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Friday, May 15, 2009
Special to The Japan Times
Bradford Cox, frontman for Atlanta, Georgia's, self-styled "ambient punks" Deerhunter, tends to attract attention.
Standing at 193 cm tall, the waiflike, gaunt musician has a genetic disorder known as Marfan syndrome that is characterized by abnormally long limbs. Early in his musical career, his eccentric behavior seemed to be founded on the notion that since many people are likely to stare anyway, why not give them something memorable to gawk at.
After debuting in 2005 with their eponymous full-length (unofficially named "Turn It Up Faggot" after taunts often hurled at the band), it was Deerhunter's second effort, 2007's "Cryptograms," that captured the ears of the underground rock community. While playing live to promote that release, Cox sported ladies evening dresses and was known to smear fake blood on his face, play with finger puppets and engage in the occasional simulated sex act.
With his onstage antics and personal life overshadowing Deerhunter's music in the media, a tamer, more focused Cox emerged with the unveiling of last year's fantastic psych-pop- and postpunk-styled "Microcastle." The acclaimed recording, which many critics hailed as one of 2008's best, has only been available as an import in Japan but will receive a proper domestic release in July. There has been no word yet on whether the band's upcoming "Rainwater Cassette Exchange" EP, which is set to drop on June 8, will also be issued here.
However, the quintet will make their first visit to Japan in June, when they will co-headline the last two shows of their tour with Akron/Family. The American avant-folk rockers are supporting their latest effort, "Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free," released on Tokyo's P-Vine Records on May 2.
Deerhunter play June 4 at O-Nest, Tokyo (7 p.m.; ¥3,800;  3462-4420); June 5 at Metro, Kyoto (7 p.m.; ¥3,800;  52-4765); June 7 at K.D. Japon, Nagoya (7 p.m.; ¥3,800;  251-0324); June 8 at O-West, Tokyo (7 p.m.; ¥5,000;  5784-7088); June 9 at Fandango, Osaka (7 p.m.; ¥5,000;  6308-1621). For more information, visit www.contrarede.com