When: Sat., Sept. 22, 7 & 10:30 p.m. 2012
Bay Area quartet Deerhoof has always played with the tension between sweet melodies and jagged post-Beefheart art-rock, but with each recording the band has changed not just the surfaces of its sound but also the approaches and tools used to create it. On the new Breakup Song (Polyvinyl), as on its 11 predecessors, Deerhoof show no signs of identity crisis—though as usual the album feels like a game of sonic dress-up, you can always tell who it is under there. They embrace shiny synthesizers, warped samples, and brittle, distorted riffs—there's a funky synthetic bass on "There's That Grin" and an 80s synth-pop sheen on "Zero Seconds Pause." Even within the parameters they've established, Deerhoof manage to sound tantalizingly novel from time to time, never more so than on the weird mambo/pop mashup "The Trouble With Candyhands." The songs often seem to be hanging together by a thread, but it's that instability that gives them much of their power. I never get tired of hearing a tune on the brink of dissolution suddenly drop into a massive groove—Greg Saunier's huge but lilting drums snapping into lockstep with Ed Rodriguez and John Dieterich's guitars—or coalesce to reveal a twee vocal melody from bassist Satomi Matsuzaki. —Peter Margasak Early show all-ages with opener Mirel Wagner, late show 21+ with opener Buke & Gase.