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While "Tom Courtney" benefits greatly from its more stripped-back rendition, here, the abridged "(Thin) Blue Line Swinger" is slightly weakened, but in such a way, I should add, that only gives me greater appreciation for the original. "Mr. Ameche Plays the Stranger", meanwhile, is a notable meditative reverie that, while slightly vacuous, would nevertheless presage much of YLT later ambient excursions, even if it doesn't quite match those later songs' quality.
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For some reason, I tend to draw a line of demarcation between Summer Sun—my favorite YLT album and what I consider the culmination of their "classic" period—and this record, which feels emblematic of a new, regenerative "late-stage" in the trio's career. I think I feel tempted to do this, in part, because I lack a sense of the exigency of this record qua an aesthetic package; it doesn't seem to broach new ground for YLT in the same way that their "classic ... read more
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I'm impressed yet again, this time by a noisy, grimy Dead C cover and the trio's signature balladeering, in prime form here.
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Aside from the obviously-awesome title track, Nuticia is the real highlight here, and the main reason to return to this overlooked EP.

Favorites: From a Motel 6, Nuticia,
Least favorite: From a Motel 6 (Remix)
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Pulsing, amorphous incipience... More and more, I find myself returning to this record as a site of spiritual reclamation, a way to reckon with listener fatigue, to think about music as improvised collectivity-building and affective attunement. And, indeed, I feel more deeply attuned to the space around me—feel that my very body is more acutely inhabitable—whensoever I experience We Have Amnesia Sometimes...

Favorite: Ira searches for the slide, sort of (Friday)
Least favorite: ... read more
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There's nothing wrong with centering an album around sex or sensuality—but there is a problem when that sensuality comes to stand-in for actual commentary.
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I'm very glad I decided to give this project a listen. "Deluge" finds itself upon a juncture between glitch, drone, field recording, and, of course, ambient music. Listening to this project feels like watching a small track left in the mud in the midst of an enveloping rainstorm: a micro-study of the threatening margins of a singularity. In that way, I'm reminded of my personal favorite Animal Collective record—Campfire Songs—wherein ambiance actually comes to subordinate ... read more
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Grainy and slight—and while more dynamic than Fi, it's not able to access that same songwriting consistency. Lovely little project nevertheless, and the 2020 reissue includes quite a few fantastic bonus cuts, the best of which outshine almost everything else here.

Favorites: Firework Owl (Bonus Track), Cantaloup Carousel (1999) [Bonus Track], Overgrown, Black Country Blue, Dyfi, Marram
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Roxanne's commentary on the liminal politics of the socially unintelligible, (un)gendered body, while admirably contemplative, can feel wrapped up in an all-too-easy appeal to fusional interiority—"harmony" as some kind of escape or Platonic ideal: the male and female elements admixing into the fluid and all-accepting liquid of the synthetic. And while the stripped-back instrumentation, here, can be stirring in its restraint, moments of lethargy, like the tepid wash of ... read more
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A remarkable achievement in lo-fi production—its songs sound scuzzy, but also sweetly present, resonant, murmured into your ear. A threshold just beyond the preciousness of Love Tara.

Favorites: About You, Thoroughly, My Bed Is Red, My Chest Is Empty, Hate Song.
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Pallbearers for the slow, indeed, Low's third album features their best songwriting to date, and its subtle dynamics, incorporation of silence, and heart-rending desperation—perhaps best surfacing on a cut like "Coattails"—navigate the latent terrors of the sublime. The record is sequenced near perfectly, particularly in its closure, with the droning, epic, and gradually inclined noise of three-chord opus "Do You Know How To Waltz" giving way to the gentle ... read more
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Like watching an opera whirl into the open recesses of a black hole... All that's left is an echo.
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Painfully isolate, this low-down between Will and Maya (Tone), this panacea on the dark recesses of the pestilent, this muggy autumnal saturation, this weaker soldier on the front lines: an open forest just behind her autonomic black humor... She will come, I'll be gone...
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Fucking genius—painfully stark, plodding, threatening, confined to an insulatory madness... Steve Shelley's drums roar out like the herald of total annihilation...
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I realized today that Yo La Tengo, since Painful at least, have never released a 'bad' LP. Indeed, James, Ira, and Georgia are a rare wellspring, a restorative 'pale', of ethical sociality—deeply attuned to each other's beings, truly committed to learning, constantly, what it means to *be* together: and how that kind of collectivity is always about exploration. I've spent the better part of the last few months diving into, and deeply savoring, their material, and while I'm hesitant to ... read more
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I love the reinterpretation of the title track, one of the many highlights from Summer Sun, and while a few tracks (Needle in the Times, the new acoustic rendition of Cherry Chapstick) are just a touch too tepid, exuberant double-reed horns from William Parker on Outsmartener and the squeeling, full-blooded Style of the Times call back to the ICHTHBAO era and help keep things afloat. I can see why these cuts were relegated to B-sides, though—the songwriting just isn't as spine-tingling as ... read more
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Transformative in the moiety of its noisy guitar-work and heavenly vocal performances: if you discount, that is, the underwhelming Mad Love EP, which exaggerates the later and ditches the former.
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The most disappointing quartet of tracks from the group's Gala-compiled output, most particularly in their flat and weightless production—courtesy, I'm afraid to note, of the Twins' own Robin Guthrie—thin enough to render Lush's songwriting kitsch, even grating.

