Department of Eagles
Department of Eagles - Family Romance
Department of Eagles - The Curious Butterfly Realizes He Is Beautiful
Department of Eagles - Forty Dollar Rug
Although I love listening to Breakfast of Champions each morning, there are actually very few times I’m compelled to take note of any particular thing they play. But this morning I heard “Family Romance” by Department of Eagles, and had to call in make sure I got their name.
Department of Eagles is a duo composed of Daniel Rossen (of Grizzly Bear) and Fred Nicolaus. The song, while amazing, didn’t represent the full range of what they do. I was able to snag a copy of The Cold Nose; it’s a surprisingly varied blend of odd samples (strings, piano, spoken word), electronic manipulations, drum machine, acoustic/electric guitar, vocal choruses, and probably several other things I’m forgetting. The pervasive hip-hop leanings — which tend to be dark, DJ Shadow-inspired dalliances — are probably most exemplified in “Forty Dollar Rug,” a tongue-in-cheek glorification of bachelor life (“Forty dollar rug/ Twenty dollar lamp/ Playstation 2/ Tony Hawk 4”).
Meanwhile, they don’t mind sounding like Radiohead at times, in their creepy, Kid A-like harmonies, albeit backed by weird things Radiohead would probably never touch.
The Cold Nose was originally released in 2003 under a different title, and was just reissued this year with some bonus tracks; for my money, it’s better than anything Rossen has done with Grizzly Bear, and I’m sorry to have only come across it so recently. The project is, as far as I can tell, defunct.