Deerhoof | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Deerhoof 

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I want Deerhoof to do a sound track for a monster movie--and I want the monster to be a smiling, fuzzy Barney-like creature who destroys a Japanese city with cuteness, flooding the streets with strawberry icing and using the people as stuffing, Wicker Man-style, for a colossal panda straddling the harbor. Even the title of the San Francisco band's new EP, Green Cosmos (Menlo Park), could be read as a reference to its schizoid amalgam of adorable kitsch pop and stomping prog metal: when Johns Hopkins astronomers averaged the visible light from 200,000 galaxies, they discovered that despite all the celestial violence that surrounds us--furiously spinning pulsars, blinding supernovas, supermassive black holes--the color of the universe is a soothing mint green. (They later revised the color to beige, but that's another album.) The opening track, "Come See the Duck," is classic Deerhoof: crushing, frantic stop-start guitar and drums, like a student driver popping the clutch on a monster truck, with bassist Satomi Matsuzaki's chirpy vocals skipping obliviously through the chaos. (The lyrics to the song, in their entirety: "Come see the duck! / It's really gonna go now.") For the rest of the disc she sings in Japanese, which is a departure from previous recordings--as is some of the instrumentation, like the congas and keyboards on the title track and the swinging strings and disco drums on "Spiral Golden Town." The band may sound friendlier and cuddlier now, but don't be fooled--all it'll take is some ill-timed flash photography and they'll bust out of their manacles to rain terror on another chintzy movie set. This show is part of the Intonation Music Festival; for a complete schedule see page 40. Sun 7/17, 5:30 PM, Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph, www.intonationmusicfest.com, $15. All ages.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Ben Clark.

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