Animal Collective have released nine albums in the past nine years, all challenging, all imperfect but innovative, all substantially different. Some are placid, others orgiastic; some are convincingly reminiscent of dreams and drug trips, others convincingly reminiscent of third-graders; some are gummy and formless, others are almost—just almost—straightforward. Their peaks are high and their valleys embarrassingly low, but the trade-off has always struck me as fair: They've exposed the young white world to dub, South American, and African styles; they've futzed around with insular genres like noise and rave without frightening passersby; they've made dance music tolerable to the arms-folded crowd; they've managed to become eminently hip without sounding urbane. They're good-natured and a little weird. In short, they're the open-field festival band for a demographic that would... More >>>