It’s June — we are now almost officially half-way through the year. Thus far – and not surprisingly – Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest is, at present, ranking as my favorite release of 2009. The week of its release (May 26th) the album landed on the Billboard top 10, charting at number 8, with over 33k units sold. An impressive feat for a band described by the mainstream music media as ‘art-rock.’ If you have allowed the contrarian in you to ignore Grizzly Bear up to this point, perhaps in response to the massive hype, take a breath and do check them out both on record and in a live setting. They are presently touring the United States. As album experiences go, both Veckatimest and 2006’s Yellow House are nothing short of stunning — rewarding the patient with something unique upon every listen.
While working on my Sirius/XM show last week I dug out Grizzly Bear’s primitive cover of Yes’s “Owner of A Lonely Heart” from the 2006 Sorry For The Delay stop-gap collection (originally a vinyl only release). If nothing else the track highlights the contrast between Grizzly Bear 1.0 (read: Ed Droste) and the lush production/collaboration found as a full band with the release of Yellow House and beyond. In stark juxtaposition next to Veckatimest’s multi-layered “Cheerleader,” “Owner of A Lonely Heart” feels sketch-like — a precursor of what was to come.
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Grizzly Bear :: Two Weeks (Video)