» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

Rating: 9.1/10 ?

October 21, 2008
Each new Bradford Cox-related release seems to be confounding in some way. Deerhunter's first album, Turn It Up, Faggot, was abrasive, angular guitar rock that made them a perfect touring partner for Liars (which is where they cut their teeth), and Cryptograms jumped around from delay-heavy effects pedal meditations ("Red/White Ink") to strange and sweet concoctions like "Heatherwood." Flourescent Gray compounded on the type of interesting sound parings that made "Heatherwood" and "Spring Hall Convert" so interesting, and then his Atlas Sound venture chilled everything out and revealed Cox to be a much more interesting songwriter than you would gather from Cryptograms.

Now comes Microcastle: it's finally the album that will start converting the skeptics (they say that every time, right?). The album is a lot more song-oriented than Cryptograms, and while it maintains the icy sheen of the Atlas Sound record, it takes it a couple steps further.

When Cox described Microcastle (albeit at the end of a strange blog rant about the timing of the album's Internet leak) as a "fall/winter" album, it was a particularly interesting statement; it's not too often that you hear artists admitting to that type of consideration of their releases, and it is even less often that they are right on. Microcastle had apparently been in the can for a while, but as the summer turns into miserable fall the album indeed sounds better and better. Kind of like how Lou Reed sounds one hundred times better in a smoky, dimly-lit hipster joint than he does at say, a library.

The Velvet Underground is a great place to start with this album: it's got the cold, hip feel to it that made some of the best Velvets songs really stand out. Microcastle's emphasis on interesting guitar work (starting with an instrumental lead-in track that would actually be more at home on a Pink Floyd album than anything Reed's been a part of) and almost disconnected vocals (Cox double-tracks them all, and he sounds almost completely devoid of emotion throughout the album) makes it the type of record that will likely be pored over as a minor cult classic by frustrated adolescents for years to come.

In particular, the sheer virtuosity and guitar magic displayed on lead single "It Never Stops" will certainly reach a wider audience than some of the colder, more "Candy Says" tracks like "Little Kids" or the title track. The guitars are languid and strange in the softer moments, but "Little Kids" is a great example of how repeated listens will pay off: the cut's glacial pace eventually gives way to a fairly subtle ambient send off that might go unnoticed on the first play. It's a small moment, but the kind that seems pockmarked in places you wouldn't expect throughout the album.

Certainly Microcastle already has the cache to last, and - (as one of the skeptics that dismissed the band following Cryptograms ascension, I find it slightly strange to be saying) - Deerhunter have indeed created a masterpiece. While it's not perfect, it has the charm and scope and full realization that was lacking in the band's earlier work, and it stands up to people like me, who, 18 months ago, thought Deerhunter would be nothing if they lost their delay pedals. The band has played the album in its entirety at at least a couple of small club shows, and it's the kind of record that deserves that kind of attention, in that it only gets better as you go along.

Reviewed by Cory Tendering
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See other reviews by Cory Tendering



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