In 2007-2009, especially throughout 2008, Bradford Cox made available on the Deerhunter blog an extraordinary amount of music relative to proper Deerhunter and Atlas Sound releases. This music, free of charge, will eventually play a pivotal role in historical accounts of the transition in music playback from discs to online streaming, alongside the phenomenon of "sharity" blogging, Radiohead's controversial "name your own price" scheme for their album In Rainbows, and the resurgence of the music video via You Tube. This bulk of material was the perfect response to what David Lowery would later call the "free culture": give those downloading your music illicitly even more free music to listen to, thus pronounce your independence from those who claim to like an art for which they can't be bothered to spend a few dollars. A show of strength draws suckers in.
About the music, though.... In short, 2008 was Bradford Cox's year. The first Atlas Sound album intrigued those of us who found Cryptogams to be uneven and unconvincing. Microcastle/ Weird Era Continued followed later that year and defined the Deerhunter sound heard since: Cox's voice no longer hidden and distorted, but rather presented clearly, either unadorned or enlarged via reverb, double-tracking, etc.; sticking to the Rock-band set-up, though taking breaks for slower, no-drums numbers; and resorting excessively to common pop-song structures. But that Atlas Sound album, Let the Blind Lead Those Who See but Cannot Feel, presented a bolder vision: home recording for the new millennium, updating the older "low fi" model of Sebadoh and Beck. The songs made available on the blog, mostly Atlas Sound, also took this approach, eluding the divide between "noise" and songs that had hampered Cryptograms. Given the many comparisons made by critics and listeners to the Shoegazer artists of the late 1980's-early '90's, we could also say that this early era of Atlas Sound presented a confluence of the Shoegazer sound with the home-recording aesthetic.
The presentation of previously-unreleased music on the Deerhunter blog began on July 20, 2007 with a Deerhunter demo, 'Unrequited', followed the next day by a Lockett Pundt track 'These Years...', but only excerpts of both, due to difficulties with file-sharing sites (another foreshadowing of music-industry controversies to come); the full version of the former was posted on 1 August with 'Solar Ropes', the latter on 3 August. The Atlas Sound material began on July 29 and continued as such (for today's post, we go through 2007):
29 July: 'White Tea; 'Stoned'
1 August: 'Porto'; 'Monochromatic'; 'Solar Ropes'
4 August: The Brian Foote E P (consisting of 'Where I Come Home From', 'Tame All the Lions (Valet Remixed by Atlas Sound)', 'How Do I Look?', and 'Child Support')
5 August: 'Twilight at Carbon Lake' (an Atlas Sound track but noted to be a demo for what would become 'Microcastle/ Weird Era Continued')
9 August: 'So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)' [Everly Brothers cover]; 'Beginning to See the Light' [Velvet Underground cover]
13 August: 'Pure UnEvil' [Liars cover]; 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart' [Neil Young cover]
21 August: 'Line Drawing' (1998 recording posted the same day as an excerpt from an Atlas Sound concert at Eyedrum in 2005, apparently broadcast on W R E K, the Georgia Institute of Technology radio station)
5 September: Three Elegies in Sound: 'Take to the Wind (For Samuel Beckett)'; 'Always Tired (For Betty Harris)'; 'Puppy in the Window (For Bo Diddley)'
21 September: 'Oliver'
14 October: 'Sunday Night in Chicago'
15 October: 'Difference BT' (two versions); 'Borrowed Nostalgia'
17 October: 'Unicorn Rainbow Odyssey' [Mark Sultan cover] (apparently a new version of an older track of unknown provenance); 'Remembered By'; 'Words From the Wall'; 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Version 2)'--"removed a lot of the reverb and atmospherics"
24 October: 'From a Youth Hostel in Prague'; 'Unrequited II'
26 October: Altitude Sickness (an E P consisting of three covers of Doo Wop songs: 'Come Softly' [the Fleetwoods]; 'You're So Fine' [the Falcons]; and 'You Belong to Me' [the Duprees])
12 November: 'A B C Glasgow'
27 November: 'Cobwebs'
29 November: 'When They Talk'
30 November: 'Malmö'
2 December: 'Walks Backward' (1997 recording)
3 December: 'Words From the Wall (Version II); 'Words From the Wall (Electric)'; 'Basement Memory' (made from samples of Talking Heads' 'This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)'); 'I'll Be Your Mirror' [Velvet Underground cover]
12 December: Holiday E P # 1 (consisting of 'Children's Choir Rehearsal', 'Requiem for All the Lonely Teenagers With Passed Out Moms', and '10th Grade Concept Map')
15 December: Weekend E P ('Friday Night We Took Acid and Laid on Matt's Bedroom Floor Staring at His Ceiling Fan While His Parents Watched T.V. Downstairs', 'Saturday Night We Went Swimming and There Was a Light in the Water', and 'Sunday Evening We Relaxed in Our Rooms and Called Each Other on the Phone'--note that this E P, more than 28 minutes long, qualifies to be an album)
17 December: 'Christian Names'
18 December: 'Ivy Belk'
30 December: 'Camcorder'; 'Disposable Camera' (first 'Virtual 7 Inch')
A second Lockett Pundt track, 'Whiteout', was posted on 1 August 2007; a track credited to Bradford and Lockett, 'Quad', was posted on 8 August 2007; a second Cox/ Pundt track, 'Urbana Library of Electronic Music', was posted on 6 October 2007. Lockett Pundt's cover of the Roy Orbison song 'Bayou Blue' was posted on 10 August 2007, and his cover of the Amps's 'Bragging Party' was posted on 15 August 2007. On 15 October 2007, Pundt began using the moniker Lotus Plaza for a track, 'Sunday Night in Atlanta', followed on 12 November by 'Hamburg' and on 4 December by 'What Grows?'.
Three Microcastle demos were posted on 15 September 2007, not credited to Atlas Sound, so presumably like 'Unrequited' they count as Deerhunter tracks: 'Calvary Scars', 'Green Jacket', and 'Activa'.
On 2 November 1997 the Atlas Sound remix of an Arthur Russell track was posted: 'Answers Me (Arthur Russell Remix)'.