With an average Pitchfork album review rating of 8.6, Brooklyn's Grizzly Bear is undeniably one of hipsterdom's most popular bands of the 21st Century. The quartet's latest record, Shields, with its whimsical melodies and deeply emotional lyrical content, is being heralded as the group's best. It debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200, and Rolling Stone named it one of the 50 best albums of 2012. However, Grizzly Bear's reach extends much farther than its New York City hipster social circle. This band has universal appeal. From rappers to daytime talk-show hosts, everyone seems to be a Grizzly Bear diehard. Example No. 1: Jay-Z loves Grizzly Bear. The internet nearly imploded August 30, 2009, after Jay-Z and Beyoncé spent date night watching a free outdoor Grizzly Bear show at New York City's East River State Park. "[Grizzly Bear is] an incredible band," Jay-Z told MTV. "What the indie-rock movement is doing right now is very inspiring. It felt like [rap] in the beginning. These concerts, they're not on the radio, no one hears about them, and there are 12,000 people in attendance." Example No. 2: Ellen DeGeneres loves Grizzly Bear. Though she's somewhat responsible for introducing Justin Bieber to mainstream audiences in 2009, it appears that DeGeneres prefers indie rock to radio filler. In April, she posted on Instagram a picture of her and wife Portia de Rossi posing with Grizzly Bear after the group performed on her talk show. She added that Grizzly Bear is one of her favorite bands. The group's co-lead vocalist, Ed Droste, tweeted his excitement: "Ellen and Portia are so nice and welcoming. Feel like we are playing their house they are so enthusiastic." Example No. 3: Grizzly Bear loves Grizzly Bear. The mainstream music industry is a fickle bitch that feeds on vulnerable artists who are desperate to sell records and buy Italian sports cars. But independent acts, such as Grizzly Bear, forgo major-label deals to maintain artistic integrity, even when it means a relentless touring schedule and no health-care coverage. "There's people that know they make X dollars a year, and that's not going to change," the group's drummer, Christopher Bear, said in a New York Magazine profile last year. "Or if anything, they'll get a raise. That seems like a pretty reasonable setup, compared to maybe having one really good year, and then who knows what the future is." Fortunately for Grizzly Bear, though, the present looks great.
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