Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A Deer A Horse dives in to sludgy, grimy pop with “Backswimmer”

A Deer A Horse (Photo: Lauren Galloway)
A Deer A Horse (Photo: Lauren Galloway)

Brooklyn’s A Deer A Horse is a band that doesn’t adhere to any one musical identity. Across its previous releases the band has turned in indie-pop, Devo-like spasms, and seemingly everything in between. And the title track to its new EP Backswimmer, which The A.V. Club is premiering below, opens with a doom metal dirge while still having a huge vocal hook. In a way, it sounds like the Melvins turning in a pop song, finding ways to keep a hook running through a song that’s otherwise grim and sludgy. It’s an approach that fits the song’s thematic arc, which the band describes as being influenced by the documentary series Making A Murderer.

“Backswimmer” is inspired by the series Making A Murderer, and named after an insect that, while swimming, can see both above and below the surface of the water with its large split eyes. The song itself came from a home recording Rebecca made with a very Devo-esque monotonous bass line. She brought it to rehearsal, but like most of our songs, we ripped it apart and put it back together. Rebecca penned the lyrics with the concept of someone constantly swimming against the tide, partially submerged or stuck in an inescapable cycle. It’s that idea of taking two steps forward and one step back, unable to escape a system designed to work against you. As a finishing touch, Dylan had the idea of adding in a series of grooving offbeat hits as a bridge. In a way, this mind-fuck of a bridge is reflective of the greater meaning of the song: just when you think you know what’s going to happen next and you have it all planned out, the bottom drops out and you’re left reeling.


Backswimmer is due out March 10th via Custom Made Music.

A Deer A Horse tour dates

2/6—St. Vitus—Brooklyn, NY
2/15—Union Pool—Brooklyn, NY (Planned Parenthood Benefit)
2/17—Footlight—Queens, NY
2/23—Friends and Lovers—Brooklyn, NY
3/7—Shea Stadium—Brooklyn, NY
3/9—Sidebar—Baltimore, MD
3/10—Charlie’s American Cafe—Norfolk, VA
3/11—TBA—Ashville, NC
3/12—House Show—Atlanta, GA
3/14—Homoground—Austin, TX (SXSW)
3/14—Beerland—Austin, TX (SXSW)
3/15—Cliche Collective #WCW Show—Austin, TX (SXSW)
3/16—Hard Luck Lounge—Austin, TX (SXSW)
3/18—Free Rent ATX - Kitty Cohen’s—Austin, TX (SXSW)
3/19—Smear Magazine—Austin, TX (SXSW)
3/21—FOAM—St. Louis, MO
3/22—Five Spot—Nashville, TN
3/23—Magbar—Louisville, KY
3/24—No Culture Live—Columbus, OH
3/25—Palanzo’s—Pittsburgh, PA
3/26—Slime Time Live—Philadelphia, PA
3/30—Bushwick Public House—Brooklyn, NY
4/8—Our Wicked Lady—Brooklyn, NY
4/11—Ethyl’s—New York, NY
4/13—TBA—New Brunswick, NJ
4/14—Upstate Artists Guild—Albany, NY
4/15—Bard College—Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
4/20—Our Wicked Lady—Brooklyn, NY