Spiderman of the Rings (Carpark)
Deacon may the hardest working and biggest hearted artist on the local electronic music scene. As you read this, he's crisscrossing the country—playing six shows in Florida during the first week of June alone—bringing his unique brand of alternately spastic and hypnotic tunes to the masses. The epic "Wham City" encapsulates, in one 11-minute song, many of the qualities that make Deacon so special. It starts slowly with hushed Casio noodling, which soon gives way to chanted, cheer-like vocals that bring the similarly spirited Animal Collective to mind. The vocals then trigger a roiling, rumbling, (Steve) Reich-ian groove that modulates up and down before dropping away and returning with gleeful abandon. The first time I heard the song, I was driving down a country road with the windows down and the sun pouring in, a perfect day—but the goose bumps on my arms were from the music, not the idyllic atmosphere. Infused with humanity and spunk, Deacon's songs are, themselves, a force of nature.
Goodbye East Goodbye West (Western Vinyl)
Like Appalachian gypsies whose cocktail of choice might include a shot of codeine cough syrup, this Baltimore ensemble makes meandering, cinematic music that nods to Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Europe. Accordions wheeze, saws bow, guitars strum, and bass drums oom-pah, as the group waltzes through various roots traditions on "When Last We Heard of Gentlemen," "Imperium In Imperio," and the title track. It's the sort of hoedown that could have been orchestrated by Nino Rota. This disc, and the group that made it, add breadth and depth to the local music scene.