Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Jam With Bits In: Deerhoof

Today, Billicatons is delighted to hand over the e-megaphone to a guest-blogger – whose evocative, ebulliently metaphorical words on Deerhoof demand to be reproduced verbatim (save for a bit of formating and the odd paragraph return here and there to maximise your blogreading pleasure).

So – ladies and gentlemen – I give you Rebecca on 'Milk Man' (watch the live youtube video, which I am sadly unable to embed). I challenge anyone to point me to a more intriguing, persuasive description than this. It's a longer post than usual. But worth every word ...

We've all been there. Sometimes it's a case of too much of a good thing. Most meals: if it slides down a treat, and I think nothing of it - then that's a good thing right? Like the best actors are the ones you don't notice.

Well yes, but, it's probably not all that much fun, is it? That food slid down, and I hardly needed to chew it. What was the point in that?

Then there're those times we feel our body taken over. Too much of a good thing? Too much of a bad thing? Who knows. Who cares? Only the offended digestive system – gurgling and spluttering like nobody's business. (And yet somehow makes itself everybody's business. Yes, I am in that interview room. It is silent; but for the unforgiving belly. And, you know, somehow I don't care. In fact: do your worst, abdomen. Make some noise. Make me pay. It's worth it. The food was that good.

I'm talking here of course (isn't it obvious?) about Deerhoof.

Atonal, phrase-flitting. A genreless pool of several generations' worth of jazz ... no – punk ... no – rock ... no – dammit, I don't know what the hell to call it! But it tastes to me like they've only gone and flippin' well taken the best, fruitful jammery - without allowing any of the good spontaneous bits to get lost.

It's like someone somewhere must have notated all their improvised key jumping and time signature twisting, for us to then have the pleasure of listening back to the band's own re-interpretations of this. All is preserved, and packed in to this perfectly formed vessel. Unsettlingly different.

You think I'm milking these alimentary metaphors? You'd be right. That's only so I can seamlessly sway your attention to the subject of 'Milk Man' – the first track of the album that shares its title. Listening to the opening, you'd be fogiven for thinking you'd stumbled across footage of some forgotten 1970s psychedelic festival. Then crunches in the distortion to drag us back to the present – not so much kept in check by, but rather, finding itself the subject matter of, a ramshackled, dissipated drum attack.

Live, they are a bit shambolic, with drummer Greg Saunier apparently doing his best 'to forget he's a drummer.' Meanwhile, Satomi Matsuzaki's voice paints by join-the-dot numbers in ghostly gouache over a dirty Pollock.

There is not a damn thing I don't like about this band.

I'm talking about the spring in my step as I power walk to work listening to them ... A spring that sometimes flirts with dance: swing around those lamp posts in the trumpet solo. I dare you.

Deerhoof remind me to celebrate life. And they do so by having fun with their own damn good music. And in honour of this: I am going to have some jam on toast. Good bread. Good, compact jam. With bits in.


halem said...

Absolutely fascinating write have me converted. I must get me some jam and toast now too.

Ally said...

I'm so fucking delighted you (Rebecca that is) like Deerhoof as much as I do!

Tom Parnell said...

I'm fucking delighted, Ally, that you are delighted that Rebecca likes Deerhoof as much as you do. I was, moreover, delighted to tell Rebecca, earlier today, that I was delighted to report that I was enjoying listening to Milk Man in the wake of her words. She was, I'll warrant, delighted to hear this.

Ally said...

Fucking delightful!

Related articles