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As the year winds down, so to does the album release schedule, with holiday albums and big-ticket box sets beginning to crowd the virtual shelves. That’s not to say, however, that November doesn’t offer its fair share of long-awaited albums, from the latest by mainstays such as Big Boi and Trent Reznor (with How to Destroy Angels) to discs by pop crowd-pleasers Alicia Keys and Rihanna to new work from up-and-comers Crystal Castles. And so long as there’s time left in 2012, some bands will keep cranking out new product, like Green Day’s second in a trilogy of albums and Guided by Voices’ third disc of the year. That should be enough to hold you over for the holidays and after.


 

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Clinic

Free Reign

(Domino; US: 13 Nov 2012; UK: 12 Nov 2012)

Review [13.Nov.2012]
Clinic
Free Reign


It’s tempting to say that Free Reign builds on the psychedelic sweetness of its predecessor, 2010’s Bubblegum, but that doesn’t quite capture what’s so great about Clinic’s new record. The hazy layers here have a real bite to them—check that atmospheric guitar work on “You”—and these songs cast a long shadow. This is Clinic at their most wide open and atmospheric: From the hissing space and haunting vocals of “Misty” to the swirling twang of ‘60s-pop guitars on closer “Sun and the Moon”, Free Reign grabs your attention at every turn by making slow, deliberate moves. For an album that comes in under 40 minutes, Free Reign feels awfully expansive, and it manages to deal heavily in dark tones and blurring structures without ever sounding slack. Clinic may have built its name on punchier pop tunes, but the groups loses no immediate power in these bigger tunes. In fact, the hooks grow with the textures here, and Free Reign turns, slowly but surely, into one of the great pop surprises of 2012. Matthew Fiander


Clinic - “Miss You”


 

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Emeralds

Just to Feel Anything

(Editions Mego; US: 6 Nov 2012; UK: 6 Nov 2012)

Review [25.Nov.2012]
Emeralds
Just to Feel Anything


Emeralds is an apt name for a group that can conjure up the kind of sparkling, pretty soundscapes that this celebrated experimental electronic trio does. But what’s most compelling about Emeralds’ new work Just to Feel Anything is its greater sense of structure and urgency. It’s something you notice right from the start of the album in the way groovy guitars and synths work their way to the fore on the opener “Before Your Eyes” and its follow-up “Adrenochrome”. Building on the ethereal atmospherics you’d expect from Emeralds by working up to towering melodic lines “Everything Is Inverted” and the title track are epic in scale, but immediate in feel. Indeed, Just to Feel Anything is the best of all worlds, with Emeralds maintaining everything that made 2010’s Does It Look Like I’m Here? a breakout effort, while they redirect their ample creative energies into dynamic pieces with more shape and form. Arnold Pan


Emeralds - “Just to Feel Anything”


 

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Errors

New Relics

(Rock Action; US: 6 Nov 2012; UK: 1 Oct 2012)

Review [4.Nov.2012]
Errors
New Relics


Call Errors’ mostly instrumental sound post-post rock. While the influence of Tortoise and their benefactors Mogwai was clear and present on the Glasgow group’s earlier work, Errors have definitely been stepping out on their own of late and pushing their own formula on two new albums in 2012. Their latest effort New Relics features a smoother, more refined electro aesthetic, serving up fully immersive soundscapes to get lost in. What stands out most about New Relics is the way Errors play with varied textures, but still blend them together seamlessly. So while Errors’ forte is in creating dreamy, rapturous palettes, like the wash of soothing noise on “Engine Homes” and the shoegazey “White Infinity”, they’re also adept at giving more structure to their experimental sound, be it the tribal techno beats of “Ammaboa Glass” or the snappy drum-machine-driven neo-‘80s synth-pop of “Hemlock”. On these tracks, you can take the title New Relics literally, as Errors dredge up old, familiar techno moves, but breathes new life into ‘em. Arnold Pan


Errors - “Grangehaven”


 

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Guided by Voices

The Bears for Lunch

(Guided by Voices, Inc.; US: 13 Nov 2012; UK: 12 Nov 2012)

Guided by Voices
The Bears for Lunch


The reassembled “classic” line-up of Guided By Voices has been slowly gaining momentum in 2012, from the solid return of Let’s Go Eat the Factory to the wonderfully moody Class Clown Spots a UFO to being back at undeniable full strength onThe Bears for Lunch. The songs are scattershot as usual, but the effects are as lasting as ever. The pure pop gem “She Lives in an Airport” takes its time but kills with deep hooks, while “Smoggy Boy” is the most volatile under-a-minute GBV jam since “Pimple Zoo”. Once again, Tobin Sprout and Robert Pollard come off as great songwriting foils, as Pollard blasts us with “King Arthur the Red” only to let Sprout draw us into blissful calm on “The Corners Are Glowing”. The best part about The Bears for Lunch is its natural-sounding production. There’s nothing self-consciously lo-fi about it, but the guitars still have a charming, organic crunch to them, and the songs are full of immediate energy. The Bears for Lunch sounds at every turn like a Guided By Voices record, but that doesn’t mean it won’t surprise you—any rock record this good would. Matthew Fiander


