Grizzly Bear (band)

Grizzly Bear is an American rock band from Brooklyn, New York, formed in 2002. For most of its tenure, the band has consisted of Edward Droste (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Daniel Rossen (vocals, guitar, banjo, keyboards), Chris Taylor (bass, backing vocals, woodwinds, production), and Christopher Bear (drums, percussion, backing vocals). The band employs both traditional and electronic instruments, and their sound has been categorized as psychedelic pop, folk rock, and experimental. The band is known for their use of vocal harmony, with all four members contributing vocals and lead vocals alternating between Rossen and Droste.

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear performing at the 2013 CBGB Festival in Times Square
Grizzly Bear performing at the 2013 CBGB Festival in Times Square
Background information
OriginBrooklyn, New York, US
Genres
Years active2002[6]–present (on hiatus)
Labels
Websitegrizzly-bear.net
Members
Past members

Initially a solo project for Droste, the first Grizzly Bear album, Horn of Plenty, was a lo-fi studio project released on Kanine Records in 2004. The album featured drumming contributions from Bear, who would go on to join the project full-time alongside Taylor and Rossen for live performances. Upon performing as a four-piece, the resulting chemistry turned Grizzly Bear into a fully-fledged band of equal collaborators, with Rossen becoming its second songwriter and co-lead vocalist, and Taylor adopting the role of producer and multi-instrumentalist. The band's second studio album, Yellow House, was released to widespread critical acclaim in 2006 and was the first to feature the full Grizzly Bear band.

Preceded by the single "Two Weeks", the band's third studio album, Veckatimest (2009), increased their exposure significantly, reaching #8 on the Billboard 200 and selling over 220,000 copies. After extensive touring, the band reconvened for the more experimental and expansive album, Shields, which was released to further acclaim in 2012. The band's fifth and most recent studio album, Painted Ruins, was released in 2017. Following the album's accompanying tour, the band entered an extended hiatus,[7] with Droste announcing that he had left the band in 2020.[8]

HistoryEdit

Beginnings and Horn of Plenty (2002–2005)Edit

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."[9]

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.[10] Rolling Stone magazine wrote of the first album, "the pure atmospheric power of the songs is more than enough to hypnotize."[11]

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."[12]

Guitarist and vocalist Daniel Rossen, a friend of Bear's from jazz-camp,[9][10] 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."[13]

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."[6]

In 2005, The Remixes, a collection of remixed songs from Horn of Plenty, was released by Kanine Records. Contributors include Simon Bookish, Final Fantasy, Soft Pink Truth, DNTEL, Efterklang, and Ariel Pink.[14]

Yellow House (2006–2007)Edit

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[15] and ranked as one of the top albums of 2006 by The New York Times and Pitchfork. In 2007, Rossen recorded a cover of JoJo's single "Too Little Too Late" for Droste's twenty-ninth birthday.[16] 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.[17]

Veckatimest (2008–2010)Edit

In summer of 2008, Grizzly Bear opened for Radiohead on the second leg of their North American tour.[18] 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.[19] 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."[20] Christopher has also commented that it "was like a dream."[21]

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."[22] 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 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."[23] Veckatimest made many Top Album lists for 2009 (#1 Wall Street Journal, No. 6 Pitchfork, No. 6 New York Times, No. 8 Time).[24]

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.[25]

In 2009, Grizzly Bear collaborated with singer Victoria Legrand on the song "Slow Life" for The Twilight Saga: New Moon. The song is featured in the film as Bella sees an illusion of Edward underwater.

Shields (2011–2014)Edit

 
Grizzly Bear in 2012 at the Brixton Academy

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.[26]

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.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29]

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".[30]

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.[31] The re-releases, Shields: Expanded and Shields: B-sides, were released on November 11, 2013[32] 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.[33]

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.[34]

Painted Ruins (2015–2019)Edit

Following the completion of the Shields tour, Daniel Rossen embarked upon a solo tour performing tracks from his debut EP, and his other band, Department of Eagles. During the tour, Rossen commented on the future of Grizzly Bear, stating: "We don't have a clear plan. We tend to like to let the records come together naturally. I think everyone wants a little bit of a break and everyone's scattered around the globe. I think towards the end of the year, if it feels natural, we'll start again." In a more recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine, singer Ed Droste explained that a new album was in the works. Unlike the recording process for Shields, where Grizzly Bear ensconced themselves at studios in Marfa, Texas and Cape Cod, Massachusetts to construct a truly collaborative album, Droste says the creative process was "more fractured." While two members still live in New York, the other half, including Droste, have traded coasts and now reside in Los Angeles. As of June 2016, Droste had been working on the next album with the rest of Grizzly Bear.[35][36]

On April 4, 2017, Grizzly Bear posted a short video clip to their website and Instagram account[37]—presumably a demo or sample from their upcoming album. Later, they uploaded a number of clips (all brief and without lyrics) with increasing frequency. On May 5, 2017, the song "Three Rings" was released onto Vevo. Soon after, on May 17, 2017, a new single, "Mourning Sound" was released, and a new album was announced titled Painted Ruins.[38] As promotion, a third track "Four Cypresses" was released onto the band's Vevo on June 23, 2017. A fourth promotion single was released on July 21, 2017 titled "Neighbors".

