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Grizzly Bear performs at the Civic Theatre Nov. 12 

The band returns with Painted Ruins

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Painted Ruins (RCA), the major-label debut by the widely cherished weirdo-rock outfit Grizzly Bear, opens with a nod to another one-toe-in-the-mainstream album by another widely cherished, weirdo-rock-turned-major-label outfit. "Wasted Acres," with its meltingly languorous groove and machinist-Frankenstein callouts ("Were you even listening / TRX250"), obliquely brings to mind the Flaming Lips' Rosetta Stoned beat-drop "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21" from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. It's purely accidental. Singers/songwriters Dan Rossen and Ed Droste aren't seeking comfort in sentient circuitry — the TRX250 is the Honda ATV Rossen used to collect firewood in upstate New York. It's a prime example of how Grizzly Bear doesn't require a fantastical distraction to captivate listeners. The band does that by taking the mundane (foggy, proggy psych/folk or frictionless Steely Dan lounge-pop) and burrowing deeply enough into it that all directionality, even all dimensionality, begins to fold in on itself like an M.C. Escher sketch. They do it with unbelievable musicianship — particularly percussionist Chris Bear, part military drum major, part electrocardiographic designer — but also unusual musicality, scattering some of the year's best singles ("Mourning Sound," "Losing All Sense," "Neighbors") throughout the wilds like a trail of breadcrumbs. Serpentwithfeet opens. Tickets $30.


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