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When John Maus (not to be confused with the John Maus of Walker Brothers fame) wasn't playing keyboards for Animal Collective, Panda Bear, and Haunted Graffiti, he was writing and recording his own hermetic, experimental, and oftentimes misunderstood compositions. Drawing on artists like David Bowie, Scott Walker, and Joy Division, Maus' swollen, distorted, and unabashedly strange debut, 2006's Songs, was more or less reviled by any and all music critics within earshot. CMJ wrote, "It took this Ariel Pink cohort five years to write and record his debut album, and only five minutes to become more annoying than Ariel Pink." Commenting on Maus' vocal style, Drowned in Sound's Mike Diver said that while some listeners "...will hear a little Nick Cave in it...others will hear a man crapping out of his mouth." In spite of the harsh criticism (much of which Maus posted, to hilarious effect, on his MySpace profile), Maus continued to generate new material. His second album, Love Is Real, was released on Upset the Rhythm in 2007. Four years later, he returned with We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves, which featured some of his most dynamic and nuanced music to date. 2012 saw the release of A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material, a compilation of b-sides and unheard recordings made between 1999 and 2010. ~ Margaret Reges