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On the Record

All music is reviewed by the fine folks at Gravity Records, located at 612 Castle St. Visit them here.

Deerhunter
“Monomania”
4AD 2013

If you are expecting the new Deerhunter album to sound like their last one, “Halcyon Digest,” or anything reminiscent of Bradford Cox’s other project, Atlas Sound, you are going to be sorely disappointed.

Or are you?

What we have here is an album that the band requests right on the label to be filed under: “Nocturnal Garage.” That is something most record stores would feel quite comfortable doing.

All of the demos for “Monomania” were tracked by lead singer and primary songwriter Cox, late into the evening, after hours of drinking away the night. Likewise, the actual recording sessions took place solely at night and were recorded straight to a Tascam eight-track, which lent a hand in imparting a distinct gritty quality to the music and even more so to Bradford’s vocals.

How does all of this add up? Listeners get a very back-to-basics release from a band that could have easily continued down the path they were on and made an album more of the same. Which we would have most certainly loved but we are ever-so-grateful they chose to do the unexpected.

As much of a wide swing to the left as it appears to be, to release an album of dirty, late-night rock ‘n’ roll still is every bit distinctively Deerhunter.

Savages
“Silence Yourself”
Matador Records 2013

Femme punk. Riot Grrrl rock. Call it what you will, but Savages are the closest thing to art that post-punk has offered up in a decade or more.

Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and Fugazi come to mind upon initial listening to “Silence Yourself,” but there is something else there. Something unquantifiable. Something that makes this all-girl four-piece seem current and, more importantly, refreshing amidst a sea of Panda Bear (Animal Collective) wannabees and Top-40, Black Keys soundalikes.

Wiry, sharp guitars and primal, cavernous drumming abound throughout most of “Silence Yourself.” It forms the perfect complement to lead singer Jenny Beth’s howling vocals. Urgency, dread and alienation are the words of the day on this impressive debut from a band that themselves proclaim: “This album is meant to be played loud and in the foreground.”

The hype machine has cruise-control and there are no signs of it decelerating for Savages. To be honest, it won’t unless they careen to a fiery halt and self-implode from all of the hype they have so deservedly surrounding them.

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