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Electronic - Released August 3, 2011 | Mute

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic - Sélection Les Inrocks
When accomplished electronic music producers speak of making proper songs instead of tracks -- most ominously, there’s the one-two punch of “Dance music bores me now” and “I’m getting a band together” -- it’s usually a good time to tune out. While Sascha Ring is guilty of all three and has backed it up with The Devil’s Walk, an album completely divorced from the dancefloor and glitch/IDM, the shift has been gradual, not abrupt, and he happens to be composing some of the most evocative, finely detailed music of his decade-long career. No need to think back to the most organic song on 2007’s Walls, the sapless and malformed “Over and Over,” and prepare for more of the same; these songs, sometimes built on little more than strings, soft keyboard tones, and supple textures, are sturdy and fully developed. All the vocalists fall into place with solemn yet expressive performances, enhancing productions that straddle heartache and ecstasy. It’s the type of album that can be enjoyed on the surface, as pleasant background listening, or as a deeply immersive experience. Anyone who enjoys it should seek the output of Ring collaborator Joshua Eustis' Telefon Tel Aviv, especially 2009’s Immolate Yourself. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 13, 2010 | Mute

Distinctions 3F de Télérama - 4 étoiles Rock and Folk - Sélection Les Inrocks
When Grinderman released their debut in 2007, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Jim Sclavunos, and Martyn Casey created a reckless, drunken animal of an alter ego to the Bad Seeds. The album bridged territory mined by everyone from the Stooges to Suicide to Bo Diddley. Again recorded in the company of producer Nick Launay, Grinderman 2 is a more polished and studied affair than its predecessor, but it's a more sonically adventurous, white-hot rock & roll record. The opening, "Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man," comes closest to the songs on the previous album, but feels like it comes by way of Patti Smith's "Radio Ethiopia," Howlin' Wolf, and the Scientists. It's pure scummy, sleazy, in-the-red dissonant rock. The swampy, ribald blues of "Kitchenette," features Casey's bass roiling around distorted, Echoplexed electric guitar, electric bouzouki, and jungle-like tom-toms and kick drums. Cave does his best lecher-in-heat blues howl -- if Charles Bukowski had sung the blues, this is what it would have sounded like. "Worm Tamer" is a thundering, interlocked coil of triple-note vamps on electric guitar and violin; there's an organ that sounds like Sun Ra playing in a burlesque theater, and an elastic groove in the rhythm section that threatens to take the entire thing off the rails, but purposely never does. While the controlled feedback suggests the earliest sounds of the Bad Seeds live, the layered harmony vocals and tautly held tension between rhythm and lead instruments -- all on stun -- reveal a disciplined sophistication. The single "Heathen Child," with its darkly comedic lyrics built from the slithering, funky rhythm-section-down mix, is as infectiously hooky as it is blasphemous; Ellis' careening bouzouki here is among the more delightfully threatening rock sounds to emerge from a stringed instrument in ages. Grinderman can do a slow burn as well, evidenced by "When My Baby Comes," as Cave's theatrically bawdy lyrics are delivered over the ensemble's space rock drone. Nothing really prepares the listener for "Bellringer Blues," though. It sounds akin to Loop, Spiritualized, and Ash Ra meeting careening 21st century garage rock, as distortedm backmasked loops of guitar, organ and drums drive spooky chanted vocals thatchurn, rumble and crack in response. With its expansive textural and atmospheric palette, and deliberately studied dynamic bombast, Grinderman 2 still contains an overdose of rock and roll adrenaline and is drenched in comic sleaze, but it also sounds like a new, more experimental direction for the band more than it does a continuation of its predecessor. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 1, 2013 | Mute

