For more than 15 years, indie darlings Animal Collective have been releasing springy and bright experimental pop, and their newest creation is no exception. The wildly colorful Painting With sounds like a Dadaist work looks — with bits and pieces "connected by sutures," as the lyrics in single "FloriDaDa" go.
The band, composed of members Noah Lennox (a.k.a. Panda Bear), David Portner (a.k.a. Avey Tare), and Brian Weitz (a.k.a Geologist), outfitted their studio with baby pools and plastered the walls with dinosaur sketches to help inspire the record's primitive rhythms. But if it was up to Weitz, he would've been splashing around in a much bigger pool.
A longtime scuba diving enthusiast, Weitz and sometimes-bandmate Josh Dibb (a.k.a Deakin) enjoy nearly annual, week-long diving trips in the middle of the ocean. "There's a lot of down time when you're on the boat," explains Weitz, "because you have to get rid of the nitrogen that you absorb when you're underwater, and then you have to metabolize it." That means divers tend to spend a lot of time just sitting around on the boat. "Listening to music is a really good pastime."
That makes Weitz something of an expert on the best music to listen to while out to sea. So next time you find yourself on a boat, enjoy this nautical playlist curated by Weitz:
1. Crosby, Stills, & Nash, "Wooden Ships"
"This was almost a tie with 'Laughing' off of David Crosby's first solo album. This one wins based on subject matter. How can you set off on a week long boat trip to sea and not start with this song?"
2. Neil Young, "Cortez the Killer"
"I played this on a boat when diving at Poor Knights in New Zealand and the pace worked well. It also reminds you to be respectful in a foreign place, and no matter where you are in the world, if you're underwater, you're a guest... so be polite."
3. Tully, "Thank You"
"This is from the soundtrack to a '70s surf film called Sea of Joy. Basically thanks the sea for everything, so it's another no-brainer."
4. Pink Floyd, "See-Saw"
"It has a quaint meadow vibe like a lot of late '60s British psychedelia, but the wah-wah guitar is pure water to me. And while there isn't a lot of lyrical relevance, one does spend a lot of time going up and down on a dive boat. An alternate pick is 'Echoes,' which is a half-hour track used in the underwater segment of the surf film Crystal Voyager, and has the lyrics 'Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air.' But a half hour song isn't for everyone, and we'll get to the albatross in a second."
5. G. Wayne Thomas, "Getting Back"
"This is from the soundtrack to another '70s surf film called Morning of the Earth, which is a classic album that everyone who loves the ocean should own. I almost went with the title track, but this song has a lyric about the 'motion of the ocean,' which is something an old climate science professor of mine said a lot. I included it for my Biosphere 2 family out there."
6. Fleetwood Mac, "Albatross"
"Just listen and it'll make sense. Everything makes sense when you listen to this song."
Painting With is out Feb. 19 on Domino.
(This interview was condensed and edited by Stephanie Talmadge.)
Listen to "Golden Gal" by Animal Collective below: