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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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+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
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Hail To The Thief
Capitol/ Parlophone

While it's clearly a shift towards making music identifiable as that of rockband, let's make this much clear: that doesn't clarify things in the slightest. This may be Radiohead strapping on guitars more often, and they may be walking the smack they've been talking, about "having fun" and authoring "joyous" songs and such. But such joy and fun have hardly come across on the disc after giving the full-stop/multi-titled shtick of Hail to the Thief the play-then-play-again spins that an anticipated album deserves in that first week. My first week hailing to its sounds has been rather like a week spent trying to divine a path through a haunted forest strewn with spiderwebs — that image, of course, one that that video for "There there. (The Boney King of Nowhere.)" has imprinted on minds so stylishly that so many similarly-toned tracks herein conjure up similar visions. The super-spookiness of "We Suck Young Blood. (Your Time Is Up.)" — cultivated by a piano (thumping the same minor-key block-chords it did for about half of Amnesiac), Thom Yorke's wan warbling washed out to a ghostly chorus, and more handclaps than an Architecture in Helsinki show — arouses a spectral air that unsettles through haunting effect. That, though, is one of the songs that stands out from the guitar-wrangling numbers herein; the clarity of this spookiness only implies fogs and mists, rather than eventuating them through layers laid on as thick as pea soup. So, like, rather than being a return to climbing up walls, all that these rediscovered Radiohead guitars we've been hearing about actually mean, when you get down to playing the record, is that things sound so much more dense than they did on either of those sublime twin-set set-pieces Kid A and Amnesiac. Where songs on said records were often — like the abstract-electro gear that inspired them — defined by things as simple as a texture, a tone, or an ambience, this sixth album is not nearly so Zen-like. Such notions of simplicity spiral out into an intricacy woven with complexity; mixes here try their best to try and define and delineate songs that are, by nature, opaque. There may be more guitars, the drums might be louder, and Yorke's vocals may've been left sounding cleaner. But this has not meant that Radiohead have retreaded back down this path-less-taken in retreat to their rockband past, to the time when their first three albums essentially found their brow beholden with the crowned mantle of being, well, the new U2. Where their past two discs made clean-lined pop music that happened to be oft fashioned from the crunchy digitalia of the laptop set, Hail to the Thief makes sprawling, overwrought, unkempt rock music — songs misshapen through the caprice of instinct, rhythms veering in ways more abstract than abstracted, this wandering path much more fraught with danger than that trod by the albums regarded as being off in some impenetrable wilderness by so much of the rockist massive. If you twist perspective enough, this could mean that this is Radiohead's most subversive stroke yet; that, while they're aping past tone and selling it as a return to anthemicism, Yorke and Co. have instead gone even further down their darkened path, ever closer to the yawning abyss that will one day swallow them whole; and that luring OK Computer fans this deep into this darkness is akin to the kind of pernicious tricks turned by witches in gingerbread houses.

by Anthony Carew

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