Atlas Sound
Tim Schaar


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.

Sara Bareilles
"Love Song"

"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?

"Acid Fight"

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.

"Shadow Falls"

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?

"1000 Miles"

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.

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