The Porcelain Throne: The Dear Hunter

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Alright guys, I am almost completely out of bands that I have extensive knowledge about, so I really need your help to keep the Porcelain Throne occupied. Click here to download The Official Porcelain Throne Guidelines, and send submissions to tohthrone@gmail.com.

This edition, Stockhausen and I teamed up to write about one of our favorite non-metal bands, The Dear Hunter, not to be mixed up with The Deer Hunter (the movie) or the other indie rock band, Deerhunter. The Dear Hunter is the superior of the three. Stockhousen is in blue and I am in black.

I should start by saying that I tend to not like indie rock. At one point, the term probably applied to bands and artists with a sound that didn’t fit the big-ticket rock sound, and was presumably a broad umbrella that encompassed a lot of genuinely creative and new paths. However, since 2005 or so, indie music has been synonymous with self-indulgent whiny crap. Thankfully, The Dear Hunter has provided us with a wealth of honest, creative music in the “indie” realm that doesn’t slop easily into a broad, boring category.

The Dear Hunter started as a solo project by Casey Crescenzo, who was previously with the band The Receiving End of Sirens. By no means were they a bad band, but they are not something I regularly enjoy. They would be the best band at like a Warped Tour or something, but luckily Casey was asked to leave TREOS, and took his creative potential and formed what would become one of my favorite bands of all time.

Act I: The Lake South, The River North (2006)

The original idea for this project was to create a collection of six acts, detailing the birth, life, and death of a man, known as the Dear Hunter. Crescenzo wrote Act I and recorded it with the help of his brother on drums and his mother on additional vocals. Featuring diverse instrumentation and varied structures, the broad-scope nature of the songs showed his talent in bringing musical weight and nuance to the subject matter. My favorite track, City Escape is a driving, multi-faceted look at the main character’s mother and her complicated life as a prostitute. From the beginning of this project, Casey does an unbelievable job creating this surreal early 20th century vibe, and a theatrical musical theme that spans all three acts so far.


 

Act II: The Meaning of, and All Things Regarding Ms. Leading (2007)

Only a year later, Casey was able to conjure up a full band to record the second act. Musically, the stage was set for a risk-taking, always-changing approach to this dramatic setting and Act II and developed on the diverse approach set by the debut. This album focuses on the Dear Hunter’s adventure to a brothel, in hopes of learning more about his mother who recently passed away. As you can imagine, this leads to Casey crafting a sprawling cinematic landscape around the adolescence of the main character as he falls for a prostitute. Musically, this album culminates their ability to put layers upon layers of rhythms, creating one unified sound that requires a few listens to pick apart. As many sounds and instruments as he used in Act I, he managed to up the ante in Act II. Act II contains a plethora of absolute gems (which combined Stockhousen and I named entirely too many, so I decided to list none, and suggest the whole album instead). The album is bound to lose some listeners in the winding, 77 minute run time, but don’t be afraid to dive in an find out for yourself on this truly otherwise solid release.


 

Act III: Life and Death (2009)

Our story continues with Act III, the pinnacle thus far in the storyline. This album takes all the eccentric, multi-faceted brainstorming of the first two albums and nails it home with a beefy 58 minute span that never feels worn out. After almost an entire lineup change between albums, Casey continues telling the story of the Dear Hunter, leaving his “relationship” with the prostitute, Ms. Leading, and going to war, where he meets his half brother, who dies just after linking him to his father, who the Dear Hunter kills in order to take his half brother’s place back home after the war. Again, the band continues to refine and perfect the theatrical core of the concept. My favorite track on this album will always be The Tank, a hulking, trudging, aptly-named tune that happens to be the first The Dear Hunter song I ever heard. This album displays Crescenzo’s flair for nuanced, drama-infused music like nothing before.


 

The Color Spectrum (2011)

Taking a break from the Acts, Casey decided to start another massive project, but released this one all at once.  “Fair enough,” all us fans said. “We’ll give this a shot. But it better be…(thousands of collective jaws hit the floor). The Color Spectrum is a collection of 9 four-song EPs, each titled a color from the color spectrum (including black and white). If you did the math, yes, that is 36 songs total released all at one time. Crescenzo took his knack for dialing in a certain feeling and turned it up to eleven. No storyline, no assumptions, we just get the color for each EP and get to soak in his interpretation. It’s difficult to choose, but I would say my favorites color are Orange, an up tempo, smooth yet crunchy tone, that is unlike anything I have heard before, yet so familiar. I also enjoy Violet, which is sort of a return to their dramatic tones from the Acts. My personal favorites are Red, Yellow, Violet, and White, but I love each one and will forever tell of its greatness. I can’t possibly pick a favorite here. Buy a physical copy, a CD player, a generator, a lifetime supply of gas, a ticket across the Pacific on a boat, a saboteur to blow up the boat and strand you on a desert island, then plug the CD player into the generator, put that lifetime supply of gas to use, and listen to the crap out of this collection. You have no other choice.

