Watch out for the quiet ones. Lockett Pundt has always had something of the man-of-mystery about him. The strong and silent type. We may not know much about the man himself, especially next to the charismatic, and sometimes outrageous, rock ‘n’ roll showman that is Bradford Cox, but something we certainly do know about the Deerhunter & Lotus Plaza guitarist is that he can write a bloody catchy tune.
With his songwriting input becoming more and more prominent on Deerhunter records, and Lotus Plaza evolving into a captivating project in itself, Lockett Pundt is becoming one of the most intriguing personalities in indie-rock.
Whether he is bringing the shimmering shoegaze noise to Deerhunter’s psychedelic punk-rock, or swathes of ambient guitar drone to the succinct indie-pop songs of Lotus Plaza, Pundt brings a sensitive charm to his songs as well as an amiable willingness to embrace pop at its songwriting core. We love Lockett, so here are our 10 favourite songs by the man himself.
10. ‘Fountain Stairs’ (Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest)
‘Fountain Stairs’ gives a small glimpse into the reason why Bradford fell for Lockett in the first place. The blissfully bored persona of this song is that of a man living in his own head without a care for pretence or even for being noticed by others. The calm and perceptive character in ‘Fountain Stairs’ is an endearing one, one who recognises that as long as the sun is warming his bones, nothing can trouble him. Enjoy the autumn breeze whilst you can.
9. ‘Remember Our Days’ (Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action at a Distance)
Assuming the role of plutonic heartbreaker, in ‘Remember Our Days’, Lockett combines driving, pragmatic percussion with wistful and romantic nostalgia of a relationship in transition; moving from a loving, tender friendship into that of miasmic acquaintance. The intermittent descending guitar line acts as both a chorus and as the fading memory of those fondly remembered salad days.
8. ‘The Missing’ (Deerhunter – Monomania)
No song written by Lockett stands out on a Deerhunter album more so than ‘The Missing’. As Bradford pulled the band in a more raucous, raw garage-rock direction, Lockett held firm and continued to write songs he felt comfortable applying to record. Amongst all the inherent weirdness and parallel production on Monomania, ‘The Missing’ feels almost isolated as a pure indie-pop hit amongst art-rock indulgence, and thus making it all the more memorable.
7. ‘Antoine’ (Lotus Plaza – The Floodlight Collective)
It’s easy to see similarities between the first Lotus Plaza album and the music of Bradford Cox’s solo work as Atlas Sound. Perhaps somewhat unsure of this own strengths as a vocalist and songwriter, The Floodlight Collective is mainly a collection of ideas, drawn out through ambient noise and electronic haze. On ‘Antoine’, Lockett utilises the required 7-plus minutes to create a dreamy soundscape of swells and washed out vocals.
6. ‘Neither Of Us, Uncertainly’ (Deerhunter – Microcastle)
Microcastle is the best Deerhunter album and the last four tracks, acting a climactic cosmic suite, are as good as it gets; a swirling, dramatic and fitting end to one of the finest albums of the 21st-century. With Bradford Cox acting as conductor for the albums descent into distortion-ridden chaos, and Cole Alexander from Black Lips making a brilliantly nutty cameo on the incredible ‘Saved By Old Times’, it’s Lockett who brings woozy, bittersweet beauty to proceedings with his time fearful mantra of “Until you can’t wait”.
5. ‘Black Fuzz’ (Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action at a Distance)
The final track on Spooky Action at a Distance finds Lockett ditching the electric guitar and pedal board for an acoustic climax to what is a delightfully concise album filled with pop gems. With his melancholic croon and obscure lyrical imagery, Lockett shows that his appeal goes beyond the guitar effects and shoegaze stylings. Give the man nothing but an acoustic guitar and he’ll still prove to be a moving songsmith.
4. ‘Strange Lights’ (Deerhunter – Cryptograms)
All that said, there is a friendship, a relationship, a brotherly comradery that has led Lockett in his own rise to prominence. Bradford Cox and Lockett Pundt, as a songwriting duo, are capable of creating incredible sonic palettes of artful rock music, enduring and endearing, the pair front one of the greatest bands of our time. ‘Strange Lights’ is a touching testament to the duo’s friendship and the journey they have embarked on together; “We walk but cannot run / Because walking’s half the fun / We walk into the sun”.
3. ‘Strangers’ (Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action at a Distance)
The opening refrain; the varying intonation of the song’s vocal coda (“I know / I know / I know”); the exquisite outro that slows down to a gratifying halt; not a bar is wasted nor overcomplicated on ‘Strangers’. Singing in a semi-distant drawl, constructed around three simple, repetitive parts and none too complicated chords, Lockett managed to create a compellingly moorish album opener any band would be proud to call their own. Call it a statement of intent if you want. We call it a killer pop song.
2. ‘Agoraphobia’ (Deerhunter – Microcastle)
There is a sinister aura hanging over Microcastle. Bad dreams, bad trips, fragile mental states and lingering neurosis inhibits the record. This bad juju is laid out from the off in the form of ‘Agoraphobia’. “I had a dream no longer to be free / I want only to see four walls made of concrete / Six by six enclosed / See me on video”. The burn of paranoia sears through the track’s lyrical intent, but the song itself casually accepts this mentality, almost actively embracing the malajustment. Bittersweet doesn’t even come close; this verges on sensual perversion.
1. ‘Desire Lines’ (Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest)
When Deerhunter curated ATP Festival, in which they performed Cryptograms, Microcastle and Halcyon Digest in their entirety across three consecutive evenings, Bradford Cox identified ‘Desire Lines’ as his favourite Deerhunter song. The man has a point. Beginning as a straight up indie-rock song, Lockett’s nonchalant vocal delivery and Bradford’s infectious backing wails give the song a dream-like transparency. The guitars chime and interlock with glorious ease, building towards that majestic instrumental outro that, despite making up over 50% of the entire 6 minutes 44 seconds of the song, never lasts long enough for our liking. How long would suffice, you say? An eternity wouldn’t do it justice.
Want to hear them all back to back? Listen to the playlist on Songdrop.