Pictured, far left: Bradford Cox | Photo Courtesy of Ryan Stang
It only took getting hit by a car to cheer Bradford Cox up. The Deerhunter frontman, master of abstract, impressionistic alt-pop, is rebounding, but despite the traumatic experience ("I got taken to a war-zone hospital and saw some dark things," he says) -- or perhaps because of it -- he and the band have crafted the jangly, '60s-inspired, terrific Fading Frontier. After their last full-length, 2013's raw, shadowy Monomania, this album feels downright sprightly. "I wanted to do something a bit less unhealthy," Cox says. "You can only say the same thing so many times before you get sick of hearing yourself."
Although sunny and hooky, the record has thematic heft. The first track, "All the Same," struts along irresistible drumbeats and guitar lines, but concerns a father changing his gender. Cox considers himself asexual, but won't elaborate on what that means. "I never ask for identification," he says, "and I'm too old to get ID'd."
Appropriately, he finds this year's developments in queer rights creatively uninspiring; to him, the new battle is against heterogeneity. "I've noticed a lack of diversity in queer culture," he says. "It's like we share the exact same political beliefs, and it's not OK to be different or apolitical. I just don't believe people should be indignant."
True to his iconoclastic nature, Cox doesn't believe in marriage. "It's a religious institution -- and a failed institution -- sort of like having a mortgage," he says. "It's 2015! Why did it take this long? Everyone's so happy to get crumbs after everybody else has eaten."