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Grizzly Bear began as a home recording project for Boston-bred experimentalist Edward Droste, the son of an elementary school teacher, who laid the groundwork for the band's otherworldly debut album on a small hand-held tape recorder while holed up for 15 months in his Greenpoint, Brooklyn, apartment. His homespun D.I.Y. effort took on new life with the help of multi-instrumentalist Christopher Bear, a Chicago native who had worked in a diverse range of musical projects ranging from laptop electronica to free jazz, who added additional instrumentation and vocals to Droste's stripped-down sonic blueprints.
The resulting album, Horn of Plenty -- a pet project originally meant only for Droste's friends -- eventually circulated through New York's underground music scene, with its unique blend of acoustic instruments, layered vocals, and found sounds earning comparisons to alt-rock heavy-hitters such as Sigur Rós, Sufjan Stevens, and Animal Collective. Originally released to little fanfare in 2004, the album gained momentum thanks to copious touring, with Chris Taylor joining the band on reeds and electronics, and Daniel Rossen providing additional guitar and vocals. It was reissued in 2005 as a two-CD set featuring remixes by Dntel (of the Postal Service), Final Fantasy, Solex, and the Soft Pink Truth (aka Drew Daniel of Matmos). An album of Droste's early demo recordings, Sorry for the Delay, was released in 2006 as the band finished up recording Yellow House, its second proper full-length album. Warp signed the band that spring and released Yellow House that fall. A year later, the Friend EP, which featured cameos from Beirut, CSS, and Band of Horses, arrived.
For 2009's elaborate Veckatimest, the band collaborated with contemporary classical composer/conductor Nico Muhly, Beach House vocalist Victoria LeGrand, the Acme String Quartet, and the Brooklyn Youth Choir. The album would be a resounding success for the band, debuting at number eight on the Billboard 200 and making the band a ubiquitous entry on critical year-end lists. The band eventually followed up three years later with its 2012 effort, Shields.
Grizzly Bear is an American rock band from Brooklyn, New York, formed in 2002. The band consists of Edward Droste (vocals, keyboards, omnichord), Daniel Rossen (vocals, guitar, banjo, keyboards), Chris Taylor (bass, backing vocals, various instruments, producer) and Christopher Bear (drums, backing vocals).
The band employs traditional and electronic instruments. Their sound has been categorized as psychedelic pop, folk rock, and experimental, and is dominated by the use of vocal harmonies. The band is one of the few non-electronic artists signed to Warp Records."FoxyTunes Planet has moved to Yahoo! Music". Foxytunes.com. Retrieved 2011-01-06. Ramaswamy, Chitra. "Interview: Grizzly Bear on their new album Shields". scotsman.com. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
ContentsHistory1.1 Beginnings and Horn of Plenty (2002-2006)1.2 Yellow House (2006-2008)1.3 Veckatimest (2008-2010)1.4 Charity involvement1.5 Shields (2011-present)
Beginnings and Horn of Plenty (2002-2006)Main article: Horn of Plenty (album)
Grizzly Bear began as a moniker for songwriter Ed Droste's music in the early 2000s. Regarding the band's origins as a solo project, Droste noted, "It was just like doing a little home project, and I thought "oh, this is fun, I'm just going to call this stuff Grizzly Bear. [...] Our name was actually just a nickname for an old boyfriend of mine."
In 2004, Droste released Grizzly Bear's debut album, Horn of Plenty. Predominately a solo album the album featured contributions from future drummer Christopher Bear. Rolling Stone magazine wrote of the first album that "The pure atmospheric power of the songs is more than enough to hypnotize."
Droste and Bear were subsequently joined by bass guitarist and producer Chris Taylor, and performed four shows together as a three-piece. Regarding these shows, Droste noted, "We've never played without the four of us, really. The first couple shows we did before we knew Dan [Rossen], we did with three of us and they kind of sucked. From the get-go, when we were trying to put together a live show, that's when we discovered our sound and that's why I think that was the beginning of the band."
