DEERHOOF IS MOVING MOUNTAINS WITH THIER NEW ALBUM
Photos / Kristy Benjamin
Story / Bianca Magana + Angie Piccirillo
Deerhoof has once again made a comeback with their latest album release, Mountain Moves, managing to combine an array of musical genres into one cohesive sound. It’s hard for any musical act to be able to look back on their discography and point to 14 completed studio albums over the course of a twenty year period — let alone be able to say they’ve continued to have their cult fan following during the entire duration.
Just one gander at their Wikipedia page, and any artist would feel intimidated by their accolades since their inception in 1994. Through many iterations and changes, the band has managed to remain as relevant as ever.
“Genreless” is an understatement when it comes to this “punk” band, who is known for combining improvisation and performance art into their live shows. For any type of artwork, music or visual — it’s often hard to make a connection with listeners on such a so-called “obscure” leaning level, but that’s never been the case for this band. Deerhoof are the so-called “darlings of obscure hipster indie-pop music,” having grown to be a literal indie-staple of artsy elder millennials.
Their past includes such oddities as one of its members joining after having no prior experience playing in a band; all the way to its 2003 album “Apple O” being played almost entirely live to tape in one nine-hour session… even with their latest release, there is no pattern for Deerhoof and their ways of composing and arranging music. Some tunes are written collaboratively, and others played only by one member. The band claims they do not tend to nitpick where a song originates or how it comes to be alive. Some would say their musical writing process rivals the infamous “Bed ins” of Yoko Ono and John Lennon — and guarantees that no two albums or songs will ever feel like a regurgitation of something the band has already explored in a prior release.
Reticent to identify exactly where they fall into place within the music spectrum, they reportedly often garner inspiration from their opening bands: Mayya and the Revolutionary Hell Yeah!, Christina Schneider’s Genius Grant, Sad13, and Lily and Horn Horse, which is what ultimately makes the pop-indie group true students of music, rather than self-proclaimed experts. If there’s anything to be said of the group, it’s that their artistic process never seems to get itself trapped in the box of repetition and that they are forever open to experimentation. This alone is an asset to envy — for all artists and musicians.
Perhaps it’s the bands’ ability to dabble along the lines of performance art that keeps things interesting — finding inspiration in crudely drawn characters and resulting in what some would call “surrealist” elements of performance. Regardless of what may have initially triggered a songs’ inspiration, critics have said the abrupt change in style from one album to the next remains a Deerhoof hallmark you can count on.
With Mountain Moves, rather than consciously writing an album against Trump-era politics, the band stands against government cruelty and wrongdoing — and the album can be said to be a general protest album. Their music ultimately comes from and is directed toward the underground, and while electing a new President may not have necessarily ushered in a new era in their opinion, it did give birth to a new album, one which has been exceedingly well received. Fans and new listeners remind them how lucky they have been for the past twenty years — the same fans who have supported their sonic experimentation and lyrical political statements from the beginning.
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