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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
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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
+ 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
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+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
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Glenn Tilbrook
The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook
Quixotic London

The most memorable songs always have some sort of uniqueness stamped onto them. And in most cases, this uniqueness has to do with the personality of the songwriter. But what distinguished the music of Squeeze had much more to do with quality than personality. As their recently released Greatest Hits collection attests, their finest singles were Beatle-esque nuggets that told stories and sketched characters. Indeed, songwriters Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook always seemed more interested in the people in their songs than in themselves; as a result, their more personal songs tended to sound crafted rather than inspired. For this reason, the prospect of a Glenn Tilbrook solo album could seem less than exciting.

Though it invariably makes use of some tried and true Squeeze formulas, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, released on Tilbrook's own Quixotic London label last May, mainly serves as a showcase for Tilbrook's somewhat tepid personality. But surprisingly, he reveals enough of himself — in the form of whimsical lyrics and blue-eyed singing — to almost pull it off. Tilbrook's typically deft songwriting distinguishes at least six of the album's 12 songs, and the rest, apart from some ill-conceived electronic noodling, never dip below the ho-hum standards set by the past few Squeeze albums. Most surprising however, the record contains one left-field masterpiece, an acoustic demo of "One Dark Moment."

Tilbrook's vision is singular, but never insular. Two of the album's best songs are collaborations: "Observatory," written with Aimee Mann, and "You See Me," written with Ron Sexsmith. By himself, though, he does fine. "This Is Where You Ain't" and "Parallel World," two bouncy R & B-tinged pop-rockers, detail Tilbrook's latest romantic foibles and sound like the best Squeeze songs in years. But the real highlight is an alternate version of the dirge "One Dark Moment." It is not only the record's sole dark moment, it is the most bleak track Tilbrook has ever recorded, a startling confession of pain and loss, sung with a rawness that the studio version completely misses. Calling it a mid-life crisis song would cheapen his pain; "One Dark Moment" sounds more like crisis song, period. Tilbrook uncharacteristically spits out the lyrics, telling us, "Facing one direction/ The fickle finger of pain/ Always pointing at me/ And I'm so ashamed/ And I don't like who I am/ I don't like how I feel/ I don't like where it's leading to/ The whole thing's a bad deal." This is the type of emotional nakedness that propels all artistic expression; without it, there's just craft. The rest of The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook is, ultimately, a collection of well crafted, above-average songs that nonetheless fall short of art. But "One Dark Moment" suggests that a second Glenn Tilbrook solo album could really be something. I, for one, will be waiting for it.

by David Zahl

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