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

MUSIC

 » 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]

MUSIC

 » 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
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Deerhoof
Offend Maggie
Kill Rock Stars

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


March 3, 2009
Deerhoof has been composing music since 1996, and the remarkable band have kept the accelerator weighted since the release of their first album, The Man, The King, and The Girl. They've completed ten albums in eleven years, with only one of those (Green Cosmos, in 2005) being an EP. The band--which for years has consisted of Satomi Matsuzaki, John Dieterich, and Greg Saunier, and now also includes Ed Rodriguez--has a penchant for mix-and-match multi-instrumentalism; Matsuzaki, the anime-like vocalist, primarily plays bass, Saunier all manner of percussion, with Dieterich and now Rodriguez usually handling guitar, though at any given time the arrangement can be shifted in any number of ways.

The band also has a penchant for lead-off bangers, and "The Tears and Music of Love," the first song on Offend Maggie, is no exception to Deerhoof's rule of encapsulating openers. One might consider the distinguishing tactic as the insurance of first impressions; regardless of an album's remainder (which is usually substantially good), the lead song always does wonders, assuaging any fears of a letdown.

Not to be outdone, "Fresh Born," the subject of an extensive fan remix project, is a pure gem, both innovative and downright groovy, with the track's soft guitar intro suddenly morphing into an unexpectedly catchy, rhythmical, and somewhat mesmerizing track. Matsuzaki's vocals eloquently switch from English to Japanese, and Saunier's bombastic drums compliment her bilingual tone. The song is second to none on the album, and was one of the standout tracks of last year.

In what can only be considered the most immediate implication of Ed Rodriguez's addition to the band, Offend Maggie is also rife with both subtle and commanding guitar riffs, all of which tend to be quite addictive. "Numina O" is a burner, especially throughout its outro, while other riffs on the album (in "The Tears and Music of Love," "Snoopy Waves," "My Purple Past," "Eaguru Guru," and the album's title track) are equally qualified to demand a little air guitar accompaniment. Some of parts Rodriguez and Dieterich lend to the songs are simple yet elegant, designed to enhance the already compelling music into fascinating cohesion, while others are bold and captivating, proving a powerful element unto themselves.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the only really unbecoming track on the album is also the one with the most unwieldy name, "Basketball Get Your Groove Back." While it's message certainly hits home, the song is ultimately little more than irritation. However, it's refreshing to see a band with the artistic achievements of Deerhoof continue to not take themselves too seriously while remaining able to produce interesting and insightful music; the band's lighthearted genius is best exemplified by the simple yet catchy "This is God Speaking."

As has been their wont throughout their tenure as a band, on Offend Maggie Deerhoof continue to pride themselves on their strength through diversity. Tastefully fashionable, Saunier's truly grandiose drumming bits serve to keep the listener well entertained while never flagging as the band's backbone; Dieterich, now bolstered by Rodriguez, sharpens the material with catchy guitar riffs; and Matsuzaki's well-timed and particularly soft voice provides plenty of flavor. Never conventional, bordering on the impractical, the formula nevertheless works. The sporadic yet sophisticated nature of Deerhoof's material is certainly becoming, and the universal appeal seems to be anchored in the group's ability to provide a delightfully unique outlet for both the talented musicians on the inside and those of us looking back in gleeful wonder. Offend Maggie is certainly worthy of multiple spins, and is more than enough to suck you into this band forever.

Reviewed by Brian Christopher Jones
A student living in Scotland and working toward a PhD in law.

See other reviews by Brian Christopher Jones

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