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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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A Room Full Of Tuneful

A Room Full of Tuneful? Which room, exactly? Bronze Age Fox's tender guitar strums fall somewhere between the porch and the bedroom; the Technicolor drama of Empire State seems channeled from a left-on TV leaching sound in a late-night loungeroom; and the Dreams of Tall Buildings' track is like hearing the world at a remove through the dense, sound-softening walls of your bedroom.

In any case, this album is rhythmically more in tune with wind-up toy noises conjured in playrooms and afternoons frittered away with watching-outside-your-window imaginings than the mechanical abrasions of an industrial workshop or the wobbly drones of washing machines at work in a laundry. Well, what do you expect from a compilation showcasing acts on a UK electronic label called Melodic, anyway? Some of the bands featured on this tunefully warm album are Minotaur Shock, Topo Gigio, and Pedro (with a double scoop of the latter act).

So evidently, given the raison d'etre of this recording (i.e. record-label show-offiness), there's an overarching cohesive sound to A Room Full of Tuneful. Think soft-glow electronica bundled with some cinematic histrionics (Topo Gigio's "Locked Up" ratchets up increased tension celluloid-style, overlaying pretty diversions and pressure-drop spaces and beats), dreamsome, jazzy piano tinkering (Noakes Pressure's "Weaves Tickling the Ivories"), or recurring lonesome tremors and glassy handclicks (Minotaur Shock's "Lady Came From Baltic Wharf").

On the other hand, the fact that the set list coheres so easily can be a point of contention — do the songs complement each other so well because there is a sharp lack of distinction between some of the artists? Then again, the gospel/soul doo-doo-doo's on Lucky Pierre's "Dawn, Burst & Tired" may well make the track stand out from the pack, but it also gives it a cheesiness and contrived spirituality reminiscent of TV ads for car tires, swanky booze products or tourist hotspots.

Given that electronic music can sometimes sound ageographical, it's interesting that the one track that hints at the label's UK origins is a rather indie-rock number, the giveaway on Tex La Homa's "Feel Tied Down" being the obviously Brit vocal murmurs (though, when I think about it, the accompanying music has an in-the-distance sparseness and coldness that is also patently British). While the failure of compilations is that they often offer very little to very few — a new-but-not-above-par track to a completist, an inconsistent mix to a partygoer — A Room Full of Tuneful works because it offers a good batch of songs that cohere and forge an agreeable impression. Play it in every room of your house.

by Lee Tran Lam

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