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neumu
Friday, August 22, 2014 
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Editor's note: We have activated the Neumu 44.1 kHz Archive. Use the link at the bottom of this list to access hundreds of Neumu reviews.

+ 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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The Mass
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City Of Dis
Monotreme
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This Oakland four-piece aren't likely to trouble the mainstream with their ferocious, intelligent hybrid of hardcore, metal and jazz. Nor are they great innovators. But their plundering of different genres and the sheer power of their playing are a joy to hear. Vocalist and saxophonist Matt Waters mimics the traditional lead guitarist's roll, displaying a versatile range of nimble genre-hopping solos and riffs. The rest of the band match this with dexterous brutality, showing their ability to suddenly switch between moods and tempos, from abrupt, jackknife shudders to snaking, muscular rhythms and full-on thrash assaults.

The pummeling, staccato rhythm guitar and squally, post-bop saxophone of "La Porc" create a vivid opening statement, with the band making quicksilver changes, alternating between spazzed-out jazz-metal and free-flowing, sinuous sounds. Bristling with kinetic energy, "Trapped Under a Ice" (sic) opts for a more directly hardcore stance as Waters bellows out hoarse, indecipherable vocals against a raging torrent of focused noise. Then there's a shift toward spiraling sax, fighting against the music's centripetal force, before everything slows down to a doom-metal chug, complete with guttural, mock-Satanic vocals.

"Hex By Hex" is a more truncated exercise in dynamic extremes, with taut, melodic segments squeezed in between slabs of thrashing, screaming intensity. Each song is crammed with an excess of activity, brimful of detail, but at the same time possessed of a gut-level, visceral energy. The Mass make explicit the implicit overlaps between hardcore, metal and math-rock, but just as you think you have them sussed, they make a sudden switch towards shuffling jazz or tense, pared-back ensemble playing.

"Treadmill of Suffering" and "We Enslaved Elves to Build Our Death Machine" have titles that imply satirical intent, but the music explodes with the kind of vehemence that overrides any tongue-in-cheek attitude. The band continues to wrong-foot expectations with thuggish aptitude as the closing "Marca Dos Invernos" channel-hops between constrained post-rock and jazzy noodling, then builds to a frenzy of monster-guitar riffage and free-jazz soloing.

They satisfy on so many different levels: they can cook up a storm of noisy hardcore; they can make dazzling U-turns and acrobatic musical shifts; they can raise a smile of recognition even as they ram the point home, and then they can suddenly transform themselves into a monstrous, mutant-jazz combo.

While The Mass share an enthusiasm for heavy-metal excess with bands like the Fucking Champs and Lower Forty-Eight, the sense of urgency and focus that they bring to bear on their eclectic influences puts them in a field of their own.


by Tom Ridge




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