Sung Tongs

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Sung Tongs
Studio album by Animal Collective
Released June 1, 2004
Recorded September 2003
Genre Freak folk
Psych folk
Length 52:50
Label Fat Cat Records
Producer Animal Collective
Animal Collective chronology
Here Comes the Indian
(2003)
Sung Tongs
(2004)
Feels
(2005)

Sung Tongs is the fifth album by Baltimore-based band Animal Collective, released on May 3, 2004 by Fat Cat Records.

Despite the name 'Animal Collective' attached to this album, only two of the band's four members play on it: Avey Tare (David Portner) and Panda Bear (Noah Lennox). As a result, Sung Tongs is a more stripped-down affair than other Animal Collective releases. On the album, Portner and Lennox both utilize acoustic guitars and tribal-like drums; the electric guitar, an important element in the Collective's previous album, Here Comes the Indian, is absent. This sound brought the band closer to the psych folk and freak folk genres that critics tended to group them in around this period.

Sung Tongs is generally considered to be Animal Collective's breakthrough release; it generated much praise from critics upon its release and was frequently featured in best-of lists at the end of 2004.

Recording[edit]

On the Collected Animals message board, Portner talks about the recording equipment [1]:

"Yeah, we recorded it on the same tascam 48 (half inch 8 track) that I recorded Spirit on and the drums guitars and early electronics for Danse Manatee. That is we recorded the acoustic guitars and the vocals on 8 tracks. Then we mixed it down on Rusty's laptop and recorded many vocal and percussion over dubs. He's been using that for years. We mixed it from that onto....something..(i cant remember) at Noah's mom's place in Baltimore. It was very cold so we had to wear jackets the whole time. We added in all those samples and electronics there. We mixed for awhile so its sweet you like the mixing. Oh and we used AKGs and an old ribbon mike to record with. Though we had a pzm and some sm57s that we might have used as well. I remember using the pzm to record me slamming the door of the house which is what that distorted rhythm track in kids on holiday is. The person talking at the beginning of Who Could Win A Rabbit is someone in a deli in my neighborhood."

Moreover, they used exclusively red light during the recording process. Portner explains at the same place:

Lots of singing and messing around with doing vocals in all parts of a room. It was basically like a two bedroom house but the living room was all cement...thats where we recorded and the bedroom was where we set up the mixer. Its on the property that my parents live on in Lamar, Colorado. We rented a bunch of mikes here in nyc and took my eight track out there with us. Rusty [Santos] would just listen to every song as we would play it live and walk around the room for a while and then decide how he'd want to mike the guitars. Noah and I both did the percussion during over dubs throughout the session as well.[1]

Reception and Legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (83/100)[2]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars link
Drowned in Sound 10/10 stars link
Mojo 4.5/5 stars May 2004, p.105
Pitchfork Media (8.9/10) link
PopMatters (favorable) 5/6/04
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars 8/19/04
Stylus (A-) 6/1/04
Tiny Mix Tapes 4/5 stars link
Uncut 5/5 stars link

Sung Tongs has received mostly positive reviews. On the review aggregate site Metacritic, the album has a score of 83 out of 100, indicating "Universal acclaim."[3]

Accolades[edit]

The album has appeared on the following best-of lists:

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Leaf House" – 2:42
  2. "Who Could Win a Rabbit" – 2:18
  3. "The Softest Voice" – 6:46
  4. "Winters Love" – 4:55
  5. "Kids on Holiday" – 5:47
  6. "Sweet Road" – 1:15
  7. "Visiting Friends" – 12:36
  8. "College" – 0:53
  9. "We Tigers" – 2:43
  10. "Mouth Wooed Her" – 4:24
  11. "Good Lovin Outside" – 4:26
  12. "Whaddit I Done" – 4:05

Trivia[edit]

The short track "College" with its line "You don't have to go to college" has often been mistaken as a political statement. "I just threw that line in there to make it funny and to be anti Beach Boys cause the song is so Beach Boys to begin with. You know it's like the anti...'Be True to Your School' mentality of the fifties," Dave Portner (aka Avey Tare) explained on the Collected Animals message board."[8] "The response to that song has been amazing. People at gigs scream for us to play it, and we get emails from kids asking for advice", Portner said in an Interview in 2005.[9]

The song "Visiting Friends" was influenced by Kompakt’s Pop Ambient compilations and Wolfgang Voigt’s project Gas. It was meant to be "like a wall of hums [...], but with acoustic guitars."[9]

Recalling the recordings of the album's single "Who Could Win a Rabbit," Portner wrote on the Collected Animals Board: "The first time we played back who could win a rabbit after we recorded the initial tracks we just cracked up and said 'holy shit, we made that????....' "[1]

The song "Winters Love" was featured in The Simpsons episode "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again."[10]

The song "Winters Love" can be heard in a flash video by David Firth called "The Child That Smelt Funny."[11]

"Winters Love" also appears a number of times on the soundtrack of the John Cameron Mitchell film Shortbus.

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Collected Animals Post by Dave Portner under his user name "wheeter", April 13th, 2006
  2. ^ Metacritic
  3. ^ Sung Tongs Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved 22 June 2011
  4. ^ Pitchfork Staff. The Top 100 Albums of 2000-04. Pitchfork Media. 7 February 2005. Retrieved 22 June 2011
  5. ^ Pitchfork Staff. Top 50 Albums of 2004. Pitchfork Media. 31 December 2004. Retrieved 22 June 2011
  6. ^ Pitchfork Staff. The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 50-21 Pitchfork Media. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2011
  7. ^ Tiny Mix Tapes Staff. Favorite 100 Albums of 2000-2009: 20-01. Tiny Mix Tapes. February 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2011
  8. ^ Questions for the Collective ~ college at the Wayback Machine (archived September 29, 2011)
  9. ^ a b MOTHER NATURE’S SONS: Animal Collective and Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti by Simon Reynolds, The Wire, 2005
  10. ^ http://pitchfork.com/news/46346-animal-collective-and-hot-chip-music-featured-on-the-simpsons/
  11. ^ http://www.fat-pie.com/thechildthatsmeltfunny.htm