The Guilty Pleasures of Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox

Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/anousonne/">anousonne</a> under a CC license.

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Bradford Cox is growing up. As the singer and primary songwriter of Atlanta-spawned Deerhunter, and under his solo moniker Atlas Sound, his music has often bridged the closer-than-you’d-think divide between pop accessibility and experimentation. But early Deerhunter releases tended toward noise and bombast, an overt exertion of youthful energy and chaos. With each subsequent release, with Deerhunter and on his own, Cox has increasingly explored the more contemplative side of his musical coin, and to great effect. His 2008 Microcastles/Weird Era Cont. contained some of his band’s catchiest tunes and most fully realized lyrics to date. Deerhunter’s brand new album, Halcyon Digest, further tones down the noise and ramps up the vocals. We recently probed Cox’s complex mind to learn about the music he listens to in the privacy of his own tour bus.

Mother Jones: What’s your favorite new or upcoming release, and why?

Bradford Cox: Avey Tare’s Down There, because it makes every day Halloween.

MJ: How about something way outside your genre?

BC: Janelle Monae’s The ArchAndroid, because I like good music.

MJ: Shuffle your iPod for me and name the first five songs that pop up.

BC: 1. Oval, “Zetrick”
2. Pavement, “Cut Your Hair”
3. Neil Young, “Roll Another Number (for the Road)”
4. Quixotic, “On My Own”
5. XTC, “Generals and Majors”

MJ: What’s the latest song, good or bad, that super-glued itself in your brain?

BC: Yes, “Owner of a Lonely Heart”

MJ: Three records you never get sick of listening to?

BC: 1. Stereolab, Cobra and Phases Play Voltage in the Milky Night
2. Storm and Stress, Under Thunder and Fluorescent Lights
3. Steve Reich, Drumming

MJ: Favorite holiday-related song or album?

BC: Dream Syndicate’s Halloween

MJ: Favorite politically themed song or album?

BC: Madonna, Like a Prayer

MJ: Got any guilty pleasures—something you like to listen to but don’t like to admit it?

BC: Glenn Beck’s voice. While I’m beating off.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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