Posts Tagged ‘deerhunter’

Top 10 Albums of 2015: #5-1

December 25th, 2015 | Features | 0 Comments

sauna

5. Mount Eerie – Sauna

I used to think that Phil Elvrum had some ‘meh’ albums. Actually, almost all his albums are incredible, mystical and entrancing. Sauna is as well.

Pitchfork noted that Sauna feels like it completes a trilogy with Clear Moon and Ocean Roar. But I’d say that if anything, those albums were two sides of one coin. Sauna is an entirely new coin, made in the same line. It feels more encapsulated, whole, than the aforementioned albums. Elvrum’s trademark innovatively homespun production is, as always, magnificent in its earthiness.

4. Deerhunter – Fading Frontier

Fading Frontier would be Deerhunter‘s sellout album except that it is not in any way. The band’s writing is perhaps stronger than ever, and though the songs are a bit cleaner, less punk and/or shoegaze than on previous albums, that actually ends up making them sound more classically Deerhunter than anything else. Six (or seven, if you count Microcastle and Weird Era Cont. as two) great albums in and Deerhunter sound like they’re just hitting their stride.

3. Fred Thomas – All Are Saved

All Are Saved is a minor masterpiece. It’s not minor because it’s not good enough to be a full-on masterpiece, but minor because its a small, intimate album. Its a report from the frontline of indie rock. A ‘caution’ label for those ready to sign their souls away for a maybe-maybe-not satisfying career as a somewhat appreciated indie rocker, forever destined to remain the critics darling and the rest of the world’s “who?”

The fact that nobody really cared about any of the other (seven) albums Thomas put out before this one only makes All Are Saved that much more special. Like he was the dude sitting on the couch playing guitar at a party while nobody listened or paid attention. Knowing all the while that he was onto something good, and eventually, even if it took years and years, some peeps would figure it out. All Are Saved is the album where some of us figured it out.

2. Viet Cong – Viet Cong

2015 was a rough year for anyone on the wrong side of political correctness. If you’ve been living in a cave since December 2014, just watch the last season of South Park and you’ll get a bit of the idea. But what if you just wanted an edgy band name to match the sound of your edgy music?

I’ll admit the name was insensitive – I don’t agree that it’s racist. But it would be a lot easier for me to get on the castigation bandwagon if the band did not make such a phenomenal album that, by a band with any other name, would sound just as astounding. It’s even better on vinyl, where you can pick apart the layers of noise creating a sediment-like soundscape through which spacey synths and harmonic guitars shine like flashlights in a dark cavern.

And really, the album itself has its priorities in order. It stares (without blinking) at how chaotic our ‘organized’ societies are when one dares lift the seal. I also liked hearing a couple guys from Calgary sing the line “fingertips in the fountain fondle liquid gold”.

1. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

Carrie & Lowell, as an album, was such a revelation that it made everyone like Age of Adz and Illinois – perhaps two of the greatest albums of the last ten years – a little bit less. At the time of their release, the aforementioned albums’ elaborate arrangements and compositional backflips made “Sufjan is a genius!” more or less a statement of fact rather than exultation. But by comparison with Carrie & Lowell, both seem overproduced and disingenuous. Carrie & Lowell feels so effortlessly beautiful. So honest in its minimalism. Why would anyone want to hear Sufjan play anything other than an acoustic guitar and quiet synth in his DUMBO apartment?

I’m not sure how Sufjan can top this one. But people probably said the same thing about Illinois.

Top 10 Albums Of 2013: #10-6

December 20th, 2013 | Features | 1 Comment

I wouldn’t say it’s been a particularly good year for music, but there were a number of great releases, including at least three legit masterpieces. I also probably missed out on a lot what with being in the army and all, but I’ve tried to keep up with what’s going on in the musical world and think I’ve done alright, all things considered. Here’s the first half of my top albums of the year – the rest will be up tomorrow.

10. The National – Trouble Will Find Me

The National sound a little swampy-er, a little sleaker, and a little less consistent both musically and lyrically, but still, Trouble Will Find Me is a great album with some of the band’s best songs yet. “Don’t Swallow The Cap”, “Sea Of Love”, and “Graceless” all find the band swinging home runs almost as hard and powerful as “Mistaken For Strangers”, while closers “Pink Rabbits” and “Hard To Find” could make rocks weep with their beauty.

And lastly, Matt Berninger’s voice sounds perhaps better than ever, which is saying something.

9. Bored Nothing – Bored Nothing

A bedroomy album by a young dude from Australia who LOVES indie-rock inside-out? Sign me up. Bored Nothing‘s S/T debut album grabbed me with its all-too-perfect cover and held me till the last till the last guitar chime. The Elliott Smith-indebted heartbreakers along the way were all too perfect. A record of my own heart, but made by another’s.

