Wednesday, August 4, 2021 
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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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Warner Bros.

What makes Reveal so terrific is that it feels like starting over and looking back at the same time. In their latest album, R.E.M. take chances, working weird and experimental keyboard noises and beats à la Radiohead into their songs. On the other hand, they also remain grounded in that distinctive, now classic sound that won us over in the first place, the way U2 did on All That You Can't Leave Behind. The album straddles R.E.M.'s past and their future, sounding fresh, assured — and on par with their best previous efforts.

For this album, R.E.M. seem to take the approach that nothing from their 20-odd years of record-making is off limits — so long as it fits the song. That strategy is evident from the very first cut, "The Lifting," a mélange of burbling keyboards, chattering percussion and swirling guitar that builds to Michael Stipe chanting "never." New ideas (like the synth underpinning "I've Been High" or the keyboards on "Beat A Drum"), old ideas (the elegant guitar that anchors the sardonic "All the Way to Reno," and the chiming and deceptively simple "Chorus and the Ring") — there's a place for all of them, as long as they're good ideas. Their long and honorable string of Beach Boys homages finds its latest expression in "Summer Turns to High"; in contrast, "Beachball" bounces off a true rarity for R.E.M. — straight-ahead soul-style horns.

For most of the album the trio (augmented by Joey Waronker, Scott McCaughey, Ken Stringfellow and Jamie Candiloro) juxtapose new and old within the same song. The first single, "Imitation of Life," may be grounded by a classic R.E.M. jangly-guitar riff, but it also features strings and a weird little synth break just when you'd expect a guitar solo. And just when the epic "I'll Take the Rain" has piled strings and organ and piano on top of its achingly lovely melody, Peter Buck comes in perfectly on guitar.

So, after the fearful-sounding, sometimes tentative, highly underrated Up, R.E.M. have their mojo back, entering their third decade as a rock band still vital and relevant. It's something few artists in rock's 50-or-so-year history have been able to do, and maybe the most thrilling thing about growing into middle age with R.E.M. is watching them continue to pull off this trick — hopefully again and again and again.

by Jim Connelly

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