The Top 10 Creepiest, Least Traditionally Gratifying Deerhunter Songs

Categories: Deerhunter

Robert Semmer
Bradford Cox has a special way of making people uncomfortable, and not just by way of fashion faux pas or fake interview ire. Via his own quiet, insinuative style, the guy has written or co-written some of the most emotional devastating and twisted rock'n'roll anthems, murder ballads, and free-form pop songs of the past half-decade and change. Most of them have been released via Cox's Atlas Sound side project, but some of his heaviest trips come courtesy of indie-rock standard bearer act Deerhunter.

In advance of the band's appearance at Governors Ball Music Festival 2013 next Friday, SOTC narrowed down Deerhunter's output to the ten songs that freak us out like Poltergeist, and attempted -- lower lip trembling uncontrollably -- to explain why.

See also: Deerhunter's Bradford Cox: "If You're Not Afraid of Failure ... You'll Never Die"

10. "White Ink" (Cryptograms, 2007)

"White Ink" isn't so much a song as an expressed mood, a primo demo of early-era Deerhunter, full to the brim with the sort of hazy, reverbed-to-infinity shoegazery that nails a special sweet spot so perfectly it's almost enough to make the hardest hearted dudes in the room weep. Its license to dread lies in the sense or possibility of menace lurking just beyond its borders: so rarified is the air "White Ink" breathes, so tender and supple its flesh, so graceful its slow-motion gyrations, that to listen to it is almost inevitably fear for its safety, and for your own. In other words, be careful.

9. "Intro/Agoraphobia" (Microcastle, 2008)

The blossoming stutter of "Intro" begets the indolent contours of an ode to a common social phobia. Sonically speaking, "Agoraphobia" is among the most heavenly songs Deerhunter has ever committed to tape; lyrically speaking, the band's songs don't get much more cryptic. What could be less psychologically sound than to wish -- to wish -- to be confined within a tiny space, to experience the devolution of your senses and eventually your bodily functions, to ultimately cease to exist? If somebody wanted to design a playlist of gorgeous post-2001 indie-rock songs that were about wanting to trade places with a Guantanamo enemy combatant (albeit unintentionally), "Agoraphobia" should sit at the top of the list.

8. "Weird Era" (Weird Era Cont, 2008)

Unabashed studio "messing-around" instrumental anti-jam par excellence, replete with loops, feedback, noodling, pitch-shifting, et al. (Sort of the "classic Deerhunter" equivalent to lost-until-fairly-recently Pavement gem "Nigel.") Scary because going nowhere doesn't mean one can't wake up stuck in a inescapable nightmare world.

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