January 10, 2008

Best of 2007, #3

#3: Deerhoof, "Friend Opportunity"
I have a reputation, it seems, of listening to nothing but weird, inaccessible music that nobody has ever heard of. But if you downloaded the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss songs, you'll see that this is clearly a canard. Much of the music I listen to is stuff that I think most people would like -- but if you're not like me, trolling MP3 blogs all the time to hear what's new, it's pretty easy to miss anything that's not getting played over the sound system at Starbucks (not to denigrate the music selections at Starbucks -- god knows they have top 40 radio beat all to hell). Mind you, there are a lot of people like me, if the popularity of MP3 blogs in any indicator; it's just that the set of "people like me" and the set of "people I know" have a fairly small intersection. (Hi, Brendan!)

That said, this album is weird and many of you probably won't like it very much.

I haven't been listening to Deerhoof all that long. I bought their previous album but one, "Milk Man", based on a review that made it sound interesting and one track I downloaded which I dug. Unfortunately, that was the only song on the album that I really liked. So I sort of wrote them off, but then I ran across a gushing review of "Friend Opportunity" which compared it to the work of prog bands like Yes, Genesis, and King Crimson -- and there really isn't a much better way to get me intrigued than to drop the prog bomb. Well, with some conditions: I've gotten impatient with the pretentions that invariably accompanied the prog epics of yesteryear, and while sidelong songs like "Close to the Edge" and "Get 'Em Out By Friday" have been grandfathered in, nowadays I'm the sort of music listener who can't really summon up the energy to care about the Mars Volta. So I like bands that take what I like about prog -- a loose approach to song structure, innovative arrangements, a devil-may-care attitude about time and key signatures -- and still manage to write short, catchy songs. This album does a kickass job of that.

Well, there is one 12-minute song, but whaddaya gonna do.

Of course, before I bought the album, I downloaded quite a few songs. Having been burned before, I didn't want to base a purchase on only one track. But I liked everything I heard, so into my virtual shopping cart it went. And here are two of the songs that sold me on it, for your listening pleasure (perhaps): "+81" and "Matchbook Seeks Maniac".

But seriously, anyone I know who might care to own this album (hi, Brendan!) probably has it already.

Posted by Francis at 10:10 PM

Over the last few years Deerhoof have risen to the #1 spot on my last.fm playlist. I don't think of them as being my favorite band, or even really in my top 10, but they are great fun and I like pretty much everything they've done. My favorite album is Apple O', check it out!

Posted by: Doug Orleans at January 10, 2008 11:14 PM
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