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neumu
Saturday, August 23, 2014 
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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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44.1 kHz Archive



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artist
Josh Rouse
recording
Under Cold Blue Stars
Slow River/Ryko
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Under Cold Blue Stars is a soulful country-rock album that tells the story of a 1950s Midwestern family who inherit a farm in the South. Over the course of the album's 11 songs, Rouse sings about the success and failure, love and heartbreak experienced by the family members and friends. His sound, gender-neutral swooning folk dressed in quirky analog jazz keyboards, would fit nicely on a mix tape alongside The Smiths and Nick Drake.

Beginning with funeral sounds (where his last album, Home, left off), Rouse launches into "Nothing Gives Me Pleasure," a poppy love song from an insecure singer who gilds his love to feel better about himself. The endless repetition of the phrase "Always been the one to follow you" only reinforces his obsessive sincerity — and it urges the listener to question the motives of the singer's declarations.

"Miracles" describes holy-shit amazement, most likely the reaction to childbirth. You still wonder if you should trust the singer; contrasted with the agonizing complexities surrounding the loneliness in other songs, his overwhelming happiness here comes across as too simple.

"Christmas With Jesus" portrays religion at odds with technology — in this case, a radio broadcast that leaves even the soul-searcher wary. The bass-heavy title track, "Under Cold Blue Stars," shows a repressed small-town dreamer wading in potential, but drowning in reality. "Ugly Stories" is Rouse's most straightforward kiss-off to date, its Dylanesque cynicism ("Believe in your doubts, 'cause I found out you can never trust in anyone") revealing an emotionally battered singer struggling to accept unquestionable infidelity. In contrast, "Feelin' No Pain" is a slap on the steering wheel on a highway drive across America. It would be a hot summertime single — all over the radio in an ideal world. Like "Miracles," it's more simple pleasure than guilty one.

To bring the house down, "Summer Kitchen Ballad" is a seriously downbeat song in which Rouse sings "It's a grey world." The dramatics of the line "Sat in the kitchen with an asthma cigarette" might seem comical at first, but once Rouse starts the little-boy whine, there's nothing funny about it. You can only pray he will close the album optimistically.

Looking to the emotional core that connects people beneath the majestic night sky, "The Whole Night Through" grants perspective and resolution. But while the song helps override our fears of the unknown through simple-minded, age-old hopefulness, the album as a whole is like a telling documentary that stresses the famine over the feast. Thankfully, Rouse does end this album with optimism. "Because when you start to doubt, somehow it all works out...," he sings. "The line becomes the truth...what we need right now is a place to just lay down...and dream the whole night through."


by Todd Shalom




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