2007: Animal Collective Strawberry Jam (Fat Cat)
Baltimore, NYC and Lisbon based freak-poppers Animal Collective reportedly recorded some of their seventh album under the influence of Salvia Divinorum, a brief-but-intense over-the-counter psychedelic that’s been a big hit with modern hipsters the past few years. Whatever effect that drug had, at least musically, seems to have actually helped focus the band’s stereotypically gorgeous fragments of deranged Beach Boys-esque harmonies and melodious noise. Strawberry Jam (sort of a more explosive Aoxomoxoa for the 00’s) finally succeeded in juxtaposing Animal Collective’s brilliantly weird lyrics (i.e. “it was the clouds that carved the mountains/it was the mountains that made the kids scream”) and mad musical experiments with more accessible rock arrangements. I suggest delving as deep into Animal Collective’s diverse and wonderful catalog as possible for dozens of startlingly beautiful gems of alternately lush and discordant psychedelic noise-pop, starting with 2004’s Sung Tongs, but “Peacebone” and “Reverend Green” from Strawberry Jam are a great beginning for rock fans who want to get a little weird.
Honorable mention: Dr. Dog We All Belong (Park the Van)