As the front person and principle songwriter for Deerhunter, Bradford Cox became an iconic presence in indie rock beginning in the late 2000s. Cox's mysterious and always captivating songwriting took Deerhunter from more experimental early sounds into more straightforward dream pop territory, earning critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base as they grew creatively. Along with being the focal point of much of his band's output, Cox also maintained his solo project Atlas Sound and frequently collaborated with artists like Black Lips, Karen O, and Cate Le Bon.
Bradford Cox was born in 1982 in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Georgia. He was born with the genetic disorder Marfan's Syndrome, which would effect his health and well-being throughout the years. He began experimenting with songwriting and home recording early in life, naming his solo work Atlas Sound after the karaoke-styled tape recorder he used to document his song ideas. After dropping out of high school, Cox formed Deerhunter in 2001 with bassist Paul Harper, drummer Dan Walton, and electronic musician Moses Archuleta.
In their earliest days, the band was abrasive and noisy, with more experimental and droning elements than structure. Multiple line-up shifts also marked the first few years of the band, and they had released an album and other various recordings before their line-up gelled prior to recording their 2007 breakthrough, Cryptograms. That album found the band existing somewhere between ambient textures and hypnotic songs informed by post-punk and Krautrock. Around this time, Deerhunter toured constantly, with Cox gaining a reputation for on-stage antics and occasional bizarre costuming. Over the next several years, the band's critical acclaim grew, and Cox often posted unreleased songs and demos from Deerhunter or his own Atlas Sound project on the Deerhunter blog. The songs were free for fans to download and the prolific glut of material led up to the first proper Atlas Sound release, 2008's Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel. Cox rode out this creative hot streak, releasing albums from either Deerhunter or Atlas Sound each year, with highlights including 2009's Logos (an Atlas Sound album that featured collaborations with Panda Bear and Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier), Deerhunter's 2010 high-water mark Halcyon Digest, and another Atlas Sound album in 2011 entitled Parallax.
In 2013, Deerhunter returned to their abrasive roots with the scratchy and deranged rock of Monomania, and Cox made his screen debut in the Jean-Marc Vallée film Dallas Buyer's Club. The next year, Cox was hospitalized when he was hit by a car. The inward and retiring tones of Deerhunter's 2015 album Fading Frontier shifted into more pastoral and curious pop on 2019's Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?, thanks in part to the adventurous production of Cate Le Bon. Before the end of 2019, Le Bon and Cox released the rowdy and experimental collaborative EP Myths 004. ~ Fred Thomas