Thrill of the hunt

Over the course of Deer Hunter's self-titled debut (Stickfigure Records), the group skulks into a tight and rhythmically confined dirge that is as vast as it is constrictive. A steady and conceptual blast of tension unfolds by way of sparse beats, scathing guitar and basslines. Add to this an obscured vocal presence that grinds into each song. Never stepping outside of its strict, overriding metrical course, giving rise to sonic antagonism and miasma, the recording references deathly post-punk and no-wave as much as it does industrially strengthened minimalism. But to slap the music with a nametag overlooks an integral part of its personality. "My ideas about what is interesting music change multiple times a day," says vocalist Bradford Cox. "Our music is more of a natural extension of who we are as individuals, and is made to appeal to individuals, not a group, which is the antithesis of what most popular music is about."

For Cox, along with bassist Josh Fauver (Electrosleep Int'l), guitarist Colin Mee, drummer Moses Archuleta and recently inducted second percussionist Adam Bruneau (Phonepunk/Tabitha), embracing a sense of individuality is a deeply rooted mechanism that fuels the group's push toward self-discovery via artsy and primitive rock.

From the scraping guitar fragments that open "Other Animals" to the all-consuming aural throb of "Adorno" and "Death Drag," Deer Hunter's anti-social characteristics remain at the heart of its drive. "Working within restraints keeps things interesting," says Archuleta. "It's taken us awhile to hone things down to what we have, but we're trying to mature at a rate that doesn't devolve."

Deer Hunter plays the Drunken Unicorn on Sat., Dec. 18, 9 p.m. $7.