Deerhunter Rainwater Cassette Exchange [EP]

[Kranky; 2009]

Styles: psychedelic noise pop
Others: Atlas Sound, Lotus Plaza

Deerhunter’s cup runneth over. The Atlanta band has been a fascinating beneficiary and victim of the internet, which has given listeners access to a huge selection of works minor and unfinished as the band sees fit, via their blog... or otherwise. The whole project of Weird Era Cont. was in some ways sabotaged with the accidental leak of its unfinished iteration. It’s generally assumed that this kind of unfettered access is a good thing, and I usually agree. But it’s too bad that bands have almost entirely lost the capacity to surprise their fans, to delay any kind of gratification.

While the innumerable leaks and trickles of the band behind the curtain often underwhelm, though, Deerhunter’s steadfast allegiance to releases of the most traditional form with the old-school independent model of patronage -- thanks to Kranky -- has also ensured an “official” legacy of solid gold, a discography with a long web-enabled shadow. And Rainwater Cassette Exchange continues the trend. Like Fluorescent Grey before it, the EP plays like both a collection of slightly off-message outtakes from the previous LP and a unified miniature set in itself, breathing in an atmosphere just beyond the rarefied realm of its predecessor. It’s minor, small, inconsequential, and completely enjoyable for these very qualities.

The eponymous opener makes good on the idea of “tropical punk” better than even Abe Vigoda, who started pushing the term around in the first place -- and so does the drifty “Game of Diamonds,” like Seals and Crofts’ “Summer Breeze” on peyote (that’s a good thing). Funnily enough, the propulsive standout “Disappearing Ink” bears more than a couple vocal, rhythmic, melodic similarities to — no, really? — The Strokes of Room On Fire (also a good thing). “Famous Last Words” is a little more anonymous, even with its theremin-ish background wail. And finally “Circulation” winds straight up the magic mountain towards the Microcastle in the air, like a soft-spoken little cousin of “Nothing Ever Happened.”

Rainwater Cassette Exchange is another reason to head down to your local cassette exchange and a great nightcap to polish off one of last year’s strongest albums.

1. Rainwater Cassette Exchange
2. Disappearing Ink
3. Famous Last Words
4. Game of Diamonds
5. Circulation

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