Despite his longstanding participation and affiliation with the jam band concern of the 21st century, it is the stuff of Noah Lennox’s solo career that is more likely these days to end up on the year-end lists. Conventional wisdom is that Animal Collective haven’t put out a good album since 2009’s Merriweather Post Pavilion (I disagree—Painting With is a slept-on synth house classic and “On Delay” slaps), but Panda Bear has been the one locking in those BNMs and playing to the same crowds of the same size as any of his old band.

“Dolphin” is his first wide-release single since 2015 and suggests that the record it will accompany, next February’s Buoys, will be both more of the same (good, well-received, solid shelf life on Sirius XMU) and also entirely different than the increasing punches of maximal fuzz that has shaped the last decade of his career. The plonking sound of a raindrop replaces guitar peddle walls and an acoustic guitar, instead, strums low…

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