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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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Minty Fresh

You'd figure that one of the world's best pop combos returning after a six-year interim would be cause for a mighty celebration, but Komeda's fourth album seems to have barely measured a blip on the mass (read: U.S.A.) pop-cultural radar — so much so that, for many, the group's triumphant return may still be a secret. Belatedly issued in The Americka six months after its release in Sweden in late ought-three, the joyously-moniker'd Kokomemedada has, indeed, been so long awaited that many would've assumed that Komeda had pulled up stumps and called it a day. After all, nary a peep had been heard from the hot-shit outfit since they contributed the genius-like pop-blowout "B.L.O.S.S.O.M." to the Powerpuff Girls: Heroes and Villains soundtrack, a collecktion of Powerpuff-inspired and suitably candy-color'd songs from the rascally ranks of Cornelius, Shonen Knife, Dressy Bessy, the Apples in Stereo, Devo (no, like, really!), Frank Black, Optiganally Yours, and end-theme authors Bis themselves (a compilation that must never be confused with the hideous brand-name tie-in Saving the World Before Bedtime, in which the characters of the show sang cheap-and-cheesy versions of already-forgotten pop hits by Shakira, Madison Avenue, Bomfunk MC's et al.).

But one contribution to a cartoon-show-related compilation does not a six-year span fill in; and, so, the obligatory news-reports have since come through that the downtime found Komeda going through the major-label-deal-signing (and the subsequent procrastinative paper-shuffling that comes with), the original-member-leaving lineup-change, and the home-studio-building that often has bands sitting on the sidelines. The downtime has hardly dented Komeda's artistic thrust; even if the standout song herein is, indeed, a new version of their commander-and-the-leader anthem — cast here as "Blossom (Got to Get It Out)," in which the natty number is redressed in more grown-up threads — the hippy-dippy guitar and gurgling analog organ have almost a boogie-rock feel of droning, flanged-out fantasia. This kinda runs counter to the overall artistic change that's set in on the album. With the combo now reduced to the core trio of Lena Karlsson and brothers Jonas and Markus Holmberg, Kokomemedada is the work of a studio concern, ditching the real drums and muting the guitar strums, working almost entirely with synth sound, and often getting lost in more introspective moments.

Where their early trio of albums displayed a rhythmic restlessness and often cultivated a sort of "jazzy" feeling in their misshapen pop belters, here every song has come from a continuous process of refinement, not some geeked-up jam. And, after you get used to this new Komeda, listening to their magnum opus You Make Us Go (their last longplayer, now six years old) leaves you breathless. Here, the pace is often more sedate, and Komeda, seemingly, no longer feel the need to stuff their set with nothing but instantly-memorable melodies.

It's on the beautiful, graceful "Fade In Fade Out" that this new tendency in sound shines brightest. Evoking some sort of Klute-esque zero-gravity reverie in which Karlsson sings behind the glass of an orbiting space station, the song pirouettes in slow arcs through all sorts of eked-out and deftly-treated keytone, with Karlsson's vocals — swapped phrases of "fade in/fade out" and "and the Earth is getting warmer" — set in constantly-overlapping rounds that turn the song forward. It's a beautiful, beautifully restless ballad in which everything spins in gentle circumvolutions, turned circles set in graceful slow-motion motion. But, yet, the complexities of its arrangement aren't really audible on casual listening, something that's symbolic of the whole album.

by Anthony Carew

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