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Alternatif et Indé - Released September 8, 2017 | Joyful Noise Recordings

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Even though politics were inescapable at the time of Mountain Moves' release, Deerhoof had a typically creative way to address the issues of the late 2010s. The result of their residency at Joyful Noise, the album finds the band collaborating with like-minded artists on songs of resistance that emphasize the importance of joining together. On "Con Sordino," they celebrate free speech (and song) as Satomi Matsuzaki rallies their forces with the equally charming and confident manifesto "we know we can sing." Adding new voices doesn't dilute Deerhoof's signature sound; instead, it expands it. Juana Molina joins the group on "Slow Motion Detonation," a testament to enduring resistance, while the throaty pleas of Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner make for a lively contrast with Matsuzaki's optimism on "I Will Spite Survive." Later, Laetitia Sadier brings her expertise at making political protest beautiful to "Come Down Here & Say That," which manages to be graceful and confrontational at the same time as she and Matsuzaki sing about cowards and dreamers. Indeed, Mountain Moves is one of Deerhoof's prettiest albums in some time, and its eclectic, full-hearted pop plays like a more concise version of Runners Four, particularly on the proggy parable "Kokoye." Time and again, the band proves it hasn't run out of styles to combine, nor ways to combine them: "Your Dystopic Creation Doesn't Fear You," which melds surf, funk, and pop with Awkwafina's rap, is a wild ride even for Deerhoof. Still, they manage to make the most unlikely juxtapositions work, especially on the opera-tinged version of Chilean ethnomusicologist Violeta Parra's "Gracias a la Vida" and the boogie-woogie-meets-funk cover of the Staple Singers' "Freedom Highway." Mountain Moves' whimsy often feels like a party that just happens to be political, but it's this sense of joy that makes protest -- and Deerhoof's career -- sustainable. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternatif et Indé - Released July 13, 1999 | Kill Rock Stars

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Alternatif et Indé - Released October 15, 2019 | Kill Rock Stars

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Pop - Released May 1, 2009 | Kill Rock Stars

After seven albums' worth of gleeful pandemonium, Deerhoof calm things down a bit with The Runners Four, a collection of songs that are even more restrained than Milk Man and the Green Cosmos EP. Perhaps trying for the unpredictability of their earlier work got too, well, predictable for the band. Even though the manic intensity that characterized work like Reveille is missed a little here, The Runners Four is still a far cry from typical indie rock; in fact, it sounds more like one of Deerhoof's older albums played at half-speed than anything else. Most importantly, the joyful creativity that radiates from all of the band's other work is here in spades, too: it's hard not to smile at "Twin Killers"' zigzagging riffs or "Scream Team"'s giddy, girl-boy vocals. At the beginning of the album, there's more of an emphasis on pretty, relatively gentle songs like "Chatterboxes," "Odyssey," and "Vivid Cheek Love Song," although even these tracks have enough shifts in tempo and dynamics to prove that they're the work of Deerhoof. However, as The Runners Four unfolds, it gets progressively louder and more overtly playful, with "Spirit Ditties of No Tone," "Lightning Rod, Run," and "O'Malley, Former Underdog" providing some of the album's most irresistible moments. By the time "You're Our Two" and "Rrrrrrright" close out the album, Deerhoof are back to the sugar-buzzing rock of their early days. In between these extremes are the pretty pop of "Running Thoughts" and noisy, experimental cuts such as "Midnight Bicycle Mystery" and "Bone-Dry," which recalls the more elliptical moments of Deerhoof offshoot Curtains. While it's not as clearly conceptual as Milk Man was, The Runners Four also seems to tell an extended, if fractured, story involving murderous twin beauties, spies, pirates, and smugglers. There's a lot to look and listen for in The Runners Four; it's Deerhoof's longest, most eclectic work yet, and more proof that the band can expand its sound without losing what makes it special. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternatif et Indé - Released June 30, 2018 | Polyvinyl Records

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Pop - Released May 1, 2009 | Kill Rock Stars

