The buzz surrounding Dan Deacon has reached a near fever pitch, coming to a head with the coveted “Best New Music” honors that were bestowed by Pitchfork last week. It’s easy to see why Spiderman of the Rings could be considered one of the better albums of the year, but I was actually a little surprised that Pitchfork has been so adamant about it, considering they have been fairly consistent in shooting down most acts that get hyped by blogs. I suppose there’s little point in shooting down something that’s so undeniably good.
Strongly embedded in geek culture, Dan Deacon combines experimental electronica, chiptunes, kid’s music, bubblegum and nerdcore — all with a large dollop of weird. The opening track, “Wooody Wooodpecker”, utilizes the laughter of said character as a foundation and then builds an entrancing, triumphant mess of xylophone, programmed percussion, and chiptunes upon the cacophony. “The Crystal Cat”, the obvious choice for the first single, follows as an outright dance number in which Deacon constructs soaring pop melodies and playfully defiles them with his chipmunk wails. This pretty much sets the overall tone for the album, which somehow maintains a delicate balance between abrasive, experimental noise and poppy, weird fun. If you can’t get down with these opening songs, you probably can’t get down with the record… and I honestly pity you for it.
Dan Deacon is also preparing for a massive two month U.S. tour, starting on May 25th. Check out the full list of dates on his myspace page (linked above). His live shows are supposed to be something special, even “as fun as third-grade birthday parties”. That statement (from The Forkcast) is meant to be taken quite literally, as Deacon often engages in various organized crowd activities — from handing out lyric sheets for sing-alongs to games of dance tag. If that’s not an incentive, I don’t know what is.
Download: Dan Deacon – Wooody Wooodpecker
Bonus: The video for “The Crystal Cat” is essentially an incarnation of the surreal weirdness that dominates Spiderman of the Rings. It combines lo-fi psychedelics, nonsensical glimpses of men in strange costumes (often doing things that make you feel a bit uncomfortable), a looming 8-bit-like “crystal cat”, and Dan Deacon bringing some serious nerdcore. You couldn’t really ask for more.