Other Music New Release Update
June 6, 2002

In This Week's Update:

Belle and Sebastian
DJ Shadow
Beachwood Sparks
Archer Prewitt
"Misery Loves Company" Ersatz Audio comp.
Henry Flynt
Chris Brokaw
People Under the Stairs
H.N.A.S. (5 reissues)
Spoon (reissue)


Doves (domestic)

Featured New Releases:

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN "Storytelling" (Matador/Jeepster) CD/LP $10.99/$8.99
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Despite the fact that only six minutes of "Storytelling" was
ultimately utilized in the Todd Solandz film of the same name,
Belle and Sebastian were undaunted. (Or as band member Stevie
Jackson clarifies in the liner notes: "Too many tunes, not enough
celluloid time.") Trudging back to the studio to redevelop these
gentle unused melodies, Belle and Sebastian's first album in two
years is a sublime mix of Mancini-esque instrumentation, six new
vocal tracks and snippets of movie dialogue. Beginning with the
slow yet lilting piano theme (which returns a few more times),
there's a late-'60s soundtrack quality that runs throughout. The
rustling acoustic guitar and the soft vocal interplay of "Black
and White" certainly brings to minds moments of Simon and
Garfunkel's score to "The Graduate." The stylistic shifts between
cinematic instrumentals, like the moody trumpet and harp duet,
"Consuelo," matched against the bossa flavored "Consuelo Leaving,"
is an enjoyable chance to witness Belle and Sebastian's prowess as
music arrangers, creating themes for the movie's different characters
and scenes. But more importantly, "Storytelling" includes some of
their best-penned pop songs of recent. Stevie Jackson's narrative-
style delivery takes on a Ray Davies tone in the Spanish
flavored "Wandering Alone," also one of the album's more playful
and peppy moments. An ambling piano propels the title track and
features a pleasant vocal exchange between Jackson and
Isobel Campbell. In the bouncy closer, "Big John Shaft," singer
Stuart Murdoch's portrayal of a fame-affected movie actor is
wonderfully supported by pretty string and vibe accents. Though
most of "Storytelling" was probably completed after the band
realized their minimal involvement with the film, Belle and
Sebastian's soundtrack is a unique and intimate glimpse at the
group's musical talents. Enjoyable as any of their previous
records, it leaves you wanting more.  [GH/JO]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=74486105122&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=74486105121&refer_url=email

DJ SHADOW "The Private Press" (MCA) CD $17.99
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More than five years since DJ Shadow dropped "Entroducing," Josh
Davis finally returns with another classic, "The Private Press."
Headz familiar with Shadow's ability to craft rare samples and
turn them into beautiful hip hop surely won't be disappointed
here. For this one, the California beatmaster pulls from an even
larger source of material slicing early hip hop, '60s pop, sound
effects and home recordings into an amazing pastiche of breakbeats
and epic audio experiments. Tracks like "The 6 Day War" and "Un
Autre Introduction" are clear examples of just how deep Shadow's
skills really are. Long story short: forget what you heard about
the first single, they lied. "The Private Press" is another
brilliant breakthrough for DJ Shadow and well worth the wait. [AS]

BEACHWOOD SPARKS "Make the Cowboy Robots Cry" (Sub Pop) CD $8.99
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Beachwood Sparks' newest EP, "Make the Cowboy Robots Cry," is the
band's most creative endeavour yet. Sure they still wear their
brand of late '60s Southern California psychedelia like patches on
a western shirtsleeve; but this time the reverb wash has been
turned to a trickle, substituted by impressive arrangements plus
an occasional electronic touch courtesy of DNTEL's Jimmy
Tamborello. The melancholy twang and old-fashioned call-and-
response harmonies of the opening track, "Drinkswater," swings
into swirling organ passages and amble guitar picking. The song
slowly works itself into an almost Spiritualized-like climax and
then slowly floats back to earth. Throughout, songwriting is top
notch with all the necessary reference points (late-'60s Byrds,
Flying Burrito Brothers, Love, Beach Boys, etc.) still in place.
But unlike their previous releases, this six-song EP is far more
epic in its psychedelic sweep and shows Beachwood Sparks finally
heading into their very own cosmos. [GH]