Deerhoof follows Apple O', an album that won the group ever-growing critical and popular acclaim, with Milk Man, an album even more conceptual and song-oriented than its predecessor. Inspired by the spooky yet adorable work of illustrator Ken Kagami -- whose art graces the album's cover and liner notes -- Milk Man tells the tale of a masked, pied piper-like being who lures children into his dreamland and then traps them there. The vision and the visuals surrounding the album are a perfect fit with Deerhoof's music, and, perhaps befitting Milk Man's status as a concept album, this time around the band incorporates more prog rock-like keyboards and other electronics into its sound. The pretty ballad "Dream Wanderer's Tune," with its lyrics about kings in castles in the sky and its playfully elaborate keyboards, exemplifies Deerhoof's move to more intricate, contemplative music. Since the album is relatively restrained, it's not quite as buoyant as Apple O' or Reveille, and it lacks a little bit of the delirious overload of Deerhoof's earliest work, but that doesn't mean that it's less distinctive. "Desapareceré" is one of Milk Man's best and most unique tracks, mixing clicking and shuffling electronic drums with sugary synths and Spanish lyrics into a very different take on electronic pop; "Dog on the Sidewalk" consists mostly of bubbling and fizzing electronics and Satomi Matsuzaki's deceptively simple vocals. Milk Man does have its fair share of noise, particularly on the instrumentals "Rainbow Silhouette of the Milky Rain" and "That Big Orange Sun Run Over Speed Light," as well as on "Song of Sorn," which starts out as a burst of noise and ends up oddly, but distinctly, poppy. This poppiness is responsible for many of Milk Man's best moments, including the sunny title track and "Milking" -- which are among the most straightforwardly melodic songs Deerhoof have ever written -- as well as the sweet final track, "New Sneakers," which does indeed capture the childlike glee of new shoes in lyrics like "Skipping all over with these shoes/Oh speed." Milk Man isn't all sweetness and light, though: Greg Saunier's lumbering drumming adds an extra edge to the monster party that is "Giga Dance"; "C"'s brittle vocal melody is mirrored by guitars that are pretty at first but then turn loud and thrashy. But even in its louder moments, Milk Man is a surprisingly subtle album, and one that takes Deerhoof's music in quietly exciting new directions. ~ Heather Phares
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Pop/Rock - Released January 24, 2011 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternatif et Indé - Released June 24, 2016 | Polyvinyl Records

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Rock - Released November 17, 2001 | Menlo Park Recordings

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Alternatif et Indé - Released May 1, 2009 | Kill Rock Stars

More expansive than Friend Opportunity, not quite as sprawling as The Runners Four, Offend Maggie is among Deerhoof's most balanced albums. However, that doesn't convey the sense of adventure that courses through every track. "The Tears and Music of Love" begins the album with emphatic guitars that turn mischievous and a shape-shifting melody that keeps changing right up to the song's end. Offend Maggie is one of Deerhoof's most riff-filled albums since Apple O', thanks to the addition of second guitarist Edward Rodriguez to the fold: power chords set off the flute-like purity of Satomi Matsuzaki's voice on "My Purple Past," and the acoustic strumming on "Don't Get Born" makes its brevity all the more striking. The band brings both of theses sounds together brilliantly on "Offend Maggie" itself, which moves from a briskly lilting acoustic figure that recalls a sped-up John Fahey or Ali Farka Touré to plugged-in chugging, while Matsuzaki sings about a telemarketing romance gone wrong over rollicking drums. That Deerhoof can pack so much appeal and inventiveness into two minutes shows, once again, that they don't so much "go pop" as remake pop in their own image. Elsewhere, Offend Maggie gives equal time to the charming but not too cutesy Deerhoof with the hyper-expressive "Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back," where Matsuzaki becomes the ball as she describes how the players dance and weave on the court, and "Snoopy Waves," which buries its bubblegummy melody under drums and distortion. The more challenging Deerhoof surfaces on "Eaguru Guru," which name-checks the German prog rock band Guru Guru and nods to prog with its massive keyboards and guitars, intricate rhythms, and suite-like movements. "Fresh Born"'s towering bassline and spiraling guitars make it Deerhoof's version of funk-rock, while "This Is God Speaking"'s distorted vocals and rinky-dink electronics sound like an homage to Experimental Dental School. The introspective Deerhoof get their due on "Family of Others," where a spooky intro gives way to John Dieterich's vocal harmonies, rippling guitars, and meditations on interconnectedness, and on "Jagged Fruit"'s jazzy, moody finality. While Offend Maggie isn't as dramatic a change from what came before it as Friend Opportunity and The Runners Four were, its subtler changes and elaborations make it far from predictable -- other than that, it's another consistently interesting Deerhoof album. ~ Heather Phares
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Pop/Rock - Released January 24, 2011 | Polyvinyl Records

