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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

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The Devil Isn't Red

Jack and Meg may've made the rock 'n' roll duo a marketing angle as synonymous with back-to-basics fashion as faux-distressed denim or carefully-coiffed haircuts, but in the avant-gardist rock underground, there's long been a host of post-metal/prog-core pairs knocking out powerful sound, from beloved Japanese gents Ruins through to American outfits like Godheadsilo and Lightning Bolt. Lighting Bolt are probably the best measuring shtick for Californian heroes Hella, even though LB's fuzzed-out power-rock is about slabs of monolithic sound, where Hella's rattling pseudo-out-of-control controlled chaos is about movement so restless and relentless that it seems almost brittle. The Californian combo's post-metal/new-metal noise plays out at virtuosic speed with vicious intensity, like some unforgiving riffing at the extremities of their chops, this maestro-ish masturbatory monstrosity blessed with the swiftest of artistic wrists. As Zach Hill keeps beats to the beat of hummingbird wings on drums, Spencer Seim's arcing guitar-lines oscillate between classic-metal-esque solos and bursts of atonal noise-guitar squall; and often this oscillation seems to bare scant regard to what Hill is actually doing. There are often times, on their third record, that Hella seem more a fractured marriage than ever, their duo a musical communion that's more side-by-side than symbiotic. This runs against the romantic idea of a rock 'n' roll duo, which easily lends itself to notions of symbiosis, of two so in tune with and reliant on each other their union is an essential one, and this is an idea easily applicable to couples whose off-the-court relationships are brother/sister or husband/wife (or some variation thereon). But most of the time Hella seem like a duo in which two separate entities are dueling for space, locked in a struggle, with these combatants coming across moments of compositional harmony through coincidence, not synchronicity. Not compromising themselves with anything like traditional song-form, they are — each — free to be their own man, incongruity be damned. And, so, then, it's no surprise that The Devil Isn't Red finds, at times, Hella soaring high, into the sky, like an eagle (etc.), only to, at other times, sound more like two men on the ground, wrestling for possession of a remote control.

by Anthony Carew

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