Distinctions Album du mois de Tsugi - Sélection Les Inrocks
Don’t judge a book by its cover… or an album by its first track. Odd Blood gets off to an odd start with “The Children” -- a robotic, plodding song that prizes mood over melody -- before settling into a more balanced groove, mixing the multicultural sounds of Yeasayer's debut with a new emphasis on electronica, global trip-hop, and digital production. Like All Hour Cymbals, this is a thinking man’s album, one that requires its listeners to put on their thinking caps as well as their dancing shoes. It’s more urban than its predecessor, though, with most songs ditching the tribal harmonies and lo-fi analog ambience of the band’s earlier work in favor of an electric, textured sound. “Love Me Girl,” with its mix of Balearic beat keyboards and sampled female vocals, could have come from an Ibiza nightclub, while “Madder Red” strikes an unlikely balance between synth pop, Middle Eastern folk, and ‘80s dance music. Anand Wilder often abandons his guitar entirely, focusing instead on the keyboards that serve as Odd Blood’s bedrock, and he sings the latter song in a voice that’s clear, pleasant, and devoid of the yelping that characterized some of All Hour Cymbals’ tracks. Chris Keating has similarly improved, so much so that he delivers a rather stunning ballad -- the Air-influenced “I Remember” -- with warmth and understated confidence. Odd Blood’s emphasis on genre-mashing can overwhelm the weaker tunes, whose melodies are sometimes less interesting than the arrangements themselves, but the album has enough highlights to outweigh any filler on side B. All in all, this is a rare sophomore album that widens the band's sound without narrowing its appeal. © Andrew Leahey /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 5, 2012 | Mute

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When White Rabbits wanted to move away from the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sound of their debut Fortnightly, they recruited Spoon's Britt Daniel to streamline their music, and the results, It's Frightening, sometimes followed a little too closely in Daniel's footsteps. This time, the band ventures out a bit farther, working with frequent Spoon producer Mike McCarthy on Milk Famous, which does a more convincing job of putting the band's own stamp on these songs. Unsurprisingly, some of Spoon and McCarthy's favorite touches -- driving pianos, double-tracked vocals, and rockabilly-tinged reverb -- are present and accounted for here, but the overall sound is slicker and somehow subtler than before, with a new wave sheen to songs like the sleek "Temporary" that leans more toward the likes of the French Kicks, Phoenix, or Two Door Cinema Club than the unexpected curves and raw edges that Daniel and company throw at their listeners. Thanks to McCarthy's collaboration, Milk Famous' songs boast interesting flourishes everywhere, especially on the deceptively named opening track "Heavy Metal," which guides the ear from a swirling keyboard loop to manicured feedback to the busy bassline and back again. At times, the sonic details threaten to overwhelm the actual songs; it takes a few listens for the band's clever songwriting to stake an equal place in listeners' memories, but once it's in there, White Rabbits' moody, paranoid pop is hard to shake. "I'm Not Me," "Everyone Can't Be Confused," and "I Had It Coming" are particularly pithy highlights, while "It's Frightening," an abstract ballad adrift on oceans of rippling pianos, is moving because of what it doesn't say. Though It's Frightening might have had a few more immediately accessible moments than Milk Famous, the sonic growth and confidence White Rabbits display here prove they're moving in the right direction. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 23, 2011 | Loose Music

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 8, 2012 | Secretly Canadian

Booklet Distinctions 5/6 de Magic - Sélection Les Inrocks
Luke Temple and company keep on their road with the band's third album, but Here We Go Magic just aren't quite living up to their name beyond familiar, ultimately less than inspiring moves. It's not that the bandmembers aren't trying -- more than once they almost suggest an inspired fusion of early Beta Band with Hail to the Thief-era Radiohead, if more straightforwardly rock-inclined than both. But when Temple's voice takes on more of a clear Thom Yorke quality as it goes -- "Alone But Moving" in particular is pretty much an overt tribute -- then sometimes the line between inspiration and tribute is effaced. The album does start promisingly: after a bit of moody murkiness in a brief piece appropriately and descriptively called "Intro," hearing them shift into a mood that sounds like Nick Drake getting quietly funky -- soft echoed vocals, bouncing bass, and a steady pulsing energy in the rhythms -- is a treat. Here We Go Magic move between more full-on hyperactivity in that vein from songs like "Make Up Your Mind" and "I Believe in Action" to the easier-going grooves of "Alone But Moving," but too often they don't do much with that. "How Do I Know" strikes one of the better balances between the band's two sides, driving and energetic while just a bit wistful, even as Temple's voice has a bit more of a clipped quality. Meanwhile, "Over the Ocean" isn't a Low cover but that might have been a fun curve ball, or at least a more distinct one. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 7, 2012 | Full Time Hobby

