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Baker's Dozen

Nicely Proposed, Coxy! Bradford Cox Of Deerhunter's Favourite LPs
Tristan Bath , October 15th, 2015 08:33

After we asked the Deerhunter and Atlas Sound man to pick his top LPs, Tristan Bath rang him in Atlanta and, over the course of a two-hour dog walk, had Bradford Cox talk through 13 albums of "accidents and starkness"

Photograph courtesy of Ryan Stang

"This is like the most difficult interview I've ever had. I actually have a lot to say about these!" Bradford Cox, the driving force behind Deerhunter and Atlas Sound is known for his prickly relationship with music journalists, but focusing on some of his favourite albums seems to have been somewhat different - and revealing. He's out walking his dog Faulkner when I call him up, wandering parks in his home city of Atlanta, Georgia. The first thing that's abundantly clear from his list is Cox's affinity with the American South. "There was more of a regionalism when I was growing up," he explains, "the way things are now though, I think that regionalism is a lot more muted - we're all from the same planet now, you know? I was very proud of bands from my hometown, Athens." We go in deep about the influence of Southern Gothic, with the literary leanings of bands like Pylon and R.E.M. clearly looming large over Cox's musical upbringing. However, as a keen follower of Cox's exploits, the revelation of non-ambient Eno's influence on him seems instantly blindingly obvious - from the stream-of-consciousness lyrics of Atlas Sound, to the patchwork sonics of Deerhunter's latest and intensely melodic LP, Fading Frontier, even to Cox's proclivity for wearing the odd frock at gigs.

"I had a top ten list that I'd written somewhere around 21 years of age. I've always kept it… so a lot of the albums on this list are from that list." But for the record, Cox makes it abundantly clear how "this list is bullshit" (which to me more likely meant this list is "not definitive"), and that he's still learning, still discovering albums every day, mostly digging back into the past. "There's still five or six Robert Wyatt albums I've not heard, and probably at least two or three songs on those that will completely obliterate my mind for weeks at a time."

The lead single for Fading Frontier - 'Snakeskin' - is one of Deerhunter's most slickly realised marriages of flawless groove and psychedelic indie pop (with a strangely dark coda finale which really has to be heard). Deeper listens to the full album, though, reveal the group's most concisely beautiful effort yet. It's driven by the broadest range of influences to date and, it would seem, reflects Cox's own colourful record collection more closely than before - far from the divisively headstrong vision of angered lo-fi pop/rock captured on Monomania and their debut Turn It Up Faggot. He remains an intriguing, enigmatic and difficult to understand character (to say the least - some of the diversions he went on during our chat were madly convoluted, and truly wonderful), but his adoration of music's ability to provide us with transcendent experiences is pure, and remains unaltered by the success of both Atlas Sound and Deerhunter. Hence we talked for two solid hours, with Faulkner occasionally requiring some attention from his owner on, what I imagine, what was yet another warm, close and sunny day in Georgia.

Fading Frontier is out on Friday, October 16, on 4AD. Deerhunter begin a West Coast US tour at The Glass House in Pomona, CA, tonight, heading to the UK for a run of dates beginning at All Saints Church in Hove on October 30; for full details and tickets, head here. Click on the image below to begin scrolling through Bradford's choices, which run in no particular order