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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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44.1 kHz Archive

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Folksongs For The Afterlife
Put Danger Back In Your Life
Hidden Agenda

There used to be a bunch of bands around like this, almost happily fitting together into an amorphous sub-sub-genre categorizing that some folks pseudo-slanderously called "post-Cocteau." But, so many years on, there's an out-of-step allure about Brooklynite pair Folksongs for the Afterlife, who build Lush wall-of-noise layers out of lazy acoustic and droney electric guitars, occasionally peaking in moments of most shining sweetness and light. These sweetness/light times find them offsetting their dense, heavily-laden studio constructions with well-placed tonal levities — a girlish vocal, a counter-melodic sample, a sprinkle of tuned percussion — to sweeten up the drier, fibrous moments of songs, such hundreds-and-thousands making their white-bread nature seem somewhat kaleidoscopic. A full four years on from their five-song debut disc, the duo — Caroline Schutz and Chris Sizemore — finally arise in longplaying form, their first album opting for more exuberant, organic, and "physical" sounds than that early EP. That self-titled affair, concocted at home in obvious layer-cake form, often happily lost itself in this wanton "drift" mode, tripping on vague allusions to trip-hop as the pair built shimmering layers of pedal-centric guitars and keytone and synth-beats and tricked-out programming, floating away into tasteful environs that were, once again, the product of that guy-with-girl-singing trip-hop-ist setup. Here, though, in its best moments (closer "Summer Loop" seeming a good example), Put Danger Back in Your Life evokes Dot Allison's more straight moments; y'know, those pretty drone-guitar-draped ballads that sit in between her opulent orchestral numbers and her recent dubious dabbling with retro-electro beats and such. Whilst they still list "efx" in the instrumental run-down, Folksongs for the Afterlife appear a little less "floaty" this time, no longer under the sway of trip-hop-ism. Their craft appears to find a robust resilience in the fact that shoe-gaze and Cocteau-ish swooning and cinematic Gibbons-ism and Beth Orton's infallibility have all fallen well out of favor. Knowing that, stylistically, they're out on their own, Folksongs ditch stylized circumspection, and feel good in their forthrightness, their four-year period of first-album-making gestation finding them stepping out of some droning haze, now with the acoustic guitar at center kept to a lusty strum, the laid-on guitars sounding a little more ragged, a real live bass/drums rhythm section turning up on five songs, and Schutz's vocals not really subsuming to those wan, warbling ways that're used to evoke a moody mood on these type of discs.

by Anthony Carew

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