Department of Eagles
The duo of Fred Nicolaus and Daniel Rossen got lucky when it came to freshman roommate selection. In 2000, the two shared a room for their first year at New York University and began experimenting with various samples and software. Their unique mishmash of sporadic electro nuances with poignant, acoustic folk and Beach Boys-like harmonies got the attention of the small indie label Isota Records, which subsequently released their 2003 debut album The Cold Nose. The band went on a short hiatus when Rossen joined the Brooklyn indie experimental band Grizzly Bear in 2004, but the two soon joined forces again to begin work on their second release, 2008's In Ear Park. Featuring Grizzly Bear members Chris Taylor and Chris Bear, the album revealed a shift from the laptronica experimentalism of their first album. The duo's love for songwriters like Paul McCartney, Van Dyke Parks, Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman inspired a more lush and expansive mix of indie rock reminiscent of Caribou and Animal Collective.