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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
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

44.1 kHz Archive

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Feels fosters a fervent desire to cast yourself out into the world, to be engaged with others, to risk all safety. Squalls of guitars, raging, laughing, moaning, howling down the gullies, upsetting gently lapping waves of piano and plush trumpet scales, drive through wide stretches of air like smoke, and the desperate battle between rollicking drums and raspy vocal melodies continually rings in your ears. The tempo is jittery, gay, tinged with a naïve innocence, pestered by the dreamy sadness of hermits. Most pieces stand as a patchwork of percussive clatter, the deep, groaning sighs of wind instruments, dotted by the insectile prance and chirp of electronics and sustained by Avey Tare's slapdash nasal warble.

Despite the kitchen-sink approach to composition, and the band's penchant for turbulent, untamed excursions in song, these works bear the mark of meditation, of deliberation and self-questioning; whereas previous efforts pursued the realms of improvisation, leaving the moment as it was, cracked and plagued by blemishes, these songs seem to have had copious drafts and heed the advice of traditional song structures. And, though it be true that the faces of "Bees" and "The Purple Bottle" are more taut, more coherent, less gnawed by flecks of electronics and soaring, alien sonar blips, there still remains a light dusting of harmonium or spluttering trumpet drone to belly out the sail of this album and carry it proudly ahead.

Still, the idyllic interlude has havoc wrought upon it by the group's rather formulaic excursion into pastures of twisted pop — the sort found so readily in any number of artists presently fornicating, as it were, in the once-ripe plains of free folk or new weird Americana. This is not to say that the band proves unconvincing in this regard; on the contrary, they are quite adept at spawning a regal countenance through resplendent chimes, tentative rainbow-harmonies and the helter-skelter splash of drums and gaudy vocal melodies. Yet, after successive listens, one feels inclined to trumpet a certain protest: this archetype of merriment, of bathing mirthfully in the muddled majesty of nature, is contrived, largely owing to the fact that this approach, once spurred by a desire to escape coercion, is now itself coerced.

Nonetheless, there is much here that will bewitch the senses. "Banshee Beat," for example, is swept up by a blustery piano figure while Avey Tare's high-pitched chirp directs a muffled roar of percussion through a distant landslide of rustic, ringing guitar chords. "Loch Raven," meanwhile, is temperate and of a more dignified gait, buoyed by glistening electronic pulses, light snare swats and the warmth of breathy voices spilling out over the hills. Although surprisingly self-conscious at moments, Feels remains rife with a triumphant beauty, a bucolic sound that stirs and entrances the listener like a happy secret.

by Max Schaefer

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