Arcade Fire is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Internet's potential as a band mega-hype machine. True, the Montreal outfit's orchestral pop probably would have been noticed eventually, although recognition would have come a bit more slowly and organically. But the newest band to benefit from online buzz could rise even quicker, and without nearly as much gravitas.
Deerhunter, five lads from Atlanta as gaunt and wide-eyed as if they were still in high school, is not a group anyone knew in January. Yet an 8.9 review on Pitchfork for its Cryptograms debut on Kranky, released just days ago, virtually assures the band a high level of scrutiny for a while -- as does its chumminess with bands like Liars and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The attention could work wonders for Kranky, too. Finally, after a steady diet of acclaimed post-rock and slowcore artists like Low, Godspeed and Charalambides, this long-running Chicago indie label could have its day in the sun.
But like any controversial Interweb topic, Deerhunter -- more likely named after the video game than the movie, if this generation is any indication -- dichotomizes audience opinion as starkly as a Bush-Gore election. The hate vibe is mostly generated by MySpace moppets who, having grown up with Justin and Britney, still desperately need a clingy pop hook. They generate comments such as "You have no melodies, there was [sic] no songwriting skills involved, lack of chord structures, and your songs are pathetically too long. I turned my back to your group after 2 songs ... and I remainded [sic] that way until your wannabe art student asses left."
The praise meanwhile, emanates from college music nerds who can spell, and who seem to realize that art-schoolers often come up with the finest bands: Sonic Youth and Talking Heads, for starters. They refer to the ultra-reverbed vocals of singer Brad Cox and the shimmery guitars of Colin Mee and Lockett Pundt as a more stripped-down Jesus and Mary Chain. The cognoscenti also point out that the propulsive energy of the rhythm section begs comparison to Can at its peak, while the layered, billowy pop elements recall the band's Georgia brethren from the Elephant 6 camp.
All of which sounds like something at least worth checking out, especially since it's free and at Carnegie Mellon on a Tuesday when nothing else is going on. One can only hope and dream that the texting set delves into Kranky's back catalog and discovers a time when music was based as much on actual innovation as on coolness by association.
Deerhunter with Harangue. 8 p.m. Tue., April 3. Underground Café, Morewood Apartments, Carnegie Mellon University campus, Oakland. All ages. Free. 412-268-2107