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Dawn Richard

Second Line

    Much like the New Orleans–born artist who created it, Second Line is an unapologetic genre bender that pushes boundaries, expands possibilities, and shatters expectations. It’s more than just an album: Second Line is a cohesive sensory experience that questions traditional ideas of sound, production, and visual aesthetics as they relate to music. Its interlocking parts tell an epic story about the quest for artistic expression, with Dawn describing her project as “a movement to bring pioneering Black women in electronic music to the forefront.” She elaborates: “You never see women appreciated as producers and artists alike especially Black women in the electronic space. The time is now for us to start recognizing their talent, not only in electronic music but in all genres. I wanna be the reason why a young Black girl from the South can be whoever she wants to be musically, visually, and artistically.” Second Line cuts to the chase with its opening suite of dancefloor bangers, immediately displaying Dawn’s mastery of layered production and melodic hooks. Second Line treats Louisiana Creole culture, New Orleans bounce, and Southern Swag as elemental, allowing Dawn to weave in and out of house, footwork, R&B, and more.

    As she says, “I am the genre.” The story of Second Line centers on Dawn’s persona King Creole, assassin of stereotypes, a Black girl from the South at a crossroads in her artistic career. To move forward, she decides to look back, but where previous album New Breed took influence from her father, Second Line is illuminated by Dawn’s mother. Her proud repeated proclamation of “I’m a Creole Girl” introduces the ecstatic dancehall pop of “Jacuzzi,” and later, on the cinematic album centerpiece “Mornin | Streetlights,” she answers Dawn’s question of how many times she has been in love. Intimate conversations like this between the two are interlaced throughout Second Line, giving credence to how the protagonist came to be, and direction to build a lane forward. It’s no surprise that King Creole’s story parallels Dawn Richard’s. As a founding member of Danity Kane, and later with Diddy’s Dirty Money, Dawn was able to explore the ins and outs of commercial pop music. As a solo artist, she opted to selfrelease her music. Over the span of five critically acclaimed full-length albums, Dawn has made the message clear that she will not bow down or bend to industry norms. All the while, she’s built her resume with enough extracurriculars to make your head spin: Cheerleader for the New Orleans Hornets? Check. Animator for Adult Swim? Check. Owner-operator of a vegan pop-up food truck? Check. Martial arts expert? Check! Second Line embodies the heritage of soul music and the roots of New Orleans, all surrounded by the influences of electronic futurism. “The definition of a Second Line in New Orleans is a celebration of someone’s homecoming,” says Dawn. “In death and in life, we celebrate the impact of a person’s legacy through dance and music.

    I’m celebrating the death of old views in the industry. The death of boxes and limits. I’m celebrating the homecoming of the Future. The homecoming to the new wave of artists. The emergence of all the King Creoles to come.” Dawn Richard is bold, confident, purposeful, and a King throughout Second Line. Are you ready to dance?

    TRACK LISTING

    SIDE A
    1 King Creole (Intro)
    2 Nostalgia
    3 Boomerang
    4 Bussifame
    5 Pressure
    6 Pilot (a Lude)
    7 Jacuzzi
    8 FiveOhFour (a Lude)

    SIDE B
    9 Voodoo (Intermission)
    10 Mornin | Streetlights
    11 Le Petit Morte (a Lude)
    12 Radio Free
    13 The Potter
    14 Perfect Storm

    Waxahatchee

    Out In The Storm

      Out in the Storm is the blazing result of a woman reawakened. Her most autobiographical and honest album to date, Out in the Storm is a self-reflective anchor in the story of both Katie Crutchfield’s songwriting and her life. The album tells the story of taking control of a volatile situation, embracing flaws, and exploring a new sonic freedom. The album was tracked at Miner Street Recordings in Philadelphia with John Agnello, known for working with some of the most iconic musicians of the last 25 years, including Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth.

