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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

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Fires In Distant Buildings

The Warp Empire may've happily served up three albums worth of Gravenhurst in the last year-and-a-shade, but just exactly what it is they've ladled onto popular culture's collective plate remains unidentifiable for the time being. The first Warp-cooked course of Nick Talbot's one-man band, Flashlight Seasons, found the Bristol-based boy huddling over a slow-cooked stew brewed gentle as dew-on-grass, the Englishmen getting dewy-eyed as his super-sentimental summoning of Bookends and Five Leaves Left was draped in an at-home recording quality that added to its warming woolliness. This was followed by a newly-baked collation of collaborations, Black Holes in the Sand, where Talbot got on the folk-revival-revival gravy train by hooking up with homies from Charalambides-associated free-range freak-folk flock Black Forest/Black Sea, all the banging gongs and tape hiss and ad-hoc actuality making it seem like he'd embraced the idea of being Warp's "New-Folk" meal ticket. Only, then, along comes Fires in Distant Buildings, a strangely rockin' album whose list of chief ingredients would start with Slint, Pink Floyd, Iron Butterfly, and all those Constellation bands, and whose total and utter lack of acousticky spice makes for a strangely bland concoction. Where his prior dishes delivered Talbot at play amidst decay and thrum and bung-notes and all else that comes with acoustic instruments and home-recording accidents, here Talbot has gone for a very clean, very "big" sound, unintentionally stumbling upon something that sounds as if tape was rolled in a tunnel. With this cold tone bouncing the reverb-dangling electric guitars into opaque layers over murky church organ and an incessantly insistent rhythm section, the songs are marked out with that standard post-rock progression: start quiet, get loud, get louder, get louder, end. It's no surprise, either, that when the songs ring their rhythms ragged and climb to a crest at crescendo, distorted guitars are strummed over and over in agitato fashion, sounding like a pale play on that archetypal Godspeed!-famille guitar sound. That this all culminates in The Kinks' "See My Friends" recast as some nine-minute prog-rock makes some sort of sense, in this curious context. But, in the greater context of Gravenhurst's discography, what it all means is far from being answered.

by Anthony Carew

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