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neumu
Thursday, October 23, 2014 
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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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+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
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+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

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Seachange
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Lay Of The Land
Matador
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Coming from Nottingham, UK, this band sounds obstinately unfashionable and somehow very English, combining bitterly sung pastoral folk reveries with splintered no-wave guitar and brittle-hard rock. Dan Eastop has a great non-singer's voice, hectoring and cynical, but with an undertow of romanticism. The band behind him is able to play with fierce intensity, moving from pulsating tension to a raging maelstrom of sound. They don't always sound consistent on this debut, occasionally misfiring with underworked material, but overall the strengths overshadow any weaknesses, and when they truly hit their stride they're devastatingly effective.

"Anglokana" sets out their manifesto: a guitar pulse offset by violin establishes a mournful air with a hint of menace before the music cuts out, then explodes back into life with unexpected violence. "News From Nowhere" is wordier, its confessional tone partially obscured by oblique lyrics. In it Eastop describes social inertia "Spent years on long-term sick in a terraced house in town" — and evokes a kind of monochromatic dullness, but does so with insistent, jabbing vocals twinned with the music's urgency.

"Glitterball" has a streamlined, melancholic narrative punctuated by outbursts of volcanic intensity. Mixed in with this is a fragile volatility and a lyrical vagueness: you feel Eastop is angry about something, but it's not always clear what. And again there's a sense of grainy reality being sketched in, with a cinematic sensibility: "She lost her nerve/ For a Sixties moment/ Lights flashing across the dancefloor." It's all very gauche and not a little self-conscious, but by sheer, dogged insistence the band carries it off.

And if the sardonic, poetic conceits of "The Nightwatch" prove a little to much to bear, then the fuzzy, fired-up, angular rock 'n' roll of "SF" clears the air with explosive results. Here there's no ambiguity as Eastop screams defiantly, "Got a bomb strapped to my heart/ Gonna blow you away" against an angry backing that sounds like the taut art-rock of Wire being shredded by a hardcore band.

With his scattershot lyrical viewpoint temporarily abandoned, Eastop takes on the role of preacher, ranting semi-coherently over antagonistic guitar and a sonorous, PIL-style groove on "Do It Again," then exhorting to the point of overload at the climax to "Come On Sister." Here the music starts as a rough-edged ballad with a seesaw queasiness gnawing at its fringes, before building up in intensity. Somewhere along the way it seems to aim too high and fall short, but the band plows on regardless, speeding up and finally nailing it at the finish with a combustible outburst of energy.

Uneven but compelling, Seachange seem out of place but grimly determined, fragile yet aggressive, with a petulant anger fueling their music. They at least demand a response, positive or negative, rather than bland indifference, and this album is quite possibly a flawed masterpiece.


by Tom Ridge




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