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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
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+ Camille - Le Fil
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+ 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
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+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
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+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
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+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
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+ 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
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+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
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Jeff Hanson
Jeff Hanson
Kill Rock Stars

Benjamin Gibbard remembers the summer of 1997 as the summer of Either/Or, Elliott Smith's magnum opus the photo album he flicks through when he wants to remember the life and times of that year — so many years, now, receded into the distance. Jeff Hanson's songs make it seem like he may've spent that whole summer listening to Either/Or over and over, but his singing makes it seem like the summer of 2005 will be synonymous, for so many, with this self-titled record. Hanson's voice is warm and welcoming, immediately familiar and instantly unforgettable, never forgotten as it plays on in your mind, ringing in your ears, serenading the silence in the space between you and the other humans, between you and the wall, you and the windowpane, you and the streets you walk on. His singing takes wing and warbles in measures so high most men'd fear to tread there; this high-voiced boy bashfully strums and murmurs through the saddest of sad songs, played slow and strung-out long, these doleful strums set to summer's slow heartbeat, kept to the cadence of the languid and the lazy. As each new day births an orange sun, squeezing out its juices, its color, as it casts it skyward in a glow of white, Hanson's voice is there, wrapping its way around action and event, entwining with time, becoming one with the times it's played in, less the soundtrack to some summer than the memory of that summer itself. The metaphor grows whole as the album's whole becomes clear; it's important that it closes on "Something About," where over eight mournful minutes Hanson hits vocal/aesthetic heights as he sings a lullaby for a fleeting love — a summer's love, cast in a love of summer — who's departed like the season itself; he eulogizes all that has come before, in the album, in the song, in the relationship sung of in the song, and in the summer of 2005 itself. The simple chords and words are simply the keys to unlock the complexity of memory, such simplicity perhaps proof positive that it is the right words — the right combinations, the right incantations — that unleash the spells that syllables are laced with. Hanson's voice makes the apparently prosaic — "I remember summer/ Everything is over/ So you can keep it all/ Keep it all/ Yourself" — astonishingly poetic, resonant in a way that can't be translated to page, can't be measured by standard standards. Like how a snapshot, all bad composition and red-eyes and hideous Kodak color, can be the most beautiful photograph ever taken for the person who took it, or the souls within that it took.

by Anthony Carew

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