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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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Drag City

Whilst dragon-chasing comic-book-heroes Royal Trux were rarely as "on it" as people would tend to eulogize them, there was an amazing creative friction between their pair of lovers/fighters, Neil Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema, that meant that the Trux were as intriguing in their failures as they were in their successes, the two rubbing against each other with a musical incongruity that defined the band as outsider-rock evangelists for only the truest of doped-out believers. Since the pair split, and the band went with it, things have hardly been so rosy. Hagerty, free from having anyone stand in his way, has released a slew of smarmy blooze-rock records for Drag City that seem in desperate need of an editor. And, now, four years after the divorce, Herrema has returned with RTX, which essentially seems to be an attempted continuation of Royal Trux, and which, in doing so, addresses issues of unintentional self-parody. Here, Herrema hooks up with Nadav Eisenman, who, much like Jennifer, is more a musical dreamer than pragmatist; and, so, the third wheel to their new Trux'd-up ride is Jaimo Welch, a 22-year-old Los Angelean who plays pretty much all the instruments herein. Like the willful experiments that symbolized Royal Trux's astonishing Sweet Sixteen, with Transmaniacon instruments are but tiny pieces in an ever-evolving puzzle — sound toyed with and played with and fucked with until it comes out the other side, fashioned into a misshapen lump vaguely resembling some form of rudimentary rock 'n' roll, or even glam-rock, or, even, then, some sort of bizarre evocation of hair-metal. This gearhead-esque process of continual reinvention is, at essence, the rockist opposite of Jack White's live-to-analog-tape aesthetic.

On first listen, there's little to enjoy about the finished product that RTX have arrived at, but once you get over the tepid impersonation-of-former-successes angle, you can see this self-conscious attempt as being an act of quixotic devotion to the rockist myth Herrema long ago bought lock, stock, and barrel. Whilst there are still songs here (like "Low Ass Mountain Song") deserving to be flushed down the pop-cultural toilet, straight to the sewer, never to be smelt again (and, like, what Royal Trux record didn't have some?), there are a few few-and-far-between moments of saving grace, best being "Heavy Gator," where — amongst the references to the life and times of jailed former-skating-hero Mark "Gator" Rogowski — Herrema's vocals, the arpeggiated guitars, and the cutting-in-and-out drums are draped under so much gated-reverb they sound like some obtuse, obscure take on late-'80s hair-metal excess, with all the chops and guts pulled out and just the sheen of studio effects left in their place. Of course, that the album's most amazing moment is a monument to musical hollowness is symbolic unto itself.

by Anthony Carew

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