Deerhunter is an indie rock band which formed in 2001 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. They currently consist of Bradford Cox (vocals, guitar, piano), Lockett Pundt (guitar, organ, vocals), Whitney Petty (Guitar), Josh Fauver (bass, vocals), and Moses Archuleta (drums, synths).
The group began with the ambition of fusing the lulling hypnotic states induced by ambient and minimalist music with the klang and propulsion of garage rock. The band has weathered chaotic line-up changes, the death of a member, and much discouragement. Their live performances almost always leave audiences polarized, and have been referred to by Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs in NME as bordering on “a religious experience.”
Cryptograms was the second full-length offering from Deerhunter, and their first for Kranky. The album took almost two years to finish and was the product of emotional, physical, and financial strain on the group. The result is an album that finds the band shifting from discordant catharsis, and forming a sonic identity that completely expresses the place from which they have arrived. The first half of the album was recorded first unsuccessfully in 2005. These recordings were a blur at best, wordless and bordering on psychological atrophy. The sessions failed to provide anything tangible, and were racked with technical and personal problems, including out-of-tune pianos, panic attacks, and a tape machine that seemed to fail to capture the full spectrum of ambience the band was exploring.
The band returned home, having failed, and considered giving up. The idea arose to give it one last shot and exactly one year from the date of the recording of their first self-titled LP at a small studio in rural Georgia, they returned to that same studio and plugged in. The session resulted in the first half of the record which was recorded in one day and completely filled the reel of tape they brought with them. Cryptograms’ first side begins with an introduction leading to the title track, and ends with the tape literally spinning off the end of the reel in the middle of a drone layered with bells and accordion (“Red Ink”). The second half of the record, also recorded in one day, in November of 2005, represents the band in an entirely different state. “Spring Hall Convert” opens with the line, “…so I woke up…” and introduces a set of focused psych-pop songs fixating on adolescence, illness, and failing connections.
On May 8, 2007, the group released the Fluorescent Grey EP, which was recorded in July 2006. This EP also garnered the title of “Best New Music” from Pitchfork Media. In the same month, the band released the Whirlyball 7” single, which was available at only one store in Atlanta, Georgia: Criminal Records. The single also acted as a ticket to a show, which featured the band along with The Carbonas, Selmanaires and The Coathangers. The single was available online for a limited time after the show due to popular demand, but only 200 copies were pressed, with 100 on black vinyl and 100 on clear vinyl.
The quartet’s third album, Microcastle, came out in October of 2008 after being leaked accidentally in May. The physical release was accompanied by an album entitled Weird Era Cont. They were both well-received, scoring a 9.2 and “best new music” on Pitchfork and taking the #1 slot for Tiny Mix Tapes’ annual favorite albums list for 2008.