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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

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I Am The Fun Blame Monster!

I Am the Fun Blame Monster, Menomena's debut album, is both all over the place and impressively controlled. The Portland, Oregon band casts backwards and forwards, dropping in loop-based turntable beats, math-rock figurings and revenant piano. Dramatic and vibrant. Think of it: No waiting until the latter part of your career to reach the combined moment of approachability and irrepressible experimentation that made The Soft Bulletin such a joy for Flaming Lips fans. What better place for a band to begin?

Brent Knopf, Danny Seim and Justin Harris are indie originators, assembling Menomena's sound with the help of Deeler, a software program developed by Knopf. The band members have explained how it allows them to store sounds during the songwriting process. From the respective recordings, Menomena cut and paste what they like into a final composition that they all agree with (and then rehearse from to play live). While this approach might seem like more of a burden than a technical assist, I Am the Fun Blame Monster! is not hindered by it; instead the technique informs the debut's identity. In fact, this construction distinguishes I Am the Fun Blame Monster! as one of the most original-sounding albums in a long while, delivering on a type of multi-patched music that is not without emotion, like Horns of Happiness or the Minus Story collective. The styles of glitch and hip-hop are as much of an influence as, perhaps, the winged home-recordings of Jeff Mangum.

I Am the Fun Blame Monster! is laden with prizes. It begins with "Cough Coughing," a lightning drum loop that sets the pace, for the entrance at least, while "White Lines" is a wash of ambient piano and cryptic lyrics (something about a comfortable chair on a chopping block?). "Strongest Man in the World" sounds like the time Portishead were backed by all those musicians at the Roseland ballroom; it ups the ante with recurring piano, a crashing cymbal and lyrics that conjure up apparitions: "I am fused out of iron, iron." "Oahu" retreats somewhat with one of those languid guitar lines that Tortoise used so perfectly on TNT.

I Am the Fun Blame Monster! is accompanied by a flipbook where each member cleverly shows his chops (and one dons a mask). Not surprisingly there is a little imp behind the debut's title as well. Letters bounce along the bottom of the page like the return arm of a typewriter to reveal this anagram: "The First Menomena Album." The real wonder is not how inventive it all is but how eager typically apathetic indie fans are to be swooped up by it.

by Jennifer Przybylski

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