Best known as a founding member of experimental pop group Animal Collective, David Portner's (aka Avey Tare) psychedelic vision contributed to both Animal Collective's highly influential output, a healthy solo catalog, and several warped side projects. In downtime from his main band, Portner has released records as wildly imagined as the completely backwards 2007 album Pullhair Rubeye and the more straightforward voicings of multifacted songwriting like 2019's Cows on Hourglass Pond.
Portner was born on April 24, 1979. He grew up near Baltimore and met his future fellow Animal Collective mates Noah Lennox, Josh Dibb, and Brian Weitz in high school, where they bonded over shared musical obsessions for Pavement, the Grateful Dead, and various strains of psychedelic music. Along with future BARR leader Brendan Fowler, the teenaged Portner, Weitz, and Dibb started a band called Automine, and went so far as to release a 7" single before leaving high school. In 2000, Portner worked with Lennox on Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished, an album credited to Avey Tare & Panda Bear but later recognized as the first official output of Animal Collective. This album set the precedent for Animal Collective's nebulous lineup, as various members would sit out some albums or contribute heavily to others. Portner moved to New York City to attend NYU, and the other members of the collective soon joined him, with the band playing more shows and touring with like-minded noise rock acts like Black Dice, Lightning Bolt, and the Cranium.
At this time, Portner started a side project, Terrestrial Tones, with his then-roommate and Black Dice member Eric Copeland. As Animal Collective grew away from their noisy origins and caught the ear of more and more fans, Portner released occasional side recordings under his own name, including a split 12" with experimental artist David Grubbs in 2003 and 2007's collaborative LP Pullhair Rubeye with his then-wife, Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir of múm. The album, said to be inspired by David Lynch films, was recorded in typical fashion, then processed so it played entirely backwards -- it was released to the public that way, completely in reverse. A divorce and both family problems and health issues led to the murky, tenuous 2010 solo album Down There. In 2013, Portner began working with ex-Ponytail drummer Jeremy Hyman and ex-Dirty Projectors vocalist Angel Deradoorian on the more upbeat Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks. The trio self-produced the debut album Enter the Slasher House, which saw release in 2014 via Domino Recording Company. The label also released Tare's 2017 solo album Eucalyptus, a more sylvan, electro-acoustic effort with guests including Deradoorian and avant-garde musicians Eyvind Kang and Jessika Kenney. Two years later, he returned with Cows on Hourglass Pond, a collection of rural songwriting and noisy production recorded on reel-to-reel tape at sessions in Ashville, North Carolina. ~ Fred Thomas~ Rovi