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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
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

44.1 kHz Archive

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Amazing Grace

How sour the sound of crashing back down to earth. Spiritualized's high-shaman reputation as the ultimate eye-of-God band has been built on the back of Jason Pierce's interstellar bluster and the studio-spent big-bucks of record deals, with the erstwhile J.Spacemen building rock symphonies so high that the daring has dared close to hubris. Amazing Grace, though, finds the Spaceman back with his feet on the ground; he and his friends now seem more like a bunch geezers with guitars slung around their necks than pilots of the psych-rock skies. Here, Pierce seeks to show that one need not need a whole studio of sophisticated accoutrements to soar into grandiose skies; you need only harness the power of rock 'n' roll, the collectivist spirit of one hot band who've tapped into something primal in playing together every night. Since getting himself, well, cleaned up, Pierce has been walking his 12 steps via life on the road, the routine and repetition of show-a-night traveling treating his spirit well. And, in this, he's come to believe, more than ever, in the spiritual qualities of rock music, the glory of the grand noise that can come off a fretboard, run through electric current, and project out to overwhelm an audience. And, so, for this fifth Spiritualized disc, he's done away with the laborious studio-centric productions that he's painstakingly built on the last two albums, and, instead, recorded Amazing Grace in close-to-live fashion. It's not quite doing the jumping on the rock-revival gravy train that such seems to imply — even though this thought will be applied by so many wielding descriptive pens — given that there are numerous gospel-ballads here in which Pierce happily commands full choral choruses and employs sweeping orchestrations and such. It's just that he chose not to get lost in the building of a productional artifice this time, now turning his perfectionism to merely finding the perfect microphone to capture one of the first couple of takes that his band and extras knock out. But, in doing so, Pierce seems to have lost the magic that he once seemed in total command of. Maybe he's been playing a sleight-of-hand all these years, and underneath the florid poetry spun by his elaborate production numbers were songs and concepts that were actually pretty prosaic; for, on Amazing Grace, the parts don't really add up to the whole you'd once expect of a Spiritualized disc. Or, maybe, this is the record where he's finally turned the corner, and turned into merely being a version of himself; with almost all the songs on this record sounding like near-rewrites of past songs. Of course, with the amount of times he's remade "So Hot," for example, it's hard to hold that truly against him; but where past goings-over seemed like they'd come up because they'd sprung from a well-spring of irrepressible passion, here it just sounds like Pierce is just making a record, and making it quickly, so he can take Spiritualized back out on the road again. Which is a thought noble to travelers, but dismissive to play-at-home listeners.

by Anthony Carew

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