Deer Tick

WRITTEN BY
Jeffrey Parker

Who? Deer Tick is Providence, RI's singer/guitarist John McCauley, backed by drummer Dennis Ryan. The band's debut release, War Elephant, arrives September 4th via the Houston-based Feow! imprint. The band plays New England shows this fall.

What's the Deal? Google "Deer Tick," and you're greeted with some pretty gruesome pictures -- arachnid wildlife and open sores do not make for pleasant feelings. War Elephant does, though -- McCauley sings, "I should have been an angel / But I'm too dumb to speak" with such conviction that you sort of forget that not only is he speaking, he's doing it beautifully. The record recalls summer nights in the woods where one might pick up his band's namesake, shot through with a drawl somewhere between Nashville and nowhere (or the Northeast -- whatever). Like San Franciscans Two Gallants, McCauley mines the rich tradition of the American South better than most actual Southerners -- you know Ryan Adams is pissed he didn't write the line "I gotta get drunk / I gotta forget about some things" (from "Art Isn't Real (City of Sin)"). McCauley explores the existential depths of love and the artistic highs of loss, and perpetually makes the case, as he claims to believe on "Long Time," that "agony is a sound."

Fun Fact: McCauley's apparently looking to sell himself to the highest bidder -- just check out his MySpace page. In the "About" section, he says "Any consideration for your McDonalds or your Chevy commercial would be appreciated. Deer Tick's lookin' to really sell out." This isn't the most impressive bit of sacrifice for his craft, though. Under "Sounds Like:" "John McCauley went and sold his soul to the devil again." Again? That, my friends, is dedication.

Now Hear This:
Deer Tick - "Diamond Rings 2007" DOWNLOAD MP3

Now Watch This:
Deer Tick - "Art Isn't Real (City of Sin)"

On the Web:
Deer Tick at MySpace
deertickmusic.com

Talk: Did Deer Tick bite you?

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