» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Milk Man
Kill Rock Stars

Rating: 6/10 ?

October 1, 2004
It's fucking crazy good. That's how my girlfriend described Deerhoof as being in a live setting. Fucking crazy good. What on earth was that supposed to mean? I've seen a lot of good bands live, a number of them being crazy good. I distinctly recall Atari Teenage Riot blowing minds and eardrums about a decade ago, and there have been a number of hippy jam bands with enough in-person gusto to woo me into an album purchase. Granted, I can pretty much say in a blanket statement that all those hippy ham bands, and especially Atari Teenage Riot, are bona-fide garbage once the lights come up, the smoke clears and the booze wear off. So, I mean, you can see where my hesitance to actually go see Deerhoof live would emanate from. After all, I'm a recluse and it takes a whole lot of prodding to get me out the door to a stinky bar filled with tight thrift store shirts. Plus, Deerhoof neglected to put Costa Rica on their tour schedule in 2004, which essentially made the debate over going to see them or not a moot issue.

But, alas, the wonder of the technological revolution steps in and makes the impossible, or at least improbable, happen. I now know the true essence of Deerhoof live and, frankly, I'd hesitate to consider it fucking crazy good. In fact, based on their new and free download-only album, titled in typical Deerhoof quirkiness as Bibidi Babidi Boo, I'd hesitate to ever even bother seeing them live.

Don't think that I'm an outsider though. I nearly lost my cookies over Reveille two years ago, and Milk Man has been a solid player for the 2004 calendar year. I appreciate the hybridizing of powerful rock whumpf and experimental art noise as much as the next geek, but there is a difference between sporadic and enigmatic and just plain noise. Deerhoof strikes me, on Bibidi Babidi Boo, as mostly the latter. The collection's opening, the brief minute-and-five second long "Dog on the Sidewalk" is a shrieking guitar wail juxtaposed with cartoonish clattering percussion and Satomi Matsuzaki's indiscernible childish vocals. In this hollowed out and paper thin recording it sounds like discarded AM radio garble, which makes it all the more frustrating because there is obviously still a degree of catchiness to Satomi's repetitive "Dog on the sidewalk" lyrics.

Luckily Bibidi promptly redeems itself with a stellar rendition of "Dummy Discards a Heart" from Apple O', a vivid transformation of one of my favorite tracks that does the band's recorded work justice. Guitarists Chris Cooper and John Dieterich (I don't even know - are all the same people still in the band?) amp up their guitars and lay down smoldering synchronized licks that are lifted up by the alternately nimble/crisp and pounding/plodding percussion of Greg Saunier. On "Dummy" Deerhoof sound truly in their element, connecting with each other in a way that I can almost see through my ears.

If every track on Bibidi Babidi Boo were as tight as "Dummy" this free download album business would be my new fetish. But, tracks like "Milking" aside, most of the album is scattered, suffering from poor recording and/or mastering and distracted by the odd interludes that make their studio albums so eclectic. In truth my complaints are all things that I suppose would be fine in a smoky bar or tweaked out art space after two bottles of cabernet sauvignon and a tab of acid but don't necessarily translate well to the stale medium of recorded music.

That said, I still think Deerhoof are one of the best and most original bands going today and I highly recommend checking out Bibidi Babidi Boo. After all, the damn thing is free.

Reviewed by Clifton Gates
Currently sleeping on beaches in Costa Rica, Clifton Gates is an occasional contributor, editor, idea springboard and moral crutch to LAS magazine.

See other reviews by Clifton Gates



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