Monday, May 21, 2007

Rock and Roll's Avant Garde

Rock music, for all its fuss and fury, and relative newness (barely a half century) is a very traditional art form, borrowing from and leaning heavily on genres like blues (Beatles, Hendrix), but also on country (Elvis, Sun records), roots music (Dylan, folkster), and ragtime.

It is not an easy field for innovation, because of the often hidebound nature of its fan base. We are not talking about Elliot Carter or Harry Partsch devotees here, but the majority of us, who are simple people with simple tastes, who know what they like and want to hear more of it. For every Frank Zappa or Captain Beefheart, there are 10 Journeys or Bad Companies.

But here's a Georgia band, Deerhunter, who is trying to push the envelope on what rock and roll can be - a fluid art form, full of dazzling instrumentation and experimentation. "Strange Lights' is not their best song, but the only one for which a you tube video exists. It will give you some idea of what they are capable of. If you like what you hear, then I highly recommend "Cryptograms," their brand-new album.

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