Essential Wax with Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear burst onto the global scene in 2009 with their album ‘Veckatimest‘, although some of us had been following the then Brooklyn band since their debut with Kanine RecordsHorn Of Plenty‘. As the band toured the world with Radiohead, “Two Weeks” broke through, making Grizzly Bear the mainstream symbol of indie rock. Fast forward to 2017 and you’ll find fans waiting anxiously for the follow up to 2012’s ‘Shields‘. New songs “Mourning Sound” and “Neighbors” came with news of new album, ‘Painted Ruins’ dropping on August 18th. All is well with the world.

Christopher Bear, Grizzly Bear’s drummer and multi-instrumentalist, agreed to help us kill some time while we collectively await the release of ‘Painted Ruins’, giving us a look at his favorite ‘inspirational groove’ records. After checking out Chris’ five records for this week’s Essential Wax, you can undoubtedly hear the influence in songs like “Three Rings” from the new record. Judging by the songs released thus far, ‘Painted Ruins’ will definitely be hitting our collection later this summer.

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Christopher Bear shares his top picks of inspirational grooves:

Grizzly Bear's inspirational grooves: Ahmad Jamal Trio - Jamal At The Pershing Vol. 2

1. Ahmad Jamal Trio – Jamal At The Pershing Vol. 2

This is one of my all time favorite records. It’s live and it has that amazing feel of the environment, but the parts almost sound through-composed with how locked they are. Vernel Fournier’s playing here is incredibly subtle, detailed, delicate and groovy. Make yourself a nice cocktail, dive into this one and have a classy evening.

Grizzly Bear's inspirational grooves: Can - Tago Mago

2. Can – Tago Mago

It’s hard to pick just one Can album… so many are phenomenal front to back. This one finds them experimenting with a lot of different feels and sound textures – one of their ‘jammier’ albums, which in this case is a great thing. The passing of Jaki Liebezeit this year was a very sad one, but also reminded me how much I’ve been influenced by his playing over the years.

Grizzly Bear's inspirational grooves: Miles Davis - Filles De Kilimanjaro

3. Miles Davis – Filles De Kilimanjaro

I love this period of Miles career, where he’s transitioning between classic quintet setup and more electric band. Tony Williams‘ playing is insane – doesn’t ever feel like one thing. It’s jazz, it’s free, it’s rock, it’s deep funk, almost orchestral even. The groove between Dave Holland and Tony on ‘Frelon Brun’ is killer. The whole record is amazing in terms of both composition and improvisation .

Grizzly Bear's inspirational grooves: Marcos Valle Previsão - Do Tempo

4. Marcos Valle – Previsão do Tempo

Again, hard to pick just one Marcos Valle record, let alone one 60/70s Brazilian record, as I’m a bit of a fanatic. But this one is really interesting and the grooves aren’t always coming from percussion… It’s the whole thing. The way the synths interact with bass and guitar, percussive vocals playing over the drums… It’s a real chiller.

Grizzly Bear's inspirational grooves: Giles > Giles > Fripp - The Brondesbury Tapes

5. Giles > Giles > Fripp – The Brondesbury Tapes

This is one that we’ve been listening to as a band for a long time. Great harmonies, rad production, jazz-tinged songwriting, adventurously psychedelic and the grooves…. inspirational. Sad that more music didn’t come out of this trio, but I guess we still got McDonald & Giles and King Crimson.

Preorder Grizzly Bear’s new album, Painted Ruins, and dig into their excellent back catalog!

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Jeffrey Smith
Jeffrey Smith is the Director of Communications and Partnerships at Discogs. Prior to joining Discogs in 2017, Jeffrey founded the boutique music PR firm Crash Avenue in 2004.

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