Grizzly Bear began as a moniker for singer-songwriter Edward Droste’s music in the early 2000s. Regarding the band’s origins as a solo project, Droste notes: “It was just like doing a little home project, and I thought “oh, this is fun, I’m just going to call this stuff Grizzly Bear. Our name was actually just a nickname for an old boyfriend of mine.”
Grizzly Bear’s 2004 debut album, Horn of Plenty, features myriad sounds and layering of voices. It was largely the solo effort of Droste (who wrote all the songs in his bedroom) and predates the formation of the band, which has been dubbed anti-folk, freak folk, lo-fi. Rolling Stone magazine wrote of the first album that “The pure atmospheric power of the songs is more than enough to hypnotize.” In 2005, the band re-released the album with an additional disc of remixes by Solex, Dr. Cuerpo of The Double, Castanets, Final Fantasy, The Soft Pink Truth, Dntel and others.
The band performed four shows as a three-piece (Droste, Horn of Plenty collaborator Christopher Bear, and Chris Taylor) before adding Daniel Rossen (a friend of Bear’s from jazz-camp) to the line-up. On joining Grizzly Bear, Rossen notes: For a long time, I only played my songs to close friends; and it just happened that I lived with Chris Taylor during my second year of college, so he heard them. He was my entrance into Grizzly Bear. He joined the band first, then after a while he suggested I come in with these songs. […] When I joined, I did about two rehearsals with them, worked out one of my songs to put into the set, then a week later we were out on the road for a two-month tour. It was a real trial-by-fire thing. I was close with Chris and Chris [Bear], but I didn’t know Ed [Droste] at all; it was weird getting to know a stranger by spending all day in the same car.