Halcyon Digest

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Halcyon Digest
Studio album by Deerhunter
Released September 28, 2010
Recorded June 2010 at Chase Park Transduction Studios in Athens, Georgia and Notown Sound in Marietta, Georgia
Genre Indie rock, experimental rock, psychedelic pop,[1] dream pop[2]
Length 45:50
Label 4AD
Producer Deerhunter, Ben H. Allen, Henry Barbe
Deerhunter chronology
Rainwater Cassette Exchange
(2009)
Halcyon Digest
(2010)
Monomania
(2013)
Singles from Halcyon Digest
  1. "Revival"
    Released: July 21, 2010
  2. "Memory Boy"
    Released: April 16, 2011

Halcyon Digest is the fifth studio album by American indie rock band Deerhunter. It was released September 28, 2010[3] to very enthusiastic reviews. It was the band's first album distributed exclusively by 4AD worldwide (previously 4AD only handled overseas distribution while Kranky Records handled it within the U.S) The album was produced by both the band and Ben H. Allen, and was recorded at Chase Park Transduction studios in Athens, Georgia.[4] The final track, "He Would Have Laughed" was recorded separately by Bradford Cox at Notown Sound in Marietta, Georgia and is a tribute to the late Jay Reatard.[5]

It is the band's last album to feature bass guitarist Joshua Fauver.

Concept[edit]

Writing on his Facebook profile page, Cox stated "The album's title is a reference to a collection of fond memories and even invented ones, like my friendship with Ricky Wilson or the fact that I live in an abandoned victorian autoharp factory. The way that we write and rewrite and edit our memories to be a digest version of what we want to remember, and how that's kind of sad."[6]

Answering the Q magazine question as to whether the album was "...supposed to sound like a newsletter or bulletin board from somewhere mysterious", Bradford Cox said: "It's supposed to be like a collection of short dispatches". He called the use of the word 'Halcyon' misleading, adding: "It has a lot to do with the way people romanticize the past, even if it was horrific."[7]

The album artwork was provided by renowned Atlanta photographer George Mitchell. Deerhunter drummer, Moses Archuleta, initially suggested a "stark black and white theme" with Cox ultimately selecting Mitchell's photograph because "it had an immediate connection to the music, especially songs like 'Basement Scene'."[8]

Promotion[edit]

To help promote the release of the LP, the group launched a new website where they urged fans to download a promotional flyer (created by Cox by photocopying images together) and email pictures of it "hanging in your town, neighborhood, bedrooms, etc." To reward those who had emailed photos, the band revealed the tracklisting and album artwork via email.[3] The first single, "Revival," along with some unused demos and b-side "Primitive 3D" were also made available to fans who had posted flyers.[9] "Helicopter" was later released as a single with a video available on September 8.[10]

About the flyer concept, Cox stated he was inspired by the record promotion he witnessed in the 80s. He recalls:[11]

...always being fascinated with the ephemera of 70's – 80's artrock in record stores like Wuxtry in Athens where I hung out as a kid or Wax 'N Facts in Atlanta. You'd see a photocopied faded B-52's flyer next to a poster for Lou Reed or XTC. It was like an artpunk scrapbook on those walls. It made my head spin. Who are these people? Who are the fucking Residents with these weird-ass eyeball faces?

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (86/100)[12]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[2]
Drowned in Sound (8/10)[13]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[14]
Mojo 4/5 stars[15]
NME (8/10)[16]
One Thirty BPM (93%)[17]
Pitchfork (9.2/10)[18]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[19]
The Skinny 4/5 stars[20]
Spin (8/10)[21]

Halcyon Digest received highly positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 86, based on 33 reviews, indicating "Universal Acclaim".[12] It ranked second in Exclaim!'s Pop & Rock Albums of the Year where Cam Lindsay credits Deerhunter with continuing their "impressive streak as one of the more consistent sonic explorer's [sic] within the indie rock canon."[22] The album also appeared at #3 on Pitchfork Media's 50 Greatest Albums of 2010, where Rob Mitchum writes that the work's rough-yet-shimmery production and existential theme "demonstrates that the ache of mortality can be even more wounding in the bright glare of daytime than late at night." [23]

The album was also included in the 2011 edition of the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Bradford Cox except Desire Lines and Fountain Stairs by Lockett Pundt

No. Title Length
1. "Earthquake"   5:00
2. "Don't Cry"   2:49
3. "Revival"   2:13
4. "Sailing"   4:59
5. "Memory Boy"   2:09
6. "Desire Lines"   6:44
7. "Basement Scene"   3:41
8. "Helicopter"   4:58
9. "Fountain Stairs"   2:38
10. "Coronado"   3:19
11. "He Would Have Laughed"   7:29

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Allmusic and album liner notes.[24]

Chart positions[edit]

Charts (2010) Peak
position
US Billboard Alternative Albums[25] 9
US Billboard 200[26] 37
US Billboard Digital Albums[27] 16
US Billboard Independent Albums[28] 7
US Billboard Top Rock Albums[29] 13
US Billboard Tastemaker Albums[30] 3

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thill, Scott (September 30, 2010). "Deerhunter’s Halcyon Digest Conjures Idyllic Psych-Pop". Wired. Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Phares, Heather (2010-09-28). "Halcyon Digest – Deerhunter". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  3. ^ a b "Deerhunter Reveal New Album Halcyon Digest Tracklist and Cover Art". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  4. ^ "News of Deerhunter's studio activites [sic] get Tweeted". Creative Lofting. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  5. ^ "New album on the way from Deerhunter". Hot Press. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  6. ^ http://www.villanovan.com/arts-entertainment/deerhunter-debuts-new-mature-sound-on-halcyon-digest-1.1653466
  7. ^ Victoria Segal. Q magazine, November 2010. Q & A. Halcyon Digest album review. p. 113.
  8. ^ "IN THE HEADLIGHTS Deerhunter" , Blurt Magazine. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
  9. ^ "Hear Deerhunter's New Single". Pitchfork. 2010-07-21. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  10. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (2010-09-10). "Deerhunter: "Helicopter" | Tracks". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  11. ^ Wednesday, 14 July 2010, 10:54 am Press Release: The Label (2010-07-14). "Deerhunter announce fourth album | Scoop News". Scoop.co.nz. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  12. ^ a b Critic Reviews for Halcyon Digest. Metacritic. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  13. ^ "DiS review". 
  14. ^ Hann, Michael (2010-09-24). "The Guardian review". London. 
  15. ^ "Mojo review". 
  16. ^ "NME review". 
  17. ^ "One Thirty BPM review". 
  18. ^ "Pitchfork review". 
  19. ^ "Rolling Stone review". 
  20. ^ "The Skinny review". 
  21. ^ "Spin review". 
  22. ^ "Pop & Rock Year in Review". Exclaim!. 
  23. ^ name= "The Top 50 Albums of 2010">"The Top 50 Albums of 2010". Pitchfork Media. 
  24. ^ "Halcyon Digest – Deerhunter Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Deerhunter - Alternative Albums chart". Billboard. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Deerhunter - Billboard 200 chart". Billboard. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Deerhunter - Digital Albums chart". Billboard. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Deerhunter - Independent Albums chart". Billboard. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Deerhunter - Top Rock Albums chart". Billboard. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Deerhunter - Tastemaker Albums chart". Billboard. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 

External links[edit]