Tag: Dan Deacon
Record store day is coming up in a couple weeks – an amazing day where artists put out release singles and other albums that folks won’t ever have the opportunity to hear elsewhere. That is, unless you’re Dan Deacon and you decide to put up the track from your limited 7″ two weeks early on SoundCloud. Well, I’m not complaining. What’s become really amazing about Deacon though is that fact that that while all his songs have a self-contained absurdity, there is an unmistakeable cohesion of that absurdity. Perhaps it’s the approach to assaulting rhythm he takes, but there’s no denying that any song of his is anybody but himself. That goes for “Konono Ripoff No. 1″ as well, which even though is a total ripoff of the “Congolese Konono No.1,” still is unmistakeably Deacon. It’s not as cinematic as things he’s been making the past few years, and thus rings almost like a lost cut off of Spiderman of the Rings. But it’s still fresh as all hell, and it’s the kind of colossally upbeat thing that serves as great launchpad for a Friday afternoon.
20) Grimes – Visions
I gotta admit, it took me a hot minute to board the Claire Boucher train, but I’ve come to love this album. Cute and sinister haven’t coexisted this well together since The Christmas Critters episode of South Park. This was one of my go-to late night driving albums this year.
19) The Walkmen – Heaven
The most underrated band on the planet makes their most poignant album of all time with Heaven. This is the kind of shit modern rock aficionados dream of, and the title track is easily my favorite song of the year.
18) Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill
Ten minutes into the half-hour opening cut off Pill, you say to yourself – “Holy shit, this is some of the greatest rocking Neil Young I’ve ever fucking heard.” This album is both a blessing and a testament to the fact that you can make relevant and amazing rock music well past it’s time to start collecting your social security benefits.
17) The XX – Coexist
Things get a little bit more of a back-beat on The XX’s follow-up to their 2009 debut, but luckily sound just as spooky and drift-worthy. Being sad and British hasn’t seemed this appealing since The Cure first hit the scene.
16) Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light
When J. Spaceman is on, the results can be truly breathtaking, and this latest record is just as epic as the hugest works from his past. If you want massive soul-rock, then this is about as big as it gets – their live gig in Portland this year was possibly my favorite show of 2012.
15) Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
After a decade of silence, I never thought we’d hear again from the deepest band on the planet. Allelujah continues their legacy of making huuuuge, epic, half-drone tunes that no other band would ever have the audacity or balls to attempt. This is probably the greatest and most unexpected reunion of the past 5 years.
14) Grizzly Bear – Shields
Finally these guys put out an album that wasn’t made to put preschoolers to sleep. If they hadn’t obnoxiously complained about not being nominated for a Grammy, I’d be totally excited for whatever was coming next, but now I feel like this will go down as their finest work. There’s no doubt that it’s the most brilliant indie-rock of the year.
13) Tame Impala – Lonerism
Thank God these Australians realized that dream-pop still had somewhere to grow and evolve to. Psychedelic floating over great melodies and fantastic lyrics – shit can’t be beat. If these guys keep their progression up, they could be one of the greatest bands on the planet in a couple more years.
12) Dan Deacon – America
I think the “U.S.A. Suite” on this record could be the line in the sand between folks who love music and folks who just love redundant pop. More so than ever, each track on Deacon’s latest is an honest-to-goodness journey through the literal wirings of modern sound’s potential. Dude’s my hero.
11) Jack White – Blunderbuss
This is the album Mr. White has been hoping to make for 15 years. This is the sound he envisioned for The White Stripes before embracing the fact that his ex-wife had absolutely no drumming skill whatsoever. This is the most influential artist of the past decade at the top of his game. Rock and roll survival music.
