|Deerhoof — Breakup Song (September 4, 2012)|
Deerhoof — Breakup Song
Location: San Francisco, California
Album release: September 4, 2012
Record Label: Polyvinyl Records
01 Breakup Songs 2:03
02 There's That Grin 3:19
03 Bad Kids to the Front 2:33
04 Zero Seconds Pause 2:51
05 Mothball the Fleet 3:15
06 Flower 2:22
07 To Fly or Not to Fly 1:45
08 The Trouble With Candyhands 3:04
09 We Do Parties 3:02
10 Mario’s Flaming Whiskers III 2:31
11 Fête d'Adieu 3:16
∫ Deerhoof Composer, Design, Engineer, Mastering, Mixing, Photography
∫ John Dieterich
∫ Satomi Matsuzaki
∫ Ed Rodriguez
∫ Greg Saunier
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/deerhoof © Photo credit: Richard Saunier
Review by Heather Phares (http://www.allmusic.com) ****
∫ Over the course of their ten previous albums, Deerhoof wrote more songs about milkmen and dogs than falling in, or out, of love, but Breakup Song evens the score a little bit. In true Deerhoof fashion, though, this album is less about moping — the title track even has “hell yeah” in the chorus — and more about relationships, and songs, falling apart into exciting new forms. ∫ The band takes the album’s name quite literally on a musical level; nearly every track is rife with jagged textures and jarring contrasts. “There’s That Grin” throws together bubbly electro beats and ping–ponging electric guitars and snippets, and though its initial randomness sounds like the whole album condensed and then tossed into a blender, there's a method to Breakup Song's seeming madness. Deerhoof use some of their favorite tricks on these songs, such as wild juxtapositions of sound and mood, but use them in far bolder ways than they have in some time, distilling these twists and turns into concentrated blasts of weirdo–pop that grow more addictive with repeated listens. The way that heavy synths shift to a boogie rock beat on "To Fly or Not to Fly," for example, might be more startling than the band's approach on albums such as Deerhoof vs. Evil, but it resolves itself into a kind of anti–hook that just might be more memorable than something that was catchy from the start. Of course, there are also plenty of immediately hooky moments as well, such as the fittingly pixilated sounds of the imaginary video game jingle "Mario's Flaming Whiskers III Out Now," but Breakup Song's best moments pair the album's frantic sonics with lyrics that are more grounded in a reality familiar to most listeners than many of the band’s previous songs. "Zero Seconds Pause" manages to capture the rush of being on the dancefloor while not being particularly danceable in its own right, while "The Trouble with Candyhands" soundtracks Satomi Matsuzaki’s realization that her guy has been a "bad boy" when he brings her flowers — with mambo rhythms and bouncy guitar pop making for one of the band's best singles in some time. "Fete D’Adieu" closes the album with a pretty musical and romantic truce as Matsuzaki sings about "a muscle in the heart," the kind that can only get stronger with some wear and tear. Deerhoof pack love lost and won again — along with dancing, parties, and video games — into an album the length of the average sitcom, and while the band release albums so frequently that they risk burnout among all but the most dedicated fans, Breakup Song is fresh and addictive enough to make listeners fall in love all over again.
