Standing in a Greyhound Bus station, wearing a Sylvester t-shirt and huge duct-tape-covered glasses, Baltimore 's Dan Deacon doesn't invoke the image of a composer to the other bus riders. The two suitcases he loads under the bus, which accompany him from city to city, hold the sweat-and-grime-soaked electronics that he uses to craft his raging, maxed-out party music and light show. After 12 tours and 300+ shows in little over 2 years, the gear is beaten and battered, but the show and the energy it produces is anything but. Dan Deacon has garnered a reputation in the underground as an intense performer and classic showman. The table top full of pedals, a sine wave generator, vocoder and casio blasting through the PA, joined by a makeshift light board with various bulbs and green skull strobe light, make his all out dance-til-you-drop performance a complete experience.But it isn't all fancy feet and bouncy beats. Deacon is a classically trained composer with a Masters degree in electro-acoustic composition. He has released 7 albums from 2003 to 2006, but those self-produced recordings do not contain the vocal-based experimental pop that he has fine-tuned in live performance. His latest full length, Spiderman of the Rings is the first album bridging the gap between party performer and genuine composer. A mixture of his live show dance anthems, intricate instrumentals and humorous monologues, 'Spiderman of the Rings' establishes Dan Deacon as a new type of entertainer in the contemporary underground.
Baltimore-based bedroom electronic pop musician Dan Deacon has made a thrilling, buzzing little album that cagily mixes the throwaway with the epic. The record's centerpiece, a paean to Deacon's hometown called "Wham City," is so smartly constructed, anthemic, and lush, it makes Sufjan Stephens look like a confused, overreaching Boy Scout. While on the subject of comparisons, Deacon is repeatedly compared to Daniel Johnston in interviews. And sure, they both can display a love for whimsy and have been known to record using very inexpensive means, but Johnson seems to have such a wellspring of confusion and fear that he's working from. There's a euphoric thrill to Deacon's squeaky, looped-out music. The opening tune "Woody Woodpecker" piles so many chintzy and cheesy elements together it should be the most annoying thing ever. But it's expertly crafted and kaleidoscopic, and it will only annoy people who hate fun. You should take this song, or the entire album, with you on a first date with you and play it for that person. If they do not like it, you should never date them again, even if they are very rich. --Mike McGonigal