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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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The Legends
Up Against The Legends

With the undeniable greatness of The Concretes now unleashed upon the world at large, it's easy to have a soft spot for straggling Stockholm pop combos whose exact membership isn't really defined. There are somewhere between five and nine humans kitting out for a run with The Legends, who play an attacking brand of pop music on their debut longplayer Up Against the Legends. With reverb-drenched Phil-Spector-ish percussion, and delay-drenched Jesus & Mary Chain-ish guitars, Legends leader John Angergård (a veteran of soft-hearted sentimental-indie-pop love-ins Club 8 and Acid House Kings) happily builds a busy wall-of-sound; their noisy, opaque tone not too dissimilar to the sound captured by Labrador labelmates the Radio Dept., a crew of shoegazer romanticists who use washes of delay and cascading reverb to evoke Kevin Shields' fluff-on-the-needle sound. But The Legends, with their brazen push-beats and liberal handclaps, seem a little like Angergård's take on garage-revivalism; though, make no mistake, this ain't some Hives-ian outfit of old-time-rock 'n' rollers. There are songs here where things are very twee; although, if you're to take that JAMC thing to heart, you could easily call such qualities a greater evocation of the C86 aesthetic. On the album's standout song, the relentlessly upbeat "Nothing to Be Done," The Legends bounce along joyously amidst a thin-and-trebly mix of analog organs, handclaps, and back-and-forth boy/girl vocals, sounding more like Velocity Girl than "Velocity Girl." Later, they deliver "When the Day Is Done," a song that wouldn't seem out of place on a Club 8 record, the languid pace, soft electro-beat, gentle acoustic guitar, and tightly-harmonized vocals adding the slow-dance moment to a sock-hop set. Across the album, the singing is pitched into harmony by some sort of harmonizer, the effect of using such effects drawing the album further away from any sort of idealized notion of garage-rock, the sung syllables slurred into sleek, robotic-sounding rhythms. These vocals essentially contrast with the noisy guitars, but, when you get down to listening to it, you realize how all the sound on Up Against the Legends has been just as carefully treated. Whilst the band proclaims its members as being a bunch of music novices knocking out songs with punk-rock indie-ness, the finished product is a surely-produced production — the squeaks of too-close-to-the-amp feedback on opener "Call It Out," for example, not being random accidents of recording things live, but carefully placed samples inserted perfectly in time by Angergård. Of course, as someone who doesn't give a rat's ass about rock 'n' roll "authenticity," I'm happy with all of this, The Legends' lack of rockist posing at such a poserly pop-cultural time actually being incredibly refreshing. But, shhhhh! I'm sure their on-the-horizon American breakthrough hinges on some record label swallowing the Swedish Garage Rock angle hook, line, and sinker.

by Anthony Carew

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