Deerhoof Release Jaunty New Record The Magic
Deerhoof are an indie rock band that hail from San Francisco, California. Since their formation in 1994, they’ve self-produced all of their records and self-managed their entire career, an admirable feat when you consider the struggle that many bands go through to promote their music to a sizeable audience. With no producer and no major-name record label, Deerhoof may seem confined to underground crowds and SoundCloud listeners, but that’s definitely not the case. They’ve reached a substantial amount of followers on music services such as Spotify, and they continue to put out new music after more than two decades. Their record The Magic, released on June 24th, is their thirteenth studio album. Talk about prolific!
In addition to their status as an exemplar of indie rock, Deerhoof have also received the experimental rock label. Their musical style has varied unpredictably throughout their career. They’ve dabbled in genres such as noise pop, punk rock, and even avant-garde. I made sure to keep this in mind when I listened to The Magic. After I gave the album a few listens, I considered it to be an energetic garage rock record, with elements of raw indie rock and lo-fi (low fidelity) sprinkled here and there. It’s a fun collection of compact tunes, filled with robust drumbeats from drummer Greg Saunier and plenty of jagged guitar crunches from guitarists John Dieterich and Ed Rodríguez.
“The Devil and His Anarchic Surrealist Regime” opens The Magic. The guitars on this tune sound particularly pleasant. Bright and jaunty, they weave in and out of the solid drumbeats and suitably back bassist and vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki. Deerhoof seem to want to have fun, and they really achieve it with this tune.
The very next track “Kafe Mania!” is another highlight. The synthesizer that starts off the tune and the guitar riff in the chorus are incredibly catchy and practically beg for you to bob your head to the melody.
“Life is Suffering” is fantastic and definitely one of the stronger tunes on The Magic. The splendid synthesized bass at the start helps cement the tough resonance of the drums on this track, and the guitar sounds janglier than ever. The “higher and higher and higher” lines stand out as perfect vocal material to belt while you’re alone at home with the album in hand. This may be my favorite track on The Magic.
“Dispossessor” is another short and heavy yet fun and fast-paced track. More vocalists feature in the chorus this time around, and the guitars really shine here, as they almost reach arena rock status toward the end of the tune.
“Plastic Thrills” places garage rock guitar riffs front and center combined with Matsuzaki’s vibrant vocals to create a tune that sounds like 1970s rock. It’s one of the faster tracks on The Magic, one that you could blast through your car speakers as you zoom down the highway.
These tracks are just some of the highlights I’ve pulled from The Magic. Never before have Deerhoof emphasized aggressive guitar-driven rock so significantly, but they’re known for experimental music, after all, so this album shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. If you’re interested in The Magic, watch the music video for arguably the record’s best track “Criminals of the Dream” on YouTube below. If the tune pulls you in, you can find The Magic as well as the rest of Deerhoof’s discography on Spotify.