Animal Collective is an American experimental pop band from Baltimore, Maryland. They were formed in 2003 by Avey Tare (David Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Deakin (Josh Dibb), and Geologist (Brian Weitz). The band's music is characterized by studio experimentation, vocal harmonies, and an exploration of various genres which include freak folk, noise rock, ambient drone, and psychedelia. Records released under the name "Animal Collective" may include contributions from any or all of its members. In the example of Dibb, who often takes breaks from recording and performing with the band, his time off does not constitute full leave.
The band members met in school and started recording together in various forms of collaboration from a young age. Originally a duo comprising Lennox and Portner, the collective was not officially established until all four members came together for the album Here Comes the Indian (2003). Previous collaborations between two or more members were then retroactively classified under Animal Collective's discography. In 1999, they established the record label Paw Tracks, issuing what is now considered their debut album, Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished (2000), as well as work by other artists. In 2009, the band released their most commercially successful album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, which Uncut magazine called: "one of the landmark American albums of the century so far".