With the sort of ingenuity you might expect to come out of Austin, TX, The Deer encompasses the innovation of the modern indie-folk revival and the cross-pollination of Austin’s diverse music scene. Described as transcendental Texas folk and stargaze surf-western, The Deer creates psychotropic soundscapes and tranquil, vivid dream-pop. In 2016’s release, Tempest & Rapture, The Deer marry their brand of moody Americana with rapturous psychedelia, like two wings of one soaring bird. What began as the solo recording project of singer/songwriter Grace Park (The Blue Hit), The Deer formed its core membership in 2012 after the release of An Argument for Observation under the band name Grace Park & The Deer. For their second album, On the Essence of the Indomitable Spirit (2015), their name was shortened to The Deer to represent the cohesive collaboration between all of the artists in the band, and because the group especially identified with deer as a symbol of protective guidance. Their music is like a beacon in the dark wilderness: shining of pure melodies, vivid images, and strong musicianship in a world of vapid ditties.
Original members include upright bassist/songwriter Jesse Dalton (MilkDrive), guitarist/sound engineer Michael McLeod (Good Field, Richard Linklater film composer), drummer/pianist Alan Eckert (Dimitri’s Ascent), and Park. Together they combine the Southern Gothic soul they’ve had all along with new cross-genre inspiration: analog tape and reverb effects by engineer/assistant producer Grant Johnson, vocals and piano by Roger Sellers (Bayonne), pedal steel by Lloyd Maines, as well as the expert string stylings of both Dennis Ludiker (Asleep at the Wheel) and The Deer’s newest member, Noah Jeffries (MilkDrive, South Austin Jug Band), who adds orchestration to live shows. With Tempest & Rapture, The Deer has created a dynamic collection of songs ranging between the blissful and euphoric to the dark and the dangerous. Rooted in surreal folk and Southern gothic as much as transcendental surf-rock, The Deer moves fluidly between genres, eliciting emotion as varied and surprising as Tempest & Rapture implies.