[Photo Credit: Tom Hines]
2017 has been an incredible year for so many of our old favorites: Bleachers, Lorde, Father John Misty, and now, Grizzly Bear
. The Brooklyn-based indie rock group first announced their return with cryptic videos back in April, then blessed us all with four gorgeous singles. Their sound is characterized with shimmering, hypnotic melodies and brisk percussion - all things we can look forward to hearing on their fifth LP, Painted Ruins
, out this Friday, August 18th.
There's no doubt Grizzly Bear has brilliantly individualistic sound, but these artists bear just enough of a resemblance in their emotionally rich work to hold you over until album release day.
1. Real Estate
These mid-2000s indie rock sweethearts have a little bit of everything sprinkled into their easy sound. Some might say they have a stronger connection with Death Cab For Cutie or Wilco, but hints of Grizzly Bear can be heard in Real Estate's semi-psychedelic sound. On their most recent record, In Mind,
Real Estate continues their trend of simple, soft rock with a shoegaze twist.
2. Margot & the Nuclear So and So's
This Indianapolis ensemble is severely underrated, even among those who consider themselves music insiders. Often described as producers of "cinematic chamber pop," the band excels in the kind of orchestral, poetic pop that feels like the perfect soundtrack to all of your doe-eyed daydreams.
3. Sea Wolf
Alex Church (the brains behind Sea Wolf) might have a more traditional singer-songwriter approach than Grizzly Bear, but the similarities are still present. Sea Wolf began as a solo project, then slowly morphed into a collaborative effort with a fuller sound. The 2014 album Song Spells, No. 1: Cedarsmoke
combines an understated synth-pop influence with a strong folk background for a sound Grizzly Bear fans will love.
4. Hippo Campus
One of the most versatile young bands to emerge in the last four years, Hippo Campus got their auspicious start at an arts conservatory high school in Minnesota. Since then, the boys have been college radio favorites, capturing hearts with their easygoing sound. "Epitaph" is one of their most beautiful arrangements, produced by Bon Iver collaborator, BJ Burton.
5. Yo La Tengo
Yo La Tengo formed long before Grizzly Bear, and are probably among the early indie groups that influenced the latter's sound. Their long history has earned them the label of "the quintessential critics' band," but they remain largely a cult favorite. Much like Grizzly Bear, the band dwells on emotionally rich lyrics and somber melodies.
6. Dirty Projectors
"Four Cypresses," the third single to be released from Grizzly Bear's Painted Ruins,
immediately made me think of Dirty Projectors. Both bands formed around the same time in the early 2000s, and have grown exponentially since. Dirty Projectors took a much more introspective turn on their recent self-titled album, due to the split (both artistic and personal) of singers Dave Longstreth and Amber Coffman.
Another solo project-turned-ensemble, Beirut blends new-wave with world music for a unique orchestral sound. Like Grizzly Bear, Beirut often masks the darker lyrical patterns with more upbeat, celebratory melodies. "Santa Fe" is a vibrant, visual homage to Beirut band leader Zach Condon's hometown.
8. Volcano Choir
Formed in 2005, Volcano Choir is now one of many side-projects fronted by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. They've dabbled in the more experimental soundscapes now recognizable on records like 22, a Million.
It's a romantic, harmonious sound that Grizzly Bear fans will find familiar and comforting.
9. Perfume Genius
was (and continues to be) one of the best albums released in 2017. Perfume Genius performs with a fragile, poetic honesty that completely stuns with every listen. The tender, transcendental melodies fall in line with Grizzly Bear's legacy of dreamy psych-pop.
10. Andrew Bird
Chicago singer-songwriter Andrew Bird mixes elements of jazz, folk, and rock into his own distinctive style. His most recent record, Are You Serious,
is a more relatable and approachable version of the sometimes cryptic and art-centric sound of his earlier work. "Roma Fade" hypnotizes you with its fevered energy.