🎵 How Good Are They Really 🎵 Deerhunter

The dullest kind of Pitchfork band.* I’ve never understood the appeal of them. I’ve tried to watch them live twice and was so bored that I left both times.

*(Actually that’s Destroyer)

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You know how last week I said Fucked Up came at just the right time for me and as a result Ive grown up with them? Deerhunter arguably have a similar place and time in my life. I remember being absolutely blown away by Cryptograms when o heard it for the first time, and even more so when I saw them at the ABC2 in Glasgow around the time I decided to move there, where their rendition of Octet I rememt being particularly stunning. I was stood right in front of Josh as he became a massive inspiration to my bass playing.

Fun fact, this was the show Bradford wrote this:

As @Tuna says, that run from Cryptograms to Halcyon Digest is absolutely insane. A ridiculously high quality output between 2007 and 2010 and a fantastic live band to boot. Everything they’re released since has been varying shades of good but there was a clear drop off when Josh left the band never recovered from. Nethertheless, they’re still a 5. They’re peak is the kind of output most can only dream of.

Last time they came over at the end of 2019 my old band Spoilers got to have a little reunion thanks to going to see them at the Roundhouse, as they were a band very important to our formation, and even got to meet the band afterwards. It was a special time.


definitely good and with a handful of really great tracks, but got no particular love for them - surprised by some of the adulation they get. Probably listened to Lockett’s Spooky Action at a Distance more than any DH album. I think this was just an era where I was more into the British indie scene, despite how short lived most of that was and despite how (relatively) huge all those Brooklyn/P4K bands got - don’t have a deep knowledge of the back catalogues of a lot of the 2005-2010 American indie favs

outside of the big hitters, think this might be my fav track

in that 3 to 3.5 territory for me,

Four. Have some really, really good stuff. Cryptograms is an incredible album but everything after that is a bit wishy washy for me with the odd moment of magic.

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Only heard a couple of songs which were pretty dull. Will give one of their albums a go: which one?

was quite into them around cryptograms, and think fluorescent grey was the best thing they did. quite liked microcastle when it came out but was definitely starting to lose interest a bit around then. only heard bits and pieces from them since which i thought sounded pretty poor. probably been a decade since i listened to them. somewhere between a 2 and 3, can’t decide.

Completely passed me by at their peak, which is a bit of a shame as it would have been right up my street and sounds like seeing them live around that period would have been quite something. Listened to Fading Frontier and Why Hasn’t Everything… when they came out and thought they were decent enough but a bit underwhelming after everything I’d by that point heard.

Then went back to some of the older stuff in the last couple of years, and yeah - really fucking good. Think Halcyon Digest is their best by some way, just a perfectly formed album which doesn’t have a second wasted. Still some stuff from their earlier days that I’m not so familiar with that I’m looking forward to getting into off the back of this thread.


Cracking record


put it on right after I made that post


Solid 4, and if we were rating them based on their peak it’d be a 5, but we aren’t so they’re not.

Got into them around microcastles, probably thanks to this place and went back to cryptograms. Two incredible albums those. Saw them twice around this period, in 2009 with Sian Alice Group and Seven and the Witch (absolutely shambolic end to a brilliant gig when they played an improv I Wanna Be You Dog) and in 2010 (Bradford was sick on the side of the stage during the gig, was quite subdued and said he owed Brighton a gig to make up for it). Might’ve been touring Rainwater Cassette Exchange or around the time of an ATP.

Anyway, massively fallen off a cliff since that golden run, and not really a band I return to often now. But Cryptograms, Microcastles/Weird Era and the EPs around this time are top tier.


Spring Hall Convert/Hazel St/Strange Lights is a great run of tracks.


5/5 for this alone tbh


Listened to Microcastle a fair bit because I think there was a DiS review and I wanted to try something new. I tried hard to like it and there were a couple of goodish tracks but overall I found it very bland, like the less good Beck songs but with a filter on the vocals so you couldn’t hear what the singer was saying.

I’m going for 2 only because I was sold a promise of something that didn’t materialise for me.

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Ha, I was going to post almost exactly the same thing. I think I bought Microcastle based on DiS love back when I still bought CDs (can’t be sure it was that one though) and I remember it being fine but can’t remember a single thing about it now. Might try listen today and see if it brings back any memories.

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Also isn’t this the band that played My Sharona for 2 hours straight and smashed up some venue?

If so, I don’t think that’s very nice and they shouldn’t have done it

Yeah Bradford Cox asked the guy who requested it to get on stage and strip if I remember correctly. Quite a strange person it seems.

BIg ol’ 5 from me, one of my favourite bands. Agree that they are one of the best guitar bands around and I reckon they would have been much, much bigger if they were active in the 90s.

I heard them first when I went to uni in 2009, and then was absolutely blown away with Halcyon Digest in 2010. Despite that, I didn’t go see them when they played Glasgow on that tour due to being too socially anxious to go on my own. Throughout uni I did bond with my now very good pals over all of these ‘pitchfork’ bands, with Deerhunter and Grizzly Bear at the top. I was so excited to see them at The Arches on the Monomania tour, which was scheduled on my birthday! …and then was cancelled.

So, having been a fan for around six years, I finally got to see them at 2015 when they played SWG3 in Glasgow. The gig started with an Atlas Sound set, which was really just Bradford shuffling about doing a noise set and wasn’t great. They did a cool thing where the rest of the band crept onstage during his last song and transitioned into Desire Lines, but apart from that it was a pretty messy gig. It was kinda like they were still playing the Monomania style but without Frankie, and with these new polished Fading Fronteir songs.

ANYWAY, that gig meant that when they were playing Primavera the following year I was kinda dreading it - they were slotted on the mainstage between Brian Wilson and PJ Harvey and I was sure they were just gonna get lost. But all my pals (the guys I had bonded with at uni) were going so we got a good position to watch, and wow, they absolutely blew us away, they had two additional members and just owned the stage. Such great memories of dancing about with my pals to these songs we really loved, felt like the headliner for that day.

Seen them a couple of times since, and they have always been absolutely brill. Agree that the golden days of Cryptomania/Flourescent Grey/Microcastle/Halcyon Digest are all firmly in the rear-view, but they are still releasing great music imo. Much more than a lot of bands at their age.


don’t know anything about the guy but hopefully that’s not a regular thing for him/them

There was also this

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very strange thing to fabricate if so

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