You know how when you listen to a Girl Talk album, you say: “Oh, that shit sounds really fucking cool, but I feel like I could have done that on my little sister’s laptop”? Well the electro-wizard known as Dan Deacon has basically taken mash-ups to a whole new realm on his latest “mix” tape – this is the kind of thing where you say: “Oh shit, this sounds fucking nuts and I have no clue what’s actually happening.” Perhaps motivated by his brilliant sonic-success of this summer’s attack on the Carly Rae Jespen hit “Call Me Maybe Acapella 147 Times Exponentially Layered,” Deacon has just released a 5 track mix known as Wish Book Volume I. Hopefully the volume 1 part refers to more on the way, because nobody else is doing this stuff and we need to get as freaky as possible as we move into 2013. I know I was definitely not waiting for “Gangnam Style” to be mixed up with Grimes‘ “Oblivion” – but it takes a bold leap into the unknown. Take a listen below, and download the whole mix from Soundcloud HERE.
Here’s Deacons’ full rundown:
Hope you enjoy. Wish Book Volume 1 was made with music made by (in order of appearance): grimes+psy+beach house+skrillex+diplo+nicky da b+dirty projectors+lil wayne+nicki minaj+oneohtrix point never+tune yards+animal collective+rod stewart+the strokes+wiz khalifa+beyoncé+lcd sound system+death grips+ludacris+rihanna+the beatles+roy orbison+silver apples+katy perry+69 boyz+gary glitter+james brown+lmafo+black dice+the ronettes+r. kelly+black eyed peas+lenny kravitz+the misfits+2 chains+daftpunk+led zeppelin+the notorious b.i.g.+devo+lightning bolt+unknown artist recorded in jaipur, india+marvin gaye+radiohead+rage against the machine+salt n peppa+brian eno+madonna
Here’s the start of my review of the new Dan Deacon album - Sometimes trying to describe a Dan Deacon song is like trying to explain color to a blind person — rather frustrating and most likely doted with grandiose metaphors. So let’s just start with this: I’m fairly certain that after my first headphone session with America, the molecular structure of my brain completely realigned itself. Combining the ferocity of 2007′s Spiderman of the Rings with the majesty of 2009′s Bromst, this latest release from Deacon is an album that you can do nothing but completely succumb to. Don’t try to wash the dishes to it — don’t try to throw it on at a bar — just sit back and let this motherfucker consume you.
The whole review is HERE at State of Mind.
Here’s the whole USA Suite – it’s rather fucking incredible.
Crowd participation at concerts has always been a tense subject for me. I love Phish, and they have an onslaught of interactive things I don’t really do…a 3-beat clap during “Stash,” the vocal chanting of “Wilson”, the dumb Hood ad-lib in “Harry Hood”, the “Meatstick”… but ironically the band used to base a solid portion of its live performances on secret signals that fans could perform in syncopation so that newbies would have no clue what’s going on. I may sound like a pretentious fuck, but I seem to only like crowd participation if the majority of the crowd isn’t doing it. I know, that sounds stupid but that’s who I am. I will, however, do the wave whenever possible.
Anywho, the biggest flip in the game for me was the first time I saw Dan Deacon perform about 5 years ago. The man forces crowd participation and you’re a total jack-ass if you deny it. So leave it up to the Baltimore Wonder-Mind to come up with the next logical advance in crowd participation – digital smartphone apps! Bum, bum buuuuuum… Now this is a massive expansion on the brief notion that Coldplay put into rotation this year – where they gave everyone in attendance wristbands to wear, and those wristbands then all shined like black-lights when a certain light was cast upon the crowd. So instead of holding up a lighter, or an iPhone, you just put your wrist in the air and you can see the masses swaying in motion together. Neato. Deacon has gone light-years further though, and created an actual app for smartphones that directly links to Deacon’s equipment at the show. Thus, it’s OK if there’s shitty reception or no WiFi at a certain club, because Deacon’s own gear will be the source of the digital info going to the phones. The phones themselves then emit both light and sound in time with the music he is producing, thus the fans are literally becoming part of the show. Basically he’s completely taken the horrible scenario of being at a rock concert where the entire crowd is playing with their phones, and he’s turned it into one of the flyest, and most innovative things to happen to the live concert experience since Gwar started shooting semen on their fans. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Dan Deacon is a genius and a blessing. I can’t wait to try this live – this might be the first thing that really pushed me into getting a new phone. Check it out…
I’ve been thinking lately about how the world continues to downward spiral into more and more fucked up shit, and how the sacred and the divine are being fully trampled upon by ever expanding piles of crap. And it’s all this idiotic intention that’s fucking it up – not random shit. People are consciously just becoming stupider and meaner as they get preoccupied with utter bullshit that they claim is relevant. Thus the obvious counter of that is the idea that now when you make something completely nonsensical with no real message or intention behind it, you are actually forging true beauty. Yes, we have now entered a time when having no reasoning behind your actions is the purest you can be.
