Wednesday, December 03, 2003

One thing I haven't quite understood this year is why the San Francisco band Deerhoof seem to be getting much better reviews and much more word of mouth than the UK band KaitO. Both have squeaky voiced female lead singers, stop-start tempo changes, quick swings in dynamics, and melodies lurking under much noise. With geographical appropriateness, Deerhoof go for a looser, almost Thinking Fellers Union Local feel while KaitO stick closer to the more tightly-wound English post-punk of the 80's (no saxophone though). Being a more tightly-wound type of person, I side with KaitO in a big way. (By the way, I kept thinking that KaitO sounded like Liliput, and in fact I was going to post their song side by side with Liliput's Split today, but they actually don't sound as alike as I'd imagined, though I still think there's some conceptual similarity.) Anyway, KaitO's 2003 release Band Red is headed straight for my top 10 of the year and, um, Deerhoof's 2003 release Apple O' is sitting on the shelf with other items of middling interest. Here's a side by side comparison, first Deerhoof with Dummy Discards A Heart which is one of the most focused songs on the album, then KaitO with Should I. To my ears, Deerhoof can be a little precious while KaitO (not unlike the Clinic) have one or two strong ideas behind every moment of every song. And I have to admit that Deerhoof's lead singer's little whimsical Japanese girl schtick (not as apparent on the above song) gets on my nerves very quickly. At least Nikki Colk from KaitO just babbles when she's not shrieking.

There's a video for the KaitO song here (it's pretty minimal, but it works 'cause the song is so arresting) and this is their website where a few of the links actually work. I think that the funny capitalization was to distinguish them from the electronica Kaito. They also go by Kaito UK at times...I think that's how they're known in the US these days. KaitO's first album You've Seen Us...You Must Have Seen Us is kind of hard to find, in my experience, but it's also really great. Here's Go from that one.

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