#23 on the 2010 Musical Bacon Calendar
Halcyon Digest by Deerhunter
OK, we’re finally breaking out of the singer-songwriter folk music that the Bacon Calendar has been mired in for what feels like weeks. Deerhunter is a difficult band to define for me. Even though they’ve been loved by critics since the beginning, they were off my radar entirely through their first three studio albums. I knew little about them, other than a rough estimation that they were “kinda like Animal Collective.” And while I’ve liked Animal Collective for a while now, I didn’t really think I needed anyone like them in my library.
But as you’ll see further on in the list, Deerhunter isn’t the only band that fits the loose mold that Animal Collective (and before that, Radiohead) pioneered. A couple months ago I got to see Bradley Cox and crew play, and as I wrote then, I was struck by the distinct lack of instrumentation on stage at the Showbox:
Four guitars and a bass guitar, all on stands; a drum kit, in the back, on the typical raised platform, dead center; two mics, positioned on opposite corners of the stage. Where were the noise makers, the knobs to tweak, the necessary keyboards that are the heart of nearly 100 percent of all touring indie rock acts? Not that I’ve been counting — didn’t think I needed to — but I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a band without at least one keyboard on stage. And this is Deerhunter! Their albums are chock full of electronic goodness. Am I at the wrong venue?
And that’s what is most amazing about this band. Yes, they make very good psychedelic ambient rock, but they do it entirely on analog instruments, with not a single synthetically-generated sound among them. Give Halcyon Digest a listen and you won’t believe your ears. Go see them live, and you’ll be grinning from ear to ear.
24. Been Listening by Johnny Flynn
25. The Wild Hunt by The Tallest Man on Earth
26. Lisbon by The Walkmen
27. Scratch My Back by Peter Gabriel
28. All Day by Girl Talk
29. A Storm – A Tree – My Mother’s Head by Bobby Bare Jr.
30. 03 to TEN by Knathan Ryan
31. In This Light On This Evening by Editors