By SEAN CORBETT | August 28, 2012 | http://thephoenix.com
Deerhoof | Breakup Song 3.5 Stars
∫ Jammy San Francisco art–noise rockers Deerhoof got us going with the clever online "Jingletron" last month and left fans jittering with excitement for Breakup Song. As each track of the new disc rolls on, the whacked out melodies and crunchy bass lines balance Satomi Matsuzaki’s adorable, floating vocals with a nice chaotic filth. With your headphones strapped, the album's dirty optimism will brighten even the darkest, stalest airport–layover experience (true story). Drummer Greg Saunier (another true story) told Rolling Stone they were going for "the Keith–Richards–joins–ABBA vibe" on "Fête D'Adieu." It's a lofty, insane goal to rock out like that, and Deerhoof nail it. As usual, they're at their best when the beat drifts away to make room for screeching mechanics and jumpy thuds, as in "Zero Seconds Pause," "Bad Kids to the Front," and the title track. "We Do Parties" confirms their true purpose, with crusty bass throbs and hot, tinny guitar licks. Standouts here include the trippy "Flower" and the melodic, Japanese–laced "Mothball the Fleet." As Matsuzaki snarkily proclaims "I am coming to you from a speaker/Deep inside," you smile; and as “Mario’s Flaming Whiskers III” jumps into the deep end of a pool of weirdness, you smile even more.By Stephen Thompson (http://www.npr.org)
∫ August 26, 2012 — Though anything but predictable, Deerhoof's music has evolved to the point where it reliably conveys an endearing mix of adorability and eccentricity, with just enough noisy, discordant menace to hold the cuteness in check. A true original whose songs bleat and clatter in unexpected ways, the San Francisco band wisely keeps each moment tethered to the sunny sweetness of singer–bassist Satomi Matsuzaki.
On 12 albums stretching back to the mid–‘90s, Deerhoof has traveled down many side roads — and throughout the new Breakup Song, out Sept. 4, the group honks and shimmies down a few more. But the 30–minute set never feels aimless or formless, opting instead to unfold in a flurry of short, playful, charming blurts.
∫ Ideas rarely command Deerhoof's attention for more than a couple minutes at a time: Songs like "Flower," "To Fly or Not to Fly" and "Mario's Flaming Whiskers III" twitch by like especially satisfying blinks. As a result, by the time the dreamy, set–closing "Fête d'Adieu" winds down, it’s hard not to relaunch Breakup Song from the beginning, if only to roll around in its warm, smart, wonderfully sideways pop sound some more.
∫ Deerhoof drummer Greg here to introduce you to our latest record.
∫ We’ve been called a lot of things, as you know. But pop has always marked the spot on the ∫ Deerhoof treasure map.
∫ Pop = catchy
∫ Pop = new
∫ Pop = no rules
∫ So if you want to go dancing or do karaoke with Deerhoof, you don’t have to ask twice.
We’ve just finished a sensational record of Cuban–flavored party–noise–energy music. We called it Breakup Song, but don’t expect a bunch of Grammy®–baiting sob stories, OK? In Deerhoof's thesaurus, freedom’s just another word for feeling good again and raising hell and getting away with it. Stick with us and the bad guys with guns will never catch up. — Greg
Review by Peter Timko (http://www.prefixmag.com):
∫ Deerhoof has something of an aluminum musical identity; it’s both incredibly strong and incredibly malleable. With their latest offering, Breakup Song, the quartet have melted down their most basic elements—Satomi Matsuzaki’s knack for saccharine melody, Greg Saunier’s intricate drum work, and the spindly unpredictable guitar duels of Dieterich and Rodriguez — and poured them into various musical molds. What we get is 14 songs shaped by a diverse range of genres and piled high with stylistic pastiches. But for all the band’s amoeba–like appropriation, every song still sounds exactly like Deerhoof — albeit in the case of this release, it’s Deerhoof wearing a party hat.
∫ This isn’t new. Since 2002’s Reveille, every album the band has produced has been sprinkled so liberally with eclectic ideas that pinning down exactly what the group has accomplished can be difficult. It’s like eating Jell–O with a fork: for every specific element can get a hold on, several others will wiggle through your tines. On the spin through Breakup Song you may pick up on the conga–line stomp of “The Trouble with Candyhands” but overlook the track’s fantastic bleating horn fanfares. Likewise, on “Zero Seconds Pause” the Mortal Kombat–inspired synth riff is so surprising it's easy to miss the great little drum fills.
