Thursday, December 23, 2010

Deerhunter Hits the Target

I’ve been carelessly minding my own business in the music department lately. I am, number one, a big slacker, as of late. I will attribute my upcoming job transition and the fact that I am moving all my possessions to a small apartment in Louisville. The good news is that I’m starting my own life. The bad news is I’m not sure how much Cleveland events/music I’ll be covering. I’m going back to journalism, baby!

Once I’m settled, though, I plan to bring No Mistake in Mixtape to its former glory, posting more than once a month. Life gets in the way of blogging and hobbies sometimes, doesn’t it?

One thing I couldn’t avoid raving about is Deerhunter. I reviewed their Cleveland show on here a month or so back. That was before I listened to Halcyon Digest. Ok, I listened a couple times through. I know that sounds horrible. I was reviewing a concert. I barely knew the new material. Kids, it happens. Music writers don’t always know that much about everything. Sometimes I have to work solely off observations.

Halcyon Digest has been stuck on repeat in my brain and on my ipod and computer and work computer and grooveshark and any other way I consume music. It haunts me in the most alluring way. Bradford Cox’s vocals have a distant, ghosty atmosphere that I really couldn’t pick up in a live setting, where his guitar was shaking my body like a tornado circling closer to the trees, slowly beginning to crack the branches in pieces.

His guitar loops have these circular ways of getting back to THE POINT. There is always this one point that I think each song centers on. He squiggles around it, and then he floats off to another universe, slowly circling back, his guitar coming to that same point of concentration.

Some of these songs are horrendously depressing. I picture a room of babies crying in a science fiction novel, after some evil creature of the future shows them how terrifyingly hopeless their lives will be. Something straight out of Brave New World, where they hypnotize and teach the babies what they should think and believe while they sleep.

There is always light shining through the dark cracks of the songs, though. “Revival” has a tiny shivering chime sound that sneaks out of the guitar, adding a brightness.

Forget what I said about everything being depressing. Listen to “Memory Boy” and tell me you don’t feel so full of hope and dreams and opportunities that you could pee and it would come out as a rainbow.

“Desire Lines” is a really great Strokes/Interpol hybrid. Lockett Pundt sings like a Julian Casablancas duplicate, and the dark moody “let’s go to a club and sit in the corner and sulk” vibe is classic Interpol. Maybe I just make that comparison because those are the two main bands who got me into indie rock? I don’t know. This song has the best squiggling guitar lines, and you feel creepy cool when you listen.

And let’s not even get me started on “Helicopter,” which pretty much rules my universe. It has this hugeness to it that triggers an emotional breakdown. I don’t usually get this unexplainably touched and emotional by songs unless they’re by U2 or The National or Elliott Smith.

I feel like the purpose of the 7 and a half minute “He Would Have Laughed” is to serve really appreciative music fans at 2:45am after a long night of drinking. Cuz you can just sit on your couch – get out that ottoman to rest your legs, it’s been a long day – and sink in and enjoy. It’s minimal, and it’s got a relaxed, spaced out vibe. The real purpose of the song was to pay tribute to Jay Reatard. (That’s a lot better than my proposed purpose.)

The weirdest thing about this Deerhunter rave is that I don’t typically write disjointed album reviews where I make stupid baby nightmare and tornado comparisons on this blog. But the last time I did this, I’m pretty sure it was when I was writing about an Atlas Sound album (that’s Bradford Cox’s solo project). Something about his music just gets deep within my skin and makes me want to be a weirder person.

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