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Vladislav Delay: Kuopio

Kuopio would work better as two thematically consistent EPs rather than as an album in itself. There's nothing particularly bad or boring about it, it's just inconsistent.

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Branford Marsalis Quartet: Four MFs Playin' Tunes

Four MFs Playin' Tunes isn't as lame and laboured as its title would suggest, but it's far too content to sit pretty on a post-bop pedestal that everyone else abandoned quite a while ago.

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Emarcy / Marsalis Music

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Esbjörn Svensson Trio: 301

301 isn't the most daringly original Esbjörn Svensson Trio record, and nor is it their best record. Rather, it's a refinement of what we already knew and loved about the band.

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Doseone: G Is For Deep

On G Is For Deep, Doseone goes for a take on synth-pop that veers between being worringly eccentric and, er, crazily audacious. Then again, Doseone has always been a wild-card, and this might be his wildest album yet.

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Mike Patton & Ictus Ensemble: Laborintus II

Laborintus II might be really high-minded, and really challenging, but it's totally bizarre fun too. It may well be the most unsettling thing you listen to all year, but what else would you expect from Mike Patton?

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The Smashing Pumpkins: Oceania (take 2)

Oceania is a prog rock record. The songs might not be as long, but the sounds and the themes are just as portentous as all that dinosaur rock of the 1970s. And it's just as boring, too.

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The Hives: Lex Hives

Lex Hives is a real disappointment, as if they’ve forked out a fortune fitting electric doors to their tiny, untidy garage and then thrown out all the amps in favour of a mid-life-crisis-mobile.

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Disques Hives

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Hauschka & Hilary Hahn: Silfra

Silfra tries quite hard to walk the tightrope between the post-classical avant-garde and more conventional classical formations. But no matter how hard it tries to convince us of its own aesthetic authenticity, it always seems to trip itself up.

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Marilyn Manson: Born Villain

Populist, processed, and weirdly conservative, Marilyn Manson's eighth studio album is just plain bland. It proves, if nothing else, that Manson is no longer top dog in the controversy department.

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Led Bib: Bring Your Own

Bring Your Own is like a series of really elaborate, and genuinely very funny, jazz-related practical jokes -- like a Louis Armstrong whoopee cushion.

Music

Tyler, The Creator: Goblin

Despite the tedious sensationalism surrounding its lyrical content, Goblin is a massive spoonful of marvellous hip-hop medicine, full of the most unnerving, hyperreal humour you may well ever hear.

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The Disciplines: Virgins of Menace

The songs on Virgins of Menace are good, the sort of pop pleasures that we like, but not the sort of pop perfection that we cherish. Will we remember it in 20 years time?

Music

Hauschka: Salon Des Amateurs

Salon Des Amateurs is great fun and probably the most floral piece of belle époque kitsch you’ll hear all year: perfect background music for your Baudelaire reading group, but it might be a bit much for less adventurous ears.

Music

Jessie J: Who You Are

Who You Are attempts to convincingly combine pure pop and R&B, but ends up as a largely jumbled, bitchy brew of pop tunes hollered with a loutish scowl.

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Burial: Street Halo EP

Street Halo presents an even more compromised, even more ambiguous, Burial than before. Existing outside of hi-fi, lo-fi, and ghettoising genre divides, his is a shattered appeal and it's difficult not to get sucked in.

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Hyperdub

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FatCat Records

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Beach Fossils: What a Pleasure EP

Beach Fossils are very keen to draw attention to their own supposedly heartfelt sincerity, but how much does it capitulate to today's weirdly fashionable nostalgia overdose?

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Sparkle & Shine

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Lava/Universal Republic

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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: Belong

Belong isn’t an album worried about the prospect of pricking its finger on the serrated edges of the stars, like Carl Sagan leafing through a Dorling Kindersley book about being an astronaut.

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Play It Again Sam (UK)

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