Atlas Sound – “Quarantined”

I am waiting to be…  changed

Bradford Cox is one of the only musicians working today who I feel, despite fronting a popular band and receiving wide acclaim, is less than fully recognized for his true genius.  My snobbier friends write off Deerhunter as indie/pitchfork ‘core’ while casual fans aren’t often bothered to delve into his often exquisite solo work as Atlas Sound, both on record and (more importantly) in the cornucopia of material he’s released free of charge over the years.

Debut Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel, source of Quarantined.

My favorite pieces often combine a sharp nostalgic eye for the detail of pop songcraft with an otherworldly timbre.  On paper they’d make any head nod while in practice they alternately embrace and repel through a veiled fog.  Some display a truly off-kilter sense of place and time, pairing Phil Spector rhythms and shoegaze instrumentaion with lyrics about the inner terror of isolation and the damaged longing for freedom through metamorphosis.  For instance.

He’s covered Unchained Melody (seriously, listen) and recorded drone epics about tripping nuts all weekend with equal devotion and care.  Cox most recently dropped a three hour, four volume slab of unreleased treasure on fans just because.  Because he was neglecting his freebie-filled blog while touring and releasing multiple items with his main band?  We certainly weren’t owed more; he is simply that prodigious and generous an artist.

After the dreamy debut masterpiece Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel (from which Quarantined sprang) and slightly more straightforward follow up Logos, and a two year break, Atlas Sound is about to treat us all to another official LP of celestial pop on November 8 with Parallax.  Check the artwork below for a bit of weird fun and to listen to advance single Terra Incognita.  While you’re there, click on a window in the far right building to hear a bonus ditty I won’t spoil here.  You’ll know it when you find it.

Also, another special pre-release “leak” of which I’ve grown fond: Te Amo (right-click and ‘save as’ to keep the mp3).

[while you wait get the Let The Blind... 2LP at Insound, or Amazon - there's a full bonus EP of equally worthy music included and like other 4ad releases the packaging is gorgeous]

About David James

I try to do good in life. I strive to help others. My drive is to open minds, and make someone feel better. Sharing art aids in achieving this. Writing is what I do. Music is my passion.

Posted on September 19, 2011, in Music and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. You are so right about people off-handedly dismissing Deerhunter as yet another Pitchfork band – I used to do that when I was younger and cynical! I regret that, but I thankfully got over that faddish mentality a while ago, and gave Atlas Sound another chance after reading an article about Bradford Cox on the fantastic Feminist Music Geek blog, which forced me to reconsider my stance and have a deeper listen to his music:

    http://feministmusicgeek.com/2010/10/08/bradford-cox-queer-guitar/

    It is not hard to figure out what his main influences are when you listen to his music, but that does not stop him from being a true original. For one thing, the lyrics are often the best thing about his songs, which I find rare when I’m listening to “shoegaze” – the vocals are almost always secondary to the music and deliberately low in the mix. The only other exception that comes straight to mind is Kitchens of Distinction. It is also obvious that Bradford Cox’s Marfan’s syndrome and queerness have a large enough impact on his life to inform his songwriting, so I don’t think he is comparable to those posturing middle-class white heterosexual ‘outsiders’ that Pitchfork frequently write about. Treating him as such is a big mistake, partly for that reason, but also because “Pitchfork likes it, so it’s probably bad” is also a terrible thought process.

    Parallax is one of my most anticipated albums of the year, without a doubt.

  2. Gosh, I clicked and clicked and clicked with resilience until I found the secret single.

    Thank you for writing this, a reminder of what to delve back into *wink*

  3. The vocals in a lot of these recent bands have kept me from enjoying them. It’s the Radiohead effect. Not only can none of them sing, but they all sound the same. Probably though, I just have a faddish mentality!

    • What does Radiohead have to do with bands whose vocalists are poor? Whether you enjoy them or not, Thom Yorke has a clasically powerful and tuneful voice. The latter albums often obscure this with electronics but it’s nothing to do with vocal ability.

      About the aesthetic choice to modify and distort vocals: it may be up to individual taste, but you can’t blame it on some sort of attempt to cover up a lack of ability on the singer’s part. Cox was always holding it back on the earlier recordings but judging by his latest he’s also somewhat gifted with a nice voice. Again, subjective, but it’s obviously no scam or distraction to fuck with how they sound, it’s a musical choice.

  4. You’re right, Radiohead doesn’t have anything to do with bad singing. Thom Yorke was a great singer. He may have influenced bad singers, but he also influenced good ones.

    It’s not that this song had “bad” singing. I tried listening to it several times. I admit, I’m not the biggest fan of electronic music. It’s often too abstract for me. I couldn’t comprehend what all of the instruments/sounds/layers/whatever in this song were supposed to be, but even worse, I couldn’t understand how they were supposed to fit together. The vocals were like the icing on the cake of awkwardness.

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