Tuesday, March 5, 2024 
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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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People Are Like Seasons
City Slang

Former God Machine guru Robin Proper-Sheppard spent the mid-'90s in a dark hole, mired in mournful musical melancholia, excavating the explicit sorrow of his recent grief. After his partner in the God Machine, Jimmy Fernandez, up and died, Proper-Sheppard ditched the stadium-sized black-clad sadness of the GM's industro-goth agony for a more personal brand of writerly woe. Starting up Sophia, Proper-Sheppard crafted hateful hymns — despondent with depression, smoldering with anger at the-most-possibly-not-existing God, mumbling cries of sullen rage at the loss of "departed" friends with a near theatricality — from behind an electric piano. Deliberately avoiding the rock biz, Proper-Sheppard seemed happy for Sophia to be a wholly personal vehicle, one concerned not a whit with fashion or sales or even that favorite musician's maxim of "having my music heard by as many people as possible." Buried down in a Sophia bunker, he was happy to have only those willing to put in the extra yard hearing his half-speed heartache, the first record of such, 1996's tortured Fixed Water, initially being recorded with no goals of "release" or "band" in mind. With a loose crew of helping hands brought aboard to help him play live, this disc was soon followed up with 1998's The Infinite Circle, another album eking out shadowy songs authored under a pall of grief. It's taken six years, now, for Proper-Sheppard to make another Sophia album. Sure, there's been a live record, which I think only got sold in Germany (somewhere where Sophia's misanthropy has translated to popularity), and, then, there was the detour of the May Queens, in which he and other Sophia helpers remembered the fun of making noisy music. At the time, it seemed like a logical dividing of his duties, doing the rocking outside of his dour main digs. But the curious development of the third Sophia longplayer, People Are Like Seasons (his first for an outside label, German hipsters City Slang), is that Proper-Sheppard's not afraid to rock anymore. Whilst there are still those fragile ballads (like "Another Trauma") and those grandiose epics of loss ("I Left You"), there's also a song where he sounds like he's having fun ("Holidays Are Nice"), a single with a definite Echo-ish bent ("Oh My Love"), and an alarming pair of back-to-back tracks where his industrial past comes crashing into this over-a-decade-on present ("Darkness (Another Shade In Your Black)" and "If a Change Is Gonna Come"). And, sadly, the intermittent, scattered qualities of the record actually add credence to one of the more misguided beliefs of our time: that great art can only come from great loss, and that being fucked-up is the only way of achieving artistic authenticity. Whilst I'd feel horrified with myself if I truly believed it, the circumstantial evidence here — album made right after friend's death better than album made a decade on — is kinda incriminating.

by Anthony Carew

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