Listen to New Deerhunter

It’s interesting listening to this new track from Deerhunter, especially if you’re aware of Bradford hanging out with Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley last year in Marfa. That’s only important if you listen to either of those artists, as it feels like their spirit has seeped into Bradford’s songwriting. Regardless, the song’s wonderful, stretching the harmonies with these grand string arrangements behind the band. The more I listen, the more I become immersed in little moments like the group vocals behind Cox during the chorus; it’s intoxicating in the best way. Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared will be available on January 18th via 4AD.

Always Down for New Deerhunter

Bradford Cox and Deerhunter are never far from my mind; I feel like Cox has crafted some of my favorite tracks over the last decade or so. Now we’ve got news of a brand new LP, one that gets production credit from Cate Le Bon; I feel like her influence can be heard almost immediately, riding through the background of the track. I love how the song swells to a bold punch around the 1 minute mark, creating this sly punch. That power gets emphatic as the song draws near a close, so it’s hard to turn a blind eye to Cox at his songwriting best. Look for Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared via 4AD this January.

Brand New Old Music from Dayflower

dayflowerOne of our favorite discoveries this year has been Dayflower, and they just sent us a note that they had unleashed a brand new song recorded a bit ago…just now seeing the light of day. This one is heavy on the samples, but the washing of guitars for texture is what grabbed me. I love the way it allows the vocals to sort of playfully move in and out of the song; it sort of reminds me of a more electronic take on what Deerhunter‘s been doing…or maybe even Radio Dept. Regardless, this project always brings us great hits, and here’s yet another one.

Omni – Deluxe

omni

Rating: ★★★★½

Rock n’ roll has a tendency to get stale, and the current landscape has seemed as such, by and large, until I came into this Omni album, Deluxe. Sure, there are nods here and there, but for me, the band have managed to reimagine the world of punk (pop, proto, etc) and capture it at its fascinating best.

The one-two punch of “Afterlife” and “Wednesday Wedding” set the tone for what’s an exciting listen from start to finish. Deluxeopens with a propulsive bounce, discordant guitars ringing in your ears and changing speeds via “Afterlife.” But, in “Wednesday Wedding” the group displays what’s made them wholly fascinating; this track seemingly works against itself, with stabbing chords and bobbing bass hitting in contrast to the cooled vocal punch. If you listen to the song’s chorus and aren’t in love, even though it’s brief, you’re not doing it right.

Really though, Omni have left you with what is actually a 1-2…10 punch. There’s not a bad song here, and every listener will likely find their own favorite. I mean “Wire” has this danceable stab that separates the dreamy state of the track. “Eyes on the Floor” could easily have been penned by the band’s many Aussie label mates such as Dick Diver, filled with these great guitar lines. Lately, I’ve been gravitating towards “Jungle Jenny,” which definitely seems to wear the touches of Frankie Broyles (who was once upon a time in Deerhunter). Those are just some of the standouts and benchmarks from my voice.

But, that being said, I don’t thing anyone that looks for a reason to hate something will find that within the confines of Deluxe. It excels in creativity, but is also fortunate in that there’s some brevity to the album, so you’re not worn out by anything. Each song turns and turns, leaving you flustered, yet immersed in the art the group brings to the table. Start to finish, you’re going to need to listen to this record; you’re going to want to listen to this record…and in a world of singles, that says a whole lot more than I can.

It’s available now via Trouble in Mind Records.

You Should Listen to Robert Sotelo Group

robertI won’t go on and on about this act, as I know little, but in my goal to find some new things that aren’t getting coverage all over the place, I came into this new single from Robert Sotelo Group. It’s a strange amalgam of all things hip and cool right now; it has a vocal delivery akin to Kurt Vile, yet the careful approach to pop craftsmanship like a Deerhunter. I will admit that it almost seems unfinished, but in that aspect, it only encourages you to go back and listen to more. Not too much more info on the group other than they hail for London…this should be the city’s next big thing.

FFF8 In Pictures – Saturday Edition

BleachedSaturday featured legends and legendary performances, though usually not at the same time. Johnny Jewel gets best performance of the day with double duty killer jams from Chromatics and a manic dance party with Glass Candy. MIA eludes me. I just don’t get it, but okay, the kids like to here abbreviated beats up and down. Ice-T let Bushwick Bill freestyle. Deerhunter had the most epic sound check ever, reconstructing “Marquee Moon” to test the levels.

This giant photo post features Frank Smith (kinda), Ola Podrida, Bleached, The Impossibles, White Lung, Chromatics, Geographer, Glass Candy, Television, Tycho, Deerhunter, MIA, Ice-T and The Descendants. Click through…

Read more

Women – Public Strain

Rating: ★★★ · ·

As a Canadian indie band, Women made some waves with their self titled first release two years ago, be it a spot on “Pitchfork’s top songs of the 2000’s,” and comparisons of their sound to the likes of Deerhunter and, to stretch it, The Velvet Underground. Since then they have been hard at work with this new album, Public Strain, which would hopefully follow their debut in the combination of moody rock music.

