NEW YORK - MAY 29: Grizzly Bear performs at Town Hall on May 29, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Cory Schwartz/Getty Images)
As the internet has helped break down the conventional methods of distributing music, there have been various ways of combating online piracy. There have been the lawsuits, such as when Metallica started suing their own famously upset fanbase (by the time the lawsuit happened, it was joked that hard-core Metallica fans hated everything, including Metallica), as well as watermarking advance copies, or as Jay-Z and Kanye West famously did with Watch The Throne, just releasing the album to iTunes a week early under the assumption that the album was going to leak anyway.
A recent popular tactic has been to stream the album for free online during the week before the album's release, as this is the time when albums tend to leak anyway. It's generally one that works, as labels are slowly discovering that music fans are often lazy, and they're willing to jump through whatever hoops are necessary as long as you provide them with a relatively low barrier to entry and access to music when they want it.
Such is the strategy that the Brooklyn band Grizzly Bear has employed. They're streaming their new album Shields through a partnership with NPR. Upon first listen, the album can prove to be difficult, but it rewards repeated spins with the band's trademark sonic depth. There are a few obvious highlights to be had, however, such as "Speak In Rounds," which may very prove to be this album's hooky, "Two Weeks"-esque highlight, and "Yet Again," possibly their most overtly accessible song yet. The operative word here when discussing the band's so-called "Chamber Pop" is just that: Pop. This might slightly more difficult than a record by, say, Maroon 5, but it's nothing the average music fan can't wrap their head around. And that's Grizzly Bear's genius. Pushing the listener slightly out of their comfort zone only to bring them back. After all, it's just pop music.