The Joup Friday Album: Grouper – Dragging a Dead Deer up a Hill

grouperI imagine that at this moment, I’m knee deep in some sort of SXSW mayhem, my body and mind awash in music, free beers, breakfast tacos, and corporate swag.  I’m probably tired.  I’m probably thinking about when I need to cut myself off so that I can drive to go pick up my son.  I’m probably wondering where to go to next.  (I’m writing this a few days before now, so maybe I’m not doing any of those things.)  SXSW can be a blast, but it can also be an endurance test, so let’s all mellow out a little bit with Grouper’s 2008 album Dragging a Dead Deer up a Hill.  It’s time to come down.

Working in a hazy kind of subdued delirium, the songs craft a sonic spell with bits and pieces of folk, drone, and haunting ambience, a swirling and echoed salve for the perpetually comatose.  Tracks like “Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping” and “Fishing Bird (Empty Gutted in the Evening Breeze)” crawl forward like a slow ripple in a black pond, a mix of soothing acoustic guitar strums and eerie atmospheric vocals.  For 45 minutes the album entrances, every sustained, droney note pulling you in further, Liz Harris’s sad and ghostly vocals lulling you to sleep to dream calm and melancholy dreams.  Seriously, this album should be labeled as an opiate.

Harris has continued to make ethereal, and sometimes devastating music with Grouper and a number of other projects over the last seven years, each one as essential as the next.  But, it all started for me with Dragging a Dead Deer up a Hill and the dark and haunting tone that that album set.

So come down with me will you?

The record was reissued a couple of years ago by Kranky, so you should have no problems finding it.


So Joe, what do you know?


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit

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