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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
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+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
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+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
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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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+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
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+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
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+ 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
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Out Hud
Let Us Never Speak Of It Again

In the mid-'00s, 99 Records is taking over. ESG and Liquid Liquid are doing gigs. Reissues are all over the place. Twenty-year-old Bush Tetras tracks sound more current than the new Beck record. The 99 sound and philosophy are the main inspiration for Optimo, the best DJs out right now (sez me). Not bad for a label that's been defunct since 1984!

If 99 had lasted until 1995, maybe we would have had a record like Let Us Never Speak of It Again 10 years earlier. OK, maybe it's too self-consciously "dance" for that to be the perfect analogy, but we're talking a decade's worth of evolution — if ass-shakin' Out Hud can land on Kranky, the home of the drone, surely a little indie-rock-meets-acid-house could have infiltrated 99 MacDougal Street. As it is, now that they've added vocals, Out Hud at their best sound like Maurice Fulton backing ESG, which some people have noted like it's a negative development.

To the contrary, Let Us Never is the latest sophomore album to make its creator's (actually really good) debut sound kinda paltry. (Previously in series: Edan. Next in series: The Hold Steady.) S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D. bewitched with its dubbed-out four-on-the-floor soundscapes and unwieldy song titles, and Out Hud have always had a sick live show, but it's not until now that they've outgrown the designation of "!!!'s sister band" to become their own entity.

Nic Offer (one of the bands' shared members) doesn't handle the vocals for Out Hud, although it's a solid bet that he wrote the title of this instrumental: "Dear Mr. Bush, There Are Over 100 Words for Shit and Only 1 for Music. Fuck You, Out Hud." Instead of !!!'s bongload-o'-politics, Phyllis Forbes and Molly Schnick offer up more subtle scenarios, like their invocation of the dreamlike but heart-pounding moment when you wake up to a 4 a.m. phone call and hear nothing but breathing on the other end ("It's for You"). What happens next? Club piano kicks in, natch.

The vocal tracks are the album's best — it drags a little toward the end, where "Mr. Bush" lasts as long as its title implies — but the storming "Song So Good They Named It Thrice" might be its centerpiece. The cascading layers at the track's opening (synths? guitars? does it matter?) fall away in favor of echoey space bass and a gentler melody, only to build back up and do the whole thing again, and again, until it sloooows down and stops right when you're expecting that twisted static to kick in one last time.

by Dave Renard

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