FAULTLINE "Your Love Means Everything" (Warner UK) CD $25.99
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Faultline returns after the critically acclaimed (and Other Music
favorite) debut album "Closer Colder." That record broke down many
barriers when it was released in 1999 with David Kosten seemingly
taking post-rock to its furthest extreme. Utilizing live
musicians, triggered samples, electronics and studio trickery,
Kosten composed an album where sampled drum breaks, sweeping
strings, cold electronics, and floating woodwinds all lived
harmoniously on one compact disc. (Fourtet, Minotaur Shock,
Manitoba and the like can be cited as his contemporaries today.)
Three-years later, Kosten returns with another incredible record,
this time recruiting an amazing array of superstar vocalists like
Chris Martin (Coldplay), Michael Stipe (R.E.M.), Wayne Coyne
(Flaming Lips), and new British sensation Jacob Golden; and that's
not to forget the amazing guitar work of the Verve's Nick McCabe.
Instead of trying to replicate each artist's associated band,
Kosten writes songs for this roster of talent to experiment with.
(The tracks alternate between vocal and instrumental.) "Your Love
Means Everything" is a beautiful album guaranteed to once again
send Kosten's post-rock contemporaries back to the studio hoping
to emulate his newest masterpiece. [JS]

ARCHER PREWITT "Three" (Thrill Jockey) CD/LP $13.99/$10.99
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These days, guitarist Archer Prewitt probably receives more
accolades playing second fiddle to Sam Prekop in Sea and Cake, or
for that matter, his stint fronting the almost-legendary early-
'90s lounge revivalists the Cocktails, than his solo records. But
where both bands have carved strong stylistic impressions, be it
jazzy space rock or kitschy pop, Prewitt's solo efforts are filled
with masterfully written pop-rock gems. After taking a detour for
2000's stripped down "Gerroa Songs" EP, Prewitt is back on the
high road with a new serving by way of almost traditional '70s
guitar rock. Supported by a rotating ensemble of thirteen
musicians, the songs are driven by Prewitt's heavy-handed rhythm
guitars and sticky AM radio melodies. The production is flawless,
emphasized by a stereo separated mix and majestic orchestration.
Almost every cut shimmers with feel-good summertime melodies and
layers of organ, strings, horns and the occasional chorus of
contemporary female harmonies. In fact, it takes a few listens to
fully grasp the complex arrangements wrapping around these
wonderful pop songs. [GH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=79037701082&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=79037701081&refer_url=email

[V.A.] "Misery Loves Company" (Ersatz Audio) CD/LP $11.99/$11.99
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What a title! My mind boggles at the layers of possible meanings.
A comment on the dark side of the fashion industry? A critique of
remora-like coattail riders jumping on the electro-bandwagon?
(Thank goodness it's not another cliche-derived band name for a
new indie rock band.) Oh yeah, the music... Ersatz drop their
second compilation with 13 unreleased tracks from electro
superstars. Standout artists include: Vienna's G.D. Luxxe (nice
famous bass line dude!), DMX Krew, Solvent and Adult (your
standard electro fare), as well as Chicago's Magas, who may sound
like Adult, but manage to sound like they mean it. Of course, a
few tracks on this compilation suffer from the "hired girlfriend
as vocalist" syndrome but I have to say this collection is
definitely better than most in this genre and necessary for anyone
interested in keeping up with new electro. [SM]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=66577650042&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999177571&refer_url=email

ENON "High Society" (Touch and Go) CD/LP $13.99/$13.99
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It is fitting that Enon's second release coincides with the band
appearing as the musical guest at the Kaiju Big Batel taking place
this week in Brooklyn. This event features larger-than-life
Japanese movie-style creatures wrestling and Kung Fu fighting
amidst mini-cityscapes (presumably) between sets. Fitting, because
if the band decides to take part in the mayhem, Enon's founder
John Schmersal has both the charisma and talent of a scientist
gone mad. This album is his pop monster creation. That said, fans
of "Believo!" should brace themselves for more rock this
time 'round. There is still plenty of tech-tinkering and catchy
songwriting that the threesome is known for, but "High Society"
has less of the synth-tastic production which permeated the band's
first release. Take the opening track, "Old Dominion" for
instance. It is as hard hitting and riff driven as another three-
piece adept at blending hooky and crunchy (think early '90s). I
actually had to lower the volume on my headphones! Fear not
however, for just like the forthcoming battle, there is something
for everyone. The addition of bassist Toko Yasuda's breathy,
sugarcoated vocals make a playful contrast to the spastic
electronic melee emanating from the secret suitcases the band uses
to contain their various effects weaponry. A smorgasbord of
sounds, a creature made up of many mismatched parts, but capable
of destroying a small town. [NL]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=03617209352&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999177681&refer_url=email

