Veckatimest

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For the Massachusetts island, see Veckatimest Island.
Veckatimest
Studio album by Grizzly Bear
Released May 26, 2009
Recorded 2008
Genre Indie folk, indie rock, psychedelic folk, folk rock, baroque pop
Length 52:02
Label Warp
Producer Chris Taylor
Grizzly Bear chronology
Friend
(2007)
Veckatimest
(2009)
Shields
(2012)
Bonus Disc Cover
Bonus Disc Cover

Veckatimest is the third studio album by the American indie rock band Grizzly Bear, released on May 26, 2009, on Warp Records. The album is named after Veckatimest Island, a small island in Dukes County, Massachusetts. Produced by bassist and multi-instrumentalist Chris Taylor, the album entered the US Billboard 200 at #8, selling 33,000 copies in its first week of release.[1] It has sold around 220,000 copies since September 2012. [2]

The album was also included in the 2011 edition of the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Background and recording[edit]

The recording of Veckatimest began in summer 2008 at Allaire Studios in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.[3][4] Regarding the writing process, Ed Droste states:[5]

We knew it had to be done differently because Yellow House came from pre-existing songs that either Daniel Rossen or I had written, as well as a couple that we wrote together. But we were really starting with a blank slate with Veckatimest, so there was sort of this question mark of, "Do we even know how to write together and collaborate together? How will this work?" And we were pleasantly surprised when everyone presented their ideas much earlier on in the stages of development, which allowed for a lot of other people in the band to get involved in the songs. In the past, someone presented a song and [other members would be] like, "This song is done. He wrote the parts. Let's play them."

Nico Muhly collaborated with Grizzly Bear on this album.[6] In the interim, they debuted four new songs: "Two Weeks", "While You Wait for the Others", "Fine for Now" and "Cheerleader".[7] They also performed "While You Wait for the Others" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on April 21, 2008, and performed "Two Weeks" on Late Show with David Letterman on July 23, 2008.[8] The band performed the track "Two Weeks" Live in the UK on Later... with Jools Holland on 5 May 2009[9]

The tracks "Cheerleader", "Ready, Able", "I Live with You" and "Foreground" feature the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

A deluxe edition of the album was released on November 2, 2009, in Europe. Along with the twelve original tracks, it contained an exclusive 24 page booklet and a bonus disc of Veckatimest tracks recorded in various locations. Although the release was exclusive to Europe, the bonus tracks were released digitally to the US in the iTunes Store.[10]

Album leak[edit]

An unmastered version of the album was leaked before its release. Regarding this, Ed Droste states:[5]

We knew it was gonna leak and we were prepared for that, but really, the biggest bummer for us was that we spent a lot of time and put a lot of effort into making sure that it's a really rich recording — recording it to tape and doing all these nice sonic details — and then it leaked and I remember listening to it and it sounded like an underwater YouTube stream or something. It was really, really bad. And so it's just a bummer to think of everyone's first impressions of this album being this horribly compressed, terrible-quality version of the album. But that said, the excitement behind it and everyone's reaction was really encouraging and exciting for us to see. I think people find their own way of showing support, whether it be through an album sale or coming to a concert or even just telling some friends about it. Obviously, the leak didn't hurt us because we debuted in the Top 10. You've gotta be sort of Zen about it.

Artwork[edit]

The abstract drawing was created by William O'Brien and chosen by Droste, whom he has known since high school.[11] Although the piece was not originally intended to be used as Veckatimest's artwork, O'Brien had been working on it at the same time as Grizzly Bear was working on the record. After contacting O'Brien requesting to use one of his pieces for the new album, Droste received a number of examples to choose from. Initially O'Brien was surprised Droste had chosen that specific piece for the artwork as he felt it had an "awkward placement" to it, but after hearing the album he reconsidered the piece, "it was like this amazing, beautiful thing that happened".[11] Along with Veckatimest, O'Brien also created the artwork for the accompanying singles, and the European bonus disc. Although unclarified, it is most likely that the other artwork for the singles and bonus disc was taken from the same abstract series that spawned the Veckatimest piece as they all have a similar nature.[citation needed]

Jack Goes Boating and Blue Valentine[edit]

Many of the album's tracks appear in actor Philip Seymour Hoffman's directorial debut, Jack Goes Boating (2010), acting as the film's primary score. Hoffman noted, "Susan Jacobs the music supervisor threw Grizzly Bear my way. She was like, "You should really listen to them!" I heard their album and I was like, "Definitely!" There was a bunch of music from Grizzly Bear that I used, which fit so nicely."[12]

Instrumental tracks from the album also appear on the film, Blue Valentine (2010), with Grizzly Bear subsequently releasing a soundtrack album to the film, in 2011.[13]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 85/100
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars link
The A.V. Club (A) link
Robert Christgau (C+) link
NME (8/10) link
Pitchfork Media (9.0/10) link
Q 4/5 stars link
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars link
Spin 4/5 stars link

On release, Veckatimest was greeted with widespread critical acclaim, currently holding a score of 85 at the aggregate critic review site, Metacritic.[14] The album is generally viewed by critics as a large step forward for Grizzly Bear in regards to partial genre-blending, musical complexity and experimentation.

