This week on Tracking––a weekly series in which we discuss our favorite songs of the year (you can check out the official list as the year progresses)––you can listen to additions from Grizzly Bear, Fiona Apple, Blood Diamonds/Grimes, Hot Chip and Niki & The Dove. (Click on the arrows to navigate through the songs.)
Grizzly Bear: Sleeping Ute (1 of 5)
Grizzly Bear first got noticed with the chilly, percolating, thunderstorm-gathering groove of “Knife” and made it to indie stardom with the mixtape-ready bubbly pop of “Two Weeks,” and it’s not a coincidence both those tracks are helmed by the band’s de facto frontman and founding member Ed Droste. It’s also not a coincidence that the band’s best deep cuts – maybe, actually, their best songs, “Southern Point,” “I Live With You,” “Little Brother,” “On A Neck, On A Spit” – are guitarist and songwriter Daniel Rossen’s territory. Rossen has an gift for making songs that sound like something massive and dangerous brewing on the horizon, and he also has a gift for devastating, distorted guitar riffage – thus, enter Grizzly Bear’s new, Rossen-helmed single, “Sleeping Ute,” the first track on their as-yet-untitled fourth record.
Dudes jump from time signature to time signature like it ain’t no thing; Chris Bear’s drumming sounds like something huge collapsing, Rossen’s guitar work like bare electrical wires sparking in the rain; it ends in a sort of resigned way, guitars percolating under Rossen repeating “I can’t help myself” like a lounge singer. “Sleeping Ute” isn’t quite as instantly graspable as “Knife” or “Two Weeks” or any of the copycat hyper-accessible indie chamber pop that’s sprung up post-Veckatimest, but that’s what’s good about it – it’s an inscrutable, wild-eyed kind of song that really can’t be anything but Grizzly Bear. –– Genevieve Oliver