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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
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+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
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+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
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+ 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
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+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
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+ 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
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+ 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
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+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
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The Blood Brothers
Young Machetes

The Blood Brothers are usually described as post-hardcore, but their gear is, really, pure poetry. The wedded wails of twin bansheeist vocalists Johnny Whitney and Jordan Blilie are oft thought of as instruments — musical weapons more tonal than lyrical — that merely match the bashed pianos and colliding guitars and splitting skins of their rabble-rousing racket.

But there's little doubt — especially by now, on this, their almighty (mightiest?) fifth disc — that the Brothers' screeched screeds are dexterous texts worthy of being studied and discussed over entire tertiary semesters. Beholden to a dream-logic that turns the random and abstracted into the recurring and symbolic, Whitney and Blilie have authored an ongoing series of surrealist scenes in which the imagery of dreams depicts America as dystopian nightmare. It's reminiscent of Dali in the way it associates sex with putrescence, and sees time as state of constant decay, yet shares the absurdist comic sensibility of David Foster Wallace; their Home of the Slave is a monster of televangelized platitudes and destructive therapy sessions stitched together with surgical deformation. The band's bloodied nation rots from the head down, a rotten polity populated by television viewers grown bloated from a steady diet of televised nothing; all witnesses to an empty parade of flashy flesh, a Skin Army marching onwards towards excess, clamoring for fame and name, treading on any standing in their way.

They used to do this from symbolist distance, their first three albums — This Adultery Is Ripe, March On Electric Children and …Burn, Piano Island, Burn — finding the Blood Brothers concentrically circling a remote isle populated by pineapple-skinned savages, their recurrent "Piano Island" the microcosm for their own nation's macrocosm. But after setting it alight back in the ought-three, they've since set their sights on rendering their America as big and ugly as it truly is in this third millennium, 2004's Crimes finding them (openly) charting their nation as ambulant rubbish-barge, concentrically circled by seagulls, their land-at-war a man-of-war leaving a trail of waste in its wake as it lays waste to those in the way of these new Feudalists. On Young Machetes, this encroaching and engulfing Empire ("the kingdom of heaven reeks of burning witches and dust") has become as decadent as the Rome of yore, their warships like gilded giant swans swanning into foreign ports, the war machine a "Huge Gold AK-47!" whose bedazzled opulence announces "we'll take what the fuck we want!." Yet Whitney finds the most effective imagery amidst the record's centerpiece "Lift the Veil, Kiss the Tank," when, as a soldier popping pills to "kill with no remorse, with no recourse, dance on your conscience until it's a corpse," he decries the marketing machine of war, that dares sell futile battle as patriotic valor to the voters back home. Whilst its pair of strangely anthemic refrains — "War never ends/ War never begins" and "But death's just death no matter how you dress it up" — may lack the romantic abstraction of chorus-cries like "Vegas, you're my dream unicorn" or "we all eat black clouds," they give the album a sense of exigent directness, a thematic hook on which to hang their helmet. And, from there, you can trace the choruses through their cries of "Young machetes in lingerie charm us all into a frenzy," back to "Camouflage, Camouflage"'s closing couplet "I couldn't see the skeletal lightning/ It was camouflaged as a young machete," back to "We Ride Skeletal Lightning," in which the image of a "sanitized exploding aeroplane" ticks like a bomb about to go off.

It's, befitting such, an explosive disc, a monumental rock-'n'-roll album that, in spite of its lyrical hilariousness ("He wrote a play and you're the protagonist/ All the girls you wished you'd fucked make a guest appearance"), trades in an almost scandalous artistic seriousness; it's a study of a generation whose restless complexity begs a generation's study.

by Anthony Carew

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