Glorious bastards

By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  September 2, 2009

Amid this torrent of releases — a smart publicity move in a distractible era — Deerhunter's most recent full-lengths solidified their newly respectable status within the mainstream critical establishment. After the months-early Web leak of 2008's Microcastle, the band opted to package the album with an additional LP, Weird Era Cont. The albums complement each other beautifully; where Microcastle, outside of its uncharacteristically clear-eyed and momentous single "Nothing Ever Happened," found the band's gauzy swaths of guitar more melodic and refined, Weird Era Cont. assured early fans there was still some raw violence left in Cox's dystopic vision. The dualistic approach was rewarded with near-unanimous critical acclaim from outlets with tastes mainstream, stuffy, and avant-garde alike; the set placed 11th in 2008's Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll of print music critics. While they regularly sell out club dates, the band remain commercially hindered, as they cater to a fanbase well-versed in downloading leaked albums (rather than their more iTunes/NPR friendly peers, Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear). They maintain an abrasive level of volume and outsider appeal in concert — the deafening sheen is comparable to that of My Bloody Valentine — but as Cox has become a known (and relatively tempered) quantity, the band have achieved a recognition they couldn't have expected early on: unabashed respect.

Christopher Gray can be reached at cgray@phx.com.

DEERHUNTER |with Milkman's Union | at Bowdoin College's Morrell Lounge, in Smith Union in Brunswick | Sept 10 | ticket info forthcoming, free for Bowdoin and USM students | www.wbor.org

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