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neumu
Monday, October 20, 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
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

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Wilco
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Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
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In "Man in the Sand," the documentary on the making of the Mermaid Avenue albums, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy remembers looking through the Woody Guthrie Archives, perusing scraps of paper covered with forgotten lyrics penned by the legendary folkie, and finding the final entry, dated only days before his death. On the page, repeated over and over in scratchy handwriting: "Oh God Oh God Oh God Oh God. .. ." The way Tweedy recalled this, his voice cracking but his eyes bright, it seemed he wanted to put Guthrie's final lyrics to music. Now, with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, in a sense he has.

YHF is a fierce record. A wide swath of emotions is bundled into the disc's 11 songs, but a sense of loss underlies each sentiment. In the Pavement-esque "Heavy Metal Drummer" (YHF's cheeriest cut), Tweedy's fond nostalgia for simpler times ("I miss the innocence I've known/ Playing KISS covers/ Beautiful and stoned") acknowledges that those days are never to return.

Wilco's music has always been simple. Tweedy has never been one for studio tricks, his songwriting taking precedence over all else. With YHF he's begun to rethink that method. Unsettling atmospherics lurk under his gorgeous chord progressions, but, in this battle of dissonance and harmony, the sounds of churning machinery and off-key guitar solos are no match for his wistful melodies.

"Radio Cure" most obviously employs the new Tweedy approach. Acoustic guitars and Tweedy's croak seek salvation in "electronic surgical words," as he sings in this morose tune. The drawling verses are haunted by sounds that keep children up at night — Doppler-effected rings, bursts of static and the screams of celestial winds — while the final chorus makes nice with tinkling tones that still seem ominous next to Tweedy's pained howl.

While Wilco's evolution has been greatly exaggerated by some in the media during the year-long layover since YHF was finished, the last 90 seconds of "Poor Places," the album's penultimate cut, may be the band's biggest leap yet. After the song's stripped-down beginnings, a female voice rises in the mix, endlessly repeating the album's title with a cold detachment as a swirl of white, droning guitar noise erupts like the engine of a spaceship, returning Wilco to whatever planet people this brilliant come from.

When musicians talk about songwriting, many say that their songs have always existed — they just pluck them from thin air. The atmosphere Wilco inhabit is still undiscovered territory. A place where the heavens, pregnant with hazy tones, move slowly, thick with the smell of death and always on the verge of shifting in new, uncharted directions.


by Yancey Strickler




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