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Pop - Released May 1, 2009 | Kill Rock Stars

After the brilliant sprawl of The Runners Four, it would've made sense if Deerhoof continued in the same direction on their next album. It turns out that Friend Opportunity is a model of efficiency, packing just as much dazzling creativity into ten tracks as The Runners Four did into 20. This new approach could be seen as a reaction to the departure of Chris Cohen, who left to concentrate on his own band, the Curtains, but Deerhoof is such a mercurial group that some kind of change was inevitable. And, as good as The Runners Four was, Friend Opportunity just might be even better. It's as though the band took the ideas they tossed around last time -- more streamlined, structured songs combined with a wider sonic palette -- and threw in more highly concentrated sweetness and weirdness for good measure. Though most of these songs are short, they've got a lot of presence, and Friend Opportunity opens with three of Deerhoof's most adorable, accessible songs yet. "The Perfect Me" kicks off the album with galloping percussion and organs that sound like rays of sun bursting through clouds, two of Friend Opportunity's main musical motifs. "+81" is the single, which makes sense, since its collision of acrobatic guitars, subtle electronics, marching band snippets, and irresistible "choo-choo-choo-choo beep beep" chorus distills the album's kitchen-sink pop perfectly. "Believe ESP" is a surprisingly funky departure, with a slinky melody that lilts, slithers, and takes detours into chamber pop and noisy breakdowns, yet still sounds purposeful. Later on, this ultra-pop side of Deerhoof resurfaces with "Matchbook Seeks Maniac," which easily ranks as one of the band's best songs yet. It's also one of their most straightforward songs, with a soaring melody that leads into a bittersweet yet rousing chorus, but lyrics like "I would sell my soul to the devil/If I could be on top of the world" keep things nicely unpredictable. The other facets of Deerhoof's sound sparkle on Friend Opportunity, too: they explore their softer side with "Whither the Invisible Birds?," a symphonic ballad sweet and yearning enough for a cartoon heroine, and "Choco Fight," which is surprisingly pretty and mellow, given its title. Things get more experimental as Friend Opportunity ends: "Kidz Are So Small" is a startling track, even by Deerhoof's standards, with Satomi Matsuzaki singing from the perspective of a dog and a man over tumbling beats and rubbery synths (based on this song and Milk Man's "Dog on the Sidewalk," man's best friend inspires some of the band's most out-there songs). "Look Away," an 11-minute suite-like piece, balances the rest of Friend Opportunity's poppiness with loping guitar riffs, rambling pianos, and keyboards that sound like feedback. Deerhoof is in an undeniable groove -- with each album, they make their flights of fancy seem easier, and push pop's boundaries farther. Friend Opportunity is the perfect name for their approach: they look for, and find, the best possibilities in whatever comes their way. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternatif et Indé - Released January 29, 2016 | Polyvinyl Records

