Wednesday, February 28, 2024 
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Editor's note: We have activated the Neumu 44.1 kHz Archive. Use the link at the bottom of this list to access hundreds of Neumu reviews.

+ 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
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

44.1 kHz Archive

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With the retro-mining juggernaut rummaging through the '70s and '80s for post-punk inspiration, it was simply a matter of time before it mined Public Image Ltd. That band, most famously the post-Sex Pistols outfit for Johnny Rotten/Lydon, often saw Lydon drawl a kind of stream-of-consciousness rant over the top of music that seemed to rattle on as if unaware of Lydon's vocalizing.

Wilderness don't cop PiL's sound in a purely imitative way, but more in spirit — if Lydon, in his own way, led PiL to a particular place with his rambling, Wilderness do so with a greater sense of cohesion. James Johnson leads his wild band into uncharted realms by sheer dint of charisma. He's a frontman of the cavalier type, crazily launching his bandmates and himself headlong into the world. Listening to his shambolic raving elicits a response similar to the fear/joy felt witnessing chaos, the same frisson you get from seeing some raving lunatic coming toward you on the street: you want to flee, but at the same time find the scene totally compelling.

Turning to the lyric sheet only confirms the careening Gertrude Stein-style twist-and-repeat antics that you sense in listening. The first lines of "Marginal Over," which opens the album, deliver this shock of coherent incoherence every time the song is played: "Face the facts o fact the face, trace the act oh act the trace, erase the act o act the erase, replace the fact o fact the replace/ Well marginal over spectacle there, spectacle there, over wrung woes let the light show, let the light show."

It really isn't a big step from that to some of Stein's famous lines: "In feeling anything is resting, in feeling anything is mounting, in feeling there is resignation, in feeling there is recognition, in feeling there is recurrence and entirely mistaken there is pinching." Or this, also from Stein, also well known: "Do we suppose that all she knows is that a rose is arose is a rose is a rose."

What you get in both is an affecting idea that transcends the superficial mish-mash of words and phrases. It's a poetry meant for ears and hearts, not brains and eyes. Musically, if there's Interpol's epic take on the '80s in Wilderness's guitars, there's less sense of austerity and coldness, more sense of unbridled joy in playing music — of taking this whacked-out journey to wherever their ranting frontman feels like going today.

It's fucking wild, and not just because that's a pun on their name, but because their name is the most apt encapsulation of a band in years — Wilderness are an adventure away from tethered control, away from this cold, ironic love of the '80s, away from this world of rational bullshit. Wilderness make sense only because they don't make sense.

by Ben Gook

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