Plants and Animals

Plants_and_Animals_Waltzed_In_from_the_Rumbling_news_under_the_radar

Long time HearYa faves, Plants and Animals are back with their first album since 2012’s The End of That. On April 29th, Secret City will release Waltzed In From The Rumbling. Below you can check out a couple of singles. Here is some info on the album.

By slow down, they meant make music the way they used to. It was the beginning of what would be an on-and-off recording process stretched out over two years. It was a time of rest, as the story often goes, for a band that had seen plenty of touring and not enough home. They slept in their own beds and made their new album through nine seasons and the thick of life. Through births and deaths, most notably—magnificent sunrises, shattering sunsets and the days between. Their new LP is called Waltzed in from the Rumbling. It is a dance of days.

By make music the way they used to, they meant to follow threads to their frayed ends. They recorded any ideas that popped up and edited impulsively. Lyrics were often streams of consciousness, bent into shape. They left mistakes in place where they had their charms, looking to expose rather than conceal. The lead singer doubled as engineer, the lead guitar player as baroque pianist, the drummer as inside-outside eye. They called in friends to sing, to play bass, keys, strings and horns. They found an antique guiro next to an obsolete VCR on the curbside and recorded both. They made an empty fridge sound like a timpani drum. They covertly recorded girls’ brash gossip on a city bus. They discovered the guy who always hung around in the kitchen was a cabasa wizard. It all found a place. They took the path of big production. They pulled down the curtains and showed their hearts and bones.

Our 2012 session is here

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Plants and Animals are here

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Plants and Animals, Live Session #105

by oz on August 16, 2012

My favorite albums are the ones that sneak up on me. The slow growers that don’t make an impact at first, but slowly seep in.  Canada’s Plants and Animals released The End of That back in February and it filled up all the little cracks and broken splinters of my life for the rest of the year. The album filled all those spare moments in airports, on planes, in hotels, or at home while doing yard work. I’d somehow put the album on without thinking about it and later wonder why I was so drawn to it.

Here I am, almost seven months since it’s release, and The End of That has become one of my favorite albums of the year. Much like White Denim’s D, released last year, Plants and Animals have an ability to craft some seriously complex tunes (Crisis!) but they don’t overdue it throughout an entire album. Those jammy experimental tunes where electric guitars are the focus are offset by ballads like “No Idea” where Warren Spicer’s vocals are center stage and the electric guitar and piano serve as a backdrop.

Plants and Animals have played together for a decade and that experience shows in their albums and live performances. If you’re looking for hit radio singles, the closest track you’d find is “Lightshow,” but let’s be honest. Mainstream radio isn’t sophisticated enough to understand artists like Plants and Animals that don’t box themselves into the conventional confines of songwriting.  They create texture and atmosphere in their music and their canvas is three dimensional. The lay listener won’t get chills in moments like at 1:33, 1:55 and 2:20 in the “Lightshow” video below when the electric guitar changes the course of the song. Or the slow build at 2:40 that slows things down to allow Spicer to breathe new life into the song before the band joins in with the “Oh-oh-oh-Ohhhhh” finish. I could call out similar details in the “Crisis!” session video, but we’d be here all day. That track is like 10 songs in one.

It’s in those finer details where Plants and Animals shine and where only those playing close attention can appreciate. I’m sure these flourishes and tempo changes are painful to arrange and rehearse and the songs could probably survive without them, but that’s what makes bands like Plants and Animals so compelling. I guess that’s the reason my subconscious is drawn to the album and it gets repeated play every month. There’s just so much to appreciate.

Plants and Animals Band Introduction

Exclusive: Plants and Animals – Lightshow [Video: YouTube | Vimeo]

Exclusive: Plants and Animals – Crisis! [Video: YouTube | Vimeo]

Exclusive: Plants and Animals – No Idea

Download the Plants and Animals live session as a zip file.

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Plants and Animals have been labeled as indie, prog-rock, classic rock, even a jam band. That’s part of the beauty of Plants and Animals. They defy labels and slapping a genre on them is an exercise in futility. Their albums are a series of quests within one epic journey. Nothing is straight-forward and most tunes have the feel of a suite as opposed a rock tune.

Like their previous efforts, the vocals on La La Land are understated and take a back seat to the accompanying music. Downplaying vocals is almost a requirement with such ambitious arrangements. If the vocals were too aggressive, they would clutter the music and lessen the effect of Plants and Animals’ dizzying instrumental prowess.

There are several highlights on La La Land, including American Idol, Kon Tiki, and The Mama Papa. But the track that continues to dig into me is Undone Melody. It’s a sprawling tune that never fully reveals itself, but there’s s some very cool and subtle shit going on. Like most of their songs, there are all sorts of nuances to discover, but this one continues to keep my head spinning.

Plants and Animals are a real treat. With all the twists and turns on the album, you are sure to keep coming back to it time and time again. Parc Avenue and With/Avec are still mainstays in my rotation and La La Land is a healthy addition. The boys will be in Chicago at Lincoln Hall on May 15th.

Website | MySpace | Secret City Records

Video: Plants and Animals – The Mama Papa

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Plants and Animals’ sophomore album, La La Land, will be released April 20th on Secret City Records. “The Mama Papa” is the first single released the video was just polished and released.

Video: Plants and Animals – The Mama Papa

The band’s SxSW appearances are below:

Wed. 3/17 – 6:20 PM @ Brush Square (Across from Hilton) – Canadian Blast BBQ
Thu. 3/18 – 1:50 PM @ Lovejoy (604 Neches at 7th St.) – Pop Montreal Party w/ Diamond Rings, Basia Bulat
Thu. 3/18 – 4:30 PM @ Emo’s Annex (603 Red River) – Soundcheck Magazine party w/ The Besnard Lakes
Fri. 3/19 – 9:00 PM @ Antone’s (213 West 5th Street) – Official Billions Showcase w/ Shearwater, Liars
Sat. 3/20 – 2:25 PM @ Emo’s Annex (603 Red River) – Under The Radar Party w/ Vivian Girls, The Veils and more
Sat. 3/20 – 3:45 PM @ Galaxy Room (506 E. 6th St.) – Brooklyn Vegan/M for Montreal Party w/ Local Natives, Andrew WK, Roky Erikson & Okkervil River and more

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Top 50 Albums of 2008 [Picks 11-20]

December 18, 2008

HearYa and Internet Explorer were in a pissing match for most of the day yesterday. For those readers that use that glorious browser, you may have had some trouble reading yesterday’s post. We corrected the bug – my apologies. We’re back at it and almost done with our best albums of 2008. At the very […]

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