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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
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+ Espers - II
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44.1 kHz Archive

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White Stripes
White Blood Cells
Sympathy For The Recording Industry

Last year's White Stripes release De Stijl is stomping and wailing, bouncing off the windows in my car. Curtailing the possibility of conversation with my passenger, I turn it up. This is no background music. It requires undivided attention. The album ends. I turn to my boyfriend and say: "You know, he kind of sounds like Robert Plant."

And to this he — who first heard Led Zeppelin through headphones as an infant — defensively snarls: "You better be careful what you say — that's a very bold statement." I have been warned.

One week later, White Blood Cells, the new record from the White Stripes (vocalist/guitarist/pianist Jack White and drummer Meg White), booms about my apartment. As they abandon the excellently raw blues sound of their last album, the Led Zeppelin influence is even stronger now. My boyfriend, unwontedly, agrees.

White Stripes drummer Meg White told me the new album would be country-ish. But try all they may — with Plant-style, choked-up vocals leading the way — the easygoing sounds of country just don't shine through. Sure, you've got Johnny Cash-like guitar plucks and a country drum beat on "Now Mary," but I just don't hear country in Jack White's strained, desperate wails. While maintaining the raw simplicity and amazing stomping rhythm that's the crux of the Detroit duo's signature sound, White Blood Cells stands apart from past releases — not because it's country, but because it rocks hard in a heavy '70s hard-rock vein.

On the same night we agreed the Led Zeppelin influence did, with much weight, exist, we played lead track "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" and Led Zeppelin's "Gallows Pole" back-to-back. Together, we smirked and laughed because, intentionally or not, the songs are blatantly the same. On the other hand, "Hotel Yorba" is ingenious. Listening to it makes me happy as a child. Every time its speedy, stomping drum beat kicks off, I can't help but jump up, clap my hands, dance merrily and sing along: "Well it's 1, 2, 3, 4/ Take the elevator/ At the Hotel Yorba/ I'll be glad to see you later/ ... And it's 4, 5, 6, 7/ Grab your umbrella/ Grab hold of me/ 'Cause I'm your favorite fella."

"Hotel Yorba" is severely catchy, cleverly written and enticingly happy-go-lucky — such pure fun. On the flip side, "Union Forever," influenced by the Orson Welles masterpiece "Citizen Kane," uses dreary keying, dark guitar riffs and solemn speak-singing to convey the subject matter's gravity: "Well I'm sorry but I'm not/ Interested in gold mines/ Oil wells, shipping or real estate/ What would I like to have been?/ Everything you hate."

The White Stripes are two very talented people with a dedication to the beauty inside musical simplicity (two people calling themselves brother and sister, rumored to be a divorced couple — but really that's beside the point and who cares). With De Stijl they emphasized a return to minimalism in blues (think Robert Johnson and John Lee Hooker). With White Blood Cells they prove two instruments and a simplified approach can translate into heavy, electrified rock 'n' roll too. In sum, if a hardcore Zeppelin fan can appreciate the new album (rip-off or not), you can too.

by Jenny Tatone

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