      For Agnello, it was Crutchfield’s voice that drew him in. “The first demo song I heard was ‘Fade’. The melodies, the way she sings it, the way she turns the melody, and the way she goes note to note is literally beautiful. Singers—you either have it or you don’t. She has it.” Agnello and Crutchfield worked together for most of December 2016, along with the band: sister Allison Crutchfield on keyboards and percussion, Katherine Simonetti on bass, and Ashley Arnwine on drums; Katie Harkin, touring guitarist with Sleater-Kinney, also contributed lead guitar. At Agnello’s suggestion, the group recorded most of the music live to enhance their unity in a way that gives the album a fuller sound compared to past releases, resulting in one of Waxahatchee’s most guitar-driven releases to date. “My experience working with John was genuinely life-changing,” says Crutchfield. “We had such a great connection right off the bat, and I really feel like he was always looking out for me.

      He pushed me when I needed it, and gave me space when I needed it.” Crutchfield’s voice oscillates between effortless grace and commanding righteousness, taking the listener with her on an explicitly personal journey. Songs like “Hear You” and “No Question” are lyrically unapologetic and musically resolute, while the softer acoustic songs like “A Little More” and “Fade” let fear and melancholy seep through. But it is on the atmospheric “Sparks Fly” where we feel an essential redemption. “Sparks Fly” acts as an inner dialogue and marks the first time since the inception of Waxahatchee that any semblance of self-love has shone through. 

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Never Been Wrong
      2. 8 Ball
      3. Silver
      4. Recite Remorse
      5. Sparks Fly
      6. Brass Beam
      7. Hear You
      8. A Little More
      9. No Question
      10. Fade

      Redd Kross

      Red Cross (Reissue)

        The special 40th anniversary edition of the Red Cross EP, which includes the band’s six-song eponymous debut and adds five contemporaneous extra tracks, is the most comprehensive document to date of the extraordinary birth of Redd Kross. In a single 12-month period, Jeff and Steven McDonald, two adolescent brothers from Hawthorne, CA, went from posing with cheap guitars and singing into hairbrushes in front of their bedroom mirror to recording in world-class studios and performing live at punk shows/riots that are still being pondered and written about for their pioneering cultural relevance within the Southern California punk landscape. Redd Kross incubated alongside such SoCal luminaries as Black Flag, Descendents, and the Minutemen, and this new 11-song collection which includes a live track recorded in 1979 at “The Church,” the infamous Black Flag birthplace in Hermosa Beach, CA puts in proper perspective the McDonald brothers’ contribution, at the ridiculously precocious ages of 12 and 16, to that area’s punk scene.

        The demo session was recorded at Media Art in Hermosa Beach, the same studio where Black Flag made their Nervous Breakdown EP. Engineered by Spot and produced by power pop godfather Joe Nolte of the Last, these four tracks mark the first time the band had ever stepped foot in a recording studio. Notably, the demo session was paid for with 12-year-old bassist Steven’s paper route money. A couple of months later, in October 1979, the band recorded the “Posh Boy” sessions at the Shelter, a studio in Hollywood owned by Shelter Records, which was home to rock vet Leon Russell and relative newcomers at the time Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Engineered by guitarist Jim Mankey (Sparks, Concrete Blonde), this session produced the proto power pop punk classics “Annette’s Got the Hits” and “I Hate My School,” both of which would appear on their 1980 self-titled debut EP on Posh Boy Records.

        The entire birth story of Redd Kross is being celebrated on this 40th anniversary edition of Red Cross (known to many as “the Posh Boy EP”), and these tracks sound as fresh and vital to our ears now as they did when they were originally released four decades ago.

        TRACK LISTING

        Cover Band
        Annette’s Got The Hits
        I Hate My School
        Clorox Girls
        S&M Party
        Standing In Front Of Poseur

        Rich Brat (demo)
        Cover Band (demo)
        Clorox Girls (demo)
        Standing In Front Of Poseur
        (demo)
        Fun With Connie (live)

        Sweet Spirit

        Trinidad

          Sabrina Ellis, Andrew Cashen & Danny Blanchard (of Sweet Spirit) also perform together in the Austin Texas outfit A Giant Dog. Trinidad was recorded and produced by Stuart Sikes (Cat Power, Black Joe Lewis, White Stripes)

          "When people dance, they are fulfilling a human desire where instinct and culture meet. Dance and music are built into the mechanics of being human. We are born instinctively with these impulses. To dance is to speak unspoken agreements," says Sweet Spirit frontperson Sabrina Ellis.

