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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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Arab Strap
Monday At The Hug & Pint

Aidan Moffat's gonna flog this Bukowski-of-rock shtick 'til he drops, such flagellation being part of a preened package of writerly/rockist degradation he's honed over so many years and so many beers. His glum tales of getting-loaded and chasing-birds long leered out over Arab Strap's trademark pretty-acoustic-guitar/crappy-drum-machine sound. Charting tales of dubious debauchery and emotional emptiness, Moffat — so the shtick goes — is one part princely poet, one part lecherous dick, his preoccupation with said semen-secreting bodily organ making him one hell of a sex-centric sad-sack. Like: Arab Strap records are full of sex, but totally sexless. To go with the gruff-Scots-voice/beer-in-hand words, Moffat's long walked the talk, staggering through Arab Strap's tenure in a fashion going somewhere close to the hard-knock life he's knocked out in spoken words across the duo's seven years and five albums. Of course, with all that beer under the bridge, Aidan ain't as hard as he once was. Monday at the Hug & Pint finds the mumbling curmudgeon confessing, with typical candor: "These days my cock's as numb as my heart." And, from the guy who once actually said "You can't get over your dead dog?/ Well, it takes one to know one" in a song, you'll know that he must be talking about a seriously insensitive penis. Let me hear you say "flaccid"! Such said, that we're talking soft-cocks here is testament to the charismatic quality cultivated by Moffat's, uh, shtick, his self-deprecating self-degradating self-flagellating type dear-diary words filled with comedy and honesty and irony to go with the debauchery. For those who've been following along at home, there'll be plenty of lines to draw between the salad-days Moffat and the droopy-age Moffat with this latest, fifth disc. The thematic thrust of Monday at the Hug & Pint recalls the former AS ode "The Beautiful Barmaids of Dundee"; stomping opener "The Shy Retirer" is a reminder of past calls-to-arms like "The First Big Weekend" and "Hey!fever"; and, kinda strangely, an arousing tune arises here called "The Week Never Starts Around Here," which was once just the name of the first Arab Strap album. Oh, yeah, I should say this: Conor Oberst and Bill Wells and Barry Burns all show up. Moffat and cohort Malcolm Middleton are back after both issued solo albums in 2002, back together sounding more Strap-like than they did on the, uh, adventurous The Red Thread, even though this disc does plump for "variety" over solidity. But, uh, yeah, I guess that's it. Oh, wait, maybe this is a better conclusion: "I needed a nurse and a mother/ I needed an open-minded whore/ I needed a barmaid and a lover/ Someone to stand between me and the floor."

by Anthony Carew

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