8. Julia Holter – Loud City Song

If selling out means trading in your synthesizers for a stand-up base and smoky trumpet, then Holter totally sold out. I’m sure 1940’s Chicago will eat up her latest player but not us indie-kids of today, no-siree! Jokes – another beautiful album from a wonderful and always-interesting, inspired artist.

7. Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt

The 90’s nostalgia continues! If only I could put my finger on exactly who they’re copying (suggestions anyone?). Cerulean Salt was a phenomenal album from this new-ish band, filled with great rockers and even the occasional deep cut (looking at you “Swan Dive”…). These guys made a name for themselves this year and with total justification – now Perfect Pussy just has to release something on which I can figure out what the hell is going on…

6. Deerhunter – Monomania

Deerhunter has definitely lost some of the hype they used to carry around with every project, but even as the band ditches much of the dream-pop that made them such a big deal, they’re having fun (I can only ever remember the sound of the rambunctious “Penscola” when thinking of this album) and writing better songs than 99% of the bands out there. And Bradford Cox will apparently always keep things interesting, no matter what he does.

TOMORROW – #5-1!

Hollow Stars

March 26th, 2012 | Mp3 Posts | 1 Comment

One of the dudes in DeerhunterColin Mee, specifically – is in this crazy cosmic band Hollow Stars. They’re kind of lame, but also kind of cool, in like a weird lame-cool way. You’ll see what I mean.

Have You Heard The New…Atlas Sound Album?

November 9th, 2011 | Features | 0 Comments

Atlas Sound – Mona Lisa

Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you have. Bradford Cox and all he touches have now become indie-rock essential-listening. The days when he was just some crazy dude in a dress who played in a band that might be good, might be terrible, might be yesterdays news, etc. are over. Deerhunter and Atlas Sound are now higher-eschelon indie-rock names, and with good reason – they consistently make great, interesting, inventive music. The once must-follow blog and unwavering Pitchfork love have undoubtedly helped foster all this too, but there’s no denying it is definitely the music that’s gotten Cox and crew to where they are now.

Parallax continues Cox’s winning streak, picking up where Logos‘ creaking, acoustic-based vibe left off. Parallax, however, ditches some of the backroom quality in the production department, sounding bright, clean and sharp – at the same time though, the songs feel like cherry-picked demos from numerous late-night solo-jam sessions sculpted into legit songs. Even listening to them in finished form you can imagine Cox making up the lyrics by murmuring words over chord progressions over and over until they took final shape. This is one of the album’s strengths actually, because the songs keep the feeling of sketches.

On the other hand, Parallax doesn’t quite work as well as Logos, even if it wants to work better. The super-clean production detracts a bit from the charm these songs would have if they sounded more homey, and the lack of big highlights and pace-changers like “Walk About”, “Shelia” and “Quick Canal” make the album feel a bit long and overly-consistent. There are definite ‘pop hit’ style songs like “Mona Lisa” and the title track, but their aesthetic isn’t different enough from the rest of the album to really make them pop out.

Parallax is a great album and the farthest thing from a disappointment (something Cox has avoided for an incredibly long time, considering his prolific release schedule over the last couple years), but my main kind of conclusion on it is it’s just not quite as good a front-to-back album as Logos.

What did you think of the album? Let me know in the comments section or over Facebook or Twitter.

Have You Heard The New…Atlas Sound?

August 28th, 2011 | Features | 0 Comments

Atlas Sound – Terra Incognito

I’m a pretty big Deerhunter/Atlas Sound fan so I was psyched to find out that Bradford Cox will be releasing a new album called Parallax (sounds like a Pokemon, right? It’s actually: “the effect whereby the position or direction of an object appears to differ when viewed from different positions, e.g., through the viewfinder andthe lens of a camera.” -Dictionary on my Mac) on November 8th. Has it leaked yet? Anyone? Oh, well. It will. Soon. In the meantime, here are thoughts on the first track, “Terra Igcognita” (ooooh, Latin…).

Marc: Truth is the song’s a little boring. Just a little. At least as a single. I mean, sure, it’s cool, Cox is always pretty cool and interesting, but last time around we got “Walkabout”, which was more like a fucking knockabout, and then he followed that with “Shelia” a bit later, which was also really cool. Sure, in between were those tracks on the album there were all kinds of chillz little acoustic creepers that tied everything together nicely, but that’s not what gets people (like me, at least) psyched for an album.

Also, it sounds very, very clean. Cleaner than what’s come before, for sure. Not necessarily a bad thing. It’s cool.

The album? How bad could it be? Cox and crew have pretty much been pumping out awesome release after awesome release for the last couple years, I see no reason to think that they’d stop now. Even if this first track is a little boring, maybe when it’s grouped up with a bunch of other cool tracks and given some context it’ll work better. I’m sure it probably will.

Also, the little “bum bum bum” part at the end is kind of neat.

Photo: Mick Rock