Opening up the album is “Can’t You See,” which begins with an intense amount of feedback and ambient noise. This background noise continues through the whole song as somewhat monotonous vocals echo slightly above. The bass line throbs constantly, but those screeches in the background seem a bit too prominent for this simple of a song, and I find myself wishing they were gone about halfway through. “Heat Distraction” then loses the nasty noise in the background and moves to a faster, out right rock beat with repeating layers of guitar that serve as the main focus of the song.

Such is the main focus for this whole album, layers of sound topped with wavy guitars as icing on the cake (not your favorite kind of cake, but one that is still edible). Women vary between slow movers that showcase the dark sound that this band does so well, such as “Penal Colony,” whose melancholy lull carries over into a purely instrumental piece, leaving the listener to ponder where exactly the band is trying to lead you, but they attempt to give an answer to this question on exceptional tracks like “Locust Valley,” where intricate guitar playing and a simple chorus of just “oohs and aahs” make up the simple song. With songs like these, Women know where to put the builds in their album; it comes after another song that, I feel, has too much feedback and not enough actual music to hold it up.

They finish off with “Eyesore,” a rather long closer, but probably the best song on the whole album, as “Black Rice” was on their prior work. It seems like the singing and the guitars are almost equal, which gives this song an eloquent balance between pure instrumental and indie rock. There are breaks in the song in which the guitars outweigh the vocals, and in turn, bits where the vocals seem to be the main focus, which makes this song enjoyable for the six minutes and twenty five seconds it lasts.

This leads me to my biggest problem with this album: the vocals are not prominent enough, and they seem to blend together with each song. Every listen, it becomes more tolerable and the flaws become less noticeable. However, it just seems as though Women haven’t really made up their mind in terms of who they are.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/women-narrow.mp3]

Download: Women – Narrow With the Hall [MP3]

Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Deep within the confines of the vast, mysterious internet, news of a certain album emerged. Following the leak debacle of the last release, Bradford Cox and Co. took a more ambiguous approach to releasing a record. The Atlanta based quartet known for their post-punk, shoe gaze roots and enthralling live shows have been relatively quiet since the fantastic Microcastle and pre-release fiasco. The only news we heard even related to Deerhunter was a small tour with untitled new material. This tour debuted while much more press attention was paid to Bradford Cox’s solo outfit Atlas Sound, with its 2009 release of Logos and subsequent tour. Grumblings here and there and a subversive marketing strategy soon after allowed us to put the pieces together and alas we find ourselves in the midst of another gem of a record, Halcyon Digest released via 4AD.

On the opening track ‘Earthquake’, Deerhunter takes a slow, steady approach in reintroducing themselves to the listener. At once, we find ourselves in the middle of an alien, yet unmistakably familiar soundscape. Like the spider and the fly, Cox has a way of pulling the listener in with his swan-song voice while slowly sucking the life out his prey with the rhythm. Though this process is not a violent one; it’s a beautiful dance where Deerhunter spin their web, all senses at once pulsate before it seems like it’s too much. The tapping of a foot turns to muscle memory and we can barely hear the world around us. Rise and fall, these moments erase from existence and what are left are Cox, Pundt, Fauver, Archuleta , and their stunning torturing devices only to open us up and let them in. There’s no way to resist, as our grey matter is their lunch.

On Cryptograms, the band went through a rough stretch and this era brought out a more disjointed song structure while producing some of the group’s most complex ambient elements thanks to Lockett Pundt’s silky-smooth approach. With Microcastle, Cox and Co. reformed with a new purpose and the while the ramblings of previous times are more or less gone, a stronger comprehensive album composition emerged, though the group can’t quite reach that same level at present. There are elements of both sides to the story on display here with ‘Basement Scene’ and ‘Revival’, respectively. This shows that the band is aware of their roots and is willing to not hide their past while searching for perfection. Obviously they are on the right track and even find a new lighter style as heard on ‘Desire Lines’, a definite highlight on the record.

“The devil is now gone from me” croons Bradford Cox on the near perfect track ‘Helicopter’, but I don’t believe him. It’s evil how seamlessly he can create touching and soft, yet unreasonably haunting lyrics. It’s straight up sinful how he can pair these lyrics to the music with such reason and perfection. The tone changes and compositions on this track alone are catching the eye and ears of everyone far beyond the indie community.

With Halcyon Digest, Deerhunter have found themselves as comfortable in their own sound and skin as never before and we can hear this stability in the record as a whole. The vast waves of psychedelia contrasting with the subtle nuances Cox is growing to become well known for are everywhere to be heard. Hipster communities will wine and cry about it, but they’re going to need to find a new band to love, as Deerhunter is soon to become mainstream news. This album has solidified them in the driver’s seat in the indie genre (perhaps even more) and there’s no hope of commandeering the wheel. They are on a road, destination unknown, and you might as well jump in the back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/08-Helicopter.mp3]

Download: Deerhunter – Helicopter [MP3]

1 2