Deerhunter introduced a new lineup back in March, and the following month they revealed they were recording a new album called Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? in Marfa with Welsh musician Cate Le Bon producing. In the interim the band released an experimental tour-only cassette called Double Dream Of Spring, but today a new rollout is getting properly rolling. They’re officially announcing the new album — their first official LP since 2015’s Fading Frontier — and sharing a video for its lead single.
Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? is out in January on 4AD. In the final accounting, the album doles out producer credits to not just Le Bon but also Deerhunter, Ben Etter, and Ben H. Allen III (the last of whom produced Fading Frontier and 2010’s masterful Halcyon Digest). According to a press release, Le Bon plays harpsichord on “Death In Midsummer” and contributes vocals to “Tarnung” as well. The album also features her DRINKS bandmate Tim Presley (aka White Fence) playing “abstract lead guitar” on “Futurism.” Allen plays a “synthetic bass system” on “Plains,” and Ian Horrocks (apparently a different guy than this Oxford computer scientist who comes up when you Google) plays contrabass on closing track “Nocturne.”
The album leads off with “Death In Midsummer,” which is also the lead single. The song is apparently inspired by the Russian Revolution of 1917, which reached its 100th anniversary last year while Bradford Cox and the band were presumably writing the new album. Given Cox’s peculiar and subversive songwriting instincts, you may not be surprised to learn that musically it’s quite chill, a low-key dream-pop number threaded with Le Bon’s harpsichord. Lyrically, it’s much darker. For example: “Your friends have died, and in their lives, they just fade away/ Some worked the hills/ Some worked in factories/ Worked their lives away/ And in time you will see your own life fade away.”
In the “Death In Midsummer” video, directed by “Alan Smithee,” Cox and bandmates make their way across the sweltering American Southwest. In one memorable scene, Cox walks down the middle of a highway with a can of gasoline in his hand. Watch below, where you’ll find semi-extensive notes on the album and tour dates including runs through Japan and South America.
In addition to sharing a tracklist, Deerhunter have provided notes for each song on the album. Read them below.
01 “Death In Midsummer (4:22) — Caption of photograph found in book: “Revolution In The Streets of St. Petersburg, July 1917.” The photo shows figures of people running away from piles of bodies.
02 “No One’s Sleeping” (4:26) — On 16 June, 2016 Labor Party MP Helen Joanne Cox died after being shot and stabbed multiple times in Birstall by Thomas Mair, a mentally ill man with ties to a Neo-Nazi organization. He shouted “Britain first” as he carried out the attack.
03 “Greenpoint Gothic” (2:02) — An architectural interlude for synthesizer and drums.
04 “Element” (3:00) — Elegy for Ecology (a landscape done in toxic watercolors)
05 “What Happens To People” (4:16) — Eulogy for “Emotions”
06 “Détournement” (3:26) — A postcard from the slipstream
07 “Futurism” (2:52) — Nostalgia is toxic.
08 “Tarnung” (3:08) — A walk through Europe in the rain
09 “Plains” (2:13) –James Dean spent the Summer of 1955 in Marfa, Texas filming ‘Giant,’ before his death on September 30th.
10 “Nocturne” (6:25) — Live stream from the afterlife.
11/04 SAO PAOLO, Brazil @ Balaclava Festival
11/08 SANTIAGO, Chile @ Blondie
11/10 SANTIAGO, Chile @ Fauna Primavera
11/11 BUENOS AIRES, Argentina @ Personal Fest
11/13 QUITO, Ecuador @ La Ideal
11/14 LIMA, Peru @ Sala Raimondi
01/17 LOS ANGELES, CA @ Lodge Room
01/21 OSAKA, Japan @ Bigcat (with Gang Gang Dance)
01/22 NAGOYA, Japan @ Electric Ladyland
01/23 TOKYO, Japan @ O-East
02/15 NASHVILLE, TN @ Cannery Ballroom (with Fay Webster)
02/18 CLEVELAND, OH @ Mahall’s 20 Lanes (with Mary Lattimore)
02/19 DETROIT, MI @ El Club (with Mary Lattimore)
02/21 TORONTO, ON @ Danforth Music Hall (with Mary Lattimore)
02/22 MONTREAL, QC @ Le National (with Mary Lattimore)
02/23 NEW HAVEN, CT @ College Street Music Hall (with Mary Lattimore)
02/24 BOSTON, MA @ Royale (with Mary Lattimore)
02/27 BROOKLYN, NY @ Brooklyn Steel (with Mary Lattimore, L’Rain)
03/01 PHILADELPHIA, PA @ Union Transfer (with L’Rain)
03/02 WASHINGTON DC @ 9:30 Club (with L’Rain)
03/03 BALTIMORE, MD @ Ottobar
03/05 PITTSBURGH, PA @ Mr. Small’s Theatre (with L’Rain)
03/06 LOUISVILLE, KY @ Headliner’s Music Hall (with L’Rain)
03/08 SAVANNAH, GA @ Savannah Stopover Music Festival
Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? is out 1/18 on 4AD. Pre-order it here.