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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
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+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
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Nous Non Plus
...Nous Non Plus

Nous Non Plus are an offshoot of the great Franco-Brooklyn-esque Les Sans Culottes, and, if you speak French, I believe you can get the full story of their battle for the heart and soul (and brand name) of this synth and drum-machine-enhanced Euro-pop predecessor in "Tante Pis Pour Toi" ("Too Bad for You"). The song mentions the former and current names of the band, and it has a wah-wah laced, disco-rhythmed "fuck you" vibe that's instantly recognizable, if not translatable. Even at its bitterest and most biting, however, this is a band that manages to keep the dance beat going, and its self-titled debut is as sexy, as fun, as party-ready as you could ask for. That the band is not actually, literally French (with the exception of Celine Dijon) adds an intriguing layer of irony to the whole enterprise. As those characters in French 101 foreign language films are always saying, "Formidable!"

Vocals here are divided between the peppily feminine Celine Dijon (that's her very fit-looking abdomen on the CD cover) and the whispery seduction of Jean-Luc Retard, and both have their moments. Celine tends to dominate the upbeat, rock-oriented cuts like "Fille Atomique" and "Tante Pis Pour Toi" while Jean-Luc wreathes the talk-sung "One Night in Paris" and "Le Chateaux" in Gauloise smoke. It's worth mentioning that "One Night in Paris" is not actually about finding a hotel on the Left Bank, but rather Paris Hilton. Lyrics are sly ("Her smile...is like a dare...it says to me...no underwear") and stylishly insinuating, riffing on Paris' fiancé ("She loves Paris... he is an heir... he has good hair") her dog and her TV show. The disco beat is totally plastic, as ironic and stylized, in its way, as the words. It probably wouldn't sound as perfect without the French accent, but as it is, the song is sexy and funny and mildly outrageous.

Celine gets her tongue-in-cheek moment with "Monokini," surely the lost film score to a movie starring Catherine Deneuve with a scarf over her hair. It's got breezy Herb Alpert brass and ba-ba-ba harmonized vocals, everything feather-light and couture designed. It ends with Celine admitting that she's forgotten to bring her monokini (the bottom half of a two-piece) to the beach, but it doesn't sound like it's going to keep her from sunbathing.

The album includes some very pretty, very ye ye girl ballads. "Premier Basier" is airy, lightly sung French pop, quite possibly as ironic as the rest of the album, but not as obviously so. "La Ballade de Tourette" is achingly pretty, melodic whispers of stylized regret and lost love. "Apres-Soleil," with its luminous guitar chords and snare-brushed backbeat, is all bright-toned instrumental melancholy. It's not as much fun as "One Night in Paris" or "Fille Atomique" but there's no denying it's well done.

by Jennifer Kelly

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