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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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Jenny Wilson
Love And Youth

It's not going to come straight away. And I don't even know why. But, for whatever reason, the real genius of this Jenny Wilson album isn't revealed with any immediacy.

She's enjoyable from the get-go: a peculiar kind of indie princess with a voice as strange and snarly as Roisin Murphy's, playing melancholy pop-music that mixes and matches gentle acoustic guitar with low-key keytone, gently evoking varying eras — girl-group, proto-electro, disco, new-wave — whilst never owing a debt to any time, place, or person. There's an easy in because she sang on The Knife's Berlin-baiting ballad "You Take My Breath Away," and those kids've already gone and delivered dollops of Sweden's milky musical goodness unto the world at large. And "Love Ain't Just a Four-Letter Word" is a pop song of such splendor, big and brassy and stand-up and stupendous, and featuring a sung inquiry — "have you ever read a newspaper, baby?" — that's the archetypal German ohrwurm in action, a lyrical hook that gets its claws in, then burrows deep.

And, in what must rank as one of the greatest musical moments in television history, she's gone live on some Swedish pop-music TV show, and, in league with Sweden's queen-of-pop, Robyn, done a dueting cover of Saul Williams' fist-up polemic "List of Demands," recasting it, from behind a piano, with a sweet pushbeat. Yet, as her gear gets its release outside of Sweden, I'm wondering how many will have the grace and patience to go beyond its initial sheen; will scratch its retro-electro/Grace-Jones-homage façade and get blood beneath their fingernails.

For Jenny Wilson hasn't just made a nice pop song, or even a nice pop record. She's made an album sweet and sour, sad and glad; strange and smart and smart-ass and utterly silly; proud and profound; with depth to its meaning and meaning in its feeling.

She's also made an album with more references to shoes than Carl Perkins ever managed; the video clip for the super-snappy single "Let My Shoes Lead Me Forward" perhaps points towards a fondness for footwear bordering on fetish. Fore'er en artistic pointe, Wilson's dancing shoes and disco boots lead her forward through songs that feel like fun frolics first-up, but grow more melancholy with each spin around the floor. Wilson pirouettes through a disc whose doleful disco billows with a Northern fog, her electro-tone less a portrait of cold-war paranoia than of the cold Swedish winter, amounting to an opaque evocation of the teenaged wasteland, her fog an adolescent fug. Lost adrift amidst this mist, spinning circles back through memory bliss, Wilson's flighty voice hits wuthering heights, caroling lyrics that tap into a slightly salty vein of small-town isolation.

Her lyrics speak of being in love and young in a world in which Love and Youth are held aloft as the ultimate qualities, and yet having neither thing mean a thing; of being held prisoner by age and feelings, feeling like you've "gotta meet a boy to fall in love with quick" or your life will continue its slide into an abyss of meaninglessness; yearning to "go someplace" or "fall in love" — and really, anyone and anywhere will do. Wilson knows that the prison of high school is essentially psychological, that institutionalization is the biggest fear at an institution whose only place for hope and aspirations is in the last pages of the school yearbook, the songsmith essentially painting adolescent angst as "A Hesitating Cloud of Despair." Titling her songs, like poems, with lines from within, Wilson grants them handles that read like the names of Raymond Carver stories ("Summer Time — The Roughest Time," "Bitter? No, I Just Love to Complain," "Hey, What's the Matter?"), and her texts live up to such christening. Wilson writes with a sweetness of delivery and a sourness of pen; her turns of phrase as not-quite-right as to-the-syllable tight. Awkward lines like "at least 10,000 spoons and forks and knifes and plates" and "rip off your clothes, all you wanna do is screw" and "pretty sure my jeans are too tight" stick out at odd, oddly-phrased angles, but invariably stick with you.

by Anthony Carew

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