Animal Collective Discuss ‘Painting With,’ Their Most Unexpected Record Yet

Photo by Tom Andrew

Indie rock’s favorite weirdos are back

With a band as unconventional as Animal Collective, the weirdest thing you can do is go pop. After almost twenty years playing their left field brand of electronic experimentalism, the polymorphous four-piece is shocking fans with something surprisingly conventional: a twelve-track album, largely filled with three-to-four minute pop songs. In a way, Painting With (out now) is the most experimental thing they’ve done, drawing on the cut-and-paste theory of Dadaism to create a sample-heavy, maximalist opus. We caught up with band members Avey Tare (Dave Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), and Geologist (Brian Weitz) to discuss the process behind their most unexpected record yet.

You guys have been working on various solo projects since Centipede Hz. Why make another Animal Collective album?
AT: It was just a bit of a break. We’ll put out a record and do a lot of touring for the record, before and after the record comes, so we know when it’s time to chill out for a minute and stop doing the Animal Collective thing. For Noah and I, we often work on another musical thing we have in mind; for Brian it’s other stuff and for Josh [Dibb, aka Deakin] it’s other stuff.

Do you feel like you gain new skills and insight in your solo work that you then bring to Animal Collective?
AT: It’s that, and with the Animal Collective you learn stuff you bring into the solo [work]. They both weave in and out of each other.
G: The whole original idea or philosophy we had behind Animal Collective was it being just us liking to do all these different kinds of projects, records, and songs. If Brian and I have a weird idea for a split 12,” we’ll just go do it. We’re always getting new gear, so that’s a good way to learn stuff and experiment.

On Painting With, you’ve replaced  the drones and ambient sounds of your past records with catchy melodies. Why go pop?
AT: Newness. For the most part, a lot of our records have had slower, sadder, more ambient parts, and I think we weren’t in the mood for that. We felt like the kind of record we wanted to make wouldn’t have felt cohesive with those elements. 

Such an unabashedly fun album must have been a blast to record.
G: We did a lot of work in Asheville [North Carolina] first. A friend of mine has a studio in his basement that he lets local bands rehearse in, so we had some super good times orchestrating the songs there.
PB: We recorded in a studio in Los Angeles called EastWest that was really cleverly and carefully designed for sound, so everything sounded so good in there and it was fun to try so much stuff out.

The record has a distinctly modern art theme, from promotional photos to titling the lead single “FloriDada.” What drew you to that concept?
AT: There are often little cues, words, images that we start talking about before we start making music. Because we’re such visual people it’s how we often communicate about the music. Once we started jamming and making music, it brought to mind a collagey sort of aspect of piecing songs and piecing together a record, alluding to the Dadaist collages. We liked the idea of taking something familiar and using it in a different way, like some of the samples we used or some of the chord structures. All of it is a different perspective on songwriting and song forms to us. I showed the guys what [visual artist and Gang Gang Dance keyboardist] Brian DeGraw had been up to, and that seemed to fit perfectly with what we were doing, so that’s how we got the artwork.

You mentioned sampling and collaging, but I’d love to know more about how Dada affected the way you created the music.
AT: I guess because we have been sampling for many years now and we’ve been inspired by audio collages and musique concrète, it was just a matter of finding a different way into it. We wanted to use it a little more blatantly.
G: We’ve used a lot of samples and collage elements in the past but they usually made these heady, ambient beds of things. Thinking about it with Dadaism, you just rip something and paste it in there, whether it’s a sample or a sound we made.
PB: I think there’s an analogy too with how Cubism is a distorted image of reality. With a lot of the forms and structures of the songs, it’s a distorted version of a traditional structure. A lot of these songs have the paradigms of pop structures but in confused or rearranged ways.

You’ve existed as a band since the ‘90s, but it’s likely that some people will be discovering you for the first time through this record. Do you think it’s a good entry point to the AnCo discography?
AT: I feel like any record could be. Not to alienate anybody in particular or get anybody specific on board, I think it’s just cool that each record offers different things to different people.
PB: I’ve been thinking a lot about how the past colors [make] the present as a band. It’s been interesting to hear how many records of ours this record reminds them of.
G: People say this record brings together everything we’ve done in a different way or something, but people said that about Merriweather Post Pavilion, too.
AT: It makes [us] proud of our past that those moments were singular enough or personal enough to what we wanted to express. That when people say this record has reference points, the reference points are just other versions of ourselves.

Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube

Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video)

Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.