There's good reason why some bands are talked about more than others, and it's rarely due to the quality of their music. With radio and video play increasingly irrelevant, new factors are crucial to creating that career-launching chatter.
Here's why New York avant-rockers Animal Collective are so damn hot at the moment.
Kooky aliases are so rad: Noah Lennox is Panda Bear, David Portner is Avey Tare, Josh Dibb is Deakin, Brian Weitz is Geologist
Clever performance gimmick: They wear scary monster masks onstage!
Band members' side projects that are even hipper: Panda Bear, Terrestrial Tones, Jane, Avey Tare
Fortuitous acquaintances: Black Dice, Four Tet, Arto Lindsay, múm, Vashti Bunyan, Excepter, David Grubbs
Reside in cooler places than the rest of us: Lisbon, Brooklyn, Paris, Baltimore
Indie label cred: Domino, Catsup Plate, Paw Tracks, Fat Cat, St. Ives
Inspired by artists you know are awesome but have never heard: Macromassa, Monks, António Variações
MySpace friends: 45,081 including Sidi Touré, Ariel Pink, Gang Gang Dance, Samm Bennett
Glossy tastemakers on board: Entertainment Weekly, Stylus, Spin, Magnet, Urb, Filter, Q, Uncut
Pitchfork praise: 2005's Feels received a 9.0 rating, while Panda Bear's recent Person Pitch scored a whopping 9.4.
Lazy reviewer comparisons: Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse, Beach Boys
Insanely limited releases aimed at collector geeks: Their 2002 live album Hollinndagain was initially released in a vinyl edition of 300 copies, each with a unique handmade sleeve.
Overseas hype: "Magnificent, shape-shifting psych-folk" (Uncut); "As its title implies, Strawberry Jam is strange: luxurious and fractious, wistful and atonal, the Beach Boys infused with techno's sensibility" (The Guardian).
Breathless blogger love: "There is nothing as mind-blowing as what these guys are doingo if you don't like it, fuck off" (Chocolate Bobka); "Experimental/soul/visual fun album, very odd, but awesome layering of the vocals which are super unique and using them as an instrument rocks my socks. It's a lot of fun" (Explosions For Your Mind).
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE (www.myspace.com/animalcollectivetheband) at the Phoenix (410 Sherbourne), Saturday (September 8), 6 pm early show. $15, all ages. 416-870-8000.