Belated Recs: The Atlas Sound, With Broadcast Monday at the Bottom Lounge

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Bradford Cox (Atlas Sound)
  • Bradford Cox (Atlas Sound)
Tonight the superb British duo Broadcast performs at the Bottom Lounge. When I wrote my recommendation for the show a while back, I hadn't yet gotten a copy of Logos (Kranky/4AD), the terrific new album by headliner Atlas Sound, the solo project of Deerhunter singer Bradford Cox. So consider this a belated double recommendation.

Even though the lyrics are characteristically dark (“I watched the orchids / They rot outside in the garden” is par for the course), Logos is less sonically murky and a bit more tuneful and breezy than Atlas Sound's debut Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel (Kranky). Cox is still responsible for nearly all of the sounds—guitar, rudimentary drumming, a slew of electronics—and while something like the opening tune “The Light That Failed” harks back to the gurgling, insular gloom of the first record, most of the pieces are marked by a more direct, melodic bent, with the singer’s thin, mousy voice pinging around in appealingly soupy reverb.

“Walkabout,” recorded with Noah Lennox of Animal Collective, has a rustic 60s-AM-radio charm—the Beach Boys debt is in the arrangements rather than vocal harmonies, though those are plenty nice as well. Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier is the other major guest, singing lead on the extended, swirling space-out groove of “Quick Canal” while Cox practically channels the spirit of her old cohort Mary Hansen with his wordless cooing. But even without extra starpower, Cox's new songs connect—the keening “Sheila” is record’s most memorable piece.

I’ve read in some PR materials that Cox recorded almost everything in one take, but I don’t know how that could be true, unless he’s an octopus. But a six-song EP called Rough Trade EP, comprising largely acoustic alternate versions and a couple unreleased tunes, was released with the British vinyl version of Logos, and it reinforces the notion that he can pull this stuff off without help.

For the tour the unsigned Atlanta quartet the Selmanaires are serving as Cox’s backing band; they'll also play their own set to open the show.

Today’s playlist:

Mindy Smith, Stupid Love (Vanguard)
Slavic Soul Party!, Taketron (Barbès)
Various Artists, Korea: Music From the Land of the Clear Morning (Buda)
Masada Quintet Featuring Joe Lovano, Stolas (Tzadik)
Various Artists, Sweden: Between Triol and Sextondel (Ocora)

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