Deerhoof, Priests, White Reaper | Bottom Lounge | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Deerhoof

Deerhoof

Yasuhiro Ohara

When: Tue., Nov. 11, 9 p.m. 2014
Price: $15
Few rock bands are more reliable than Bay Area four-piece Deerhoof, who sound better than ever on their 13th album, La Isla Bonita (Polyvinyl). They’ve found a sweet spot they can keep mining for exciting new forms of beauty—the sugary, faux-naive vocal melodies of bassist Satomi Matsuzaki float within John Dieterich and Ed Rodriguez’s polyphonic matrix of tricky post-Beefheart electric guitar, buoyed and buffeted by the heavy, limber grooves of drummer Greg Saunier. The new album’s koanlike lyrics voice displeasure with the state of America—on “Doom” Matsuzaki lays out what she sees as U.S. citizens’ starkly limited options (“Deny / Bow your head and pray / Or save up to leave for Holland or Scandinavia”), and on “Exit Only” she criticizes the country’s hostility toward visitors (“Thank you for coming / Get out now”). But what floats my boat about Deerhoof, as always, is the masterful marriage of seemingly incompatible elements: the multipartite songs shift tempo, density, and tone with neck-snapping suddenness, and the guitars add their share of surprises too, breaking apart, playing off each other, or tangling wildly. —Peter Margasak

When I first caught D.C. punk band Priests last summer, they’d already attracted a lot of hype, even though they’d been around only about as long as it takes Ian MacKaye to walk a couple blocks in the U Street Corridor. That said, I wasn’t too familiar with them—I’d heard their awesome “Radiation” seven-inch, and I knew about their angry lefty politics. So Katie Alice Greer, the band’s force-of-nature front woman, was a revelation to me—she writhed and climbed on the monitors and took the audience by the throat. Earlier this year the four-piece released a seven-song EP, Bodies and Control and Money and Power (Don Giovanni), that’s fueled by the postpunk-inspired riffs of guitarist G.L. Jaguar and Greer’s rallying cry, which morphs from blood-boiling (“Modern Love/No Weapon”) to surprisingly melodic and in tune (“Right Wing”). The EP can surprise you with its poppiness, but when Greer locks the mike in a stranglehold against the force of her voice, her ferocious attitude sounds perfectly in line with her D.C. punk lineage. —Kevin Warwick

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