          The six members of Sweet Spirit like pranks, glitter eyeshadow, and good stories. They also enjoy making music, as evidenced by the 12 bands they collectively play in. But above all, they love dancing, that place between exorcise and exercise. Sweet Spirit's famously raucous and sweaty live shows satisfy both their own and their audience's need for connection and release.

          Trinidad marks the Merge debut of this mighty sextet from Austin, TX. The songs are stripped down yet more intricate than ever before. It's a pop record made by punk rockers sonically happy but lyrically bitter. Lustful, sassy, and passionate.

          Touting inspirations as varied as Prince, T. Rex, William Onyeabor, ABBA, Roy Orbison, Shintaro Sakamoto, Francoise Hardy, and Robyn, Sweet Spirit have created an album that pulsates with more LinnDrum and synth than guitar. From the opening riff of 'Behold,' Sabrina, Andrew, Danny, Josh, Jon, and Jake establish their slightly cynical world of fantasy, hard truths, and all manner of longing.

          “No Dancing” bemoans the lack of magic in the club, while live favorite “Fingerprints” sets out to “get you away from your lover.” Author/composer Mark Mallman of Minneapolis says, “Those who believe in demons see demons. In music, the demon is silence. In nature, snakes that appear to dance are actually fighting. Palm trees that kiss the beach during hurricane winds appear to dance when set to music in a video. There is no genre to dancing, only to its cause. In this instance, the cause is called Sweet Spirit.”

          TRACK LISTING

          SIDE A

          Behold
          Fear Is A Lie
          No Dancing
          Fingerprints
          Llorando

          SIDE B

          Y2K
          Only Love
          Coincidence
          Empty Bottle

          Cable Ties

          Far Enough

            Cable Ties are a fierce, tense rock’n’roll trio. They take the three-minute punk burner and stretch it past breaking point to deliver smouldering feminist anthems. Post-punk and garage rock hammered together by a relentless rhythmic pulse. Jenny McKechnie channels her struggles into songs that resonate deeply, giving voice to feelings often buried in modern life.

            Shauna Boyle and Nick Brown are a rhythm section anchored in Stooges primitivism, relentlessly hammering out a bedrock for McKechnie’s guitar pyrotechnics and vocal wallop. Three friends summoning a rhythmic tide to deliver anthems that turn latent anxieties into a rallying cry. The band has been committed to an inclusive feminist and political outlook since its inception in 2015, exploring issues of gendered violence, colonialism, and sexual assault. The band members have been involved in benefit shows, organized DIY festivals, and volunteer with Girls Rock!, a not-for-profit organization that aims to empower female, trans, and gender non-binary youth in music.

            TRACK LISTING

            SIDE A

            1 Hope
            2 Tell Them Where To Go
            3 Sandcastles
            4 Lani

            SIDE B

            5 Not My Story
            6 Self-Made Man
            7 Anger’s Not Enough
            8 Pillow

            Imperial Teen

            Now We Are Timeless

              Imperial Teen includes members of Faith No More (Roddy Bottum), The Dicks (Lynn Perko Truell), Hey Willpower (Will Schwartz) & The Wrecks (Jone Stebbins). Imperial Teen’s releases over the past 20+ years have been pointed and specific diaries of musical celebration, windows into the hypersensitive personal drama of relationships within the band, individual conquests and failures, and collective, aspirational hopes, dreams, and perspectives. Roddy Bottum, Will Schwartz, Jone Stebbins, and Lynn Perko Truell—who they’ve become, how they are dealing, and what their lives are in 2019—all of this is on Imperial Teen’s forthcoming release Now We Are Timeless. The band wrote and recorded the new album in the cities the individual members have geographically gravitated to: New York City, the Bay Area, Denver, and Los Angeles.

              Themes of time and movement, averting and succumbing to crisis, dealing with loss and pain are all represented on the record, but what rings triumphant is the undeniable joy and catharsis that come from the band’s spontaneous and improvisational approach to making music together. The juxtaposition of the title and the imagery of the cover of Now We Are Timeless takes us immediately to the heart of what Imperial Teen does best. By focusing on an element in the collective here and now—an iceberg in the midst of ecological crisis, clearly sinking, melting, disappearing, the absolute antithesis of timelessness—they pose the question of hope and beauty in the wake of age, a fading icon shining brightest in the final phase of its demise, exuding light and glory as the world falls apart.