(I really don’t want to pick just one song, so basically at random, here is a song from Orange)


 

Migrant (2013)

At this point, I must bow out. My mother always taught me that I should watch Bambi, and in Bambi, Thumper said something about being nice and not saying anything about how the most recent album from a band was a total letdown. Still not in the mood to get back to the Acts, to many fan’s dismay, The Dear Hunter put out their most radio-friendly album to date. For me, about half of the songs are perfect, but there are a few duds as well (and by that I mean a little too simple, when the band excels at layering and complexity). It is very obvious that Casey wanted another non-conceptual album to express himself, and he preferred a stripped down tone to fit that theme. Overall, I am not disappointed that they made the album instead of Act IV, but it has me itching to hear what Casey has up his sleeve for the Dear Hunter


 

I have seen this band an obsessive amount of times, and I highly recommend it next time they go on tour. They play a great show every time, not to mention Casey’s (and the rest of the band’s) on-stage banter is worth the ticket price alone.

Additionally, if you are a classical music fan, Casey composed a four-movement piece called Amour & Attrition (2014) that you might enjoy.

Again I would like to thank Stockhousen for his contributions, and PLEASE WRITE FOR THE THRONE!

(Image Via Me)

  • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

    How is this up already?

    • America.

      GL

      • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

        A real ‘murican is never late, nor is she early. She comes precisely when she means to. So how is this an hour early, if it’ ‘murican?

        • Well, if the post was meant to go live at 1p and it did go live at 1p, then it occurred precisely as intended. This seems to fall precisely within your guidelines, my Finnish friend?

          <3

          GL

          • Not The Ideal Tapir

            He’s not Finnish anymore, he was deported to Estonia by me. Now he’s Estonian.

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            No one can tell the difference.

          • Not The Ideal Tapir

            Estonia is like a bootleg Finland

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            Mayhem bootlegs are the only good Mayhem, so…

          • Not The Ideal Tapir

            I don’t even like their bootlegs.

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            I like the cover where Dead’s dead baby, Zed’s dead.

          • Not The Ideal Tapir

            I like Attila Csihar

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            I prefer him of their vocalist. His solo stuff and Jarbie collab are pretty good. As is Tormentor’s first demo.

          • Not The Ideal Tapir

            I liek him when he Sunn O)))s

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            Sunn O pretty good too. Though I like their collabs their best.

          • Not The Ideal Tapir

            Gud collabs got theyz.

          • (!) “Gud collabs got theyz”? Throw out the food of the mouth first, then talk, mr Tapir; that’s disrespectful 🙂

          • Not The Ideal Tapir

            Correct spellin iz ouverratid

  • JamesGrimm

    ………..

  • Early postings>>>>>>>

  • NefariousDude

    Indie deerhunter is the grandest of them all. Go fuck yourself miss leading

    • I’m gonna disagree with you on this one. For as much fucking attention they seek, the band has like 3 good songs.

      • NefariousDude

        I don’t really give a hoot about their antics. Anything post cryptograms (or whatever its called) is great by them. Hacylon Digest is one of my fav albums of all time (of which there are many). What ARENT u smokin joe??

        • I just find them exceptionally boring. It seems meandering and tuneless, like the band can only find a melody or a riff by complete accident. If they wrote an album with nothing but tunes like this, I would love it but they won’t.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MOECvAlbXk

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            So fitting, the title of this song.

          • NefariousDude

            They are pretty aimless at times (especially wierd era cont.) but I really like the psychedelic indie ambience build and release they do in a lot of their songs. Their newest album doesn’t have a lot of that. What are your thoughts on atlas sound and lotus plaza?

          • I haven’t listened to lotus plaza. I listened to the first atlas sound album and saw them live. It was aight. Just not the thing for me.

          • NefariousDude

            lotus plaza is just more of the same apathetic indie shit. Jet out the tundra is my favorite track of his newest album.

            Bygones = bygones

            <3
            ND

          • NefariousDude

            I listened to “back to the middle” off their new album during my last shroom trip and it hit me on all the lovely feels.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Story time. I once watched an entire episode of Letterman because “The Dear Hunter” was playing. I was so excited, I didn’t want to miss a thing so I cringed through one of the least funny late night episodes ever, just to find out some fucking Deerhunter band was playing instead. I have boycotted them ever since.

      • NefariousDude

        ive listened to dear hunters first 2 albums after I saw them with circa survive years ago. They weren’t for me. I’m sorry you watched an entire episode of letterman

        • Stockhausen

          A couple years ago I saw that The Dear Hunter was touring with Circa Survive (was obvs going for TDH), so I tried for about 8 seconds to get into Circa Survive. I’ll never have those seconds back, and I hate CS for taking them from me.

