like Person Pitch, but nothing jumps out at me like Lucky 1 did upon first listen. Also think Avey’s vocals were much better, too much droning from PB this time around and not nearly enough sonic variety.

  48. check out this panda bear “drone” video:

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