Guitarist and vocalist Daniel Rossen, a friend of Bear's from jazz-camp, joined the band soon after. Rossen stated, "For a long time, I only played my songs to close friends; and it just happened that I lived with Chris Taylor during my second year of college, so he heard them. He was my entrance into Grizzly Bear. He joined the band first, then after a while he suggested I come in with these songs. [...] When I joined, I did about two rehearsals with them, worked out one of my songs to put into the set, then a week later we were out on the road for a two-month tour. It was a real trial-by-fire thing. I was close with Chris and Chris [Bear], but I didn’t know Ed [Droste] at all; it was weird getting to know a stranger by spending all day in the same car."
Regarding the decision to turn Grizzly Bear into a full band, Droste noted "I was quite happy to relinquish the idea of being a solo artist. I hate the thought of being under a spotlight with my guitar, mumbling into a microphone. It’s horribly scary to me."
In 2005, The Remixes, a collection of remixed songs from Horn of Plenty, was released by Kanine. Contributors include Simon Bookish, Final Fantasy, Soft Pink Truth, DNTEL, Efterklang, and Ariel Pink.
Yellow House (2006-2008)Main article: Yellow House (album)
Their first record as a quartet and to feature material written by Rossen, Yellow House, was released on Warp Records in September 2006. It was named for Droste's mother's house where it was recorded and ranked as one of the top albums of 2006 by the New York Times and Pitchfork Media. In 2007, Rossen recorded a cover of JoJo's single "Too Little Too Late" for Droste's twenty-ninth birthday. In 2006 the band did a take-away show session with Vincent Moon. Also in 2007, the band released Friend, an EP which features outtakes, alternate versions of songs, and covers of Grizzly Bear material done by Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS), Band of Horses, and Atlas Sound. In addition, members of the Dirty Projectors and Beirut collaborated with the band on "Alligator" and the EP's hidden track.
On March 1, 2008, Grizzly Bear performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
Veckatimest (2008-2010)Main article: Veckatimest
In summer of 2008, Grizzly Bear opened for Radiohead on the second leg of their North American tour. In Toronto, on their last date of the tour together, Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood spoke of his love for Grizzly Bear, on stage, calling them his favorite band. Of the experience, Taylor has commented: “It was shocking, and kind of unbelievable. It still is unbelievable. Opening for Radiohead was a huge honor for us, as a band and as individuals. We’ve all had long-term relationships with Radiohead’s music, so we didn’t want to take that opportunity for granted, and do anything less than the best we could." Christopher has also commented that it "was like a dream."
The group then convened at a house on Cape Cod to solidify their third full-length album, Veckatimest, which released in May 2009 and was named "after a tiny, uninhabited island on Cape Cod that the band visited and was inspired by, particularly liking its Native American name." Upon release the album reached No. 8 on the US Billboard 200 chart, and met with widespread critical acclaim. Chris Bear has noted that compared to Yellow House, the band's 2009 release Veckatimest is more of an accessible pop record. He said: "I think that it’s kinda clearer, clearer equals more accessible I feel like clearer equals more accessible in general as a rule." Veckatimest made many Top Album lists for 2009 (#1 Wall Street Journal, No. 6 Pitchfork, No. 6 New York Times, No. 8 Time)
In 2009 Grizzly Bear played at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on February 28 with Owen Pallett, backed by an orchestra arranged by Nico Muhly and conducted by Michael Christie. They played new songs from Veckatimest as well as songs from Yellow House. Ed Droste has stated that many songs (such as "Central and Remote", "Reprise" and "Campfire") will not be played again unless backed by an orchestra. In March 2009, they played two showcases at South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. In July 2009, they played at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, Illinois.
In 2009, Grizzly Bear contributed "Service Bell" (with Feist) and "Deep Blue Sea" to the AIDS benefit album Dark Was the Night produced by the Red Hot Organization.
That same year they also released a charity t-shirt via the Yellow Bird Project, to raise money for the Brighter Planet Foundation.
Shields (2011-present)Main article: Shields (album)
In March 2012, Daniel Rossen released a solo EP, Silent Hour/Golden Mile, consisting of tracks he had written for the band's forthcoming album, but were not used.
