Deerhoof: Green Cosmos

Daniel Rivera

Would-be No-wavers refuse to be pigeonholed with this surprisingly enjoyable, and endlessly inventive EP.


Green Cosmos

Label: Menlo Park
US Release Date: 2005-06-28
UK Release Date: 2005-06-27

Imagine, if you will: artfully strung together phrases, symbiotic progressions of sensory bliss, as well as atmospheric lassitude; crashing and gushing walls of sound carefully tumbling down upon one another only to methodically rebuild themselves fragment by sinking fragment; hyperactive rhythmic constructions that seemingly hurdle forward, dispersing as quickly as they can be identified. Sound appealing? You'd be surprised. Laborious a task as it is to try and pin-point just exactly what Deerhoof are trying to achieve when they open up the door to their particular world of eccentric aural wonder, I would be remiss not to point out the fact that labels, for all intents and purposes, are (quite frequently) a pain in the ass. Sometimes it's best to experience things for yourself.

At a perfunctory glance, this caution-to-the-wind quartet, Deerhoof, hailing from San Francisco by way of Japan by way of Oz, could, perhaps, be lumped into the same category as your run of the mill no-wavers with ne'er an eyebrow to be raised. And it is, in no way, an egregious statement. The compelling factor, though, seems to be the apparent disconnect between Deerhoof's more apparent aspirations and what is actually churned out as the finished product. The simple truth that some may be inclined to overlook is that, at its core, Deerhoof is strictly a pop group. Anything else is peripheral. The stilted ambience, the perplexing jolts of kinetic energy, the oddly timed and, sometimes, disturbing vocal experimentation. It all just happens to be a method to the madness.

On the group's latest EP, Green Cosmos (which was originally slated to be exclusive to Japan), Deerhoof employs shredding guitar riffs, jarring jazz time signatures, and a gentle spirit to effectively bring the ruckus. Hooks are introduced and then abandoned; moods are communicated only to be offset and, yet, it remains one of their most accessible inaccessible works to date. Deerhoof, most notably, has perfected its talents for utilizing compelling progressions that invite as well as linger. Quirky as they may be, the entry points are there. You just have to recognize them. The EP's best track, "Spiral Golden Town", fuses an electro-based pop beat with a funkier jazzercised type melody laid across it. A dreamy classical arrangement tops off the hook, and Satomi gives the track its last bit of graceful oddity.

Even on the more hallucinogenic outings found on Green Cosmos, there is an ever-present affable aura that accompanies the idiosyncrasies that may provide insights into Deerhoof's more pop-based inclinations. One would be hard pressed to find two tracks more ticklish in their mentalities then the EP's opener, "Come See the Duck" or the peculiar yet wayward, "Keneko Kitten". The point is, however, that music such as this really requires no stamp or set moniker. In fact, it quite effortlessly rejects such things with every downbeat and off-timed note.

More often than not, labels do nothing more than create limitations. And what a crime it would be for the creative minds in such a uniformly odd outfit as Deerhoof to be limited to any one thing. With an experience as unique as listening to any Deerhoof album it is best for the listener to enter this land of sonic afterthoughts with little to no expectations. Why not let your imagination run wild? They certainly have.





90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

A Lesson from the Avengers for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.


How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.


Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.


Paul Weller Dazzles with the Psychedelic and Soulful 'On Sunset'

Paul Weller's On Sunset continues his recent streak of experimental yet tuneful masterworks. More than 40 years into his musical career, Weller sounds as fresh and inspired as ever.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.