Guided by Voices - “She Lives in an Airport”


 

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Oneida

A List of the Burning Mountains

(Jagjaguwar; US: 13 Nov 2012; UK: 12 Nov 2012)

Oneida
A List of the Burning Mountains


Oneida has long been a band that not enough people talk about, having made classic records like The Wedding and Happy New Year that have earned fervent but relatively small followings. A List of the Burning Mountains should either solidify their spot on the fringe or change it entirely. It’s that kind of a difficult, game-changing record. The album consists of two long compositions that hone their knack for improvised explosions of sound into a chaotic, punishing yet beautiful record of perfectly imperfect noise. The guitars squeal and grind, the drums pound and rumble. Each movement gets to nearly 20 minutes, and though they seem formless, they take shape at all the right times. “Side 1” gathers around its fuzzy bass halfway through and takes on an off-kilter, sweet shuffle, while “Side 2” builds a steady tension on snapping drum fills and airy keys. A List of the Burning Mountains is an exploratory, intricate album, one that demands your attention even as it challenges you to keep up. It may not have the clear, excellent songs of, say, The Wedding, but this is its own kind of heady excellence, its own kind of brilliant achievement. Check it out. Matthew Fiander


Oneida - A List of the Burning Mountains Mix


 

Selected Releases for November 2012
(Release dates subject to change)


November 6
Akina Adderley and the Vintage Playboys, Say Yes (Get Level)
Aerosmith, Music from Another Dimension (Columbia)
All That Remains, A War You Cannot Win (Razor and Tie)
Anstam, Stones and Woods (50 Weapons)
Mykki Blanco, Cosmic Haze: The Illuminati Prince/ss (mixtape)
The Casket Girls, Sleepwalking (Graveface)
Paul Corley, Disquiet (Bedroom Community)
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival (Fantasy)
Crystal Castles, (III) (Casablanca/Fiction/Universal Republic)
Roger Davidson Trio, We Remember Helen (Soundbrush)
Jon DeRosa, A Wolf in Preacher’s Clothes (Rocket Girl)
Dethklok, Dethalbum III: Metalocalypse (Williams Street)
Dirty Projectors, About to Die EP (Domino)
Mike Doughty, The Flip Is Another Honey (Red)
Kevin Drumm, Relief (Editions Mego)
B. Fleischmann, I’m Not Ready for the Grave Yet (Morr Music)
Graveyard, Lights Out (Nuclear Blast)
The Herbaliser, There Were Seven (Dept H)
Holly Herndon, Movement (RVNG Intl)
HIM, XX: Two Decades of Love Metal (compilation) (The End)
Hundred Waters, Hundred Waters (INgrooves)
Irata, Vultures (Silver)
Jon Irabagon, Unhinged / I Don’t Hear Nothin’ But the Blues, Vol.2 (Irabbagast)
Isis, Temporal (Ipecac)
Joshua James, From The Top of Willamette Mountain (Intelligent Noise)
Paul Kelly, Spring & Fall (Cen)
Habib Koité & Eric Bibb, Brothers in Bamako (Stony Plain)
Lindstrøm, Smalhans (Smalltown Supersound)
Kylie Minogue, The Abbey Road Sessions Deluxe Edition (Parlophone)
Monoloc, Drift (CLR)
Monokle, Saints (Ki)
Mr. MFN eXquire, Power & Passion EP (Republic)
Ne-Yo, R.e.d. (Motown)
Thomas Newman, Skyfall Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Sony Classics)
Night Moves, Colored Emotions (Domino)
Pollens, Brighten and Break (Tapete)
Prince Rama, Top Ten Hits of the End of the World (Paw Tracks)
Public Enemy, The Evil Empire of Everything (King Midas)
Public Enemy, Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamp (Eastlink)
Boyd Rice/Non, Back to Mono (Mute)
Rone, Tohu Bohu (InFine)
Schneider TM, Construction Sounds (Bureau B)
Slim Twig, A Hound at the Hem (Calico/Pleasance)
Sylver Tongue, Something Big EP (Dancing Coins)
Geoff Tate, Kings & Thieves (Inside Out)
Teen Daze, The Inner Mansions (Lefse)
Tuac, Higher Ground EP (KPI)
Underoath, Anthology 1999-2013 (Solid State)
Various Artists, Reggae Golden Jubilee—Origins of Jamaican Music (VP)
Various Artists, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Atlantic)
Weinland, Los Processaur (Woodphone)
John Williams, Lincoln Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Sony Classics)


