Why?, Deerhoof

Initially, this looks like an odd combination; you could call Why? an indie-loving rap outfit (or vice versa), while Deerhoof (pictured) toys with structure and melody, writing bizarre pop songs that can seem half-formed at first blush. A closer listen reveals what they have in common: an arty streak, a stylistic spikiness that can make finding an entry point into their material a trying—but ultimately rewarding—experience. Both groups are daring, yes, but the evolution of each band suggests that they're also self-aware enough to know that adventurism comes at a cost. Now, Why? are embracing more folk and rock as they become increasingly estranged from the alt-rap scene, while Deerhoof are sporting cohesive songs (well, more cohesive, anyway) and giant-sounding guitars. The changes haven't left them toothless, just more balanced, pairing their eccentricities with populist touches. There's no chance that either of them could backslide into mainstream blandness, but Why? and Deerhoof understand that it's not enough to be surprising; sometimes, you also have to be sweet.With Southeast Engine. All ages.
Sat., June 26, 6 p.m., 2010

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