Favorites: Thoughtforms (2nd Version)
Least Favorite: De-Luxe
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More ethereal than Scar, but just as full-blooded—brimming with a delightful sense of vertigo. We're in the clouds now, that's for sure.

Favorites: Breeze, Sunbathing
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The eclectic mix of post-punk influences on Lush's debut mini-album, Scar, makes it feel more a transitional lift-off in the juncture between sounds, scenes, and decades: heralding the end of the 80s as we know it.

Favorites: Thoughtforms, Scarlet, Etheriel, Baby Talk
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Recent Review Comments
On Gabriel 島 - Deluge
"You're very welcome, my friend. Thank you for your creativity. I've downloaded the LP off Bandcamp and it's going to be on regular listening rotation on my iTunes!"
On MarkCooper's review of Joanna Newsom - The Milk-Eyed Mender
"My childhood dog was named Cassie, after the constellation Cassiopeia, so that track has a special resonance for me, as does Sadie for you. And yeah, my friend—all of her albums have worked their way up to 100's for me, too. That's the first (and probably last) time an entirely discography will leave me so floored. She's my favorite of all-time, without a doubt :)"
On Delillo's review of Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me
"Well, this and every other Joanna record :) "
On patricia4221's review of Joanna Newsom - Ys
"Ooh, Baby Birch, like Cosmia, is a heart-render. '81 is another favorite from disc 1. But yeah, spend time with each disc on its own, I'd say, and give the whole collection the time to really affect you :) Treats like "On a Good Day", "You and Me, Bess", "Occident", and "Kingfisher" still await!"
On patricia4221's review of Joanna Newsom - Ys
"Now, if you haven't already, you'll have to dive into the enigmatic and infinitely-rewarding Have One On Me... And yes—Joanna Newsom is the best musician of all time; there's just no question."
On moth alice's review of Adrianne Lenker - instrumentals
"Brilliant observation about the circularity of the two records, how each bleeds into the other, suggests its incipient companion subtly... "
On MagnetoJenkins's review of Oneohtrix Point Never - Magic Oneohtrix Point Never
"I wish I didn't have to say this - but I agree. "Bow Ecco" is still one of the best OPN tracks ever, though."
On daFigz™'s review of Cocteau Twins - Victorialand
"Couldn't agree more."
On Rater's review of clipping. - Visions of Bodies Being Burned
"I'm on board with this review. I've never been much of a clipping. fan: it seems "experimental" on the surface only, but really features pretty standard minimalist production and sub-standard flows."
On daFigz™'s review of Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville
"Yeah, it's a remarkably candid record, and really set a precedent for female artists in alternative music culture. "
On Zach's review of Kevin Morby - Sundowner
"Have to agree about Dead Oceans — they're churning out some wonderful material, year after year. I'm so glad you liked this record, too! It's not getting enough love, here, imo :) "
On dearsongs's review of Kevin Morby - Sundowner
"I was one of those rare fans of OMG, too :) I'm happy you like his newest. For me, it's his best yet! Though Singing Saw, like you said, is wonderful too..."
On lilchefremy's review of BLACKPINK - The Album
"Thoughtful take. Thanks for this."
On moth alice's review of Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters
"One of the best reviews I've read in a while. You actually capture Fiona's play with fragmentation and synechdoche beautifully. Yeah, it's a pretty remarkable record."
On JohnLouisHoward's review of Aldous Harding - Party
"Best record of the 2010s, maybe of all-time. Couldn't agree more!"
On dearsongs's review of Aldous Harding - Party
"A tour-de-force from the most enigmatic songwriter of the decade."
On dearsongs's review of The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
"Feel the same way! And same with Siamese Dream. "
On dearsongs's review of Idles - Ultra Mono
"I would respectfully argue that all records, knowingly or not, are expressing a political arrangement by way of what they choose to render visible and what they choose to render invisible, what they emphasize and what they deemphasize... A pop song with a cliche chorus about heteronormative love is as implicated in perpetuating hegemonic, structural patriarchy as anything... Cultural artifacts, like music, are always already political. But as for the kind of Left unity you're calling for, I agree that communicating across differences is really important to what defines us as being on the left in the first place. We have to be reflexive and organize horizontally if we are to tear down the class State. Anyway, respect and love to you all!!"
On patricia4221's review of Joanna Newsom - Divers
"Every one of her records gets a 100 for me, too. Like you said, I can't imagine an artist more tailored to my tastes; indeed, Joanna, you are the best musician alive, and you have my heart."
On vvvpavlic's review of Fleet Foxes - Shore
"Even as a contemporary folk obsessive, I totally agree. Good music does indeed need that subversive edge, and that's just not present here. Shore is vaporous and overly-generalized. "
On Bill Nace - Both
"Wow, my friend; thank you so much. As an aspiring writer, your message is particularly affecting; it brought a smile to my face in the midst of an otherwise stressful week. Yours is a stirring kindness."
On LAZ's review of Daniel Lopatin - Uncut Gems - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
"It's by far the best film I've seen in a few years."
On snowman's review of Fleet Foxes - Shore
"I actually totally agree with this take, down to those three tracks you outlined. Looks like we're in the minority, for sure. "
On Timbo's review of Nicolas Jaar - Cenizas
"Totally agree; this is my favourite Jaar project of 2020 for sure."
On Bowery Electric - Beat
"Ha, my pleasure! I'm just getting into them, myself, and hope to write a review for their debut record, soon!"

October Playlist