              Now We Are Timeless indeed. In strict keeping with the band’s roots of creating seemingly clean, pop presentations as a springboard for dramatic themes of loneliness, triumph, suicide, success, and failure, Now We Are Timeless moves us into a realm of inevitability for the band. While Seasick, the band’s first release, thematically touched on the queasiness of pop and beach and sun and glare and the optimism that lies beneath, the new release serves as a bookend of sorts in its portrayal of a world in crisis, a frostbitten but melting iceberg, monolithic and stationary yet impermanent and resonant. What has remained constant over the years is Imperial Teen’s indisputable knack for writing profound hooks as a framework for their musical memories. Their songs exhibit the realness, joy, and energy that only good friends can conjure. 

              TRACK LISTING

              1. I Think That’s Everything
              2. We Do What We Do Best
              3. Don’t Wanna Let You Go
              4. Walkaway
              5. How We Say Goodbye
              6. Parade
              7. Somebody Like Me
              8. Ha
              9. The Girl 
              10. Timeless 

              Martin Frawley

              Undone At 31

                Undone at 31 is Martin Frawley’s solo debut Martin Frawley is co-leader of Melbourne Australia’s Twerps, formed in 2008 & shortly thereafter named Best New Band in Australia via Uncut Magazine. Named for the year in his life when the bottom fell out following a long-term romantic partnership, Melbourne’s Martin Frawley (Twerps) sequenced Undone at 31 chronologically to emphasize his journey. He took time off from drinking after mistakes and missteps in his Australian pubs, as chronicled on “End of the Bar,” an early standout that’s equal parts Velvet Underground cool and outlaw country.

                While visiting Brooklyn during that period, Frawley found a collaborator in Stewart Bronaugh (Angel Olsen, Lionlimb) who, as he says, “gave me confidence and strength when I needed it the most,” and after bonding over albums by John Cale, Anna Domino, and Frank Ocean, “knew where I needed to take the music.” Those familiar with Frawley’s time as co-leader of Twerps will take comfort in hearing his deceptively simple songwriting is still intact, but the big reveal here is how new instrumentation and influences seamlessly expand Frawley’s playground. It might take several listens for one to realize Frawley is singing “Something About Me” over just violin, Moog, and a Graceland-esque bassline, or to appreciate the PB+J pairing of Fender Rhodes and lap steel on “Where the Heart Is,” which serves as Undone at 31’s twist ending.

                Frawley’s album does not shy away from morbid musings and raw emotions that come with a breakup, and like Shoot Out the Lights or Sea Change, Undone at 31’s tunefulness and exploration combined are what elevate the music above the melancholy subject matter. You don’t need an album (or its bio, for that matter) to tell you change is inevitable. But with Undone at 31, our new protagonist summons the courage and perspective to unpack and share his experience in the hopes that in spurring himself to carry on, he inspires his listeners as well. Because as Martin writes, “That’s what you want, right? To learn. I felt up, down, scared, and now I’m really scared of what I have made and what people will think, but I’d rather that than any other feeling.” 

                TRACK LISTING

                1. You Want Me?
                2. End Of The Bar 
                3. What’s On Your Mind
                4. Just Like The Rest
                5. Smoke In Your House
                6. Chain Reaction
                7. You Can’t Win
                8. Something About Me
                9. Lo And Behold
                10. Come Home
                11. Where The Heart Is

                Sneaks

                Highway Hypnosis

                Sneaks, a.k.a. Eva Moolchan, emerges from the male-dominated Baltimore-Washington punk scene, joining the resistance forged by queer black feminists who create, explore, empower, conquer, and play bass. Highway Hypnosis combines bewitching beats and invented words, to produce what Clash Magazine described as “stripped down hip-hop, skeletal post-punk, and extra-dimensional pop music.” Recorded at New York’s Silent Barn in 2017, Highway Hypnosis was co-produced by Carlos Hernandez (of Ava Luna), Tony Seltzer (Princess Nokia), and Eva Moolchan herself. A glimmering anthem shrouded in an atmosphere of darkness, her first single “Beliefs” drops its bass along with a call to arms for all non-believers whose mantra is assigned: “Remove your beliefs and start again / ’cause all I wanna do is start again.” Among laughter samples and charming vocals featured on the album lie one club banger, your little sister’s anti-meat school lunch protest song, a 55-second epic bass surprise, and a Jacknife Lee (Taylor Swift, Bat for Lashes, R.E.M.) production credit on “Hong Kong to Amsterdam.” 

