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neumu
Friday, December 15, 2017 
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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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artist
Kelly Joe Phelps
recording
Sky Like A Broken Clock
Rykodisc
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Kelly Joe Phelps is a masterful slide guitar player and soulful singer/songwriter who hails from West Coast Appalachia, A.K.A. the Oregon/Washington hills. His three previous LPs were incredible solo efforts highlighting his six-string prowess and off-kilter-yet-dead-on lyrical observations.

For Sky Like A Broken Clock, Phelps picks up some fellow travelers: ex-Morphine drummer Billy Conway and longtime Tom Waits bassist Larry Taylor. Although they'd never played together previously, the trio headed for rural Longview Farms in West Massachusetts. There, with Rykodisc president George Howard at the production helm, they laid down 10 ultra-tight, organically smooth folk-noir tracks in just under three days of recording — with no overdubs.

"Taylor John," the album's opener, lays the groundwork. Phelps' gravelly, nearly sub-sonic voice flirts with his light, deliberate fretwork, while Taylor fills the gaps with solitary bass notes, and Conway tap-a-tap-taps a subtle shuffle on the snare.

Phelps has never sounded better. "Gold Tooth," for example, gains immeasurably from churning, freight-trainy drumming, ponderous bass and faint-but-powerful echoes of Hammond organ. Liberated from the constraints of keeping in tune with the guitar, Phelps' singing reveals a chocolate-y essence delicious to hear.

He may sound prettier, but his lyrics still wander the back alleys and dusty rail yards of America's underbelly. He spins out tales of marriages gone sour ("Clementine"), lives gone astray ("Fleashine") and America's inheritance of terrible optimism. "I've thrown my seed out the window," Phelps sings on "Beggar's Oil." "Down in the dirt below/ I'll water it with my distrust/ My blatant well-worn rough-hewn crust/ I'll mojo it with voodoo dust/ And pray that it will grow."

No tragedy is easy to read about, or listen to for that matter, but Kelly Joe Phelps has the rare ability to evoke empathy in his songs without resorting to saccharine sentiment or political grandstanding. Sky Like A Broken Clock won't ever make you want to dance with joy, but few albums capture such a strong marriage of songwriting and collaborative musicianship.


by R. Airiq Williams




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