JELLO "Voile" (Peacefrog) CD $25.99
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Darryl Fitton has been floating around the IDM world of electronic
music for many, many years. Having released tracks on Warp's
original "Artificial Intelligence" series, he is one-third of the
legendary Gescom. (The other two-thirds being Autechre). Fitton
has also recorded for Skam under the name Bola, but now drops his
first full-length using the Jello moniker for the legendary
Peacefrog label. Tracks range from the cut-up vocal and IDM funk
of "Vibe-a-Rolla," to the Boards of Canada influenced floating
atmospherics of "Ephemex." The beautiful "Vamilaglade" is an
ambient, synth-washed masterpiece while "O'Verb" features some of
the best production heard all year. Almost like two totally
separate tracks fused together into one, Tegwen Roberts' beautiful
vocal is backed by some of the most insane and dirty breakbeats
ever placed behind a voice. (The Bola-man pulls it off with ease!)
Fitton's debut album as Jello is indeed his finest moment with
each of the 11 tracks contained herein a masterpiece in their own
right. This is a beautiful and essential record for any electronic
music fan, and right up there with Akufen for electronic album of
the year. Amazing! [JS]

HENRY FLYNT "Raga Electric/Experimental Music, 1963-1971" (Locust) CD $14.99
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This most recent addition to avant-garde master Henry Flynt's long
unavailable back catalogue, finds the audacious sonic and
philosophical adventurer in some truly "out" territory. This CD
reflects the tumultuous period of his development equally informed
by his cavorting with Fluxus artists, philosophical and musical
reaction against other downtown artists testing the limits of art
and anti-art, and devotional obsession with Indian raga master
Pandit Pran Nath. "Raga Electric" presents a difficult, but in the
end, inspired listen, showcasing a musical maverick in an orgasmic
ecstasy of curiosity and poetic explorations. Four tracks of
savage, raging vocals form the core of this collection, with
Flynt's ravaged voice racing up and down heretofore unknown
scales, almost frightening in its seeming desperation and inspired
in its purity suggesting the dada sound poetry of Kurt Schwitters
infused with an American style, almost punk-rock urgency.
Surrounding these guttural acrobatics are several guitar pieces
that feature Flynt's better known strategy of infusing the genres
of his fascination (hillbilly music and Indian/oriental song
structures) into stirring hybrids and drawing subtle analogies
between the seemingly disparate genres. This time, the gobbling
vocals are added, suggesting made up Indian raga as sung by an
Appalachian mountain man. The closing piece, a 13-minute screaming
saxophone epic (Flynt's one and only experiment with the
instrument) points to his interest in Coltrane and is a perfect
sonic companion to the unaccompanied voice works that precede it.

CHRIS BROKAW "Red Cities" (Atavistic) CD $13.99
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My guess is that you already know the music of Chris Brokaw, even
if you are not familiar with his name. He has been an active
participant in the American indie scene for the last ten to
fifteen years playing drums and guitar on many excellent
recordings. I first heard his drumming back in 1990 on
Codeine's "Frigid Stars" LP. A couple of years later, he left that
band to share lead guitar duties with Thalia Zedek in Come, which
was his mainstay throughout the rest of the decade. Amongst other
exciting projects, he is one of the founding members of the
instrumental guitar group Pullman, the drummer for the New Year,
second guitar in Clint Conley's Consonant, and more recently has
been seen on the big stage playing guitar on the British festival
scene behind Evan Dando. Brokaw has made a beautiful, varied debut
as a solo recording artist with his new album, "Red Cities," on
Atavistic. In some ways, this instrumental record is an amalgam of
all his previous work. But if I had to narrow it down I would say
that this reminds me most of a mix between Pullman and the New
Year -- a melodic, textured soundscape of guitars and percussion
that touches on many moods. This is soundtrack music that is not
afraid to rock, and rock and roll that takes a relaxed,
contemplative approach to its unfolding sounds. A great debut that
should be of interest to fans of Brokaw's excellent playing and
more generally anyone with an ear for great instrumental pop. [JM]