Given the size of Deerhoof's songbook and their frequent touring, it's a little surprising that they didn't release an official live album until 2015's Fever 121614, Live in Japan. Nevertheless, it lives up to the band's reputation as a consistently fun live act. Not surprisingly, Fever 121614 features more than a few songs from 2014's La Isla Bonita. The live setting lets that album's punk influence shine, whether on "Exit Only"'s hurtling riffs or "Paradise Girls"' winning combination of sprightly and crushing. Throughout the album, the muscle behind Deerhoof's musical gymnastics is apparent: "Dummy Discards a Heart" sounds even more like a bizarro version of stadium rock here than the studio version did, while "Come See the Duck" gets an extra shot of adrenaline. Meanwhile, the clever segue from "Twin Killers" to "I Did Crimes for You" allows the songs to flow like a six-minute rock opera that would make the Who proud. Deerhoof throw in a few surprises as well, transforming "Flower" into a jazzy, minor-key workout and giving "Let's Dance the Jet" a surf-metal makeover. The album's only drawback -- and it's a small one -- is that it doesn't quite capture the electric crowd energy of a typical Deerhoof show. Regardless, Fever 121614, Live in Japan delivers most of what makes the band so engaging in concert. ~ Heather Phares
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Rock - Released February 4, 2014 | Menlo Park Recordings

Initially released only in Japan and later in the U.S. via Menlo Park, Deerhoof's Green Cosmos EP shows off a less manic side of the band than their usual modus operandi. The bright, brassy rocker "Come See the Duck" (based on the way the song sounds, the duck must be fire-breathing and six feet tall) is the closest the EP gets to Deerhoof's quintessential approach; even though Green Cosmos is only seven songs long, the band spends the rest of the EP trying on as many different sounds and feelings as they can cram into it. The production is surprisingly lush, with songs like the jazzy "Hot Mint Air Balloon" boasting brass and xylophones and "Spiral Golden Town" moving from trippy symphonic samples to an odd -- but totally Deerhoof -- fusion of chamber-pop, synth-pop and big-beat. Elsewhere, the band goes gentle: "Malalauma" is delicately psychedelic, with an appropriately Asian feel, while Satomi Matsuzaki's meowed vocals on "Koneko Kitten" make the track that much more adorable. Since Green Cosmos is so short, its eclectic sound doesn't stick around long enough to feel scattered. Instead, it just reaffirms Deerhoof's unspoken manifesto -- that music should be fun -- and offers a nice, bite-size portion of their crazy sweetness. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternatif et Indé - Released October 26, 2018 | Famous Class

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Alternatif et Indé - Released September 26, 2018 | Famous Class

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Alternatif et Indé - Released April 17, 2010 | Kill Rock Stars

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Pop - Released May 1, 2009 | Kill Rock Stars

San Francisco's strident Deerhoof is a much-loved deconstructionist art-pop outfit. The band is part no wave skronk, part Yoko Ono meets the B-52's, and part weirdo J-pop, and continues to push the musical envelope on each new recording. Reveille is a pretty good example of what Deerhoof is capable of. Quite a few of its songs are instrumental, for the most part, helter-skelterish flare-ups with primitive Casio-like bloops and bleeps, angular fizz-pop guitars, and epileptic drum freakouts. Those few songs that feature Satomi Matsuzaki's purring falsetto -- her very presence elevates this band above most avant pop groups -- have a simplicity and sugar-soaked sweetness, enticing listeners with charm before boxing their ears with an all-out aural assault. Reveille begins with an unassuming spoken word opening before launching into a variety of sounds. "All Rise" has a baseball stadium-cum-church organ feel, and "Days & Nights in the Forest" starts off with progressive jazz elements before introducing other elements. Though Deerhoof reportedly has to be seen performing live -- when the bandmembers are able to temper and balance the explosive quiet-loud of their tunes -- to be fully appreciated and to get the full effect, this album is as good a place to start your journey as any of the group's recordings. ~ Bryan Thomas
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Alternatif et Indé - Released February 3, 2009 | Kill Rock Stars

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Pop - Released May 1, 2009 | Kill Rock Stars

On their second full-length, San Francisco band Deerhoof continues its reckless recombination of noise, abstraction, and the occasional turn to structure -- while the album's free-form noisefests come somewhere between the Boredoms and Caroliner. Deerhoof frequently brings this experimentation full circle into fuzzy, out-of-control pop territory ("A-Town Test Site," "Polly Bee"). The alternation between abstraction and structure (with both underpinned by raw live drumming and female vocals) seems to work better than either would by itself, appealing to both ends of the noisy, unstructured pop spectrum. The Man, The King, The Girl also includes five tracks from one of the bands' live performances. ~ Nitsuh Abebe