∫ A lot of the fun of this record — and fun is definitely the objective, the band touts the album as “Cuban–flavored party–noise–energy music” — comes from listening close to all the sonic ornamentation and unexpected turns that round out each song. There is something very satisfying about the way the group builds a track like “There’s that Grin,” taking it from a chunky riff dominated by a steady electronic beep and suddenly rolling it into a angular post–punk breakdown. The same goes for the way the band folds a naïve little lullaby into the outro of “Mothball the Fleet.” Yeah, it’s a trick as old as “Strawberry Fields Forever,” but when executed with Deerhoof's unique musical vocabulary it still sounds fresh and exciting.
∫ A lot of this may be due to the way the album was recorded. While living in different cities, each member contributed to the process, lending bits and pieces of songs recorded on various instruments. This makes the final product a bit of an assemblage where different elements are continually coming together, overlapping, complementing, and contrasting with each other. In an interview with Stereogum, Saunier talks about how this discontinuity is intentional and one of the strong points of the album.
∫ Through the most interesting moment on Breakup Song comes from a place of relative cohesion, a track called “Mario's Flaming Whiskers III.” Built off whirring electronics, a thumping beat, and looped guitar twang that recalls a clubgoer's “woo!,” the song falls somewhere between Crystal Castles and Haddaway. It's new territory for a band that hasn't made too many previous attempts at filling dance floors — the closest analog would be the title track from the Green Cosmos EP. And the song completely works. It hits its high point on the brief outro when all the layers fall away to reveal a jagged dance–punk riff that would fit on an early !!! album. In short; it's new, interesting, and the inevitable remixes are going to be great.
By Robert Cooke (http://drownedinsound.com):
∫ “We’ve been called a lot of things, as you know. But pop has always marked the spot on the Deerhoof treasure map.”
∫ So says Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier, though it’s a little hard to believe, considering the band’s past form. Since their beginnings as an out–there San Francisco noise band, ‘pop’ must be the only word that hasn’t been used to describe Deerhoof. Their albums aren’t ones where the singles choose themselves and they certainly don’t contain the sort of songs that would be easy to replicate in an X Factor audition. Can you even imagine what Cowell would make of Tokyo-born Satomi Matsuzaki’s shrill, girlish chirp of a voice? Pete Waterman would struggle to package Deerhoof as a pop group.
∫ Which, obviously, is why they’re so loved. Deerhoof’s records are so unconventional, they deserve gushing reviews for their ambition alone. They’re one of music’s great paradoxes, with each of their songs sounding unmistakably their own, despite the band having established few, if any, defining characteristics in the almost-20 years they’ve been on the go. Deerhoof sound like Deerhoof — there’s no other way of putting it than that.
∫ However, in the context of Deerhoof (it’s impossible to think of them in any other) Breakup Songs is certainly one of their more immediate albums. Which isn’t to say it’s an easy listen – it’s conventional in the minds of those who consider ‘Ice Cream’ by Battles a novelty record, akin to ‘Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’. But when we say that ‘There’s That Grin’s 16-bit strut sounds like something Mike Skinner could have turned into a hit, and suggest that ‘To Fly Or Not To Fly’ almost — as in really, really, very nearly, for at least the first 30 seconds — sounds like Pendulum, you’ll understand that this is a different Deerhoof to the one we heard on last year’s itchy, unsure–of–itself Deerhoof vs Evil.
∫ It’s instantly more attention–grabbing, with the playfully abrasive guitar and beats of opener ‘Breakup Songs’ sounding like a piece of industrial machinery made out of Lego. Its textural simplicity is offset by swerving tempo changes, so while you can call it ‘accessible’ all you want, it’s only accessible by Deerhoof standards.
∫ The band come closer to chart–bothering later on in Breakup Song. The rumba rhythms in the verses of ‘The Trouble With Candyhands’ could make it onto an advert for continental lager, while its chorus has a cheerfully light jazz chord pattern over which Matsuzaki glides through her refrain, “Then you bring me flowers”. If this was split up into two songs, and neither of them was called ‘The Trouble With Candyhands’, you’d almost be tempted to tip one of them for a single release. But no, even at their poppiest, Deerhoof are intransigently odd.
