He surrounds himself with beauty, has everything he’s ever wanted and really, really loves his dog. So why is the Atlantan indie rocker writing about the killing of Jo Cox and the end of the world?

The door to Bradford Cox’s wood-framed house is unlocked, so I wander in. Set in a leafy bit of Atlanta, it is the kind of place that would make Marie Kondo freak out, with the entire contents of Cox’s brain seemingly emptied on to its handsome wooden furniture: a topography of shells, tools, vials and records. His voice calls out a greeting, digitally garbled through a loudspeaker, and a dog treat fires across the room. Faulkner, Cox’s stocky mutt, skids on to the kitchen floor. “I love you boy!”

Cox is on his way back in his Volvo, but is using an app to monitor, talk to and remotely feed Faulkner. “I love dogs more than humans,” he tells me later. “I don’t like hateful things. I like sweet dogs with velvet ears.”

As the frontman and creative engine of Deerhunter, Cox’s ambient rock music – forged at the crossroads of shoegaze, doo-wop and 60s psych – has made the five-piece one of the great US bands of the century. Their new album Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? is terrifically bleak without being maudlin, beautifully sketching out worlds that are teetering or actually ending. But Cox, once ensconced in his home, is a picture of contentment. “The only great fear I have is losing my parents, or anyone in my family, and my dog,” he says. “I wish those things could last for ever, and then I would have heaven. I have everything I want.”

He has double-booked me, and apologises: would I mind going to his friend Michael Stipe’s birthday party? As inconveniences go, it ranks low, and so we head off to Athens, the next sizeable town to the east. This is where Cox grew up, poor, and had a tough childhood: complications resulting from Marfan syndrome left him his rake-thin profile, and required surgery and months in hospital. Succour eventually came from going to see bands such as Stereolab. “When I was just a boy at 12 or 13, [Stereolab co-founder] Tim Gane said to me his favourite word was ‘juxtaposition’. I remember that sticking out to me. And I said: ‘Well, that’ll be my favourite word, and my life will be devoted to juxtaposing.’”

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