November 13
Elvind Aarset, Dreamlogic (ECM)
Christina Aguilera, Lotus (RCA)
Sophie Auster, Red Weather (Lost Colony)
The Babies, Our House on the Hill (Woodsist)
Bell Witch, Longing (Profound Lore)
Big Boi, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors (Purple Ribbon/Def Jam)
Books on Tape, Retired Numbers (Sorry Juniper!)
Bush Tetras, Happy (ROIR)
Deftones, Koi No Yokan (Reprise)
Lana Del Rey - Born to Die (The Paradise Edition) - Interscope/Polydor
Disciple, O God Save Us All (Fair Trade Services)
Django Django, Django Django (Ribbon)
Brian Eno, Lux (Warp)
Eternal Tapestry, A World Out of Time (Thrill Jockey)
Fanga and Maalem Abdallah Guinea, Fangnawa Experience (Strut)
Forgetters, Forgetters (Too Small Too Fail)
Forma, Off/On (Spectrum Spools)
Front Line Assembly, AirMech (Metropolis)
Golden Void, Golden Void (Thrill Jockey)
Green Day, Dos (Reprise)
Ari Hest, The Fire Plays (Project 4)
How to Destroy Angels, An Omen EP (Columbia)
Jan, Jan (Refinery 29)
Kid Sampl, Skylight (Hush Hush)
Lau Nau, Valohiukkanen (Fonal)
Aaron Lewis, The Road (Blaster)
Steven Lynch, Lion (What Are Records)
Midnight Magic, Walking the Midnight Streets (Midnight Sun)
Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale, Buddy and Jim (New West)
One Direction, Take Me Home (Columbia)
Pop Levi, Medicine (Counter)
The Rolling Stones, GRRR! (Ume)
George Schuller’s Circle Wide, Listen Both Ways (Playscape)
Social Studies, Developer (Antenna Farm)
Sonic Youth, Smart Bar, Chicago 1985 (Goofin’)
Soundgarden, King Animal (Republic)
Sufjan Stevens, Silver & Gold (Asthmatic Kitty)
Trash Talk, 119 (Odd Future)
Sharon Van Etten, Tramp Deluxe Edition (Jagjaguwar)
The Weeknd, Trilogy (XO/Republic)
Vinyl Williams, Lemniscate (Salonislam/No Pain in Pop)
Wires Under Tension, Replicant (Western Vinyl)
Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch, The Mystery of Heaven (Sacred Bones)


November 20
Artists Project Earth, Thythms Del Mundo: Africa (The End)
Bad Brains, Into the Future (Megaforce)
Beca, Born to Fly EP (This Is Music, Ltd.)
Bee Mask, When We Were Eating Unripe Pears (Spectrum Spools)
Björk, bastards (Biophilia remixes) (One Little Indian)
Keith Canisius, Beautiful Sharks (Saint Marie)
Coldplay, Live 2012 (CD/DVD) (Capitol)
Dinosaur Jr., Chocomel Daze (Live 1987) (Merge)
El Perro Del Mar, Pale Fire (The Control Group)
The Faint, Danse Macabre Deluxe Edition (Saddle Creek)
Ghostface Killah, Twelve Reasons to Die (Soul Temple)
Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin, Instrumental Tourist (Software)
Jellyfish, Stack-a-Tracks (Caroline)
Kylesa, From the Vaults, Vol. 1 (Season of Mist)
Led Zeppelin, Celebration Day (Atlantic)
Naomi Punk, The Feeling reissue (Captured Tracks)
Graham Parker & the Rumour, Three Chords Good (Primary Wave)
Pitbull, Global Warming (RCA)
Porcupine Tree, Octane Twisted (Kscope)
Rihanna, Unapologetic (Island/Def Jam)
Solange, Losing You (Terrible)
The Twilight Sad, No One Can Ever Know The Remixes (FatCat)
Various Artists, Future Sounds of Buenos Aires (ZZK)


November 27
Big Dipper, Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet (Almost Ready)
Bloodbound, In the Name of Metal (AFM)
Don Cabellero, Gang Banged with a Headache (Live 2003) (Joyful Noise)
Container, Dripping (Spectrum Spools)
Alicia Keys, Girl on Fire (RCA)
Rage Against the Machine, XX Twentieth Anniversary Deluxe Box Set (Legacy)
Raglani, Real Colors of the Physical World (Editions Mego)

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