Both "While You Wait for the Others" and "Two Weeks" appeared in Pitchfork Media's Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s, ranking at #334 and #162 respectively.[15] The album was ranked #42 on their list of the decade's top 200 albums.[16] Rhapsody called it the 8th best album of 2009.[17] Official music videos have been produced for "Two Weeks", "While You Wait for the Others" and "Ready, Able". Veckatimest was also voted Stereogum's second best album of 2009.[18]

Veckatimest was well-placed on many "End of the Year" lists, with Rolling Stone placing it at 21st,[19] Spin magazine placing it at 4th[20] and Pitchfork Media at 6th.[21]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Ed Droste, Daniel Rossen, Chris Taylor and Christopher Bear. 

No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Southern Point"   Rossen 5:02
2. "Two Weeks"   Droste 4:03
3. "All We Ask"   Droste/Rossen 5:21
4. "Fine for Now"   Rossen 5:31
5. "Cheerleader"   Droste 4:54
6. "Dory"   Rossen 4:26
7. "Ready, Able"   Droste 4:17
8. "About Face"   Droste 3:21
9. "Hold Still"   Droste/Rossen 2:24
10. "While You Wait for the Others"   Rossen 4:29
11. "I Live with You"   Rossen 4:57
12. "Foreground"   Droste 3:35
iTunes bonus track
No. Title Length
13. "All We Ask (Piano Demo)"   3:11
Japan-only bonus track
No. Title Length
13. "Untitled #6"   3:44
Deluxe Edition Bonus Disc
No. Title Length
1. "Southern Point" (KCRW Session)"   5:23
2. "All We Ask" (KCMP Session)"   4:32
3. "Ready, Able" (KCRW Session)"   4:07
4. "Foreground" (Duyster Session)"   3:08
5. "Two Weeks" (BBC Maida Vale Session)"   4:04
6. "Dory" (World Cafe Session)"   3:38
7. "While You Wait For The Others" (BBC Maida Vale Session)"   4:30

Personnel[edit]

The following people contributed to Veckatimest:[22]

Band[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Victoria Legrand - backing vocals ("Two Weeks")
  • Brooklyn Youth Choir - backing vocals ("Cheerleader", "I Live With You", "Foreground")
  • Acme String Quartet - strings ("Southern Point", "Ready, Able", "I Live With You", "Foreground")
  • Nico Muhly - choral arrangements ("Cheerleader", "Foreground"), string quartet arrangements ("Southern Point", "Ready, Able", "Foreground")

Recording personnel[edit]

  • Chris Taylor - producer, engineer
  • Gareth Jones - co-mixing engineer
  • Greg Calbi - mastering
  • Steve Falone - mastering assistant

Artwork[edit]

  • William J. O'Brien - drawings
  • Ben Wilkerson Tousley - design
  • Amelia Bauer - hand drawn text

Charts[edit]

Chart (2009) Peak
position
ARIA Charts 41
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders) 20
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia) 34
Dutch Albums Chart 49
French Albums Chart 73
New Zealand Albums Chart 44
Norwegian Albums Chart 14
Swedish Albums Chart 41
Swiss Albums Chart 96
UK Albums Chart 24
US Billboard Top 200 8[23]
US Billboard Top Independent Albums 1[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Grizzly Bear Debut at No. 8 With Veckatimest", Pitchfork
  2. ^ "Grizzly Bear Members Are Indie-Rock Royalty, But What Does That Buy Them in 2012?", Vulture, September 2012
  3. ^ Strang, Samiel (July 29, 2008). "Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste talks recording, gardening". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Grizzly Bear Gets Busy On 'Sunnier' New Album". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). July 3, 2008. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Interviews: Grizzly Bear", Pitchfork
  6. ^ "Grizzly Bear collaborator Nico Muhly announces special London show". The Line of Best Fit. April 20, 2009. Retrieved May 31, 2009. 
  7. ^ Hogan, Marc (August 11, 2008). "Video: Grizzly Bear: "Fine for Now" (new song; live at All Points West)". Pitchfork (Pitchfork Media, Inc). Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  8. ^ Maher, Dave (June 13, 2008). "Grizzly Bear to Debut New Song on "Letterman"". Pitchfork (Pitchfork Media, Inc). Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  9. ^ "GrizzlyBEar play live on Later With Jools Holland". 
  10. ^ "Grizzly Bear to Release Veckatimest Two-Disc Special Edition", Pitchfork
  11. ^ a b Pitchfork: Take Cover: Grizzly Bear's Veckatimest
  12. ^ http://www.iamrogue.com/news/interviews/item/923-philip-seymour-hoffman-talks-jack-goes-boating-music-and-more.html
  13. ^ http://pitchfork.com/news/41213-grizzly-bears-blue-valentine-soundtrack-arrives/
  14. ^ Veckatimest Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic
  15. ^ "The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s: 500-201", Pitchfork
  16. ^ The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 50-21, Pitchfork
  17. ^ "The 25 Best Albums of 2009". 
  18. ^ "Stereogum". 
  19. ^ "News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 13, 2012. 
  20. ^ The 40 Best Albums of 2009 | GRIZZLY BEAR | SPIN.com
  21. ^ The Top 50 Albums of 2009, Pitchfork
  22. ^ Veckatimest liner notes.
  23. ^ "Billboard Top 200". 
  24. ^ "Billboard Top Independent Albums". 

External links[edit]