And so we turn to the master of obscure beauty, Dan Deacon, to bring us yet another moment of “I don’t know what it means, but it makes me happy.” Possibly the most important mantra of the 21st century. Deacon’s new album, America, doesn’t get released for another month (8/27) but he has just released this awesome video for “True Thrush.” Using members of his Baltimore Wham City collective, the video is essentially a visual re-examination of the “telephone” game. You know, one person says something, the other person tries to repeat it and so on. So they did that with a 15-second video clip – it’s fun and pointless and that’s the whole idea. Randomonia at its finest.
So what is a true thrush… an actual songbird of the family Turdidae, or a real disease on a horse’s foot? Probably neither, and again…that’s the whole idea. Most likely, Deacon probably just thought the words sounded cool together. God’s speed, my idol.
The thing that sometimes amazes me the most about our modern digitized society is how easy it is these days to get out of the pop loop. If you skip all your TV commercials and you never once scan the FM dial while driving around, then it is quite possible that you’ve missed out on this goddam Carly Rae Jespen tune “Call Me Maybe.” And hats off to you if so – I know of a bunch of folks who definitely have never heard it, but believe me the shit is everywhere. It’s currently cresting 139 million fucking views on Youtube, since it was released 4 months ago. Fucking nuts. There’s a bunch of dumb shit like Bieber doing it karaoke and some tools on the Harvard baseball team doing a dance to it or something. Anyway, it’s reached such massive virality that today Mabson Enterprises released a 43-track album of nothing but remixes of the tune, and…
Shit is brilliant. Now we’re not talking just different beats and random Nicki Minaj verses thrown on top, we’re talking 43 of the most off-beat producers doing their best to completely make the tune all their own. We’re talking new versions of “Call Me Maybe” that are entitled things like “Call Me Hella Faded” and “Call My Phone Dumbass, I Can’t Find It.” From light jazz to destructive art-rock, everything is tackled. The original tune just keeps getting re-consumed and shat out into some new masterpiece – only to be gobbled down once again by someone new until it’s recast into the following producer. It’s honestly a magical moment for the modern age of what it truly means to be “pop”. It’s like the musical equivalent of early Shepard Fairey work. Anyway, I recommend going to their bandcamp page HERE right now where you can download the whole thing for free. (Or flip em a few bucks if you want.)
