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by Mike Corrigan and Darcy Caputo & r & Deerhoof & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941.463440633 & amp;type=10 & amp;subid= & quot; & The Runners Four & lt;/a & **** & r & This delightfully odd S.F.-based quartet seems to take peculiar delight in pushing rock boundaries past the rupture point. The Runners Four relies on quirky arrangements, breakneck dynamic shifts and the impossibly catchy, sing-along melodies of singer/bassist Satomi Matsuzaki. Yes, the lyrics are nearly unintelligible -- a natural result of Matsuzaki's wispy, high-register broken English. But who cares?


Using a range of attacks -- strumming, pounding, arpeggio -- guitarists Chris Cohen and John Dieterich spastically dispatch crunchy power chords, no-wave drone and intricate guitar lines that stun but never devolve into prog-rock posturing. Their catalog of guitar sounds is positively bulging, allowing for an ever-revolving variety of textures.


Song titles like "Vivid Cheek Love Song" and "Lightning Rod, Run" neatly reflect the free-association of the lyrical approach. Within minimal structures, linearity surrenders to a personal and willfully esoteric logic. On "You're Our Two," for instance, riddles are wrapped in absurdity -- that is until the song leaves you with a final, explicit directive: "Believe all fools or die."


Believe it -- or not. -- Mike Corrigan





Animal Collective & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941.463440637 & amp;type=10 & amp;subid= & quot; & Feels & lt;/a & **** & r & Every couple of years, it seems that the rock world is inundated with hype from the capital of modern culture. But this time it isn't the contrived uber-hipsters the Strokes or Interpol that are generating a great amount of buzz. Brooklyn-based Animal Collective's new album, Feels, finds them on the verge of massive critical acclaim, and rightly so.


Animal Collective's style is very hard to pinpoint, and Feels is no exception. It's an eclectic mish-mash of folk-rock psychedelia, electronica and experimentation. Brian Wilson and Eno are obvious influences. Animal Collective's music is extremely modern, though, and very new. Highlights include "The Purple Bottle," which explodes like a circus caravan parading down Mulberry Street a la Dr. Seuss, and "Loch Raven," which pulsates like the would-be soundtrack to a moon landing: ethereal, surreal, shimmering and totally out of this world.


Unlike New York's retro-rockers, Animal Collective is breaking barriers, not merely rehashing early rock accomplishments in $1,000 suits. It's the difference between being an artist and playing one on stage. -- Darcy Caputo
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