By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated July 27, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Autumn de Wilde

Every few years, this San Francisco-based artist and producer (Spoon, the Mountain Goats) releases a carefully crafted study in contrasts: angsty lyrics enfolded in exquisite instrumentation. And John Vanderslice’s sixth full-length, Emerald City, doesn’t disappoint. His sob stories, many occasioned by his real-life French lover’s visa difficulties, are as moving as ever. But it’s his arrangements — elegiac strumming (”Kookaburra”), amped-up outbursts (”White Dove”), even a few spectral trip-hop visions (”Tablespoon of Codeine”) — that make Emerald a gleaming gem. A-
DOWNLOAD THIS: White Dove

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