“We neither had it all nor shall we…We are just fine without your promises.”

Satomi Matsuzaki on ‘Black Pitch’

The Beard – EP 91 – Deerhoof by Beard Radio on Mixcloud

Deerhoof is the quintessential gateway band. Like the Velvet Underground and Pixies before them, they have spawned 1000 other bands, some of whom have gone on to sell lots of records. Not publicly so-well-known for their multi-directional syncopation and almost Hellenistic melody chugging out their intense maximal sound from a few strings and percussives, but to the indie-girl / -boy fanclubs their sound has slowly become part of industry vernacular: St. Vincent, Flaming Lips, Tune-Yards and Dirty Projectors are just a few of the bands to owe debts of gratitude to the foursome of Satomi, Ed, John and Greg.

Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita

But who is Deerhoof? (Read the HESO Interview from their 2008 Japan tour) Why have they lasted? How are they so influential, yet still relatively unknown? They put out a notably good album just a couple months ago. So why have they never become rich and famous but still have managed to have stuck around for over two decades — having celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. According to the press release from this past November’s release of La Isla Bonita, drummer Greg Saunier stated:

No band is an island. Felt like one sometimes, in those budgetless and obscure early days, Satomi [Matsuzaki] and me locked in the basement trying to figure out how our clashing personalities and ideas could turn into a band. If we hadn’t had that crazed mid-’90s Bay Area punk scene to call home, I doubt we’d still be here to chat about a 20th anniversary. We don’t set out to create masterpieces. The Deerhoof fan is a thrill-seeker. This is the latest volley in an ongoing conversation we’ve been honored to hold for 20 years.

That their 13th studio album was not recorded in a studio, but demo tracks were recorded for a week at guitarist Ed Rodriguez’s basement and sent to Godmode Records guy Nick Sylvester, an early Deerhoof supporter back from his days as a music critic for Pitchfork, who eventually produced the album. Drawing on key influences Radiohead, The Flaming Lips, Lou Reed, Sonic Youth, Beck, the Roots, Ric Ocasek and David Byrne, La Isla Bonita is, above all a Ramone-y groove album, with repeating riffs and their trademark nonlinear yet efficient arrangements. It swings to and fro with approachable and yet still disjunctively “weird” melody and rhythm patterns, enough to be true to past form while still as explorative as a car speeding down a darkened highway lit by only the moon and driven by the odd and beautiful music within. See photos from a live show in Tokyo.

Deerhoof - La Isla Bonita

Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita

Upcoming Dates

  • Jan 31 Indigo Fest Santa Ana, CA
  • Feb 14 Dzik Warsaw, Poland
  • Feb 16 Lido Berlin, Germany
  • Feb 17 Conne Island Leipzig, Germany
  • Feb 18 Zoom Frankfurt, Germany
  • Feb 19 Petit Bain Paris, France
  • Feb 20 La Maison Folie Mons, Belgium
  • Feb 21 Melkweg Oude Zaal Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Feb 23 Marble Factory Bristol, United Kingdom
  • Feb 24 Stereo Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • Feb 25 Brudenell Social Club Leeds, United Kingdom
  • Feb 26 Oval Space London, United Kingdom
  • Feb 28 La Route Du Rock Festival (Winter Edition) Saint-Malo, France
  • Mar 09 Toad’s New Haven, CT
  • Mar 10 Paradise w/ of Montreal Boston, MA
  • Mar 12 Beachland Ballroom w/ of Montreal Cleveland, OH
  • Mar 13 The Metro w/ of Montreal Chicago, IL
  • Mar 14 Turner Hall w/ of Montreal Milwaukee, WI
  • Mar 15 First Avenue w/ of Montreal Minneapolis, MN
  • Mar 16 The Waiting Room w/ of Montreal Omaha, NE
  • Mar 17 ACM – UCO Performance Lab w/ of Montreal Oklahoma City, OK
  • Mar 18 Walter’s Downtown w/ of Montreal Houston, TX
  • Mar 19 SXSW Austin, TX
  • Mar 20 SXSW Austin, TX
  • Mar 21 Thirsty Hippo w/ Fred Thomas Hattiesburg, MS
  • Mar 23 The Earl w/ Fred Thomas Atlanta, GA
  • Mar 24 Mercy Lounge w/ Fred Thomas Nashville, TN
  • Mar 25 Duke Coffeehouse Durham, NC
  • Mar 26 Ottobar Baltimore, MD
  • Mar 27 Pearl Street Northampton, MA
  • Mar 28 Marlin Room at Webster Hall New York, NY