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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
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+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
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Black Holes In The Sand

Of all the black sheep the reasonable people of Warp have shepherded into their flock since deciding they had higher ambitions than merely fleecing IDM followers of their cash, the most curious has been Gravenhurst, the one-man band for Bristol-based boy Nick Talbot, a sentimental, slightly sappy songsmith whose Warp debut (a reissue of his second record, Flashlight Seasons) wove a wussy blanket for the melancholy to huddle under. Things take a more curious turn on Black Holes in the Sand, the first Gravenhurst recording recorded for the Warp empire — and not just because Talbot does a yearning, stark-naked cover of Hüsker Dü's "Diane" (once memorably mutilated by Therapy?, I note). Here, on an album that'll get called a "mini-album," Talbot aligns himself with the whole outsider-folk crowd, beginning proceedings with the seven-minute title track, a bundle of brittle rustic-folk twigs tied together in a pretty bow. There's an almost pop-like smoothness on the tune, which ties Talbot's soft singing and gentle fingerpicking to incessant stabs of omnichord, banged percussion, and drone guitar — such added by Jeffrey Alexander and Miriam Goldberg of Charalambides-associated, post-Iditarod, droney freak-folk duo Black Forest/Black Sea. Building a bridge to such a (the folk) scene marks quite the change for Gravenhurst, given that his previous discs made Talbot seem like a bashful boy-as-island, making his rainy-day acousticky tunes with no connection to any greater musical community (be it contemporary or historical). Here, he not only plays with some other kids, but dares get his hands dirty; the thick tape-hiss and vocal-decay of "Winter Moon" is a deliberate excursion into the aesthetically rudimentary; the subsequent rawness lets Talbot get a little more shaggy and daggy than he did the first time around. That the-first-time, it seemed like Warp led Gravenhurst like a lamb to the slaughter; knowing they'd be lambasted for such an obvious attempt at joining the "new folk" flock, yet forging ahead nonetheless. Here, looking a little rougher round the edges, their prized signing suddenly seems more of-the-land than on-the-lam.

by Anthony Carew

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