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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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Mia Doi Todd
Plug Research

Mia Doi Todd's voice makes me want to cry. She sounds so full of life and, simultaneously, so wrecked by it; it's beautiful because it's so human. It seems she's gathered up all of her thoughts and feelings, pulled them out of the hidden cracks and crannies of her subconscious, held them tightly between her arms like a bunch of flapping birds and then, in one instant, let them all go through this deep, penetrating, amazing voice. Not only will her gorgeous, slurry vocals fill your room with a warm glow, but they will carry down the hall and fill the next room too.

On this, her fifth album, Todd, a classically trained vocalist and Yale student (perhaps graduate now), smartly allows her soaring, angelic voice to take the lead, leaving the sparse arrangement of strings and keys to take a delicate backseat. This also means her lyricism, poignant and wry, stands out.

"Then... we enter paradise/ We are angels/ ...We open out wings; we've understood how time and change are fine/ They're the way/ They're the way," Todd sings atop blistering soundscapes on the world-weary "The Way" (the only track on the set that's a political song; the others are love songs), sounding on the verge of either a breakdown or a revelation.

The summery, sweeping "What If We Do?" features the warm, traveling tones of the lap steel as Todd wonders about taking a chance on love, while the brooding, fragile "My Room Is White" concisely captures the awkwardness of new love, with Todd wondering if it'll really last: "The tide comes in and we're caught/ By the rock and the wetness neverendless/ We kiss for the first time/ Our lips and tongues/ Tied in fitness infiniteness/ Then the ocean pulls back somehow/ To reveal a crowd of uncertainty." Todd's voice sounds sad and frail.

"The Last Night of Winter" is the most upbeat song here, for its wide array of textured strings that move you, and building beats that keep you wanting more. The stark "Muscle, Bone & Blood" is Todd and her piano alone, exploring honestly the darker sides of being human. "I am a reckless woman/ I always make such a mess/ I follow my intuition/ Into the vampire's nest." The Latin percussion, trumpet and sax color the aptly-titled "Casa Nova" with a playful, radiant flavor, giving it an uplifting quality — more lovable than lovesick.

The album closes fittingly with the simple strums and lazy coos of "I Gave You My Home," which examines the stability and comfort of sharing your home with a lover: "We woke up from dreams/ Took turns at the sink/ We crawl back into bed/ There are eggs for an omelet/ If you're hungry."

by Jenny Tatone

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