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Even though this is their third album, this LA duo is probably the
least known of all the "true school" hip hop artists. This is a
bit surprising, because all of their albums are very good,
including this one. PUTS specializes in unpretentious, breezy
joints, laced with slabs of vintage soul-jazz samples and lyrics
that don't run any deeper than expressing their love for hip hop,
smoking trees and hanging out with girls. This isn't a bad thing
though and it's actually perfect for summer. If you are a fan of J-
Live, Blackalicious and Slum Village, you'll probably like this
one! [DH]

MARZ "Love Streams" (Karoake Kalk) CD $14.99
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"Love Streams," by the duo calling themselves Marz (Albrecht Kunze
and Ekkehard Ehlers), is consummately a Karoake Kalk release. If
you've heard anything else on this label, say the wonderful
Wechsel Garland or maybe Kandis (just to arbitrarily pick two
fondness' of mine), or even the excellent but in a totally
different way Donna Regina, then chances are you are at least up
for examining their latest glossy DigiPak offering. (If not buying
it outright.) The crucial elements of this one are: the exquisite,
hermetic paeans which have been constructed by means of
electronics and older-fashioned acoustic guitar, their (the
tracks) being sequenced in a politely schizophrenic manner, and
perhaps most tellingly, the remoteness of connection to at least
what I have heard of Ehlers' previous, more austere work. Having
said that, he has exhibited a playfulness in those vaguely
academic "pieces" on other labels, on one occasion even nakedly
sourcing the Smashing Pumpkins. So perhaps I could draw a parallel
or two. Whilst being quite different in nature, his recordings
always seem to muster halcyon affirmations, if not more plainly
rigorous testimony, to the dude's production talents. And I don't
know if it's Kunze who is contributing, performance wise -- the
occasional folky ballad here and there -- but those portions
remind me of recent stuff by Doves and Simian... no bad thing.
Recommended, particularly for those who frequently have an
opportunity to begin their day with the sound of music, as
listening to these taut and chimerical recordings right around
then ought to help nudge things in the direction of their
presumably desired augmentation. [DHo]

KELIS "Wanderland" (Virgin UK) CD $25.99
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There's a growing trend in the Neptunes' camp. First, you make a
slammin' record. Second, send it overseas, where it receives rave
reviews. Third, scrap its domestic release, in favor of remaking
a "live" version (N.E.R.D. or in Kelis' case, "Wanderland"), take
select cuts off the album, add them to a new album, and change the
name twice. Whatever, that's all fine with me, so long as I can
get a copy of the "original" masterpiece. Many of you might know
Kelis from the classic Ol' Dirty Bastard track, "Got Your Money."
Or maybe from her debut album, "Kaleidoscope," and the
single "Caught Out There" ("I hate you so much right now,
AAHHHHH!"). Either way, you will know Kelis soon if you don't. The
album we are gathered to discuss today is "Wanderland," or at
least it was, and the title is indicative of its contents. "Wanderland,"
produced by the Neptunes, as was her debut, is an hour-long trip
across today's musical genres on which you stop through several
cities. The single, "Young, Fresh n' New," is the icon of futuristic
space-age funk and feels like a ten-minute track, but it's actually
4:30 (that's a good thing). "Popular Thug" showcases the lyrical
skills of hip-hop artist Pusha T (of Clipse), and is full of that classic
Neptunes sound we all know and love. "Shooting Stars" pit stops
for a little organ-driven, gospel-like slow-jam accompanied by the
background vocals of Pharrell; you're bound to hear this on
someone's "Quiet Storm" mix. "Digital World" is one the pop
additions on the album (and there are many), playful with hints of
disco inspiration, somewhere between Prince and Rick James.
"Perfect Day" is a straightforward rock 'n' roll jam that further
showcases Kelis' flexibility. The samba influenced "Little Susie"
wraps things up. Wow! I had a hard time finding soundclips for
this review because every track is great. I got a promo of this album
nearly a year ago and it hasn't left my rotation. Now it's available as
an import, in "original" form, and just to clear up the name changes
I discussed earlier, this is "Wanderland." Not to be confused with
"Masquerade," which will now be called "Amphibian" when it's finally
released domestically. [JD]

