Saw em years back, before they got too crazy with the samplers and shit, they played at a converted art house gallery with a skateboarding half pipe and a room full of mirrors. Insane venue!
...A band can be terrible now, to me, but still have released great stuff before. I think they've released one great album, a few decent songs, but all their recent albums .. well .. I HATE THEM. So, in my mind, they're more of a shit band, despite some good stuff. Same goes for Animal Collective -- same goes for lots of bands, who I hold one or two albums in high regard for but have mostly shit I don't want to bother with. I'd still dismiss them, just not dismiss whatever cool album they made. I mean, most bands get worse as they go along, but few bands turn to complete dog shit after doing something truely brilliant. I think Beaches and Canyons works because a lot of it is still so human. I feel like the technological aspect of their recent stuff turns me off (and this is coming from someone who likes cold, electronic stuff like Autechre and Pan Sonic and so on). I just get this sense of ... naivety ... from their work, which probably attracts people to it. Some kids with lots of energy sitting around and trying to make gloopy noises on a sampler. I guess as someone who has personally fucked with samplers for years, I just don't hear anything too interesting about their work, they're not breaking any new ground, and their choices of sounds just don't do anything for me. I think if they could apply their noises into some interesting context (for example, put some of the fart bass gloop noise as a layer into a more structured song), I'd LOVE them. As it stands, they just seem like a band with nothing for me to latch onto, and they're very amateur at what they do. My biggest criticism for their work is that it's so directionless. Clearly, they recreate these songs (for the most part) in a live context, so that's kinda cool, so it's not completely "random", but I guess the songs don't tell a story, for me, and they don't break new ground, and they don't [etc] ... they just exist.
Still, obviously, SOMETHING attracts me to their work, as I keep listening to it. So, maybe it is wrong of me to dismiss it out right. I guess I do find them interesting, I just don't (usually) get anything from their work. I don't see the big deal with them, I guess. Glad you like 'em though! I guess it's kinda cool that they're somewhat popular (you know, relatively speaking), considering what they're doing is sorta ... out there... but I just don't happen to find it listenable, usually. I gotta give 'em credit for having achieved some degree of popularity. I'm sure they'll do something really fucking cool again one day, who knows. We'll see.