On August 18, 2017 Painted Ruins was released to positive reviews.[39][40][41][42] The album was followed by a music video for the track "Losing All Sense," released onto the band's Vevo on September 28, 2017, featuring actresses Busy Philipps and Freckle.[43]

Ed Droste's departure and hiatus (2020–present)Edit

In 2020, Ed Droste confirmed that he had departed from the band and had enrolled in school to become a therapist. His departure was not announced publicly, but was confirmed during a podcast appearance in 2020.[44]

Both Daniel Rossen and Chris Bear collaborated with Fleet Foxes on the track "Cradling Mother, Cradling Woman" from their 2020 album Shore. The pair continued working together on Rossen's debut solo album, You Belong There, which was released in April 2022.

In an interview promoting the album's release, Rossen noted that Grizzly Bear is currently on hiatus. "There's no official line here," Rossen said. "I still work closely with Chris Taylor, I still talk with Chris Bear fairly often — he lives in Spain now. Ed and I are still in contact, but he needs a little distance from us for personal reasons. He's pursuing a different career. We may do something again. When those [Painted Ruins] tours ended, I was about to have a child, Chris Taylor just had his son, Chris Bear has a family, he was pursuing other work. It made sense to have a break there to do other things. We've always taken time between records. I don't know what the future holds. I think for now it's safe to say we're inactive, but I'm very reluctant to make some grand statement like, 'We've broken up!' I don't trust that, especially because people come back together again. I think it's entirely possible that we could, I just don't know."[7]

Rossen elaborated in a further interview: "I think where we are now is just a very natural — you know, Grizzly Bear, I joined that band at the end of 2004, so you consider how long that was. The stretch that we were active was like 14 years. And I think if anything it’s just like, people change, lives change. I really respect bands and artists that can keep it together forever, but I think we all just wanted to do some different things with our lives for a little bit. That doesn’t mean the band’s over. It’s not. There’s no official line on that. We’re not broken up or anything. It’s just, you know, Ed is pursuing a different career. He went back to school. He wanted to do that. He was having not the most productive time on the road. It was not great for him. It wasn’t really great for any of us by the end, honestly. It was just… we wanted to do something different."

PhilanthropyEdit

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.[45] That same year they also released a charity T-shirt via the Yellow Bird Project, to raise money for the Brighter Planet Foundation.[46]

MembersEdit

 
L to R: Chris Taylor, Ed Droste, Daniel Rossen, Christopher Bear at the Austin City Limits Music Festival

Current members

  • Christopher Bear – drums, percussion, glockenspiel, xylophone, keyboard, lap steel guitar, backing vocals (2004–present)
  • Chris Taylor – bass guitar, backing vocals, keyboard, wind instruments, producer (2004–present)
  • Daniel Rossen – lead vocals, guitars, keyboards, autoharp, banjo (2004–present)

Former members

  • Ed Droste – lead vocals, keyboards, guitar, omnichord, autoharp (2002–2020)

Touring musicians

  • Aaron Arntz - keyboards, trumpet (2012–2014; 2017–2018)[47]

