Thursday, August 13, 2020 
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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
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+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
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+ 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
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44.1 kHz Archive

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The Merry Sisters Of Fate
Green Linnet

If you doubt the ability of Celtic music to rock, Ireland's Lunasa will transform you into an arms-waving, "Hallelujah!"-shouting believer. For those straitlaced trad-heads who decry the hybridization of Celtic into new-agey slush (a la Enya) or frenzied acid raves (a la Shooglenifty), Lunasa offer reassurance that innovative music can still arise from respecting tradition.

Five enormously talented musicians, Lunasa have roared through the otherwise staid U.S. Celtic music scene like a tricked-out Harley hog. Their near-legendary album Otherworld became the best-selling non-vocal Irish album in their label's history. Grueling tour schedules ensured that the boys would reach every nook and cranny of Celtic fandom, leaving in their wake standing ovations from coast to coast. So, how do you top such success? With more of the same, of course.

The Merry Sisters of Fate finds the lads in razor-sharp form; sharper, perhaps, than the group assembled to record Otherworld. The permanent addition of touring uillein piper Cillian Vallely to the fold has anchored the group's sound. Flanked by fiddler Sean Smyth and flutist Kevin Crawford, the melodic flights on Merry Sisters are tighter, juicier and often painfully beautiful. The bedrock rhythm section of acoustic bassist Trevor Hutchinson (from The Waterboys) and guitarist Donogh Hennessey continues to lay down a roiling, pulsing groove over which the others soar.

The band has widened its sonic palette a bit, with the addition of two songs comprising tunes from the Celtic "nations" of Galicia and Brittany. And the careful use of non-traditional instruments such as clarinet, piano and slide guitar complements the overall effect of their compositions. In addition, some original tunes speak not only to Lunasa's ingenuity, but also to their love of the music. Regardless of origin, each track shimmers with a spark of musical genius. Trevor's ominous, choppy bowed bass on "Morning Nightcap," the staggered counterpoint notes from Kevin's flute on "Aoibheas" and the solemnly pristine harmonies on the slow air "Paistin Fionn" are merely peak moments from a wonderful album that dwells in the clouds from start to finish.

by R. Airiq Williams

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