1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123
Doors 10:00 PM / Show 10:30 PM
This event is all ages
From Atlanta, Georgia, the origins of Deerhunter can be traced back to when frontman Bradford Cox first met guitarist Lockett Pundt at high school. Years later Bradford met Moses Archuleta and started jamming together. Other contributors to Deerhunter since its establishment in 2001 include Josh Fauver, Colin Mee and Whitney Petty. The current incarnation consists of Cox, Pundt and Archuleta plus bassist Josh Mckay and guitarist Frankie Broyles.
Deerhunter's first album was a lo-fi experiment not initially intended for the wider world, but appeared in 2005 on a local Atlanta label, Stickfigure. Although officially untitled, it has since become known as Turn It Up, Faggot; a phrase that doesn't actually appear on the sleeve but is an insult that Cox claimed was often thrown at the band during their early gigs. Their next album, Cryptograms (2006), was generally considered to be their real debut and as such things started to get serious for the band. They had moved to fêted Chicago indie, Kranky (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Low, Stars Of The Lid), and the world outside was starting to pay attention.
Then in mid-2008, Deerhunter and Kranky signed a deal with 4AD, allowing them to finally release music outside the US and the band's next move was to prove epic in more than just musical terms.?? Recorded over the course of a week at the Rare Book Studios in Brooklyn, NY, the Can and Wire-inspired Microcastle (2008) was to propel them to further heights. However, the album leaked four months before release, leading the band back to the studio to record Weird Era Cont., an album in its own right added as a bonus disc to make Microcastle a 25-track colossus. Not content with such prolificacy, the band announced a new five track EP, Rainwater Cassette Exchange, in 2009 and that its release would coincide with the band's extensive European, Japanese and Australian tour in May and June.??
Displaying few signs of slowing down, Halcyon Digest, the band's fourth studio album was released in September 2010. Remaining in their native Georgia to piece together the album, Halcyon Digest took just a few weeks to complete. The recording sessions took place at Chase Park Transduction in Athens with Ben H. Allen helping to co-produce the album, while final track, 'He Would Have Laughed', was recorded separately by Bradford Cox at NOTOWN SOUND in Marietta. To announce the release, the band fully embraced the DIY mindset of their New Wave heroes from the 70's and 80's with a Cox-designed, cut-and-paste Xeroxed flyer. It's with these kind of approaches that Deerhunter continue to widen their sphere of influence and impress with each subsequent release.
After a brief hiatus, during which time Bradford Cox and Lockett Pundt released their own albums as Atlas Sound and Lotus Plaza respectively, a new Deerhunter line-up (with additions of bassist Josh Mckay and guitarist Frankie Broyles) reconvened in January 2013 at Rare Book Studio in Brooklyn, New York. Produced by Nicholas Vernhes and Bradford Cox and recorded in the dead of night, Deerhunter's new longplayer Monomania will be released in May. Monomania finds the group recalling its scrappy punk aesthetic; a perfect nocturnal garage rock album full of the layered and hazy vintage guitar sounds that define them. .
Back in 2008, a lot of heads turned to clock Crystal Stilts' Alight Of Night, their first album after a string of here-today-gone-tomorrow singles and EPs. It wasn't exactly a surprise - Crystal Stilts felt like part of a new age dawning, of underground collectives and random, crazy groups who'd rediscovered the joys of noise-pop and set about creating their own Creations - but there was something unique about Crystal Stilts, something hermetic yet gorgeous about the world they created. With their new album, In Love With Oblivion, they stretch things further still, honing their songcraft, indulging their more strung-out sides, full of elliptical verses and perfectly chiming guitars, cranky pop organs and the punkest of rhythms. It's a perfect blend of pop smarts and beguiling experiment.
Converging in the quiet of South Florida, Brad Hargett and JB Townsend dreamt a perfect pop group and then set about recreating the dream. Along the way to New York, they collected members, record labels, a cultish fanbase, raves from the likes of Dean Wareham and Stephen Pastel, and (from across the seas, at least) the kind of mystique even the 'know-everything' glaze of the modern 'net-age couldn't debase. I still listen to their records and wonder about the people behind the songs - and this does not happen very often nowadays. Their record covers are mysterious two-tone ciphers. They know the importance of a good font. In short, they sound and look like a group you want to be in.
And as with all good pop bands, Crystal Stilts not only look cool and sound great: they also listen hard. I recently read an interview where JB said his favourite show of '09 was The Mad Scene, which made me double-take - who else cares so much about Hamish Kilgour's other best group? But if Crystal Stilts are scholarly about pop, they don't wear their knowledge heavily. The best songs on In Love With Oblivion are effortless, rapturous - "Through The Floor" burns on fevered energy; "Silver Sun" kisses the air with a beautiful stream of jangle guitar; "Alien Rivers" is a spooked, psychedelic requiem, roughly Opal's Happy Nightmare Baby + 14 Iced Bears' "Mother Sleep" x Victor Dimisich Band. (But that was my math, not theirs.) "Precarious Stair" is my favourite girl-pop-song-not-actually- fronted-by-a-girl since, I dunno, "Just Like Honey".
A friend of mine walked into my flat when "Half A Moon" was playing and for a split-second asked if it was The Damned's "Smash It Up", which made me chuckle. Then he looked at the speakers and wondered what exactly he was hearing. Hey, cool - it's always good to take people by surprise. Well, that's what Crystal Stilts do with In Love With Oblivion - take all of those expectations you have and quietly, unassumingly, but determinedly turn them upside down, make you listen differently the glorious haze of pop they pour out of their bloodied veins. A buzzing organ, some slack-strung guitars, a clutch of Moe Tucker dreams and some black tambourines rarely sounded this alive.
- JADE PILLAR
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