Friday, July 17, 2009

Phenomenal New Collabs: Atlas Sound/Panda Bear & Masters of Folk

Conor Oberst and M. Ward perform in 2007. Photo by Flickr user tammylo.

Today is a great day on the collaborations front. From right field, we have a fly ball we've been keeping our eye on for a long time--the much much much anticipated Monsters of Folk project (featuring buddies M. Ward, Conor Oberst, and Jim James) has finally released its first single. Then from way out in left field comes a gorgeous song by the two people who very well could be today's absolute master of ominous, murky rock music and the contemporary authority on bright pop, respectively--Bradford Cox (a.k.a. Atlas Sound, frontman of Deerhunter) and Noah Lennox (a.k.a. Panda Bear). Yes, this truly happened.

First, the Monsters of Folk release: M. Ward takes the lead on this one, titled "Say Please," and it finds him rocking harder than he has since "Requiem," from 2006's Post-War. It's nice to see that, despite the band's bearded-man-with-acoustic moniker, they're as Horse-crazy as Woods, if a bit less endearingly rough around the edges (but what did you really expect?). At its core, though, "Say Please" and its chimey guitar pulse lay bare that Ward weaned himself on the guitar by learning the chord changes to early-Beatles tunes. Monsters of Folk's eponymous is due on Sept. 22, via Shangri-La. Find the song here or download it from

"Say Please," Monsters of Folk (thanks to iguessimfloating)

The Atlas-Panda collab, "Walkabout," is a near-perfect yin-yang of Cox's dark and Lennox's light. The melody, vocal harmonies, and pop bounce are distinctly Panda's. The atmosphere evokes the snaking haze of cigarette smoke, marked by an indefinable, disconcerting dissonance--this is all Cox. This tune is an alloy, but it's pure gold. "Walkabout" will be track three on Atlas Sound's second album, Logos, due Oct. 20 on Kranky.

"Walkabout," Atlas Sound w/Panda Bear (thanks to iguessimfloating)

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