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Grizzly Bear: Top 10 Hitmakers Gettin’ Grizzy Wit It?

The New Now

Indie scenesters have been hip to the Brooklyn, New York-based Grizzly Bear since the release of Horn Of Plenty, the band's 2004 debut album. Now, finally, the rest of the world seems to be catching up. Veckatimest, the band's third full album, debuted at No. 8 this week on the album chart, alongside the latest releases by Eminem, Green Day, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. Of course, the general downturn in the music industry is making it easier for indie acts to chart high with less-than-spectacular sales numbers. Veckatimest sold 33,000 in its first week, which is good for an indie band, but would be considered a disappointment for a hit major-label act. Still, the high chart-showing has to be a milestone for quartet that mixes folk, indie rock and electronic influences to come up with a sound all its own. Check out the trippy video for "Two Weeks," one of the fine tracks from Veckatimest, below.

Grizzly Bear's chart success is bound to create a lot of debate in indie land, where hipsters hold their favorite bands close to their hearts and savor the fact that their favorite music has yet to be discovered by the masses. However, I tend to think the success might be a good thing for Grizzly Bear, financially as well as artistically. Besides, it's not as if Grizzly Bear has been living in a cave and hiding from the mainstream. In 2007, singer/guitarist Daniel Rossen (no relation to me, hence the extra "s") recorded a cover of JoJo's then-hit "Too Little Too Late" for bandmate Ed Droste's 29th birthday. The band has also tipped its hat to Phil Spector's production with its cover of the Crystals' "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)" and has been known to visit Paul Simon's "Graceland" live.

In the last few years, Grizzly Bear has opened for Radiohead (another unlikely mainstream success story), performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, been namedropped on Gilmore Girls, and showcased on the late-night talk show circuit (Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, Late Night With Conan O'Brien, and the Late Show With David Letterman, and in the U.K. on Later...With Jools Holland.) Check out the latter appearance below.

You might have noticed the band performed "Two Weeks" in that clip, the same song featured in the video above. If it seems to you as if Grizzly Bear is trying to drive home the fact that its music is more accessible than ever, you're not mistaken. Grizzly Bear drummer Christopher Bear was recently asked by Peter Bloxham at The Line Of Best Fit if Veckatimest is a more accessible record that its predecessor, 2006's Yellow House. "Yeah I think that it's kinda clearer," Bear replied. "Clearer equals more accessible I feel like clearer equals more accessible in general as a rule."

So there you have it. Grizzly Bear acknowledges it's making more accessible, clearer music, which isn't necessary a bad thing, because they're still pretty damned cool. Here's the band performing "Cheerleader," another fine track from Veckatimest, in a clip shot by a fan at the Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas during South By Southwest.

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