The timing of the release of Dave Portner’s latest album, Cows on Hourglass Pond, last Friday could not be any more perfect for fans in the Twin Cities. Better known by his stage name, Avey Tare, and also one-fourth of Animal Collective, Portner is set to bring his unique, whimsical, and often abrasive sounds to the stage of St. Paul’s Amsterdam Bar and Grill on April 7th.
Portner’s third solo album, Cows on Hourglass Pond, was recorded entirely on a TASCAM 48-inch reel to reel tape machine at the Laughing Gas Studio in Asheville, North Carolina. Featuring Portner’s signature dreamy and distorted whispering vocals, the album finds melodic footing among his vastly chaotic discography.
The first half of the album offers drifting melodies best described as electroacoustic. Portner’s trademark understated techno and electronica influences are evident. “What’s the Goodside?” gets us started, strumming along to Portner’s wandering vocals. “Eyes on Eyes” and “Saturdays (Again)” keep the pace moving, giving the listener a chance to dance and sing along here and there.
The album takes a slower turn after the raucous “K.C. Yours.” “Our Little Chapter” offers a darker contrast to the previous six songs that had chugged along rhythmically. “Taken Boy” also creates a heavier soundscape, stylistically comparable to “Cemetaries” from his debut solo LP, Down There. The final track, “HORS_”, takes you on a dreamy horseback ride overlooking the sea. Strumming along on his acoustic to the rhythmic clip-clopping, Portner perfectly wraps up the nostalgic, feel good, and singalong vibes of the LP.
All in all, this album was a fantastic listen. It transported me back to my high school days when I first stumbled upon Animal Collective and learned to appreciate their progressive, eclectic sounds. This LP was full of vibrance and mystery. Portner perfectly encapsulated what it’s like to sit alone in a hammock and feel the wind blow through your hair and whistle through the trees with this collection of songs.
If you couldn’t get enough of this album, make sure to head over to Amsterdam Bar and Grille in St. Paul on April 7th to hear more beautiful sounds from Portner with support from Lipsticism. You can purchase tickets here. Cows on Hourglass Pond is available to stream on Apple Music and Spotify.