Animal Collective is an experimental rock band founded in Baltimore in 2000. Its lineup consists of Avey Tare (David Porter), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Deakin (Josh Dibb) and Geologist (Brian Weitz), who have known each other since childhood and began to experiment with mind-altering drugs and psychedelic music in high school.Because of the band's stance as a "collective", not every member of the band appears on every album (for example, Deakin is absent on Merriweather Post Pavilion, Geologist doesn't appear on Campfire Songs and only Avey Tare and Panda Bear perform on Sung Tongs). Panda Bear has released four solo albums since 1998, and Avey Tare has one of his own. Deakin has toured with solo material of his, but no album has been released yet.Their music has kept psychedelic influences, but their hit album Merriweather Post Pavillion has made it more accessible to a mainstream audience without changing much of their overall sound.
Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished (2000), as Avey Tare and Panda Bear
Danse Manatee (2001), as Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist
Hollinndagain (2002), as Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist (live album)
Archive Panic: As of 2013, in only 13 years of existence, the group had already released 9 studio albums, 6 E Ps, 11 singles (often with exclusive B-sides), 2 live albums composed mostly of original material, and the visual album ODDSAC. And that's not even counting all of the member's side projects, live songs that never made it on an album or compilation, and collaborations with other artists. And to add to the confusion, absolutely none of their albums sound even remotely the same.
Badass Beard: Geologist has sported one for almost the entire duration of the band, so far.
Broken Record: "Brother Sport" from Merriweather Post Pavillion is probably the most extreme example of this, as EVERY section of the song consists of this but overall, heavy repetition of some phrase(s) is quite a defining characteristic of their songwriting. Other notable examples include just about any song from Merriweather Post Pavilion, "We Tigers" from Sung Tongs, "For Reverend Green" and "Chores" from Strawberry Jam, What Would I Want? Sky, and many others.
Cool Hat: The head lamp that Geologist wears during live concerts certainly qualifies.
Hell, that's the whole reason his nickname is Geologist — everybody thought he was a miner.
The hat with ears that Panda Bear wore during early live appearances and Avey Tare's face-hat both qualify.
Cover Version: They've occasionally done this in live performances, most notably in Purple Bottle, with some live performances featuring both "I Bid You Goodnight" by The Grateful Dead as an introduction and "I Just Called To Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder as a bridge.
Digital Piracy Is Evil: Counterexample - they don't really care about the leaking of their albums, but they get quite upset when (like in the case of Strawberry Jam) only a handful of songs were leaked at a time and fans couldn't get the full album experience.
Drone of Dread: "Two Sails on a Sound" from Here Comes the Indian and the live-only song "Tuvin" both exemplify this trope.
Early-Installment Weirdness: Anything before they settled on the name Animal Collective. Spirit They've Gone, Spirit They've Vanished was essentially an Avey Tare solo album with Panda Bear supplying drums, while Danse Manatee and Campfire Songs are both just plain weird.
Fading into the Next Song: Their song "Graze" fades into "What Would I Want? Sky" off their Fall Be Kind EP, half of everything on Merriweather Post Pavilion fades into the next song, and "Winter Wonderland" fades into "Cuckoo Cuckoo" on Strawberry Jam. Actually, they're just fond of this trope in general.
All of their concerts for the past few years have had crossfades between songs, as well.
Old Shame: Subverted. The band is actually quite fond of their abrasive early work.
Sampling: Most notably on What Would I Want? Sky, which samples "Unbroken Chain" by The Grateful Dead - "Willow sky/Woah, I walk and wonder why" becomes the eponymous phrase after some smart cutting-up, but there are also several other instances in their discography.
Panda Bear's "Person Pitch", the most successful solo record by any member of the band, is heavily based on sampling as well.
"What Would I Want? Sky" off of their Fall Be Kind EP is in 7/8 time.
"I Think I Can" from the same EP is in 9/8, with a section of 6/8.
One of the best examples of this trope is "Who Could Win A Rabbit" off of Sung Tongs. It's based in 3/4, but randomly jumps around to 4/4 and has a 5/4 bridge.
They seem to be fond of 3/4 time.
3/4 isn't too odd; their fetish for polyrhythms is, however.
Most of "For Reverend Green" is in 7/4note Or 14/8, though the drum beat hangs on 2/4.
While it's still technically is 4/4, the syncopation of the drums on Did You See The Words is mad and rather difficult to count along to.
Word Salad Lyrics: Avey Tare has described the lyrics of "Peacebone" as not being so much about a particular meaning but more "blending together visual images". In general, most of their lyrics seem to be more about the imagery or conveying certain feelings than making sense as a narrative.