Elevate Difference

Live Session EP

You either have that friend, or are that friend: the friend who tells people about obscure artists that seem weird or off-putting, but always become familiar with time. These bands usually rise from unknown to an only quasi-obscure status within about six months of your introduction, making your friend appear to have some magical intuition or inside information. For me, that friend is Israel.

We were in Israel’s green Subaru in Lincoln, Nebraska when I first heard the child-like Japanese/English ramblings of a mystery band, and I asked who it was. He said it was Deerhoof.

Drums are thrashing, guitars are humming and squealing, Satomi Matsuzaki is singing like a six-year-old in the bath. From the Live Session EP, the fifth song, "Basketball, Get Your Groove Back," seems like the zenith of the album’s fitful and fanciful lyrics. Reminiscent of stumbling into an Asian clothing store to find t-shirts that exclaim, “I’m If!” or “Boy girl smile love,” Satomi’s insistent and staccato, “Basketball, basketball, basket--b-ball, b-ball, b-ball/Escape!/Bunny jump, bunny jump, bunny, bunny, bunny jump” is both funny and awkwardly endearing.

While many of the compositions give a sense of being erratic, and jerk like a rusty skeleton, they hold a mysterious and driving beat that makes them incredibly catchy nevertheless. A great set of six songs to flail, clean, or mutter incoherently along with, Deerhoof’s Live Session EP is oddly enjoyable and comes with a four-star rating from yours truly.

Written by: Tatiana Ryckman, May 15th 2009