Deerhunter

Deerhunter

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. .

Dark Blue follow up their debut LP, ‘Pure Reality’, with ‘Start Of The World’ (12XU) – a soundtrack of a decaying United States. Each song drips with the realities of atrocities happening all around us ; John Sharkey III (Vocals, Guitar) pushes Dark Blue far beyond the post-punk meets oi sound they perfected on their earlier releases, and adds elements of brit-pop and shoegaze. Recorded by Jeff Zeigler (Kurt Vile, Nothing), ‘Start Of The World’ is a pop album that makes no apologies.

Boot stomping opener “Union of Buffoons,” sets the political tone for this album with an anthem for workers’ rights. Sharkey’s biting lyrics: “You can’t fight this, you can’t win…screw you once, they’ll screw you twice,” is a reference to human expendability in the face of deregulation and the stagnancy of labor rights. “Never Wanted to Hurt You” is a pop song in the highest order with guts and an undeniable chorus that would make Noel Gallagher jealous even at his most jaded.

The 50′s doo-woop and surf rock sound of “Bombs on the Beach” initially feels like a left turn for the band, evoking a playful innocence against a sunny backdrop. But the lyrics prove this is truly a Dark Blue song, tearing through any cheerfulness as jarring and abrupt as words can be to describe the reality of dropping missiles on a beach of unsuspecting Palestinian children. Sharkey’s voice is heavy with the despair of survivor’s guilt: “Now I’m holding my baby’s hand, as he lies bleeding to death in the sand.” This is another pointed song full of sentiment as much as it is an impassioned call for accountability for the crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip.

While this album shows off new and varying degrees of Sharkey’s vocal intensity, Andrew Mackie Nelson (Bass, Ceremony) and Michael Sneeringer (Drums, Strand of Oaks) shine, guiding the songs in ways other releases haven’t shown before . Tracks such as “Be Gone Everyone” and “Western Front” underscore just how comfortable the band has gotten.

‘Start Of The World’ is the kind of record that Dark Blue has always promised: a collection of smart, fully realized songs that tell real stories. With the world falling apart around us, Dark Blue continues to give voice to neglected perspectives, many unnerving but all necessary to hear. We need a defiant record like this to remind us that just as there was start to all of this destruction, there can also be an end.

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