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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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+ 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
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+ 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
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+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
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Teenage Fanclub
Man Made

I see kaleidoscopic images, swirls of psychedelic color, a sunny day in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, with hippies everywhere, long-haired teenagers and twentysomethings blowing soap bubbles at each other, doing cartwheels in the grass… Teenage Fanclub's music brings back images of the mid-to-late '60s in the Bay Area, a hippie paradise for a few years, before it all went to shit.

The group's sound is actually much more mid-'60s Byrds than late-'60s Moby Grape, but if you were actually there, you know that the sounds of the mid-'60s seeped into the late '60s, overlapping the acid-rock that followed Beatlesque jangle-pop.

At this point the group consists of singer/guitarist Norman Blake, singer/bassist Gerard Love, and singer/guitarist Raymond McGinley. For Man-Made they journeyed to Tortoise member John McEntire's Soma Studio in Chicago; McEntire produced and played keyboards on some tracks.

Man-Made continues the trend toward a softer sound that began with 1997's Songs From Northern Britain. The new album finds the group in Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn! territory for the most part. Still, they also clearly reference the Byrds hit "Eight Miles High" with the thrilling "Born Under a Good Sign," which even features a Roger McGuinn-styled free-jazz solo.

Highlights certainly include the opener, "It's All In My Mind," which rides on a simple four-four beat, insistent rhythm guitar and the much-repeated lyric hook, "It's all in my mind, it's all in my mind." But as with Songs, pretty much every track sparkles. "Nowhere" brings to mind The Hollies' hit "Bus Stop," while "Save" goes further retro, shimmering like Beach Boys summer pop circa '62. The key line in "Feel" is "Feel the sunshine." And so it goes, with each of Man-Made's songs referencing some glorious rock-pop/power-pop sound of the past.

You could dismiss Teenage Fanclub as not being original, but that would be missing the point. Instead, appreciate a group that, in 2005, can create absolutely perfect songs that somehow manage to channel the magic of early-to-mid-'60s pop-rock. It's tempting to say that they just don't make albums like Man-Made anymore. Only that's not true; Teenage Fanclub are still making them. Thank God for that.

by Michael Goldberg

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