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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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Pearls & Brass
The Indian Tower
Drag City

It's a formula first conceived by the Yardbirds and Cream, stripped to its thunderous essence by Blue Cheer and rendered operatic by Led Zeppelin: Take traditional blues riffs, slow them to a crawl and feed them through the loudest, most distorted system of pedals and amps imaginable. Float a few high, mystical lyrics over the top in a feathery, Jack Bruce-ish voice. Leave a little space after every phrase for one of those skin-busting drum fills. Yeah, that was perfect... play it again... and again... and again.

The point is that if you've spent any time at all driving around in a half-wrecked, gas-guzzling 1970s T-bird, beer cans rolling around on the floor and stereo blasting, if your hair's ever grown past your shoulders (or if you're female, if you've ever dated that type), Pearls & Brass are going to appeal to you at a molecular level. They're a heavy-metal stoner trio of the type that you might have given up on after Dead Meadow went a little pop-psyche or when Queens of the Stone Age ditched wildman Nick. It's the kind of music that finds serenity in the roar of ultra-heavy guitar riffs, reiterated into oblivion. You can catch a buzz from it, even if you gave up smoking pot long ago, just by historical association.

Yes, it's 1970s-influenced, but the first thing you need to know is that it's nothing like Black Sabbath. There's a fluidity in Pearls & Brass' heaviness that's totally at odds with Tommy's stop-flecked style. The five-note riff that juts upward in "The Face of God" is all of a piece, dots connected, bent notes slithering through the monolithic sludge. The time signature is a moving target as well, with the band often slipping out of the 4/4 straitjacket, slowing down the beat and stretching phrases like a viscous liquid. Compare that to the staccato thunder of "War Pigs" or "Paranoid," where dead white silence sets off phrases. It's far more reminiscent of Mountain or Blue Cheer in its wall-to-wall saturated sound and time-bending repetitive riffs.

It's also not very Zeppelin-ish, even though both bands start with blues and turn them way, way up. There's a kind of modesty to Pearls & Brass' songs, a single-level-ness, that avoids Led Zeppelin's more ridiculous excesses, but also their emotional peaks and valleys. The two sole exceptions are the two acoustic songs, "I Learn the Hard Way" and "Away the Mirrors," which shimmer with mystic intensity despite the lower volume, and cannot help but remind you of III's quieter moments.

At their best — "Face of God," "Black Rock Man" and "The Boy of the Willow Tree" — Pearls & Brass churn out hard-rocking sculptures of distorted sounds at buffeting volume, but with a meditative, trance-inducing core. You might carp by saying that the songs blur together a little and fail to develop much past their initial ideas, but there's a hypnotic center to the kind of loud Pearls & Brass produce.

by Jennifer Kelly

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