∫ And frankly, that’s absolutely fine, because there’s so much fun to be had with Breakup Song, it doesn’t matter a bit that Deerhoof aren’t the pop group they claim to be. The jerking garage rock of ‘We Do Parties’ is far better than any guitar band you might find in the top ten these days, painting pictures of awkward teenagers doing the robot at indie discos. The growling bass and cyberspace–age synths of ‘Zero Seconds Pause’ meanwhile make for a fantastic juxtaposition, the track itself sounding like two different pieces of music being played simultaneously, the fact that they seem to work together a mere coincidence. Likewise, ‘Bad Kids To The Front’s squeaky ping–ponging keyboard patterns won’t win it an Ivor Novello award, but they’re easily as hyper-stimulating as ‘Fête d'Adieu’s rough–and–smooth guitars are gracefully, gorgeously unglamorous.
∫ Needless to say, Breakup Song is as original and uncompromising as anything else Deerhoof have done. It’s a little bit catchier than usual in places, but it’s not going to be a top 40 smash and it certainly ain’t what you’d call pop music. It’s simply another great album by an indescribably great band. If only actual pop music was always as interesting as this. Deerhoof 8 / 10
∫ Deerhoof was the title of a two–song cassette of bass and harmonica solos, recorded in late 1993 by Rob Fisk. Limited to five copies, it featured fallen leaves glued to recycled Billy Squier promo tapes, spray–painted black and gold.
∫ In March 1994 Fisk was joined by drummer Greg Saunier. Budget–less, they recorded themselves on Saunier's four–track and in 1995 caught the interest of Olympia independent record label Kill Rock Stars. Their first single, "Return of the Wood M'lady" featured a heavy, histrionic style, separate songs in the left and right speakers, hand–drawn artwork, and etched vinyl. Deerhoof's do–it–yourself ethic turned out to be an apt match with Kill Rock Stars, and Deerhoof remained on the label for the next 14 years, ultimately becoming the longest–running artist on the label's roster. KRS Founder Slim Moon has described them as the "seminal classic KRS band".
∫ In May 1996, through mutual friends in pioneering San Francisco noise band Caroliner, Deerhoof met Satomi Matsuzaki, who had just arrived in San Francisco from her native Tokyo. She was studying film and had no musical experience, but Fisk and Saunier agreed that her deadpan singing style was exactly what they wanted. Having just lost their practice studio, they rehearsed in Saunier and Fisk's kitchen, Fisk plucking the bass with his dog's chew toy, a smoked cow hoof, Saunier playing the drums with chopsticks, and Matsuzaki singing into a pair of Walkman headphones through a Rat distortion pedal covered in paper machê. Within just one week of her joining, Deerhoof went on their first tour as a trio. Deerhoof live was unpredictable, involving the superimposition of multiple songs, the switching of onstage roles, various chance procedures, and broken equipment.
∫ Deerhoof’s songs are covered often by other artists and they are an oft–cited musical influence on other artists, notably TV on the Radio, The Flaming Lips, Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors, Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, Sleigh Bells, and of Montreal.
∫ The Man, the King, the Girl (1997)
∫ Holdypaws (1999)
∫ Halfbird (2001)
∫ Reveille (2002)
∫ Apple O’ (2003)
∫ Milk Man (2004)
∫ Green Cosmos (2005)
∫ The Runners Four (2005)
∫ Friend Opportunity (2007)
∫ Offend Maggie (2008)
∫ Deerhoof vs. Evil (2011)
∫ Breakup Song (2012)
∫ Deerhoof has also released a large number of 7” singles, split releases with other artists, tracks on compilations, and free downloadable EPs.
© Sarah Cass
© By Marky´s Snaps
© By Jonathan Rauch © Author: Simon Fernandez; 27 July 2009
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