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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

44.1 kHz Archive

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The Paper Chase
God Bless Your Black Heart
Kill Rock Stars

Like any good soldiers, the troops in the Paper Chase's rock 'n' roll troupe are known only by their surnames: Congleton, Kirkpatrick, Weaver, Dalton. As soldiers, they're soldiers in the army of godlessness, God Bless Your Black Heart being an existentialist concept record(!) in which Congleton (John) asks all the big questions, tossing out his inquisitions on the nature of reality and the notion temporality and the validity of human existence into the void of nothingness that is this life, barely believing that there's even a god to try and answer them. The words "god" and "heart" are his lingual touchstones throughout the record, arising in almost every song, almost every song finding such — so much crossing and blessing of hearts, so much swearing and blessing to and from God — spat from his lips with a sinuous screech, his tortured wails wailing away as the band's strange take on guitar-rock bangs in clamorous discordance all around him. Whilst some might even dare to try and paint this dystopian disc as being a kind of grandiose, Godspeed!ian effort whose symphonic strains are stacked up to build hymns to a godless modern world, the truth is that all of Congleton's conceptions are in league with a band beholden to clanging guitars and incongruous tonalities, their fractured, spastic assembly of hardcore tension and grand ambition making for strange listening, the Paper Chase stumbling into dark, difficult places in which everything seems a little bit "off." Seemingly taking its cue from Congleton's willfully bizarre screaming, the band favors atonalism and discordance in its cobbled-together brand of mighty-uptighty protest rock. Even strings and piano, so long defined as additions of "beautify," are used incongruously, set in oppositional disharmony to the Albini-esque lurch that's the band's garage-band essence, these "symphonic" additions just creating more friction and dissonance. This only adds to the overall sense of unease felt on God Bless Your Black Heart, the uneasiness of these disharmonic juxtapositions transposing the unease Congleton feels with the world itself into uneasy music. It's taken him, and the Paper Chase, four albums to feel at ease in this unease, to feel comfortable in such artistic skin, finally able to make their marriage of math-rock precision and wonky piano-bashing and littered samples and theatrical vocals seem like a vital artistic vision. It's a many-albums-in moment "maturation" that makes this disc easy to compare to the likely likes of At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command and the Blood Brothers' ...Burn, Piano Island, Burn, discs that'll likely be the big pop-cultural reference points many will chart it by.

by Anthony Carew

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