Deerhoof – Fever 121614
2015 – Polyvinyl Record Co.
I’m surprised it has taken me this long to write about Deerhoof. By shear probability, I should have gotten to them before now, I have more of their LPs than any other artist (I think Chick Corea and Tom Waits come in second and third). Fever 121614 is a live recording that features so much energy that I’m surprised it could all fit on the vinyl! The songwriting for this band is what has always hooked me. The weaving guitar parts and the chord choices are always interesting and inventive. One listen to “Buck and Judy” will show you what I mean. Many of the chord changes and extensions remind me of all the free jazz recordings that I listen to. Deerhoof has a way of taking a punk rock energy, mixing it with complex chord structures, creative drumbeats, and churning out something that is immediately recognizable as theirs. This is not to say that their sound has stayed the same, quite the opposite, each of their albums follows a different direction musically. Even so, there is something so uniquely Deerhoof-y about all their tunes and this album features songs from a few different records. Musically, with their energy output, the songs should rush, but they don’t. In fact, they sit far back on the beat. Greg Saunier, the drummer, slays the kit and comes up with some of the most inventive fills I’ve ever heard. He is one of the best drummers out there in any genre at the moment. Satomi Matsuzaki’s vocals and bass-playing are creative and always fit into the musical scheme perfectly, never over or under playing. John Dieterich and Ed Rodriguez take the guitarist positions, but simply calling them guitarists seems cheap. They use different sounds and textures to play off each other and make a lot of the harmonic material really shine. If you haven’t checked this band out, you need to. This album is a good introduction, as it covers much of their material and showcases them in a live setting. Deerhoof is, and has been for years, my favorite current band. Go listen now!