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic - Sélection Les Inrocks
4 stars out of 5 -- "[The album] finds the trio gently corralling hushed acoustic, choral and symphonic laments, served with lashes of strings, into songs as gloriously haunted as the land that spawned them." © TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released May 1, 2012 | Ribbon Music

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic - Sélection Les Inrocks - Hi-Res Audio
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Lower Dens' 2010 debut LP Twin-Hand Movement was a largely overlooked moment of understated brilliance. Native Texan turned Baltimore transplant Jana Hunter had been quietly toiling in the throes of experimental indie rock for years before forming an official band around his uneasily atmospheric solo songs, and though there was no dramatic shift in style or tone, something crystallized under the Lower Dens namesake that hadn't been there before. Finding a foggy middle ground between Motorik-Krautrock rhythms and the most dimly lit corners of shoegaze, Twin-Hand Movement built an atmosphere that was instantly transfixing though deceptively simple. Following a series of singles and a few other scattered appearances, the band returns with sophomore effort Nootropics, expanding their sound only slightly with more electronic elements. While less guitar-centric, the same narcotic feel of the first album carries through here, a patient continuation of the languid summer night soundscape that Twin-Hand Movement set up so well. In some ways, Nootropics is a series of continuations. The two-part "Lion in Winter" begins with a bed of ominous synth tones before abruptly emerging into a new wave-leaning, subdued pop track driven by tinny electronic drums and bumbling synth bass. The minimal churn of "Brains" continues without a pause into the scratchy Neu-inspired addendum "Stem." Moments like these make the album feel like an ongoing extension of itself, circular themes of anxiety and displacement reappearing through the clouds of moody melodies. Hunter's ghostly vocals are sometimes reminiscent of Baltimore peer Victoria Legrand of Beach House, calling out softly from under layers of wistfully beautiful noise. The similarities are striking on "Propagation," a dirge filled with longing that duets Eno-esque fuzz guitars with a humid vocal line. The moment that brings everything into focus on the album is the last 45 seconds of "Lamb." This darkly brilliant composition goes from tersely building verses into a soaring arc and unexpectedly fading into disintegrating noise as it ends. Much like Belong's blurry melodies tangled in webs of noise or even the holy sonics of My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, it's in this brief moment of transcendence that Lower Dens achieve something so otherworldly it's impossible to ignore. Like its predecessor and the earliest Beach House records, Nootropics is so mired in restraint it will fail to grab many ears on the first go-round. However, once listeners get their heads around the sound, it's a definite on-repeat player. Free of flash, Nootropics is the sound of smoldering. It's the sound of what's left behind after the fireworks display, and the gentle dread of smoky ashes floating softly down from the sky onto an empty beach. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 17, 2012 | Jazz Village

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection Les Inrocks - The Qobuz Standard - Hi-Res Audio - Sélection JAZZ NEWS
Roberto Fonseca is one heck of a pianist, firmly grounded in his native Cuba, but also a child of his time, strongly influenced by the 1980s, especially Rockit-era Herbie Hancock. That's quite apparent on the first cut here, "'80s," which builds on Hancock's work from that time, heavily rhythmic -- except the rhythms are Cuban -- and moving between some outstanding piano work and some low-key Hammond for a very joyful noise. From there he switches tack completely, bringing up an Afro-Cuban soft groove for "Bibisa," working with singer Fatoumata Diawara as well as kora and ngoni. It's beautifully successful, a fusion that works elsewhere on the disc, with "Chabani" connecting the dots between Cuba and Algeria, while "Gnawa" delves into the Moroccan gnawa tradition. There's plenty of Cuba throughout, but it's at its strongest on "7 Rayos," which is an homage to Santeria. Fonseca is a towering presence all over the disc, whether he's touching blues on "Asi Es la Vida" or trading lines with electric kora on "JMF." There's a glorious fluidity to his playing, but he's also an excellent listener, working well with the other musicians. This disc will greatly enhance his reputation, and definitely raises him up several notches. © Chris Nickson /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released April 16, 2012 | Domino Recording Co

