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Alternative & Indie - Released October 11, 2019 | 4AD

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
Less than six months after releasing their highly acclaimed third album, U.F.O.F., the Brooklyn indie-folk band Big Thief returns with Two Hands. While its Irish twin sounds incredibly controlled and labored over, the majority of Two Hands are one-take recordings (tracked live in the middle of a Texas desert) with no overdubs, capturing the arresting beauty of their live performances. Lead single "Not" is the loudest and most intense Big Thief song to date. Frontwoman Adrianne Lenker’s croon is pushed to a panting rasp during the track’s teetering climax, and its second half is overtaken by a gangly, drawn-out guitar solo gracelessly deconstructing into ringing noise. However, despite the crashing drum fill that kicks off the record, "Not"’s striking diversion from their signature serenity is the album’s only moment of its kind. The main difference is that here, Big Thief sound looser and less concerned with painstaking prettiness. Instead, they let the tape roll and see what happens. Perhaps the most commendable aspect is that even without the benefit of studio wizardry, this band can still make magic happen. © Eli Enis / Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 17, 2019 | 4AD

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
This eighth album from The National is refreshingly different, somewhat modifying the well-oiled mechanics of this American band. First and foremost, this is achieved through the presence of several female singers who support the leader Matt Berninger on most of the tracks. The most memorable are the performances of Gail Ann Dorsey (David Bowie’s bassist) on Had Your Soul With You, as well as the particularly poignant performances of Lisa Hannigan and Mina Tindle on So Far So East and Oblivions respectively, the latter being especially moving. Why this sudden feminine presence for an exclusively male band? It’s likely because the album was conceived after filmmaker Mike Mills asked The National to put his short film I Am Easy to Find into song form - a film which happens to be centred around a woman. It’s this relationship to images that has somewhat upended the Brooklyn band’s pop formula. There are a few references to some classics of cinema, chiefly Roman Holiday by William Wyler (1953). But apart from the new cinematic release, fans of The National will still find the legendary melancholy of the group in both the lyrics and the music. The presence of heart-wrenching strings on all the tracks (with the exception of the staccato violins on Where Is Her Head) as well as a recurring introspective piano (notably in the beautiful Light Years) will particularly be remembered. Bryan Devendorf’s singular rhythms plays on contrasts, occasionally making striking jerks (Rylan, The Pull of You) as well as adding a sensual flair (Hairpin Turns, I Am Easy to Find). © Nicolas Magenham/Qobuz  
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 2, 2018 | 4AD

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Internal feuds and heroin in the crook of the arm of her twin didn’t rattle the more relaxed female rocker: Kim Deal. Nirvana with boobs and with ballsy grunge, the Breeders kindled the indie rock scene by reminding people that even if there wasn’t anyone to welcome them, there was a feminine scene. Imploding in 1993 after the aptly named Last Splash, the quartet saw Kim go back to the Pixies when Kelley went into rehab. Two other albums, Title TK in 2002 and Mountain Battles in 2008, reminded us that the beast could still move… Since a concert in 2013 brought back the hope of a reunion, the two sisters, the bass player Josephine Wiggs and the drummer Jim MacPherson went back to the studio for All Nerve. Grunge entanglement resuscitating from the rough nineties, this lightning opus (33 minutes) blasts a tried and tested formula. If the dirty guitar-bass-drums and vocal distortions recipe doesn’t cause the Cannonball effect that made their success, All Nerve carries the mark of the painful decades that followed. As proof, the distorted ballads Space Woman, Dawn: Making An Effort, Blues At The Acropolis. It is dark and nervous. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 19, 2017 | 4AD

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
When John Parish, PJ Harvey's producer, takes the time to sit down behind the console to work on a record, people tend to take notice. To see why, take a look at Party, Aldous Harding's second album, which we might swiftly (or hastily?) categorise as cerebral folk: it is neurasthenic, and spellbinding. Only, behind these reductive labels, the young New Zealander commands a much broader musical spectrum. On the model of the Living The Classics/Party series: on the former track, Harding is gentle and almost evanescent, before mutating on the latter into a baleful imp.  No effects, no instrumental chicanery is needed to win the crowd's ear. Because even if we can see that she knows the classics (Kate Bush, Joan Baez, Linda Perhacs, Joni Mitchell, Vashti Bunyan...), it is the very personal tone of her voice and her songs that makes this second album an impressive moment of intimacy and revelation... © MZ/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 6, 2013 | 4AD

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 5/6 de Magic - Pitchfork: Best New Music
Before Monomania's release, Deerhunter described the album's music as "nocturnal garage" -- an accurate, if somewhat elliptical, nutshell explanation of what Bradford Cox and crew (who include new bassist Josh McKay and additional guitarist Frankie Broyles) are up to on this set of songs. After Halcyon Digest's nostalgic haze and the fragile beauty of Atlas Sound's Parallax, it seemed that Cox was drifting further away from the rawness of his early days. He breaks away from this insular turn on Monomania -- to a point. The album's first two songs, the unabashedly messy "Neon Junkyard" and riff-fest "Leather Jacket II," are the musical equivalent of blowing off steam after the more considered, delicate territory of Cox's recent past. It's not until "The Missing"'s chiming guitars and harmonies that Monomania offers something resembling Deerhunter's more recent output, and that song was written by longtime guitarist Lockett Pundt. Cox sometimes goes overboard with his fondness for abrasiveness, as on "Nitebike"'s over the top vocal posturing or the way the odd coughing/barking backing vocals shatter "THM"'s pretty reverie. More often, though, Monomania's willfully raw sounds adopt the tough persona and iconography of rock music with a capital R as shelter, like donning a leather jacket and a sneer as armor against life's hardships. Cox borrows Julian Casablancas' croak on "Pensacola" and Queen's lyrics on "Dream Captain," where "I'm just a poor boy from a poor family" is just one of the scruffy rock clichés that he celebrates. Deerhunter's more familiar introspection creeps into Monomania's "nocturnal" songs, where the band uses its dreaminess to channel the feelings the album's louder moments try to drown out. They do so especially well on the equally melodic and acerbic "Blue Agent" and the gorgeous "Sleepwalking," both of which examine the chasms between former friends and lovers with very different perspectives. The album may be most interesting when the band plays with its tough/vulnerable duality: the title track is a plea that sounds like it's on fire, while "Punk (La Vie Antérieure)" looks back on fearless days with tender acoustic guitars. At times, the album feels more meta than Deerhunter's previous music, a complex way of delivering songs that are often much simpler -- on the surface, anyway -- than usual. By turns raw and reflective, Monomania is about shaking things up; it's not as grand or cohesive as Microcastle or Halcyon Digest, but with repeated listens, its quick shifts in sound and mood feel more like different sides of the same coin than a split personality. Ultimately, it may be most remarkable for how easily Deerhunter can deliver catchy songs in any incarnation. ~ Heather Phares

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