On June 5, 2012, the song "Sleeping Ute" from their then-untitled upcoming studio album was posted on the band's website, along with the album's track listing. The band also announced tour dates in conjunction with the release of the song, which coincided with the release date of the album. On July 9, 2012, the band revealed the album's title to be Shields.
On September 4, 2012, the album leaked on the internet. Then on September 10, the album was available for an early listen via the NPR website.
Grizzly Bear was scheduled to headline and curated ATP's I'll Be Your Mirror festival at Alexandra Palace in London, UK on May 5, 2013. However, after the event was initially postponed to November 2013, I'll Be Your Mirror was cancelled in August due to "problems with the venue and new date".
On September 17, 2013, the track "Will Calls (Marfa Demo)" was debuted, together with the announcement of two expanded Shields re-releases, followed by the song "Listen and Wait (Bonus Track)" on October 30. The re-releases, Shields: Expanded and Shields: B-Sides, were released on November 11 2013 and include eight B-side remixes, five unreleased songs, and three remixes sold in two formats: a two-cd set and 12" 180 grams (6.3 oz) vinyl.
In January 2014, Grizzly Bear closed out their international 'Shields' tour with a sold out performance at the Sydney Opera House. The performance was streamed live internationally on YouTube.at 12:11 AM (2006-09-08). "An interview with Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear". Brooklynvegan.com. Retrieved 2011-01-06. "Grizzly Bear: Soap Opera". SPIN.com. 2009-05-22. Retrieved 2011-01-06. Greenwalk, David. "Interview / Grizzly Bear". cokemachineglow.com. Retrieved 22 September 2012. "Grizzly Bear Interview - An Interview with Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear". Altmusic.about.com. 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2011-01-06. Cite error: The named reference scotsman was invoked but never defined (see the help page). LA Weekly Interview Pitchfork Forkcast: New Music: Daniel Rossen [of Grizzly Bear]: "Too Little Too Late" (JoJo cover) [MP3/Stream] Posted by (2008-01-28). "Grizzly Bear and LA Philharmonic Set March Performance : ALARM Magazine - Music & Art Beyond Comparison". Alarmpress.com. Retrieved 2011-01-06. Gormely, Ian."Grizzly Bear Under Pressure", Exclaim!, June 2009. "News | Jonny Greenwood: Grizzly Bear Are My Favourite Band". The Quietus. Retrieved 2011-01-06. "Grizzly Bear Interview". Clashmusic.com. 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2011-01-06. "Grizzly Bear - Cover Story". Musicfeeds.com.au. Retrieved 2011-01-06. "Blog". Grizzly Bear. Retrieved 2012-09-18. Peter Bloxham. "TLOBF Interview :: Grizzly Bear". The Line Of Best Fit. Retrieved 2011-01-06. "Veckatimest on 2009’s Top Year-End Lists « Grizzly Bear". Grizzly-bear.net. 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2011-01-06. "Pitchfork Music Festival 2010". Pitchforkmusicfestival.com. Retrieved 2011-01-06. Breihan, Tom (2009-12-04). "News in Brief: Yellow Bird Project, Citay, the Brunettes, Juliana Hatfield". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2013-11-18. Hyden, Steven. "Opening Track: Daniel Rossen, Silent Hour/Golden Mile | The A.V. Club". theavclub.com. Retrieved 29 March 2012. "Grizzly Bear's new song 'Sleeping Ute'". Grizzly Bear. 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2012-06-05. "Grizzly Bear's upcoming 2012 album called Shields". Grizzly Bear. 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2012-07-09. "First Listen: Grizzly Bear, 'Shields'". NPR. 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2012-09-10. Carrie Battan (5 August 2013). "Grizzly Bear ATP Festival Cancelled". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media Inc. Retrieved 7 November 2013. "Stream 'Listen and Wait (Bonus Track)". Warp Records. Retrieved 14 November 2013. "'Shields: Expanded' and 'Shields: B-Sides' are out now". Warp Records. Retrieved 14 November 2013. "Grizzly Bear Announce Shields: Expanded, Share "Will Calls (Marfa Demo)". Pitchfork. 2013-09-17. Retrieved 2013-02-10.