The Bay Area has a history of giving birth and hosting many of the most unique, innovative musicians in music. For example, in the last decade alone, The Bay has been home to Joanna Newsom, Thee Oh Sees, Devendra Banhart, John Vanderslice, etc. Nonetheless, even in a locale full of exotic, innovative bands, Deerhoof easily stands out as one of the most creative and unusual bands in town. Their albums and songs are simultaneously chaotic, sweet, thrashy and melodic. They’ve won wide critical praise and have been asked to open for indie-rock titans including Wilco and Radiohead. Presently, Deerhoof is an indie rock four-piece consisting of guitarist John Dieterich, drummer/keyboardist Greg Saunier, guitarist Ed Rodriguez and vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki. Their 2004 release, Milk Man, recorded when they were a three piece sans Rodriguez, is a classic.
The album’s title track “Milk Man” is the album’s opener and most straightforward cut. It features shining guitars, powerful drums and a melody that alternates between thunderous and sunny. Of course, the lyrics are anything but straightforward, but seem to tell the tale of a masked milk man with bananas “stabbed into his arms” who sings “boys and girls / be mine / I’ll take you to my dream land / now you’re mine.” Thanks to Saunier’s heavy-duty drumming and Dieterich’s menacing guitars overlapped with haunted-house keyboards, the next track, “Giga Dance,” is darker than the opener, but still relatively straight forward (for Deerhoof that is). “Rainbow Silhouette of the Milky Rain” is a notable highlight on the album blending stabbing keyboard chops and steady percussion with complex structure to create a intriguing, jazz-inspired instrumental. The short, but memorable, “Dog on a Sidewalk,” features splintering electronic blips and stuttering electro tones as Matsuzaki brightly repeats the songs primary lyric: “dog on the sidewalk.” It’s a head trip. Indeed, the album remains both consistently rewarding and pleasantly challenging throughout. This is an album you should listen to at least once, but will probably want to listen to over and over again. The vinyl release seems to be out of print, but you can get it on CD over at Insound.