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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
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Death Cab For Cutie
'Soul Meets Body' (Single)

In 1987, when R.E.M., one of the premier indie-rock bands of the '80s, scored a Top 10 hit with "The One I Love," it gave notice to the legions of other indie bands (Hüsker Dü, for instance; maybe Nirvana?) that mainstream success on your own terms was possible. Here was an indie band that had toured the country in a van, playing the club circuit, just like every other indie band of the day — and suddenly their music was blasting from the radio.

The first time I played Death Cab for Cutie's latest single, "Soul Meets Body," the band's first release on a major label (Atlantic), I thought of R.E.M. In listening to "Soul Meets Body," at least two things are clear: first, Death Cab for Cutie have not sold out their music (in case any of you thought leaving indie label Barsuk for a major meant they had sold out); and, second, but just as important, this band is very ambitious.

"Soul Meets Body" (the title a play on the standard "Body & Soul," recorded by Billie Holiday and many others) sounds like it should be on the radio. And that's not a bad thing. It opens with a simple riff picked on acoustic guitar, like R.E.M.'s mega hit "Losing My Religion," and has plenty of subtle musical hooks that keep bringing me back. The just-slick-enough production, bandleader Ben Gibbard's nuanced vocal performance, the infectious melodies, the dynamic shifts between verse, chorus and bridge — all conspire in a way that hearkens back to The Beatles' great Top 10 hits in the mid-'60s. Based, at least, on this song, this band is no longer just making intimate indie rock; they've gone for a bigger sound and more accessible lyrics. Yet this doesn't dilute their art, it takes it up a notch. "Soul Meets Body" is Death Cab for Cutie taking the opportunity that's come their way — the chance for their music to impact millions of people — and run with it.

A highlight of "Soul Meets Body" comes in a bridge a minute and a half in; amidst dream-pop sonics, Gibbard sings in falsetto a wordless phrase. Coming as it does after two verses, this appears out of nowhere, startling and almost surreal, and quickly vanishes as the song rushes into the next verse.

The lyrics are romantic, in a way that recalls black-and-white foreign films of the '60s, not Hallmark cards. "I want to live where soul meets body," Gibbard sings. "And let the sun wrap its arms around me/ And bathe my skin in water cool and cleansing, and feel, and feel what it's like to be new." And later: "If the sun comes and takes you, I hope it takes me too."

We live in dark times. We feel cynical; the future seems to hold so little. In times like these we need hopeful, inspiring music, music to remind us that the romance and magic that can be part of our daily lives matter. I hope "Soul Meets Body" is soon heard on commercial radio, but if it isn't, that won't stop anyone with a fast Net connection from hearing it. And hear it you should.

"Soul Meets Body" can currently be streamed off the Neumu homepage.

by Michael Goldberg

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