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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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Arizona Amp And Alternator
Arizona Amp And Alternator
Thrill Jockey

The artwerkery for this Arizona Amp and Alternator album issues the super-cute statement, in black-and-white white-on-black: "official notice: this band has no members." Which, whilst being like totally zen/onkyo/conceptual/po-mo and all, is, really, just the latest adventure in artifice for Howe Gelb (of Howe, Giant Sand, OP8, the Band of Blacky Ranchette-styled (in)fame), who has, in recent seasons, been riding free-and-easy with the free rein handed to him by Bettina Richards' Thrill Jockey jamboree. After Giant Sand got stuck in various contractual hells in those natty '90s, Gelb has finally found fertile record-label ground, and his capricious discography has been bearing the fruit. This here memberless band is a forum for him and friends to knock out varying jams in Gelb's whilst-the-other-Giant-Sand-guys-are-off-touring-in-Calexico spare time, recorded at home, in Arizona, by Howie G. Whilst the set does stagger around a bit — from lounge-band covers of standards to a stripped-down four-song suite of short-and-sweet numbers numerically titled as installments in the greater Arizona Amp and Alternator theme (theme songs, even) — it stays, in all its inconsistencies, consistent with the gear Gelb has long made and traded in: whispery, echoey, desert-y, downcast-country sketchery. The helping hands in AAAA's conceptual "garage" include Gelb protégés Giant Sand and M.Ward, Danish chanteuse Marie Frank (and band), longtime PJ Harvey co-worker John Parish, and Bleach-tressed quiet/loud indie-vixen Scout Niblett, whose omnipresent orange overalls, in all their unwashed glories, fit the Howe & the Mechanics vibe perfectly. There's probably some great automotive metaphor with which to compare, and condense, the contents of the compact disc, some sort of talk of rattling machinery and a fan belt made from old pantyhose and flaking paint or whatever ever, fancy-type writery that would make this album's ad-hoc, all-over-the-shop, let's-hang-at-my-house-eat-barbecue-and-jam feel feel like a natural comparison to a car. But, if Gelb's eccentricities have made him anything, it's unmetaphorable. Long may words fail.

by Anthony Carew

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