Deerhoof- in session for John Peel – BBC Radio 1 – April 1, 2004 – BBC Radio –
Getting our quirky on tonight with Deerhoof – in session for John Peel and recorded onApril 1, 2004 at BBC Radio 1.
Between Pitchfork calling them “the best band in the world” and The New York Times calling them “one of the most original rock bands to have come along in the last decade”, you get the distinct feeling that missing out on hearing them at least once is done at your peril, and not being familiar with them at all goes against the grain of our site motto “ignorance of your Culture is considered uncool”.
So consider this something of a public service tonight.
Straight-up; with accolades also come perplexities – Critics like them, but they aren’t exactly sure why, or even what they are all about.
Granted, this San Francisco band was initially knee-deep in noise.They have made huge leaps in the ensuing years and this blurb, written by Kurt B. Reighley for Joyful Noise on the occasion of the release of their latest album, Mountain Moves offers hints and pointing directions to what Deerhoof are all about:
“Collisions and collusions abound on Mountain Moves. In addition to its bounty of originals, the program includes three covers that epitomize the album’s assemblage of disparate ideas and personalities. Reducing Bob Marley’s “Small Axe” to a beat-less fragment of hymn-like simplicity magnifies the song’s rebellious spirit and undercurrent of violence. Deerhoof vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki, a Japanese immigrant, lifts the Staple Singers’ “Freedom Highway” out of its original place and time, imbuing it with a new sense of alienation from one’s own country. Snippets of the bass recitative “For behold, darkness shall cover the earth” from Handel’s Messiah provide the foundation for a fresh take on Chilean folk hero Violeta Parra’s bittersweet masterpiece “Gracias a la Vida.”
Adventures outside the United States also informed the making of Mountain Moves. During a recent visit to Brazil, the band was astonished to see how enthusiastically audiences at concerts sang, danced, and reveled – a cultural response, they learned, to the scarcity of resources for all but the nation’s wealthiest elites. Elsewhere, the experience of confronting unfamiliar audiences of fired-up Red Hot Chili Peppers fans taught them that one of their greatest skills – the ability to recalibrate their sound nightly to suit a particular venue – wasn’t limited to basements or small clubs. The broader strokes of Mountain Moves sprang forth from lessons learned while trying to engage audiences of 20,000+ across the vast distances of Northern European sporting arenas.
If Mountain Moves were a movie, it would be a double feature, Journey to the Center of the Deerhoof and Escape from Planet Deerhoof, shown side-by-side simultaneously. The record epitomizes the band at its very best, exploring new realms between the poles of independence and invention. It also serves as a welcoming point of entry for new listeners outside Deerhoof’s traditional orbit, an opportunity to bring even more voices into the communal conversation. We’re all in this together.
Deerhoof is John Dieterich, Satomi Matsuzaki, Ed Rodriguez and Greg Saunier. The only thing they see eye-to-eye on is the freedom to not see eye-to-eye. Their guests on Mountain Moves include Awkwafina, Juana Molina, Mantana Roberts, Xenia Rubinos, Lætitia Sadier, and Jenn Wasner. Together, they made this record for you. For all of us.”
So to get an idea of what they were sounding like in 2004, during their first (and only) session for John Peel, here is that broadcast from May 12, 2004 – the session was recorded on April 1.
Crank it up.