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Grizzly Bear: Behind Sad Eyes

Larson Sutton | October 17, 2017

Chris Taylor crosses the brick patio behind his rented Los Angeles bungalow. Raised beds of expectant vegetables border the fenced-in backyard; a motorcycle and a pair of sand-crusted boogie boards rest against the parched white clapboard of a windowless shed. The Grizzly Bear bassist opens the door, letting the midday sunlight leak into his Terrible Studios.

The rest of Grizzly Bear follow Taylor inside. Guitarist/ singer Daniel Rossen chooses an armchair without any arms, cornered near another motorcycle. Drummer Christopher Bear, legs crisscrossed, sits on the rug. Its thick, fibrous woven cables, though, look more aesthetically pleasing than comfortable. Singer/guitarist Ed Droste— who originally founded Grizzly Bear as a solo project—is delayed on a coffee run and arrives last. He does a quick round of greetings, and takes an end of the couch.

Five years ago, Grizzly Bear were surging on an upward trajectory dotted with national TV appearances and concerts filled to capacity. They had released another acclaimed Top-10 album, Shields, which followed 2009’s breakthrough, Veckatimest. Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood called the Brooklyn-bred outfit his favorite band.

Though Grizzly Bear had recently garnered buzz on the festival circuit and were already critical darlings, the indierock upstarts didn’t expect to find themselves playing as world-tour headliners. While at this point, most bands would press down on the accelerator, Grizzly Bear put on the brakes.