Since the release of their noisy and abrasive breakthrough album Cryptograms two years ago, Atlanta-based Deerhunter has polarized indie-rock nerds—some champion them as the heirs to a grand, provocative underground tradition, while others dismiss them as needlessly confrontational. The band’s new album, Microcastle, may well inspire fresh controversy, though for a different reason: In place of noise, Deerhunter has gone melodious, drawing from the Byrds, Neil Young, garage rock, and old doo-wop records. Front man Bradford Cox, known for wearing a dress onstage and smearing himself with fake blood, defends the shift as perfectly natural in the history of rock. “Bands like [late-seventies British avant-garde group] Throbbing Gristle used to alternate between noise and pop,” he says. “I don’t get why we can’t just do the same.” Deerhunter’s peers should take note. In this digital age, with instantaneous access to an endless variety of musical ideas, why do so many bands straitjacket themselves in one sound?