It has been a fairly low-key week, and the gagging need to get out there and see something might be why this time around we’re heavy on the early part of the weekend, but that’s fine, Sunday is supposed to be relaxing, I guess. A bit like a couple of weeks ago, this weekend features mostly tried and tested greats, and that might be a reaction to Prince’s death; you only get one life so don’t take any of these acts for granted.
Bradford Cox’s music is the stuff of an obsessive and unquiet mind. Everything about the singer’s approach to music — whether he’s dumping four discs’ worth of home recordings onto the Internet with little fanfare or smearing fake blood onto his spindly, dress-clad body onstage — has a chaotic, haunted quality to it, even in painstakingly crafted recordings that layer his sound with atmospheric psychedelia.
All of which makes Monomania a perfect title for an album by Cox’s band Deerhunter: A single-minded obsession with music is so clearly what’s kept him intact and whole throughout his adult life. But this particular collection, the sound of which he describes as “nocturnal garage,” has a dirtier, wirier, looser and less fussed-over feel than he’s often cultivated in recent years. Five studio albums into Deerhunter’s existence, Monomania (out May 7) captures Cox’s gift for self-laceration and unpredictability, but it moves in a less studio-bound direction, closer to the raw and unhinged spirit of his live shows.
Monomania’s gnarly dissonance leaves a bit less room than usual for glimmers of beauty — though they shine through in a few haunting tracks like “The Missing” — as Deerhunter opts more often for the raw, noisy, slurred and basement-friendly feel of “Pensacola.” Elsewhere, “Blue Agent” meets somewhere on Deerhunter’s continuum between sideways prettiness and the sort of thorniness that ensures arm’s-length distance. Even as its sound continues to shift unpredictably, Deerhunter has maintained that balance throughout its fruitful run — no small task, coming from a man whose entire artistic persona is rooted in an understanding that balance doesn’t come easy, even on the best days.
You can stream the whole dang thing below: [Read more…]
Four volumes of home recordings – unreleased jams from the man behind Deerhunter and Atlas Sound – were put up online throughout last week. Pretty rad to be giving this stuff out for free as a holiday treat. But then, Bradford got an e-mail from Sony informing him that volumes two through four were removed due to “unauthorized reproduction and distribution of copyrighted sound recordings owned or exclusively.” But…neither Deerhunter nor Atlas Sound are on the Sony label. They are on 4AD and Kranky, respectively. The only logical explanation comes from Cox himself saying, “Apparently Sony Music Owns my bedroom. Feel free to call or email and let them know what you think.”
Naturally, the files have been put back up online. (Volume 2, Volume 3 and Volume 4) Take THAT big corporations! Download the mixtapes for yourself and write to Sony making sure they don’t own your bedroom too, because what you’re doing in there might be worse than recording indie tunes.
What better way to counter your Monday morning misery, than to catch some fresh and exclusive footage of Deerhunter playing in Manhattan last Friday? Probably one of the most hyped bands nowadays, Deerhunter have been cleaning up with monster critical acclaim from their latest album Halcyon Digest. Those lucky enough to get into the sold out show were treated to a diesel 15 song set that touched upon nearly all of their records. For a taste of it, check out the sweet BIG ASS LENS footage below of “Memory Boy”, “Rainwater Cassette Exchange” and “Don’t Cry”. More video of Deerhunter playing “Desire Lines”, “Hazel Street” and “Never Stops” over at BAL.
Listen to their entire DC concert (NPR)
Amid Cacophony and Rapture, a Plaintive Quality Prevails (NYT Review)