Distinctions Sélection Les Inrocks
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 16, 2012 | Double Six Records

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music - Sélection Les Inrocks - Hi-Res Audio
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Rock - Released April 13, 2012 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions Sélection Les Inrocks
Hard work was hardwired into Dr. Feelgood's DNA. They never left the road, not even after the death of their lead singer Lee Brilleaux in 1994. Nearly two decades after his demise, a lineup of Dr. Feelgood containing no original members continues to grind out gigs across the United Kingdom, a testament to the band's take-no-prisoners aesthetic, even if their presence tends to obscure what made the Feelgoods so special in the mid-'70s. It took Julien Temple's 2009 documentary Oil City Confidential to remind the world at large about Dr. Feelgood's crucial place in history, how they turned pub rock into something tougher, harder, leaner, and meaner, something that paved the way for punk rock just a few years later. Oil City Confidential told the story, but it's All Through the City (With Wilko 1974-1977) that provides the supporting evidence. A four-CD/one-DVD box chronicling everything that the original lineup of Brilleaux, guitarist Wilko Johnson, bassist John B. Sparks, and drummer John "The Big Figure" Martin recorded during their four years together, All Through the City contains all the vital music Dr. Feelgood ever recorded. They'd make other good records -- 1978's Private Practice and its hit single "Milk & Alcohol," for instance -- but this is the music that made the band's legacy, and it still packs a wallop: this is intense, gritty, hard rock & roll, its love of old R&B tying it somewhat to the past but the vicious vigor of the performances still feeling modern. This lacerating energy is best felt on the live performances -- their hit album Stupidity and the television performances collected on the DVD -- but their first two LPs, Down by the Jetty and Malpractice contain much of the same nervy spirit, conveyed by Wilko's slashing cubist guitar and Brilleaux's growl. On the welcome disc of rarities that concludes this set, some of the thought behind the band's evolution is evident -- an early version of "Roxette" betrays some deep doo wop roots that the group defiantly shook off just a year later -- but that only strengthens the case for Dr. Feelgood. They knew precisely how to trim away the fat, they knew what mattered: the hard angular riffs, the throttling rhythms, the sense of malicious malevolence that pervades even the love songs. All of that is showcased on All Through the City, a box set that captures Dr. Feelgood in all of their rage and glory. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

