Head Hunter Blogs Lo-Fi Trove of Treasures

Between main outfit Deerhunter’s kraut-punk and solo project Atlas Sound’s bedroom dream-pop, Bradford Cox gets around. The 28-year-old Atlanta native just released his second proper LP, Logos — a stunning collection of singles/concepts without any greater ambition to be a statement record.

He told to the A.V. Club back in August that he wanted each track to stand alone, “like a collage or a photo album — snapshots from a lot of places.” Listening to the finished recording conjures memories from last year, when I was obsessed with all things Bradford — right around the time a half-finished sketch of Logos accidentally leaked and Cox considered abandoning the project entirely.

I decided I’d pay tribute to the dude who’d given me a wealth of sweet music and ideas over the past few years — well over 100 free songs on deerhuntertheband.blogspot.com — by culling the top eight Bradford blog tracks in what I call the Atlas Sound Steezy Hits Mixtape.

1. “Coffin Trick.” Let’s start with a spooky number that shuffles and jangles, as Cox calls us to “the coffin that awaits you.” Released last October as a quick Halloween treat, the song repeats its eerie, raw melody over acoustic arpeggios until the lo-fi tech climaxes with all the blown-out overdubs.

2. “Game of Diamonds (Atlas Sound Demo).” This cut might be familiar to some: Deerhunter released a mellow island version of it on this year’s Rainwater Cassette Exchange. Cox’s first sketch of “Diamonds” maintains the Motown and shoegaze aesthetic he tends to gravitate toward; it’s oddly captivating despite its utilitarian nature.

3. “Holiday.” Another entry in his lineup of sexual-stalker themes, “Holiday” is part of a Virtual 7” series that Cox helmed for digital consumption, each iteration containing its own A and B Side. This creepy guitar ballad repeats lines like “I hold the knife to your perfect fucking face” and “I know your parents are away/ So I’ll come over/ We’ll have a perfect holiday.” It’s brutal, but Cox manages to make it near-endearing.

4. “Rendered.” Part of How I Escaped the Prison of Fractals, an ’06 self-released CDR that Cox pushed locally and then re-upped on his blog in ’08, “Rendered” captivates from the first fuzzy chord strum. The rest of the song is decent, but the first three seconds — “Two hours back,” Cox whispers, and then the guitar rushes in — are truly sick.

5. “So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad).” This tasty Everly Brothers cover proves that Cox could build an entire career morphing timeless ballads into twisted girl-group Motown. The bouncy beat, the reverb, the distortion, the sadness — it hits that sweet spot.

6. “Activation.” Uploaded at a crazy-prolific period in early ’08 when Cox was releasing new tunes on a daily basis, “Activation” is a standout on his Orange Ohms Glow EP. The classic acoustic progression and delivery of lines like “Activation in the abyss/ Mouth on mouth was catalyst” make it a welcome addition to Steezy Hits.

7. “My Car.” Apparently, the worst symptom of touring is “the homesickness” — a subject that prompted Cox to release the Things I’ll Miss EP last year. Lead stunner “My Car” warps and bends electric notes over an ominous bass-drum punch as Cox pines for his white whip.

8. “Dog Years (Ghetto Cross).” For my final mixtape pick, I chose a Hotlanta collab between Cox and Black Lips lead singer/songwriter Cole Alexander, together Ghetto Cross. Alexander commands slurry vocal duties in “Dog Years” with freestyles about how he’s “got the mad skills of a fuck-up” as Cox coos in the background, giving a dreamy tinge to the proceedings.

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