My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #13

Number 13


In 2007, I had my first listen inside the mind of Deerhunter front-man, Bradford Cox with the full-length Cryptograms, and then later on in the year with the Fluorescent Grey EP. Those recordings had to take the prize of being the most difficult to deconstruct out of everything I heard last year. It took me around 5 full listen-thru’s to find that I was indeed a fan of the demented and intricate sound of Deerhunter, and although I admit that they are not a band I can listen to at an obsessive clip, I respect the uniqueness that seeps throughout everything they put out. Earlier this fall saw the very quick follow-up to Cryptograms; a wildly different album, entitled Microcastle, which is coupled with another disc of things recorded at the same time, almost like a collection of b-sides from the sessions, called Weird Era Cont. Microcastle keeps all of the same strange sounds that are immediately identified with Deerhunter, but there is also an entirely new,very poppy direction taken by Cox this time around, and it’s oddly refreshing. When the beautiful stand-out “Agoraphobia” abruptly announces itself, we are thrown a curveball (at least I was), and are warned to be prepared for a different side of Deerhunter, who are far more focused on diversity than I gave them credit for at first. With this new collection of songs – which thankfully spans to 25 blistering tracks – I have shifted from a fan of the band, to an avid listener. The title track on Microcastle is a two-act thing of beauty, beginning with dream-like vocals and a quiet electric guitar, later giving way to a subtle jam that rides the rest of it out. Weird Era Cont. is a more familiar group of sounds we’re more accustomed to from the band, but it all feels just right and significant to have packaged together with Microcastle, and never comes off like an unnecessary add-on. “Vox Celeste” and “Cicadas” are the two I found most entrancing on that record. There’s always a feeling that you’re experiencing something that exists entirely in its own world, and nowhere else, when a Deerhunter album is spinning; and this new set of songs presents Cox as one of the very best at writing music today.

MICROCASTLE
1.Cover Me (Slowly)
2.Agoraphobia
3.Never Stops
4.Little Kids
5.Microcastle
6.Calvary Scars
7.Green Jacket
8.Activa
9.Nothing Ever Happened
10.Saved By Old Times
11.Neither Of Us, Uncertainly
12.Twilight At Carbon Lake

WEIRD ERA CONT.
1.Backspace Century
2.Operation
3.Ghost Outfit
4.Dot Gain
5.Vox Celeste
6.Cicadas
7.Vox Humana
8.VHS Dream
9.Focus Group
10.Slow Swords
11.Weird Era
12.Moon Witch Cartridge
13.Calvary Scars II/Aux Out

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