My favorite cut on the disc though obviously goes to my hero, Dan Deacon, and his brilliant composition: “Call Me Maybe Acapella 147 Times Exponentially Layered.” Hard to really describe it any better than its own title, but essentially Deacon layers the vocal tracks in syncopation on top of one another, and the form seems to multiple in ever increasing increments. At 30 seconds you can hear the chorus come in. By 1:06, the pattern begins to fractal in on itself. At 1:24, a mystery beat seems to arise. At 1:57, you’re suddenly riding the inter-galaxy transport thing from Contact. And things seem to melt into themselves every subsequent 30 seconds from then on. It’s really phenomenal, and I almost recommend skipping to the last 30 seconds of the track before listening to the whole thing – just so you can see if you can make out any of the original song by that point. It’s fun, and it’s actually beautiful. Friggin Dan Deacon man…the guy is a wizard. Listen and download for free right here…
I had one of those moments of existential despair for the modern age this morning when I read a quick blurb about how a premier screening of the new Avengers movie was postponed today because the projectionist accidentally deleted the film from the digital projector. So you know, I had one of those flashes where I realized that the easier and easier it becomes to access information and material, the seemingly easier it becomes to also lose things just as quickly. Back in the day, that guy would have had to accidentally set the film on fire for the thing to just disappear like that. Now he thinks he’s confirming “boob” on words-with-friends and actually sends a full-feature film into the nether-world. We’ve still gotta turn 2 keys at the same time to launch nukes, right? Let’s fucking hope so. Anyway, nothing like a little Tuesday imposed fear of Kurzweilian fear to make me find a killer link…
So I’m trying to think about folks who are still advancing into the modern age while they embrace the techniques of yesteryear. I think of my friends who are adamant about recording only to 2-inch tape… I think of Stephen Malkmus‘s utter disdain for ProTools… I think of RZA running all of Wu-Tang‘s beats through analog mixers… and I think of Dan Deacon. It’s been 3 years since Deacon released the epic and seminal album Bromst, and while his ‘electronic’ music has always had a very natural, organic, breathing feel to it, it wasn’t until this album that he really began to involve actual instrumentation into his compositions. Over the past few years, the album has only become more of an enigma to me as I’ve contemplated his different routes of composing and what ‘real’ instruments he utilized to get his sounds. The thing is a masterpiece, and the world will be thoroughly blessed if he can make something ever again of equal caliber – the crazy part is I think he can. Anyway, even after I interviewed him about the album when it came out, more questions have only arisen upon further listens. Luckily, those bastards over at Pitchfork have finally decided to put up the video they made of Deacon in the studio in Montana working on this album, and it is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen.
Besides using a house with a natural steel reverb plank installed, Deacon does something that I couldn’t find any instance of ever being done before. He composed massively rapid piano lines, that are not only too complex for one human to actually play on piano, but are too fast for a piano’s hammers to be able to recover and make a sequence of notes in the correct order. But to give the illusion of just such impossibilities happening, they digitally wire the key tracks into an actual player piano. I suppose after many rigorous hours, he and another player could have practiced the parts so that they could play the sequential impossibilities, but then there still would need to be layers of those parts put on top of one another so you can have the rapid firing effect succeed. Basically, a piano just won’t let you hit a note as fast as they needed.
Anyway, the video is amazing, and I posted it below but I’ve also posted the link to the pitchfork page with the other short videos assembled from this same recording session. Dan Deacon is an honest-to-goodness musical genius in our modern age, and sometimes just hearing the man ramble on is a blessing.
Lordy, lordy was Dan Deacon’s performance last Saturday huge-ungus. It was really a transcendent moment for me, where I was finally able to let got of some weird psychosomatic West Coast angst. Here’s the intro and the link to State of Mind:
If you’re worried that every new amp-driven indie-rock band has to play neo-surf-punk, then Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings could be playing your redemption songs. Sure to make half of Brooklyn rip their jeggings, up until now Dylan Baldi has recorded all his low-fi recordings in his parents’ basement. With the recent release of his self-title full length debut on Carpark records, (home of my beloved Dan Deacon) Baldi has again proven that in our modern age of over-saturated crap-flop, obsessive production, and heartless electronics, a fly 18 year-old can still make the dopest shit out there in his rents’ mud-room.
Playing all the instruments himself on the recording, Cloud Nothings is fuzz-friendly grit-pop composed by a kid who’s not afraid to repeat himself. Baldi seems to brilliantly reach beyond his age, and intelligently realizes that if a line or a pocket sounds good enough, then it’s probably best to hang around it for a while. Unforeseen loopings of grooves move this music past simple garage rock, and make it lean more towards the music Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) would be making if he wasn’t so sure the whole world was paying attention. And he’s sure got somebody on his team who knows how to make a hell of a video or two.