Yellow House (album)
|Studio album by Grizzly Bear|
|Released||September 5, 2006|
|Genre||Indie folk, indie rock, psychedelic folk, folk rock, baroque pop|
|Grizzly Bear chronology|
Yellow House is the second studio album by American indie rock band Grizzly Bear, released on September 5, 2006 on Warp Records. Produced by bass guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Chris Taylor, the album's title refers to vocalist Ed Droste's mother's house where the majority of recording took place.
The album is the first to feature both Taylor and vocalist and guitarist Daniel Rossen, and received critical acclaim upon its release, significantly increasing the band's exposure. An EP, Friend, was released the following year featuring material recorded mostly during the same sessions.
Following the release of Horn of Plenty in 2004, Grizzly Bear expanded from being the solo moniker for vocalist Ed Droste into a full band, with the addition of Horn of Plenty collaborator Christopher Bear, bassist and multi-instrumentalist Chris Taylor, and guitarist and vocalist Daniel Rossen. Christopher Bear noted, "Getting together the band for the live show changed things quite a bit, in terms of dynamics and instrumentation used. The songs [on Horn of Plenty] were quite simple and open ended so it left a lot of room for interpretation, which was great because it allowed us to get a band sound happening and working on a very reactionary level."
With the four-piece band line-up in place, Grizzly Bear began recording at Ed Droste's mother's house on Cape Cod in July 2005, with bassist and multi-instrumentalist Chris Taylor adopting the role of producer. Drummer Christopher Bear stated, "A lot of the stuff we'd end up recording was really late at night, after voices had really warmed up, or after properly loosening up at our religious cocktail hour." Following a month of initial tracking, each band member added individual overdubs at a later date, with Bear noting, "After the initial basic tracking month, a lot of things were added individually by everyone and a lot of those sounds were very time intensive. I couldn't imagine doing some of those things with everyone around, or feeling like you're on the clock at a studio."
Many of the demos for the album were what the band refers to as "sketches," done by mostly singer/guitarists Daniel Rossen and Ed Droste. "Marla" itself is actually a song written by Droste's great aunt, a failed musician. As he explained in an interview with Pitchfork Media:
|“||Well, the whole "Marla" story of my great aunt being this failed musician that dies at an early age in the 1940s was, basically, I got this CD a few years ago from the last remaining sibling of hers, who had finally decided to transfer this stuff to disc. For me, this was the one song. Much in the way that I kind look at the "Owner of a Lonely Heart" thing-- even though that was just myself-- and see this melancholic, slower edge that I heard in it. Not that it was exactly the same because this was obviously the four of us working on it, but I took the song and said, "Look everybody, I'm not sure how we'll do this, but it will be really cool if we slowed it down and tried to give it our own spin." Luckily, everyone was really into it, but it was very much a blank page for a few days.||”|
The string arrangements on "Marla" were composed and performed by Owen Pallett, with Christopher Bear noting that their collaboration stemmed from his contribution to the band's remix album, Horn of Plenty (The Remixes) (2005).
As Horn of Plenty was a solo effort by Droste, this record is truly the band's "debut" as it features all members contributing to the writing and production of the album. Recordings took place throughout July 2005 in the house of Droste's grandmother on Cape Cod.
Writing and composition
The addition of vocalist and guitarist Daniel Rossen to Grizzly Bear resulted in two primary songwriters existing within the band. Drummer Christopher Bear stated, "A lot of the songs are composed by Daniel and the way that he writes brings out another side of how the band interacts. In general, having four people with different ideas and strengths has changed our sound the most."
Regarding the album's lyrical and thematic content, Droste and bandmate Chris Taylor stated: "There is not really a theme with the lyrics but the theme of the album is us figuring out how to work together and recording in that house, which is what brought it together in that weird way." Regarding his sexuality and its influence on his lyrics, Ed Droste stated: "I kind of like vague lyrics. Sometimes they are gay, but they're not overt. A lot of the lyrics on Yellow House Dan [Rossen] wrote and 'My love's another kind' could be interpreted that way, and I think he's very open to that interpretation, too, even though he was thinking of it as something else. That's why I relate to it when I sing those lyrics, because I'll sing those parts with him on the song. I think we all are into the vague nature of it."
|Pitchfork Media||(8.7/10) |
|Stylus Magazine||(A-) link|
|Tiny Mix Tapes||link|
|URB||Jul/Aug 2006, p.118|
The album received critical acclaim from several major publications, and ranked #8 in Pitchfork Media's best albums of 2006 list, as well as a similarly high placement in the same list of the New York Times. The music webzine Tiny Mix Tapes ranked Yellow House #7 on the Top 25 Albums of 2006. It currently holds a score of 79 at aggregate critic review site, MetaCritic.
In 2012, vocalist and guitarist Daniel Rossen reflected on its release, stating, "When we finished Yellow House, we were so young and so excited about the first record we made as the four of us. We were so deep in it, it was such a special thing at that time, such a romance releasing it. I don't know if it was like that for everyone but it certainly felt like it."
The first single, "Knife", was only released on 7" picture disc vinyl with the exclusive B-side "Easier" (alternate edit) on May 21, 2007. A music video for "Knife" was produced by Encyclopedia Pictura in 2007. A music video for "Central and Remote," directed by Jesse Graziano, was also released in 2007.
Though there is no indication on the packaging, the vinyl pressing is intended to be played at 45 RPM.
|4.||"Central and Remote"||Droste||4:54|
|5.||"Little Brother" (lyrics by Fred Nicolaus)||Rossen||6:24|
|7.||"Marla" (co-written by Marla Forbes)||Droste||4:56|
|8.||"On a Neck, On a Spit"||Rossen||5:46|
|11.||"Granny Diner" (Japanese release only)||Rossen||4:51|
The following people contributed to Yellow House:
- Christopher Bear – drums, vocals, xylophone, lap steel, glockenspiel
- Edward Droste – vocals, keyboard, autoharp, guitar
- Daniel Rossen – vocals, guitars, banjo, piano, autoharp
- Chris Taylor – clarinet, flute, saxophone, vocals, keyboard, bass, electronics and treatments
- G. Lucas Crane - tapes ("Plans")
- Owen Pallett - strings, string arrangements ("Marla")
- John Marshman - strings ("Marla")
- Chris Taylor – producer, recording, mixing
- Chris Coady - mixing
"Reprise," "Little Brother," "On a Neck, On a Spit," "Central and Remote", "Plans", and "Easier" are used as background music on several of Adult Swim's bumps. "On a Neck, On a Spit" was featured on The CW show Reaper.
- "Grizzly Bear: Soap Opera". SPIN. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- Litter, Nerd. "Chin up, cheer up: interview with Chris Bear of Grizzly Bear". nerdlitter.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "Interviews: Grizzly Bear | Features". Pitchfork. 2006-10-09. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- Kregloe, Karman. "Interview With Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear". afterelton.com. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- "Grizzly Bear: Yellow House | Album Reviews". Pitchfork. 2006-09-06. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "Yellow House Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- Traynor, Cian. "The End of the Road? Grizzly Bear Interviewed". thequietus.com. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- Yellow House liner notes.
- "Knife" music video on YouTube
- "Central and Remote" music video on Subterranean Blog
- Interview Pitchfork Media Interview