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Featured artist: Deerhunter
One of indie rock's strongest and most adoring best friendships belongs to Deerhunter. Songwriters Bradford Cox and Lockett Pundt have long tempered one another's artistic inclinations into a perfect package. Studious but eccentric, their sound has traversed old-school motorik, acid-tinted psychedelia, '50s pop and distortion-drenched ambience. All through it they've made records with a vulnerable heart, offering something to feel offside of the rhythm.
Cryptograms is where this Georgia gaggle got their start; a weird space rock record that posited the bedridden conditions of Bradford Cox as something like science fiction. They broke through with Microcastle, a record that balanced their experimental leanings with forthright melodies and lucid production. They still meandered into new ideas and stoned pastures, but nailed their pop pastiche for good on Halcyon Digest. Since then, they've been treating the rock canon like a costume drama, choosing what bit of it to dress up as -- the avant-rock of Monomania sounded like the Strokes in places and noise rockers in others, while Fading Frontier suggested a band with a rather big collection of LPs by Tom Petty and INXS.
Deerhunter are one of those rare bands able to take these old, often surprising influences and make them sound like innovation. There's Broadcast and Animal Collective and Stereolab in their sound, but their anxious, agitated and yet ever-interlocking sound is its own signature. Wherever they go next, we hope this songwriter partnership is forever. We need them together, Cox bringing us the fantastical, the high and the wild, while Pundt offers us humble, straightforward songs that seem to translate Deerhunter for us. Listening to their wildly different work apart, through side projects Atlas Sound and Lotus Plaza, it becomes clear how a Deerhunter record comes together. These two make sense of one another and then give us some of the greatest rock music ever.