By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
Atlas Sound is grotesque Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox's side project, and "Quarantined" is an immersive, psychedelic doozy: hazy halos of chiming bells, guitars, and other instruments circulating against a Valium-fed bassline leading us ever-deeper into some divine k-hole. "Quarantined and kept/So far away from my friends," Cox moans, later adding: "I'm waiting to be changed." Which doesn't seem as sinister or discomfiting as it probably should.
"I'm not gonna write you a love song," she insists with an admirable defiance—but she sort of did write one, and it's a power-piano deal, at that. Which I didn't think was en vogue, but maybe it's back. What's Vanessa Carlton up to these days?
BLOOD ON THE WALL
Trust me: You do not want to listen to this while tripping. Basically, this trio mutilates a gristly riff while the Mark Arm-like singer—who we're to believe just put a tab under his tongue—transfers his hallucinatory paranoia to the listener. Which is divertingly fun, because I'm not high.
HELLO, BLUE ROSES
Increasingly, I'm finding that I enjoy Dan Bejar more outside of his marginal New Pornographers involvement. Here the raspy Canadian is teamed with Bonaparte singer Sydney Vermont, whose voice goes down like frost-flecked honey as rich, washed-out synths lap at the pair's ankles like olive-scented bubble-bath waves. Wait, did I say I'm not high?
Will wonders never cease? This is as epic and mammoth as the 2007 American Idol runner-up's debut, Audio Daydream, gets; it's the grandiose, heart-baring moment, replete with Hallmark-bullshit lyricism and gushy, compositional goo. The surprise? Mike Elizondo—the behind-the-scenes guy who's performed on and co-written oodles of Eminem tracks—penned and produced here. Who'd have thought Shady's boy had a sappy, Smashing Pumpkin-ish mash-up of Gwen Stefani's "Cool" and the Police's "Every Breath You Take" in him? Bonus: likely to be optioned for a Verizon Wireless ad.