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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
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+ 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
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Let It Come Down

On an upward curve of exponential musical grandness, each Spiritualized album finds Jason Pierce trying to trump himself. This one is no different, with over 100 musicians, including a sizeable orchestra (replete with full-force woodwinds and timpani drums) and a vociferous gospel choir. As if its size alone weren't enough to set the album apart from his preceding Spiritualized outings, Pierce has removed all the sounds he thought were immediately identifiable as Spiritualized — delay, phase, Telecaster, Farfisa — and left the songs as largely orchestral numbers. Starting with a remade version of "On Fire," Pierce's Spacemen 3 ode to addiction, it's clear that Let It Come Down (title taken from a line in said song) is a form of musical rehabilitation for him. It's not long before the album finds itself in the middle of Pierce's ongoing clean-up effort: the fairly self-explanatory "The Twelve Steps" is followed by "The Straight and the Narrow," in which he talks of stumbling when walking the line ("I don't fall off the wagon no more/ I take a dive and go as deep as I can go/ Don't hold your breath because I'm coming up slow/ This time") and mumbles about having to believe in a higher force (long a favorite subject for Pierce). Both the wrung-out blues-rock of Spacemen 3 and the orchestral space-rock of Spiritualized have been steeped in an appreciation of gospel music, and exploring such sounds of faith has often found Pierce questioning his own. Inspired by a spiritual version of his SP3 ode "Lord, Can You Hear Me?" by sombre pop-minimalists Low — whose married central couple are Mormons — Pierce revisits one of his most stirring tracks, perhaps hoping this fragile, suicidal questioning/prayer will help him make sense of his current state. He even invites Low's angelic-voiced drummer Mimi Parker along to help him, along with all o' that London Community Gospel Choir, and the result is a bold exclamation mark at the album's end.

by Anthony Carew

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