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“A little bit of indie mixed with some alt-country, sprinkle in some folk, and combine with blues–and here is Deer Tick!” Well, according to their website at least. Fresh off of recording their newest album, Negativity, Deer Tick trekked up from their home in Providence, Rhode Island to stop by the WERS studios. The band, which started off as a John McCauley solo project, has blossomed into a very productive group. Since their formal birth in 2007, they have released five albums, five EPs, and have been featured in numerous magazines and even appeared on Letterman. Their latest album even features a guest appearance by Vanessa Carlton. Lead songwriter McCauley and guitarist Ian O’Neil played a stripped down, three song set much to the delight of both all of us in the studio and the faithful WERS listeners tuning in to the live set.
They began their set with a WERS favorite, “The Dream Is In The Ditch,” the band’s lead single off of their aforementioned new album. Their refreshing and sparse sound immediately recalled a New England forest (of which I’m sure they are familiar with) with every ounce of their pastoral ebb and flow. McCauley’s vocals were reminiscent of Dylan’s raspy growl and nicely contrasted against the soft and gentle guitar chords they wrapped the song around. O’Neil provided some beautiful harmonies that really lifted the song up to a lofty level of listening.
Their next song was “Just Friends,” another one off of their upcoming album. McCauley revealed that the album version of the song is piano-based, but he decided to perform the song without O’Neil’s help; just a man and his mournful guitar. Their next song followed suit and delivered a sad country ballad that repeated the sad refrain: “I’m still in love with you.” The sparse treatment that the duo gave these songs sound like quite the opposite of the studio version of “The Dream Is In The Ditch.” WERS was really treated to an unique experience and we hope that you enjoyed the broadcast!
As previously mentioned, Deer Tick are set to release their fifth album, Negativity, on September 24th and will even be playing Boston Calling this upcoming weekend. McCauley mentioned that the band are planning on playing all of Negativity live for their Boston Calling set, so their show should be very interesting. Negativity was recorded in Portland throughout most of 2012 and 2013 with Los Lobos member Steve Berlin. They’re planning on embarking on a tour that will take them across the United States, Canada, Britain, and parts of mainland Europe. The band also have, at times, covered Nirvana under the guise of Deervana. They actually plan on performing all of Nirvana’s In Utero at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl in honor of the album’s 20th anniversary. Deer Tick represent a truely unique strain of indie, influenced by country and folk music, while still retaining a rock edge thanks to the influence of bands like The Replacements and Nirvana.