Thursday, December 3, 2009

Closing Out The Decade:
Deerhunter - Microcaslte/Weird Era Cont.(2008)

I wrested with the idea of coming up with a list for the AGP's favorite releases of the last 10 years. After some serious back and forth, I made the decision that the last thing we need is another list. Instead we will feature some of the albums that have made a lasting impact on us. These are the albums that we told our friends to buy, annoyed our spouses with, and ultimately inspired us to launch this blog.

From now until the end of December The AGP will feature our favorite albums of the decade. Each week we will feature posts highlighting our favorite albums of the 00's. We will even have a few contributions from the AGP's extended family. We invite your comments, we want to know why you agree with us or perhaps why you think we're off our collective rockers.

We hope you'll join us as we take a look back at the albums that shaped the past 3,653 days our lives.
To say this record took me by surprise is a bit of an understatement. I had my first taste of Deerhunter in 2007 with the release of the bands excellent 2nd album Cryptograms, a record full of instrumental psych rock jams and reverb drenched post punk. I was pretty much hooked on Bradford Cox and Co. So in 2008 when Microcastle/Werid Era Cont. popped onto my radar I immediately grabbed it. What I found was one of the most innovative and rewarding listens of the decade.

Deerhunter's third album Microcastle/Weird Era Cont. was released by Kranky in the U.S. and 4AD in the U.K., on October 28th 2008. The album(s) were recorded at the Rare Book Room in Brooklyn, NY by Deerhunter's four core members Cox, Lockett Pundt, Joshua Fauver, and Moses Archuletta. If Deerhunter had raised the bar with Cryptograms, they obliterated it with Microcastle/Werid Era Cont. It's a much cleaner sounding record than both it's predecessors, with hints of 50's/60's Motown, shoegaze, and krautrock. The album opens with Cover Me (slowly), a minute and twenty two seconds of claustrophobic washed out guitars that build into the chilled out Agoraphobia. From there the Atlanta band weaves through songs of confusion, loneliness, and the fractured human spirit. Somehow it sounds more like a celebration than a funeral march.

I was approaching my late 20's when OK Computer was released and subsequently spoke to a generation about being alone in the computer age and Microcastle /Weird Era Cont. struck me on a similar level thematically. Cold isolation in the new millennium has never sounded so good. I still find myself alternating between the two discs, the cleaner Microcastle and the more experimental psych rock of Weird Era Cont. It's a battle that I have from time to time, which one is better? It's also a testament to the music of Deerhunter, especially since Weird Era Cont. is an outtakes/b-sides album. That fact is astounding considering the quality of the tracks found on it. This was one of record I immediately thought of when I decided to take this segment on, and one that never gets old, I mean ever. How Dearhunter follows up an album as good as Microcastle/Weird Era Cont. is anyones guess, but one thing is clear in the fall of 2008 they released a timeless document of guitar squall, ambient soundscapes, and masterful pop hooks.

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