sport your br.

Going back to at least Sung Tongs, the dominant themes in Avey Tare and Panda Bear's lyrics have been responsibility, familial love, and a desire to work toward self-improvement. These aren't new ideas for pop music, but they are difficult things to express in song without coming across as unbearably hokey. Animal Collective circumvent this tackiness in part by investing every sound with an intense generosity rather than just leaving the sentiment to the words being sung. "Brother Sport" in particular is a big warm hug of a song, and would feel loving and supportive even if Panda Bear were not singing lyrics encouraging his brother not to descend to depression following the death of their father. Cynics may grumble, but anyone in need of this sort of earnest, full-hearted empathy will find it here as the music gradually shifts from a gentle exhortation to move on from a state of mourning to a celebratory climax merging elements of rave, psychedelia, and folk jamborees. On a good day, "Brother Sport" is a joyous romp, but in times of trouble, it's profound and life-affirming song, rejecting self-defeating despondency while showing a deep respect for the agony of loss. --Matthew Perpetua


the sex life of the inorganic

The Vinyl Factory Manufacture.

As digital music without a fetishisable container marches on, it's abundantly clear that vinyl is stepping in to fulfil the role of covetable hard copy. Witness the inclusion of digital download cards in new vinyl releases; it would seem that the CD is actually the medium destined to 'die' in the face of MP3s, not its much older plastic counterpart.

This video is only further proof of the progression of vinyl, as the format takes on some kind of odd living dead quality - having died, we can now fondly and nostalgically look back on its heyday as if it were somehow over and yet in that very act continually renew its existence. I'm not sure if I like this. What is being valued here? Mere hard goods fetish? Some kind of pale simile of something like a unique piece of art? The concept of the long-playing album?

What is clear from this video is that whatever is actually being pressed (i.e. music) into this viscuous black goop is not the focus, rather the thing itself. What is most fascinating is how perhaps the most fundamentally violent industrialisation of music - it's transformation into an object of mass production with the advent of the record - is now being recalled fondly. Pre-post-industrial (i.e. pre-immaterial) forms of labour take on a residual craft aesthetic, we see people and coffee cups and signs of life amongst what is really, just a big fucking factory like any other, literally stamping out more of the same day in, day out. I'm not sure if the workers there get the same kind of fluttery, Wes Anderson film feeling viewers are copping when they look back upon 'vinyl manufacture' as some kind of quaint, even slightly magical process.

Clearly this isn't going to go away, but for one all I can say is bring on the digital. Wave goodbye to the container (at least in discrete, fixed and bounded form) and you begin to realise what's really at stake, musically and of course financially: music.