DiscographyEdit

Studio albums

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Bret Love. Grizzly Bear at AllMusic. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  2. ^ Robin Murray (June 18, 2009). "Grizzly Bear Ticket Details". Clash. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  3. ^ Emily Ingram (August 15, 2017). "Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins". The Skinny. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  4. ^ Dr Brian Flota; Dr Joseph P Fisher (January 28, 2013). The Politics of Post-9/11 Music: Sound, Trauma, and the Music Industry in the Time of Terror. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 122. ISBN 978-1-4094-9492-8.
  5. ^ Christopher Partridge (April 6, 2017). The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion and Popular Music. Bloomsbury. p. 261. ISBN 9781474237345.
  6. ^ a b Ramaswamy, Chitra. "Interview: Grizzly Bear on their new album Shields". scotsman.com. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Fitzmaurice, Larry (March 9, 2022). "Grizzly Bear's Daniel Rossen on His New Solo Album, the Late 2000s, the Grateful Dead, and the Future of Grizzly Bear". Last Donut of the Night. Retrieved March 21, 2022.
  8. ^ "Ed Droste's Got To Be Real About His Harvest Bowl". Lunch Therapy.
  9. ^ a b "An interview with Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear". Brooklyn Vegan. September 8, 2006. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Grizzly Bear: Soap Opera". SPIN.com. May 22, 2009. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  11. ^ Ganz, Jacob (November 6, 2007). "Grizzly Bear: An Old 'House,' a New 'Friend'". 90.9 WBUR. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  12. ^ Greenwalk, David. "Interview / Grizzly Bear". cokemachineglow.com. Archived from the original on September 24, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  13. ^ "An Interview with Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear". Altmusic.about.com. May 8, 2009. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  14. ^ Hogan, Marc (November 5, 2005). "Grizzly Bear: The Remixes". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  15. ^ LA Weekly Interview Archived May 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Corcoran, Nina (June 28, 2013). "Run for cover: Jojo vs. Daniel Rossen (of Grizzly Bear): Too Little Too Late". DigBoston. Archived from the original on July 13, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  17. ^ Schreiber, Ryan (November 6, 2007). "Grizzly Bear: Friend EP". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  18. ^ Gormely, Ian."Grizzly Bear Under Pressure", Exclaim!, May 2009.
  19. ^ "Jonny Greenwood: Grizzly Bear Are My Favourite Band". The Quietus. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  20. ^ "Grizzly Bear Interview". Clashmusic.com. May 27, 2009. Archived from the original on October 21, 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  21. ^ "Grizzly Bear - Cover Story". Musicfeeds.com.au. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  22. ^ "Blog". Grizzly Bear. Archived from the original on June 3, 2006. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
  23. ^ Peter Bloxham. "TLOBF Interview :: Grizzly Bear". The Line Of Best Fit. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  24. ^ "Veckatimest on 2009's Top Year-End Lists « Grizzly Bear". Grizzly-bear.net. December 21, 2009. Archived from the original on March 16, 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  25. ^ "Pitchfork Music Festival 2010". Pitchforkmusicfestival.com. Archived from the original on November 28, 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  26. ^ Hyden, Steven. "Opening Track: Daniel Rossen, Silent Hour/Golden Mile". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  27. ^ "Grizzly Bear's new song 'Sleeping Ute'". Grizzly Bear. June 5, 2012. Archived from the original on October 23, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  28. ^ "Grizzly Bear's upcoming 2012 album called Shields". Grizzly Bear. July 9, 2012. Archived from the original on November 29, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  29. ^ "First Listen: Grizzly Bear, 'Shields'". NPR. July 9, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  30. ^ Carrie Battan (August 5, 2013). "Grizzly Bear ATP Festival Cancelled". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media Inc. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  31. ^ "Stream 'Listen and Wait (Bonus Track)". Warp Records. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  32. ^ "'Shields: Expanded' and 'Shields: B-Sides' are out now". Warp Records. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  33. ^ "Grizzly Bear Announce Shields: Expanded, Share "Will Calls (Marfa Demo)". Pitchfork. September 17, 2013. Archived from the original on September 20, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  34. ^ McGovern, Kyle (January 6, 2014). "Watch Grizzly Bear's last gig ahead of possible hiatus". SPIN. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  35. ^ Greenberg, Rudi (April 10, 2014). "Grizzly Bear's Daniel Rossen stops at Sixth and I on his first solo tour". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  36. ^ Kreps, Daniel (April 15, 2015). "Grizzly Bear Start Work on 'More Adventurous' Fifth Album". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  37. ^ "Grizzly Bear Tease New Music: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  38. ^ Minsker. "Grizzly Bear Announce New Album Painted Ruins". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  39. ^ Painted Ruins by Grizzly Bear, retrieved December 24, 2017
  40. ^ Snapes, Laura (August 20, 2017). "Grizzly Bear: Painted Ruins CD review". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  41. ^ Hermes, Will (August 18, 2017). "Review: Grizzly Bear End Hibernation and Engage the Pop Moment". Rolling Stone.
  42. ^ Mapes, Jillian (August 18, 2017). "Grizzly Bear: Painted Ruins Album Review". Pitchfork.
  43. ^ Blistein, Jon (September 28, 2017). "Watch Busy Philipps in Grizzly Bear's Dark New 'Losing All Sense' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  44. ^ "Ed Droste's Got To Be Real About His Harvest Bowl". Lunch Therapy.
  45. ^ Dombal, Ryan (January 15, 2009). "Dark was the night: Full tracklist announced". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  46. ^ Breihan, Tom (December 4, 2009). "News in Brief: Yellow Bird Project, Citay, the Brunettes, Juliana Hatfield". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  47. ^ Pareles, Jon. "Grizzly Bear Takes a New Approach on its album, Shields". NYtimes.com. Retrieved September 18, 2012.

External linksEdit