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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
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+ Múm - Peel Session
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+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
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+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
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+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
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+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
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+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
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+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
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44.1 kHz Archive

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
No More Shall We Part
Warner Bros.

Nick Cave returns after a four-year silence, during which rumors regarding his already mythological existence were rife: according to who you listened to, he was either hooked on smack again, happily married with kids, or some combination thereof. No More Shall We Part, however, provides no easy answers to any of those propositions. A work superior in almost every way to the previous Bad Seeds release, the only-partially realized, Leonard Cohen-inspired The Boatman's Call, Cave's latest finds the singer in perhaps the finest voice of his career, armed with a set of melodic ballads and mid-tempo rockers which exemplify his dedicated, traditionalist's approach to the songwriter's craft. And yes, Cave may indeed now be married with children, but don't expect to find any fat and lazy, "Tupelo Honey"-type proclamations about the joys of domesticated life here. On the surging, piano-led ballad "Oh My Lord," for instance, Cave's imagery takes on an increasingly hallucinatory tone, as he envisions the "Sword of Damocles" hanging over his wife's head, and panics over criticism that he's gone soft and lost the plot entirely. Images of drug addiction, meanwhile, pervade the mid-tempo rocker "15 Feet of Pure White Snow," in which the singer describes a dead-end domestic scenario and "the worst day I've ever had"; like the somber "Hallelujah" (not the Cohen tune, but an original), violin-laden courtesy of the Dirty Three's Warren Ellis, "15 Feet" also features recurring images of nurses and doctors. While the prevalence of religious-sounding song titles here might suggest that Cave has undergone some kind of conversion, a closer listen reveals a profound ambivalence even in this area: "God Is in the House," for instance, while it pokes fun at modern urban society and its politically correct foibles, also ultimately suggests, Samuel Beckett-like, that the God the country people fervently await in their tiny chapel may not be there at all. And in the gentle "Gates to the Garden," Cave uses a John Donne-like sexual metaphor to suggest that religious ecstasy and sexual ecstasy might indeed be one and same thing. Overall, now as ever, No More Shall We Part — as emotionally intense a recording as anything he's ever released — proves that there are still no easy answers in the world of Nick Cave. As he screams at the conclusion of "15 Feet of Pure White Snow": "Save yourself — Help yourself!"

by Johnny Walker (Black)

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