  • DEAR DAIRY,

    HUZZAH! I HATH SEEN THIS POST BEFORE. WAS IT IN ANOTHER LIFE? WHAT HAS BECOME OF MY THOUGHTS OF LATE? IS IT THE NATTY LIGHT PURGING MY REMAINING BRAIN CELLS?? I FEAR IT MAY BE TOO LATE FOR ME.

    GL

  • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

    I like TDH, but man does ACTIV need to be cool that I’ll ever forgive them.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Agreed, I heard one song live that is going to be “on their next record” and while it sounded great, I am not sure if it sounded like an “Act” song…

      • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

        If it’s not. I’m done., I think.

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          I’ll keep listening, they are one of the few bands my SO and I agree on, so even though I would be happy with them going back to their roots, I still can enjoy anything they put out.

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            A friend of mine was crazy bout them and put me on TDH, but I didn’t enjoy more than half of “Colors”. And it seems like Casey is not able to finish the story. Afraid to continue more like than wanting to go elsewhere.

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            I am pretty sure he has the concept completed, they tour so much and play songs from the Acts all the time, so I am kinda thinking he just want’s to get away from the sound of theme for awhile. Too bad.. 🙁

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            I guess we’ll have to wait.

    • HessianHunter

      I was worried I was the only one who though Migrant was wack. Whew.

      • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

        No worries, I got ypur back Jack.

      • Stockhausen

        Being a big Dear Hunter fan, I really tried with that one. I just don’t have enough feelings to feel.

  • Tyree

    Well written article, I can tell you both put a lot of work into this and stuffs, but I can’t get into this so I’m pulling a KSOFM here.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZJuzRZp65Q

    • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

      Non-sequitur: I maybe know who is behind Devouring Star, like really, I need to check a few things to verify though.

      • Tyree

        REALLY!?!

      • I don’t believe you.

      • don’t doxx him!

        • Eddie Trunk Jr., Floor Tech

          Jimmy, I have heard credible rumors about a new ELO album and a US tour. I’m so fucking giddy.

      • Not The Ideal Tapir

        Spoiler alert: it’s my mom.

        • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

          No wonder it’s a one man band…

          • Not The Ideal Tapir

            My mom may seem manly, but she’s all woman,

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            So I… but we… I need to go scrub myself.

          • Not The Ideal Tapir

            Remember to scrub hard so you’ll be a clean boy.

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            I’ll be Ace Ventura one shower scene.

          • Not The Ideal Tapir

            what’s that?

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            He uses a Karhupumppu to clean himself.

          • Not The Ideal Tapir

            Sweden is better because of this
            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gwouLphkxiA

          • more beer

            There are some things that can`t be scrubbed away. Even with the most industrial of detergents and wire brushes. This seems like one of them.

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            Killme.gif

          • more beer

            That’s a little extreme. But I would stay away from that guy and his mother . If I were you.

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            Toolate.gif

        • …so hawt

          • Eddie Trunk Jr., Floor Tech

            We should collaborate on a Porcelain Throne article about ELO.

    • …and when you’re done with that one!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCSFrP8P6QE

    • KSOFM: always in our hearts <3

  • EsusMoose

    I’m proud I actually know this group and listened to a fair of bit of their stuff except the colors stuff. Because I’m clearly a dog and cannot see most of them

    • 64 Crayons!

      Poor Corgi!

      • EsusMoose

        I’ll never know that you have more than 3 colors

  • Tyree

    One of my top ten favorite movies of all time. The Deer Hunter.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCW9NsrV6VM

  • Eddie Trunk Jr., Floor Tech

    This was a good article. I would talk more but I’m getting my swole on.

    • BLXKKBEXRD

      GET BIG JJD

      • DDubya.

        Eat plates! Drink eggs!

        • BLXKKBEXRD

          EAT MOAR MEAT, LIFT HEAVY THINGS

          • DDubya.

            MUSCLE MILK!

          • BLXKKBEXRD

            Shits too expensive for the protein content. I’m at >60g daily now

        • Stockhausen

          LIFT THIS THING UNTIL YOU CAN LIFT MORE THINGS, THEN LIFT THOSE.

          • more beer

            Only if it’s 12 ozs at a time.

          • Lacertilian

            Dylan Moran on the USA & lifting heavy things.
            http://youtu.be/wlLpCh-lE54?t=1m11s

            @disqus_kqxyUNPxty:disqus @blackbeard_s_ghost:disqus @more_beer:disqus your conversation reminded me of this.

        • more beer

          Drinking beer and eating pizza sounds much better to me.

