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Friday, October 22, 2010

Listen To This While High: 'The Merry Barracks,' by Deerhoof

Posted By on Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 8:39 AM

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Given numerous (and proliferating) testimonials to cannabis use in its lyrics, it may be safely ventured at this late hour that rock music and marijuana go together like jazz and teacup gin. Racks of rock LPs, even entire sub-genres of the music, reach the ears already reeking of the devil's weed, and a purist's temptation to follow suit is nigh irresistible. Since staggeringly strong dank is readily available and a high-speed Internet connection makes every laptop a potential Mighty Wurlitzer, it's worth any doper's while to lower a resin-crusty critical bucket into the blogged MP3 stream for suitable musical accompaniment for getting ripped to the tits.

Listen to this while high: "The Merry Barracks" by Deerhoof, found on Hype Machine.

Recommended strain: Blue Goo -- a malodorous, skullfuck of a sativa-dominant hybrid which I bolstered with a pinch of Sour Diesel hashish for meditative purposes.

Behind the buzz: I've loved these guys since someone flung the Milk Man CD over my transom back in 2004. L.A. back then was just developing a skronky underground of its own, and Deerhoof would occasionally play the Smell, their whole-souled weirdness slotting admirably within the general WTF? ambience of that storied downtown venue. This track is off the band's forthcoming Deerhoof vs. Evil, which drops in January.

Palate cleanser: The video for Starship's "We Built this City." Though both songs are equally decorative and absurd, this is as close to total sonic opposition to Deerhoof as San Francisco pop-rock offers. The part about Marconi playing the mamba offers a nice preliminary absurdist giggle.

The point you know you're high: You're fumbling for the play button while tracing pretty filigree patterns with the cursor.

Psychoactive verdict: The opening buzzing riff gives way to a shambling drum march like some morphine-sodden lag going to the gallows. This sense of rollicking unease is intensified by the gentle reminder that "Atomic bombs are going to explode," before we run smack into Satomi Matsuzaki's opening vocal chirrup with warm surprise. The sense of time-distortion imparted by this particular pipeload is especially good for rambunctious fragmented music like this. 


As far as cannabinoid aesthetics go, Deerhoof is as delectable to the sophisto-stoner with a big stack of Ash Ra Tempel albums as to the pop teahead who obsessively replays twenty-second swatches of old Paul McCartney tracks. You wind up headbanging through the stuttering rhythm while chortling with delight over the snatches of daft melody, replaying again and again for unnoticed goodies. A few purists scorn the band for the awesome polish they've acquired over the years, but cranks are everywhere these days, like fools with misspelled placards. This track bodes most tasty for the upcoming album.

The point you wish you were higher: The opening cymbal smash on the fourth consecutive listen finds you searching computer and CD rack for some earwig to neutralize this tune's utter insidiousness. Try this.

Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown and @RonGarmon

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Ron Garmon

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