World - Released April 2, 2012 | Because Music

Distinctions Victoire de la musique - Sélection Les Inrocks - Hi-Res Audio
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On 2012's Folila (which translates as "music" in Bambara), Mali's famed Amadou & Mariam, the husband-and-wife duo, effortlessly prove that "purist" alarm calls about melding popular and traditional musics across geographies because they dilute authenticity are not only inherently false, but their motivations are suspect. Amadou & Mariam originally cut twin albums -- same songs, tunings, and tempos -- one in New York with Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, Santigold, Theophilus London, members of TV on the Radio and Antibalas, the Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears, and Bertrand Cantat. The other was a Malian offering, cut in Bamako with master musicians, including Bassekou Kouyaté on ngoni, Zoumana Tereta on sokou, and Toumani Diabaté on kora, to name a few. A possibility presented itself when they took the completed sessions to producer Marc-Antoine Moreau in Paris. He was asked to try to bring the albums together. Moreau enlisted other producer/engineers -- Kennie Takahashi, Renaud Letang, Josh Grant, and Antoine Halet -- to assist. The end result is an organic-sounding masterpiece of cross-cultural collaboration, sung in three languages -- Bambara, French, and English (sometimes in the same song). Production magic aside, this project wouldn't have succeeded were it not for truly amazing songs (written by the duo) and inspired performances by all the musicians. "Dougou Badia" features crunchy guitar interplay between Amadou's instantly recognizable percussive style and Zinner's more rockist attack; it's fuel for a soaring duet between Mariam and Santigold. "Wily Kataso" features Amadou & Mariam with Kyp and Tunde from TV on the Radio on lead vocals; the meld of the two guitarists with Kouyaté's ngoni and the popping rhythm section is infectious. "Metemya" features Shears and Amadou's voices with the latter's knotty, raw guitar and Wurlitzer from Antibalas' Victor Axelrod amid layers of organic percussion. "Nebe Miri" features London rapping and singing in complement to Amadou's lead vocals, all drenched in a soulful meld of harmonies, three guitars, keyboards, and dundun drums. "C'est Pas Facile Pour les Aigles" is a rave-up that combines highlife, power pop, and Bo Diddley, and features Ebony Bones singing with Mariam. On "Sans Toi," Mali's traditional instruments such as sokou and kamale ngoni appear alongside guitar, piano, and the duo's hypnotic vocals. The haunting "Mogo" features bass clarinet, ngoni, djembe, dundun drums, and slide and rockist guitars and chants. "Chérie" is simply presented with Mariam above a Malian children's choir, with Diabaté's kora adding a carefree rural feel to close it. Forget prejudices about "world music"; Folila is great music. Period. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released April 2, 2012 | geographic

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic - Sélection Les Inrocks - Hi-Res Audio
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 2, 2012 | XL Recordings

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Rock - Released March 30, 2012 | Nonesuch

Booklet Distinctions Sélection Les Inrocks - Le top 6 JAZZ NEWS
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French Music - Released March 26, 2012 | naïve

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Sélection Les Inrocks - Qobuzissime - Hi-Res Audio
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Pop/Rock - Released March 26, 2012 | Patchrock

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 3, 2012 | Full Time Hobby

Distinctions Sélection Les Inrocks
Pinkunoizu is a Danish quartet that plays an unclassifiable kind of music that's ambient in feel with touches of prog rock, radio-friendly pop, minimal new music, and world influences floating through a mix that's alternately murky and clear as a bell. Short, almost-pop tunes rub up against long, meandering excursions that unfold with their own peculiar logic, tossing out the hint of a singalong chorus only to subvert it with what sounds like processed didgeridoo or an avalanche of haphazard sounds. Psychedelic is the most apt description of the music, but the eight swirling kaleidoscopic pieces that make up the album don't really fit easily into a single category, or, perhaps, they fit into every category at once. Chiming guitars and washes of foggy noise meet unintelligible lyrics on the opener "Time Is Like a Melody" before slipping into "Myriad Pyramid," a faux-Latin/Arab groove with a ghostly choir adding to the puzzling electronic aura. "Everything Is Broken or Stolen" rides a bubbly percussive track, while a bleary vocal and odd keyboard effects dance in the background, broken by random glitchy effects. Suitably dark sound effects float in and out of the flamenco-flavored groove of "Death Is Not a Lover." There are vocals here, but they're mixed into an unintelligible soup until the end of the tune, when the title is repeated with a melody that recalls Doc Boggs's "Oh Death" before shifting into a bright dance-rock track that competes with another tidal wave of dissonant, rhythmic vocal clatter. Listing to Pinkunoizu will leave you slightly dazed, not unlike the aftermath of an unexpected but pleasant acid trip. The music is enjoyable, and the lyrics, when you can hear them, are wicked and witty, but the lack of dynamics often crosses over from hypnotic to somnambulant © j. poet /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 20, 2012 | Jazz Village

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Sélection Les Inrocks - Qobuzissime - Hi-Res Audio - Sélection JAZZ NEWS