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: Brilliantly rhythmic dubbed-out beats, angular synth-pop and Moolchan's visceral vocal delivery. As dark as it is absorbing, 'Highway Hypnosis' is an essential addition to the scene, and an absolutely stunning listen. Top stuff.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Highway Hypnosis
                2. The Way It Goes
                3. Ecstasy
                4. Suck It Like A Whistle
                5. Addis
                6. Saiditzoneza 
                7. Money Don’t Grow On Trees
                8. Cinnamon
                9. Holy Cow Never Saw A Girl Like Her
                10. Beliefs
                11. And We’re Off, A Lil Close
                12. Hong Kong To Amsterdam

                William Tyler

                Goes West

                  Some words from M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger:

                  "I met William Tyler on a train going south out of London. He had a nervous and cryptic and welcoming aura and was the first Nashville native (there is such a thing) that I’d ever met. We both carried more than we could manage on that trip, and I realized later that his bags were full of books. Books about psychology, philosophy, the Civil War, and astrology. Books—I realize now as I write this—about measuring and deciphering the boundaries of kindness and cruelty. William and I bonded early in our relationship over Barry Hannah, a hellraising writer from Mississippi who practically reinvented the way that words could be assembled on a page. Like Hannah, William Tyler knows the South—as a crucible of American histories and cultures, an entity capable of expansive beauty and incomprehensible violence, often in the same beat.. In the music of William Tyler, the South is not apart from America; the South is America condensed. And like Hannah—and this part is important—William moved to California, where Goes West was written.

                  William’s new record, Goes West, is the best music that he’s ever made. I’m sure of this because I know and love all of his music intimately, and this album moves me the most, and the most consistently. The first time I heard it was in the late spring in the Texas Hill Country, rolling between limestone and scrub. I was on a cleanse then—no alcohol, no drugs, no evil thoughts—and was astonished at the emotional clarity that the album held. Goes West marks a sort of narrowing of focus for William’s music; it sounds as though he found a way to point himself directly towards the rich and bittersweet emotional center of his music without being distracted by side trips. Perhaps this is down to the fact that William only plays acoustic guitar on the album, a clear and conscious decision considering that he is one of Nashville’s great electric guitarists."

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Barry says: William Tyler definitely has an ear for a progression. Pitch-perfect guitar athletics, tempered by warming Americana vibes help to make what could easily have been a confusing ball of sound into a multi-layered, and beautifully textured tapestry. Undoubtably one of the greatest folk / Americana artists out there today. Superb

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Alpine Star
                  2. Fail Safe
                  3. Not In Our Stars
                  4. Call Me When I’m Breathing Again
                  5. Eventual Surrender
                  6. Rebecca
                  7. Venus In Aquarius
                  8. Virginia Is For Loners
                  9. Man In A Hurry 
                  10. Our Lady Of The Desert (features Bill Frisell)

                  Fucked Up

                  Dose Your Dreams

                    “I was sent an unfinished version of Dose Your Dreams so that I might contribute string parts. I couldn’t stop listening to the rough mixes I received. A friend asked me how the record was. I replied, “My God, Fucked Up have made their Screamadelica.” And psych-rock-groove it is. The drums mixed wide, propensity for drones, for delay pedal, for repetition, groove. The politics and aesthetics of hardcore married to an “open format” approach to genre. Elements of doo-wop, krautrock, groove, digital hardcore. “None of Your Business Man” opens the album in familiar enough territory, a saxassisted exit from an office space.

