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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ 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
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ 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
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ 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
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

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Pleasure Forever
Pleasure Forever
Sub Pop

No instrument can touch me like the piano does. I could care less about anything accompanying it. My ear relentlessly seeks out and desires the keying of the piano. In case you don't get it, I have a thing about the sound of the piano. I just hope that Pleasure Forever (formerly Slaves) are bringing back the piano, because long live the most beautiful instrument in existence. Oh yeah, so you're probably wondering about the album. Well, it has a piano on it. Need I say more? OK, OK. The new, self-titled record from this San Francisco trio (also formerly known as noise-rockers The VSS) seems to suggest that the underground has taken a recent liking to the piano, along with vintage cabaret and theatrical tunes. Listening to this album, I close my eyes and imagine a dark, candlelit stage with thespians dramatically spinning around and sliding across it. With each song change, there's a set change and, although it's always dark, a mood change. Sometimes, there's a quiet, lovely solo act under the spotlight; at other times, the whole cast is dancing wickedly about the stage. Lacking the dreariness of most dark-sided bands, Pleasure Forever's sound feels like guilty pleasure — like you gave in to evil temptation. With its sinister sounds, this record could be the album on repeat in Hell (the glorified version of Hell, that is). Starting off soft, with only frail singing and the piano, "Meet Me in Eternity" goes on to explode into moving rhythm lines and infectiously entertaining "Ba-Ba-Da-Ba"s. The eight-minute-plus "Magus Opus" has delightfully delicate piano reminiscent of a child's music box, while singer/pianist Andrew Rothbard, with a singing style similar to Trent Reznor's, reveals again and again that, "Your eyes/ Give you away/ Hear ye sirs/ There are no cures/ Just stares/ And clever disguises." Combining the antique percussions and plucks at the piano's left end with an intense push-pull guitar line and Rothbard's "La-La-La"s, "Any Port in A Storm" feels like a fancy 1930s party and shows off the band's imaginative lyrics: "Sugar spun/ And whiskey sick/ Wood grain warmth/ You know the blood runs thick/ A match is lit/ Down the Mobius strip/ Like a sulphur perfume/ That smacks like bricks." While some records feel like tangible art (e.g. paintings, sculptures, etc.), this one feels like the physical representation of dark, near-gothic drama. This feeling wouldn't exist without the piano. The piano has a special power. When I hear it played right, it provides sheer ecstasy.

by Jenny Tatone

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