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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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You, Me & Us

House music's greatest strength may be its ability to soak up whatever it comes in contact with. Feeling Ipanema? Add a salsa shimmy to the patented one-two punch. Hankering to go back to Africa? Some hand drums and a kalimba will up the pluck. With Afro-Latin overtones beaten into the ground, however, house producers have been casting about for other idioms suited for house's boompty riddims.

Enter Brooks, Mantis Recordings' young 20-something wunderkind, who's fused new wave's glossy groove with a nifty disco twirl before smoothing the whole thing down like a balsa racecar model, streamlined and beautifully efficient. A student of Matthew Herbert, the Londoner has learned from his teacher's mashed sample chug — and in fact the swoonworthy "Colour Me Bad" is co-written and sung by Herbert's collaborator Dani Siciliano — but Brooks's tunes are cleaner and more spacious. Handclaps slap like beavertails on a mountain lake, echoing from here to there. Raygun blasts ring out like jaybirds. It's a curiously pastoral take on plasticity, pairing dulled kickdrums with acoustic guitar, taking heartfelt vocals and fracturing them in a pixel-pebbled kaleidoscope. "Dripping in Gold" is a G-funk disco jam as slinky as anything Metro Area's concocted, while "I Don't Usually Do This But..." pops arpeggios like E-40 pops collars, over a shuffle as off-kilter as Recloose's broken soul. And the last three tracks make for a strange, shadowy epic of twisted beats and bass clarinet.

Not your typical house longplayer, but that's Brooks for you. No wonder, perhaps, that the record has been almost totally ignored by a Stateside press: it's too house to be electroclash, too catchy to be electronica. Confidently ambivalent, You, Me & Us is a pop record that's not afraid to be dark, a seducer that's not afraid to have doubts. And while it occasionally acts as stylistic sponge, soaking up disco, microhouse, and R&B, ultimately it gives it all back — in the form of a full-body rubdown.

by Philip Sherburne

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