                    But things get psychedelic very quickly. By the time the title track arrives, Mike Haliechuk is whispering, wah pedals are in full effect, and we’re wearing oversized t-shirts and pinwheeling. “Accelerate,” the lyrical centrepiece of the album, storms in like Boredoms on a bullet train and dissolves into a digital nightmare. The album closer, “Joy Stops Time,” finds Fucked Up at their most Düsseldorfian, nearly eight minutes of blissful motorik. At the center of it all is Damian Abraham’s scream—a man chained, a man tortured, a true protagonist. The effect is one of an epic, every chapter attempting its own narrative devices, its own genre hybridization—and it works, it works so insanely well. The drama unfolds like a miniature world of many parts being explored, a map being illuminated, location by location. As with David Comes to Life, there is a story here. David—who once came to life—is now indentured to a desk job.

                    David meets the elderly Joyce who closes his eyes, opens his mind, and sends him on a spiritual journey. David embarks on his own metaphysical odyssey. He sees a stage adaptation of his own life. He speaks to an angel in a lightbulb. He sees an infinite series of universes as simulations within simulations. Meanwhile, Lloyd—Joyce’s lover—was sent, decades ago, by Joyce on the same odyssey, but was lost in the void. Lloyd seeks to be found and reunited with his lover. Where will David end up? Will Joyce and Lloyd be reunited? Dose Your Dreams—meaning: treat your dreams as you would a dream, allow yourself to be lost within them, allow them to open your heart and your mind, enjoy them as you would a drug. Reach out for my hand and pull me close. Owen Pallett. 

                    TRACK LISTING

                    A 1. None Of Your Business Man
                    2. Raise Your Voice Joyce
                    3. Tell Me What You See
                    4. Normal People 
                    5. Torch To Light
                    6. Talking Pictures
                    7. House Of Keys
                    8. Dose Your Dreams  
                    9. Living In A Simulation
                    10. I Don’t Wanna Live In This World Anymore
                    11. How To Die Happy
                    12. Two I’s Closed
                    13. The One I Want Will Come For Me 
                    14. Mechanical Bull
                    15. Accelerate
                    16. Came Down Wrong
                    17. Love Is An Island In The Sea
                    18. Joy Stops Time

                    The Rock*A*Teens

                    Sixth House

                      Born in Cabbagetown, Georgia, the Rock*A*Teens carved their signature echo-wrapped, wounded-heart music on the edges of the Atlanta music scene more than 20 years ago. Led by songwriter and lead singer/guitarist Christopher Lopez, the band released a handful of reverb-drenched singles and full-lengths on the independent Daemon and Merge labels in the late '90s and early 2000s. Following their reunion at the Merge 25 festival and the reissue of their last LP Sweet Bird of Youth (Merge, 2000), the group returned to touring and playing live. Restless with the need to move forward, the band began writing and recording new music. Guided by a batch of home recordings and demos, Lopez, guitarist Justin Hughes, bassist William R. Joiner, and drummer Ballard Lesemann convened with Tim Delaney at Electron Gardens Studio and Rafael Pereira at Tribo Studios to shape their ideas into the glorious, bombastic new album Sixth House.

                      These days, Lopez and the R*A*Ts are turning towa rds a more refined approach to recording and performance while preserving their distinctly unvarnished lyrical and musical perspective. "In the past we hid behind walls of reverb, noise, production tricks," Lopez says. "We wanted these particular songs to stand in the light." On Sixth House, the gauze is removed—the anthems are illuminated, the ballads are clear-eyed, and the stories are in sharp focus. Mixed by Pereira and engineer Spencer Willis and mastered by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service, the album features artwork by NYC photographer Chris Verene. Sixth House stands out as the band’s most musically distinct, vibrant, and soulfully rendered album of its career. 

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1. Billy Really 
                      2. Lady Macbeth
                      3. Turn And Smile
                      4. Go Tell Everybody
                      5. Baby’s On To Me
                      6. Closest To Heaven 
                      7. Count In Odd Numbers
                      8. Lost In Sound, Listen
                      9. Sonny Boy
                      10. Crystal Skies.

                      Portastatic

                      Looking For Leonard

                        Original score music by indie legends Portastatic, moody film noir style complete with film narration, excellent stuff!!

                        Versus

                        Hurrah

                          Versus are a band from New York City. Their 4th full length album, recorded by the band in their NYC rehearsal space over the course of a year and a half. Songs that are delicate yet complex, weaving intricate sonic dialogues, flourishes of blissful noise mixed with gentle waves of soothing calm, while always staying true to their infectious pop roots.


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