Some people like it when music is “easy.” They like to put in their white earbuds, turn on some pop anthem, and make doing the dishes or going for a jog into a dance party. Animal Collective is not a band that is very well-suited to that kind of listening experience. Instead, Animal Collective makes the sort of music that you have to work for. It takes you on a journey, and maybe the journey will be fun and you’ll have a good time, or maybe it’ll be really weird and everyone will be wearing scary hats that you don’t know how to react to. The point is that Animal Collective doesn’t really do “easy.”
That’s why—despite what common sense would dictate—it seems totally reasonable that the band would premiere a new album over the loudspeakers at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. That comes from Stereogum, which reported last week that Matt Baetz, a comedian and the cousin of Animal Collective’s Avey Tare, noticed the music and asked Tare about it on Instagram. Tare confirmed that it’s real (though he did it in a typically obscure Animal Collective way), and Baetz later added that the album is “worth the trek” for hardcore Animal Collective fans who don’t mind looking like weirdos to any government agents who happen to be walking around the airport.
But, in the end, Animal Collective actually has to sell records, and a publicity stunt that will only be noticed by a relatively small number of people can only do so much of the work. So, even though it seems a little pedestrian by comparison, the band has put out a press release announcing a new album titled Painting With. The album will be released on February 19, and the press release says it will be available in CD and LP formats with three different covers that each feature a different band member—meaning you’ll have to buy it three times in order to get all of them, just like an old X-Men comic—as well as a limited edition record that features “two exclusive non-album tracks mailed at a later date and a slipmat that animates when activated in part with a strobe light.”
You can hear the first single, “FloriDada,” below, and you don’t even need to animate it with a strobe light or go to an airport. This is Animal Collective meeting you halfway.