What will Bradford Cox do? This is one of my favorite questions. Known here on his idiosyncratic own as Atlas Sound, the Deerhunter frontman is compelling in ways we’ve long forgotten about in rock ‘n’ roll. Enigmatic, iconoclastic, angsty—Cox is a runaway train in every direction, performing himself against the world like music itself depended upon it. The warm ranges of his genre-roaming discography reflect this schizophrenia, and each Cox release (I sadly report that none accompanies this latest jaunt through Chicago) is an unpredictable new traipse along his singular path through guitar-related history. But what keeps the folks coming, and why this show comes recommended, is what Bradford is at bottom: a lost boy searching for meaning in sound, generously sharing what he’s found. An unparalleled, overstretched clarion—Cox is beset with Marfan syndrome—he cries affectionate alien cries that hurt. And he knows just how to candy his emotional excess, wrapping his ache in crunchy neon textures to take the day. In Atlas Sound, Cox has unleashed bedroom-y visions of MP3 dreams that define a generation’s lonely audiophiles. (John Wilmes)
May 21 at Lincoln Hall, 2424 North Lincoln, (773)525-2508. 9pm. $20. 21+.