    • Dagon

      I’m hitting the gym in a bit, bro! *HIGH FIVE*

  • Dagon

    This sounds terribly interesting. I’m on my phone because I’m having keyboard issues once again but as soon as I move back to the laptop I’m gonna give these a go.

    • HessianHunter

      IMO the “Act” albums get better as they go and the Color Spectrum EPs are the best thing The Dear Hunter has done. Don’t bother with Migrant.

      • Dagon

        Thanks for the heads up. I like having a route as I prepare to listen to a whole discog.

  • Dagon

    I like ~indie rock~ but I feel like it’s a term without any sort of meaning these days.

    • Pretty much. Somehow a band like The Black Keys is “indie rock” even though they move millions of units (and suuuuuck).

      • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

        I love how Black Keyes get passed as blued rock too.

      • Dagon

        I can jam a smallish part of their older, more fuzzed out material but never understood how they got so huge. They were never that good to begin with.

      • mustangbomb

        Well, from what a wise highschool music professor told me, “indie” anything isn’t really an established genre (though indie rock/rap/whatever groups may have similar sounds). Indie is just supposed to mean independant, as in, The Black Keys are an indie band because they aren’t on a major label.

        I don’t know shit about The Black Keys though, so maybe they are on a label — in which case they shouldn’t be branded or marketed as being an “indie rock” band. The same thing applies for film too, as far as I know. Indie films are those made out from under the umbrella of Hollywood.

  • Scrimm

    I like the idea of different colors when there is more than one contributor. Shoulda done that all along.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      What happened was Stockhousen and I wrote separate articles, and when he sent his over to me they were almost the same content wise, so I did some creative editing and merged them together, choosing who said the sentence better for the purpose. It was fun.

      • Stockhausen

        Don’t put blue words in my mouth!

        • DDubya.

          I just blue myself

          • Stockhausen

            u wuld

      • Scrimm

        That’s awesome. The one article I contributed to was Dub’s, I just added a few things. Would have been cool to do the color thing so no one woud mistake my shitty writing for his. I’ve always wanted to try collaborating on fiction writing, but I’m not sure I’m built for teaming up on that stuff.

        • DDubya.

          I think collaborations in fiction writing can be really tricky because sometimes the authors aren’t on the same wavelength. I read a book so-authored by Ted Decker and Frank Peretti that was just a non-cohesive mess.

          • Scrimm

            House? Me too. Sometimes collabs can be glorious. Read ANYTHING by John Skipp and Craig Spector, But especially The Bridge. One of the greatest horror novels ever, not to mention John Skipp is a terrific writer, waaaaaaaaaaay better than his choise of subject matter often suggests. I personally would always feel liike I was making things worse.

          • DDubya.

            Yah, House. haha. I actually was friends with Decker’s son in elementary school. Stayed at their house a few times. I don’t think he had broken through yet.

          • Scrimm

            Awesome I haven’t read much of his yet. I almost took a writing course with John Skipp a few months ago, but then I had to replace a guitar so I had to forego it.

          • DDubya.

            Oh man, I bet that would have been awesome.

          • Scrimm

            It would be the guy is a giant to me, A top 3 writer talent wise to me and very personable also. I love all his books but The Bridge stuck with me so much it became the subject of the centepiece of the album we’re recording. Only other author besides Lumley and Lovecraft to influence my music. The guy deserves to be much bigger.

  • DDubya.

    I’ve never actually listened to the Beer Hunter before, but I’m getting a bit of a Mars Volta/Coheed and Cambria/Diablo Swing Orchestra vibe from Act 3. I can jam.

    • Stockhausen

      Act III is the goods. If you only listen to one of their album, make it that one.

    • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

      You think hunting deer is hard!? Try hunting a decent beer! Scrug

      • Not The Ideal Tapir

        You think that’s bad? Remember the time I sang “La Cucaracha” for Paul McCartney?

        • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

          *shudders*

      • more beer

        I go to a place with like 1000 different beers hunting them is easy. Picking one is a whole different story.

        • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

          A good beer that is sold at a store and does not cost more than my monthly salary is the hardest game.

          • more beer

            Good beer is pricey. I don’t know what a monthly slaray is like there. But that sounds rough.

          • Nordling Writes ov Karhu

            The only kind my daily intake can afford tastes like canned water… that went bad a month ago.

          • more beer

            That`s horrible. You are pretty far away or I`d tell you let`s go get a beer.

  • JWG

    I think I might have once mentioned that, even though you (two) identify Dear Hunter as “non-metal” – such that I won’t doubt it even without listening to the YouTubes included – HMV Canada files their albums in the metal section.

    To be “fair” HMV can’t tell the difference between heavy metal, nu metal, mallcore, swoopcore, hardcore, and post-hardcore (unless it’s alexisonfire who are the only post-hardcore band in the punk section). But your description sounds significantly further away from the genre than any of those pretenders.