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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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Department Of Eagles
The Whitey On The Moon UK LP

After their initial blastoff with a couple of well-received singles, the New York duo formerly known as Whitey on the Moon UK change their name and bring the full-length bizness — a messy spin through the barely-digested contents of a musical omnivore's funky gullet.

Downtempo drum-break nuggets like "Noam Chomsky Spring Break 2002" are Department of Eagles' best stuff, like Four Tet going deeper on the hip-hop tip. But nestled next to the beats are some Radiohead knockoffs, a deadpan Streets parody, a clippity-cloppity cowboy song, and an electric-piano soul ballad titled "The Curious Butterfly Realizes He Is Beautiful."

This isn't quite as oddball as it sounds — blurring the lines between rock and electronic is getting less and less novel, bordering on tired. You've got the Fog singing indie folk songs over beat-juggled drums, Boom Bip ending his album with a contemplative solo guitar piece, and the Beta Band sounding like Timbaland on tour with the Dead. So, no big deal, but there's a bigger drawback: When you've got as much wink-wink nudge-nudge going on as Department of Eagles, it can make it hard for the listener to buy into what you're doing. On a song like "Romo-Goth," DoE are obviously shooting for ROCK but end up at "rock," with unintentional quote marks around the feedback and vocal histrionics.

Luckily, people don't have to think much about intentions when they're listening to instrumental hip-hop. The beats on Whitey... are plenty hot, at least when they aren't being chopped and squiggled into samplus interruptus, and about half of the "song" songs avoid all the pitfalls. A super-catchy sing-along like "Family Romance" is immune to overthinking — just sing along! "Sailing by Night," the best of the album's Radiohead-fetish trilogy, builds up a thick, thrumming melancholy that's worth taking a dip in ("Picture me/ Glistening over the seas"). Bottom line, several of these tracks would make great material for a mixtape. In a way, they're already on one.

by Dave Renard

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