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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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+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
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Modest Mouse
Everywhere And His Nasty Parlour Tricks EP

Musicians grow. Over the course of a decade and a half, the Beach Boys' thematic arc took them from cars and surfing to spiritual chanting and nature imagery. The Pixies went from incest to science fiction in four albums; more recently, a band like Unwound released a fucking brilliant double album of stunning prog-rock out of absolutely nowhere. Change keeps things interesting; it keeps ideas moving and notes flowing and us listening.

From the vast and open terrain of "This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About," Modest Mouse have funneled their soundtrack to American desperation into a more focused look at the way human feelings can bloom and survive in an endless universe — exploring the infinite, or at least the way hugeness and huge emptiness fuck people up. There's nothing quiet and sad about Isaac Brock's desperation; it's an angry, defiant kind of desperation. It counters its inherent futility with an elegant violence that, if Brock got his wish, would leave you shaking and hurt.

Much of Modest Mouse's music has a destructive edge, whether self-destruction or a more outwardly directed viciousness. It's evident on this eight-song grab-bag of an EP that collects the four tracks from last year's "Night on the Sun" EP and throws in a few new things, for good measure. "Everywhere..." is a satisfying dessert to The Moon and Antarctica, a curious postscript to the best letter Modest Mouse have written yet in their eight-year career.

Brock's anger finds a focus, musically, in "Night on the Sun" and, lyrically, in "You're the Good Things," the CD's two strongest offerings and also the most evocative of his rough philosophy. The former is an expansive epic of building guitars and hopeless rumination: "There's one thing to know about this earth, we're put here just to make more dirt," Brock shouts like some kind of enraged cheerleader, adding at the end, "and that's OK." Because, you know, it is OK. Once mortality is confronted, maybe we can begin to focus on more important stuff. "You're the Good Things" might be one of the more upbeat melodies the band has written in a few years, though its raved-up peppiness doesn't make the words sting any less: "You're the icing on the cake on the table at my wake."

"Here It Comes" is another upbeat affair with moderately depressing themes; "So Much Beauty in Dirt" has a powerfully suggestive lyric, despite being so short that it seems like an afterthought. "The Air," a spiffy little remix job, incorporates quotes and snippets from "Antarctica" into a dark and claustrophobically empty soundscape. Tacked onto the end of the disc, for no good reason, is a version of "I Came as a Rat" that's indistinguishable from the album version, and hence pretty unnecessary. A good song, but an unimportant inclusion. Still, there's enough on this disc to justify buying it (I mean, it's longer than the entire last Weezer CD, and it's not even a proper album). Brock has shifted from a shouting kid to a drifter to a disillusioned adult dealing with disillusioning adult things, and the music reflects this maturity. "Everywhere..." is another notch on Modest Mouse's growth chart, a chart that seems to have no end in sight.

by Neal Block

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