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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
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+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
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+ 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
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+ 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
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+ 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
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+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
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44.1 kHz Archive

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Flaming Sideburns
Save Rock 'N' Roll

I feel sorry for certain garage-rock bands today. Suffering at the hand of a fad. Never given a fair chance. Heard through distorted perceptions and expectations. Right off the bat — shunned — guilty by association. Everything exists in a certain time and space, and I wholeheartedly believe — contrary to (and perhaps because of) current marketing trends — that now is neither the right time nor space for aspiring garage-rock bands.

Once a band is deemed akin to the latest trend, they're instantly accused of either exploiting the popularization of a particular genre or attempting to fool the masses by passing off unoriginal, copycat tunes merely to participate in the hyped-up movement. I don't care if they were doing it way before it ever became cool or if they just started up yesterday. I do care that many aren't being given a fair shot. Just because the band is making music that — for a flash in time — is gobbled up like free candy by the very uncool mainstream does not mean the music the band is making is in sync with other not-so-hip mainstream tastes, such as strip malls and Happy Meals™.

Further, more is said about the circle the band's been tossed in than the band itself. For example, Finland's Flaming Sideburns were recently written up in a Village Voice garage-rock trend piece. The article identified the group as one of the latest invaders, said that they rip off the Velvet Underground (who doesn't?) and have a new album out, yet failed to provide any useful information about the band itself (i.e. sound description, background, etc.). The band's been dumped into a category, dubbed yet another contender in the race for super-stardom, and stripped of any original merits or meanings it may have — victimized simply for being a garage band.

Though the Flaming Sideburns' debut longplayer, Save Rock 'N' Roll, is a bit cocksure in its claim and not blow-away one-of-a-kind original in its songwriting, it's a stunning piece of work. Listening to Save Rock 'N' Roll is as inviting as sitting on your bedroom floor grooving out to your folks' old '60s psychedelic rock and garage records — slow enough to groove to, but heavy enough to rock out with as well.

Capturing a very '60s jangly feel, the Flaming Sideburns manage to escape feeling too retro. Gritty, hard and led by distorted scream-singing that sounds like it's coming from the back room, the album is too heavy to feel as spastic as The Hives and too melodic and edgy to feel as droning as The Hellacopters. As pointed out by The Voice, "Flowers" borrows, with painful obviousness, from the Velvets and stands — alongside "Stripped Down" — as the album's softest, slowest tune. Shaking, grinding and spitting, "World Domination" rocks out the hardest, while "Lonesome Rain" feels the most mesmerizing for its surf-guitar riffs, hypnotic beats and impassioned cries for understanding: "It's not that you were so good/ It's not that I was so mean/ We slept together/ But had different dreams."

Not all garage-rock bands are good. But please. Keep in mind that just 'cause garage happens to be IN right now doesn't mean they're all bad either.

by Jenny Tatone

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