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Animal Collective Fans Open Up Their Throats, Choke On A Rickroll


Purported Merriweather Post Pavillion Cover

Forget Guns 'N' Roses'

Chinese Democracy

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, Portishead's

Third

, Dr. Dre's

Detox

, Eminem's

Relapse

. The first two have come and gone--finally--and who knows when the second two will actually see the light of day. Forget them all, because right now the bloggerati, critically inclined, and plebe-class masses are all atwitter over the impending Jan. 20 release of

Merriweather Post Pavilion

--the eighth studio album from top-tier, Baltimore-bred freak-folk act Animal Collective. It's not that the songs--which are purported to feature massive hip-hop-esque low-end courtesy of producer Ben Allen (P. Diddy, Gnarls Barkley)--aren't available in any form. Live recordings of the expansive tunes abound, and dozens are probably being downloaded right now. But with the exception of two or three tracks, the real McCoy remains frustratingly out of reach with less than 45 days left to go until release (on inauguration day, coincidentally enough). From the Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks message board to

to almost any indie blog you'd care to name, fans conjecture wildly, rate what came before, and wait with baited breath for the record just to fucking leak, already.

The anticipatory chatter was hot and heavy on

. "If this isn't effectively their

Collectidelica

it will be a massive missed opportunity," one poster insisted. "Sorry to be too 'dudeish,' but I think,potentially, that this album might RULE," another gushed.

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After attending a Domino-sponsored listening party, one poster had this to say: "it's a great record: i can't wait to get to know it, hear it on headphones etc. it's got the continuity and otherness of records like

Loveless

, and such a different, full, bold sound--really new-amerykah-beat-driven, and really electrically synthesised and busy." [Sic]

Given Web Sheriff's ultra-vigilant policing of

Merriweather Post Pavilion

track leaks and pent-up, vaguely sexualized anticipation on the part of scruffy

Person Pitch

devotees, a variation on the

was, perhaps, inevitable. It finally arrived Friday, Dec. 5, in the form of a post on ilxor.com, where a poster shared a sendspace link and the following message:

Duly migrated to the poster's blog--roxymuzak.blogspot.com--and, from there, to numerous other blogs and hotbeds of aural discussion, the too-good-to-be-true link drew in suckers by the scores who, presumably, should've known much better. Savvy commenters got in on the action, successfully creating the illusion that the leak was legit.

"I GOT IT DOWNLOAD RIGHT NOW!," a Malkmus board gadfly thundered. "This can't be true though." Other cross-web reactions ranged from "I love it!!What do you think guys???" to "FAKE" to "it is real, and it is fabulous" to "it's been deleted already! someone re-up please pretty please" to photographs of Sarah Palin winking to "Leaks like this are deracinating the integrity of the music industry," which should've given the game away to anyone who hadn't yet figured out what, exactly, was afoot. Someone who claimed to be the Web Sheriff--but in all likelihood probably wasn't--weighed in, too: "This is awesome."

The link remains active. As of 11:16 a.m. Dec. 11, some 732 people had downloaded the latest re-up of the file. So: if you just have to have 11 egregiously mislabelled mp3s of Rick Astley's deathlessly corny "Never Gonna Give You Up" floating around in your iPod's digital ether, check it out. Below are the lyrics, which are so easily transferrable to the unspoken-yet-totally-ungrounded contract between downloader and file hoster that a compare/contrast breakdown is unnecessary:

Animal Collective's management? Bemused, we presume. Rick Astley's lawyers? Maybe not so much.

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