In this week’s year-end issue of New York, we asked an eclectic team of famous entertainment-makers to tell us about their favorite cultural moments of 2010. Love and Other Drugs and The Big C star Oliver Platt, though, was so passionate and knowledgeable about his top music picks that we figured they more than warranted their own Vulture post. So, which Panda Bear B-side made Platt’s 2010?
What was 2010’s cultural highlight for you?
Panda Bear’s “Slow Motion” [B-side to July’s 7” single “Tomboy”]. I’m a huge Animal Collective fan, and frankly, if Animal Collective had released something this year, it would be my pick. [2009 EP] Fall Be Kind was one of the highlights of last year. They locate so much soul in electronic music. But I do think that Panda Bear — Noah Lennox is his real name — is a freaking musical genius. He sounds like Brian Wilson and he’s got this natural gift for harmony. I love Animal Collective, but to me his stuff goes quicker to that place at the back of your neck, where your brain stem starts to buzz. I don’t want to sound too druggy here, but it does have that effect. Also, Avey Tare released a solo album this year [Down There] and there was some really amazing stuff on that.
How did you get into Animal Collective?
I’d always kind of heard of them, but it was really my daughter Lily who made me listen. I had been like, “All right. Animal Collective. Cool. I’ll get around to that.” Because I listen to a lot of music. But then I was really into it. The first thing she played me was the first track off the record before Merriweather Post Pavilion. [Sings a few lines of Animal Collective’s “Peacebone”]
And what about this one song, “Slow Motion”?
It starts out with this sort of slightly electronic sort of slow-fi drum machine sound, sort of a beat. And then it just becomes orgasmically harmonic. And they bring you in in such a mysterious way. It’s such a typical Panda Bear song. Because first you’re going, “Wait, what’s going on here? What is this?” And then you’re throwing yourself around the room and crying. One of the things that so fascinates me about Animal Collective is that Noah and David, Panda Bear and Avey Tare, have been making music together since they were literally 9. And there is something incredibly playful and primitive and childlike about their music, too. You could see those guys sort of banging on toy pianos and milk crates together when they were kids.
What else were you listening to this year?
Sufjan Stevens’s All Delighted People. For me, Sufjan Stevens is the master. I think he makes achingly freaking beautiful music. If you had called me last year, I would have said that BQE at BAM was my cultural highlight. He played a song that I’d wish he’d record called “Majesty Snowbird.” There’s something about him that’s so earnest, and then you see him live and he’s wearing wings and cracking sly jokes. I missed the concert at the Beacon. I fricking read about it. I’m making a movie in London with an incredibly unpredictable schedule and I literally yelled when my wife read me the review in the Times. How could I have not known about that?
So what was it about his new album?
“Heirloom,” “Enchanting Ghost,” and “From the Mouth of Gabriel” — if you listen to them, they’re classic. I’m grateful that there’s some old-fashioned Sufjan Stevens on it. Because if you’ve been keeping up with his interviews, he’s said he’s going in the direction of much longer pieces, big orchestral pieces, multimedia stuff. But the stuff that I really respond to are beautiful and simple. “The Owl and the Tanager” — that is an amazingly simple song.
Did your kids turn you onto him?
No, I found out about him on my own. My kids turn me onto music and vice versa. What I like is when they hear some cool music and they go, “Dad, I knew the words to this song that I’ve never heard before.” And I’m like, “You heard it when you were a kid in the car over and over again.”
Related: Culturati Share Their 2010 Favorites [NYM]