H.N.A.S.  *5 Reissues*
"Book of Dingenskirkchen" (Dom Elchklang) CD $15.99

"Im Schatten Der Mohre" (Dom Elchklang) CD $15.99
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"Kuttel Im Frost" (Dom Elchklang) CD $15.99
"Melchior" (Dom Elchklang) CD $15.99
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"Abwassermusik" (Dom Elchklang) CD 15.99
Dom Elchklang (Achim P. Li Khan's label) has just reissued five
incredible albums by H.N.A.S. (thank you Achim). The reissue of
these titles alone is enough to get worked-up about but with the
addition of all the bonus material, each disc clocking in at 77-
minutes or more, I am having a hard time restraining myself.
Five... five... dark haunting montages of disintegration,
manipulation, and conflict. The reissue of "The Book Of
Dingenskirkchen", the rarest of the H.N.A.S. albums, is enough to
send me into a chorus of "higher-than-highest recommendations."
This version of "Im Schatten Der Mohre" contains seven unreleased
session outtakes. The reissue of their third album "Kuttel Im
Frost" now contains seven live tracks from their 1986 concert
(their only live performance during the 1980s). The amazing
"Melchior," originally issued on United Dairies, is now
remastered and contains ten bonus cuts (translation: essential!).
Also fully restored with the addition of bonus material, their
first album "Abwassermusik" (a collaboration with Mieses Gegonge).
Christoph Heemann and Achim P. Li Khan together as H.N.A.S.
created some of the most beautiful sound structures that now
through the gift of their restoration are ripe for rediscovery by
a new audience. Fans of Nurse With Wound and Hafler Trio should
obviously take note, but for fans of laptop recordings by artists
like Jim O'Rourke and Fennesz, these reissues could be the offer
of something new. Each title is unique and personally recommended.
"Book of Dingenskirkchen"
"Im Schatten Der Mohre"
"Kuttel Im Frost"

SPOON "A Series of Sneaks" (Merge) CD $13.99
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Spoon's 1998 major label debut, "A Series of Sneaks," continued
the Pixies inspired fractured guitar pop attack of their first
album, "Telefono," but with more focus and remarkably no loss to
their overall abandon in playing. And while it's a no-brainer
to use Pixies as a starting point, it's only a starting point;
Britt Daniel's songwriting is stellar and stands on its own.
Wrapping memorable hooks around angular guitar stabs and empty
space, this Austin ensemble deservedly transcended the "sounds-
like" tag to become one of the best rock bands to make it out of
the '90s. Opening with "Utilitarian," the tight staccato rhythm
guitar and Daniel's short vocal bursts (reminiscent of Julian
Cope) swaggers into one minute and fifty-one seconds of perfect
rock execution. Supported by almost non-existent production
(effects are used sparingly and only as quick punctuation marks)
songs shift from the three-chord anthem of "Car Radio" to the hyper
speed of "Quincy Punk Episode." In spite of "A Series of Sneaks,"
topping many critics' lists that year, Elektra dropped the band
soon after. Four years later, its re-release on Merge includes two
bonus tracks and is a necessary record for anyone looking to
include the next logical point of progression from the early '80s
post-punk guitar bands and yes, Pixies, into their present day
indie rock collection. [GH]

Restock, domestic:

DOVES "Last Broadcast" (Capitol) CD $16.99
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Following a climatic instrumental introduction, the Doves open
their follow-up to 2000's mesmerizing "Lost Souls" with more
jangle and pop. "The Last Broadcast" is still filled with dense
guitars and wonderful textures, but former signs of introspective
longing are all but traded for something brighter and even
hopeful. By the second track, the Manchester trio establish that
this outing is going to be more of a sunshiny affair -- "Words" is
Britpop at its most majestic with a grandiose melody that wouldn't
sound out of place on the Verve's "Urban Hymns." Songs like
"Satellite" orbit around choir of space-gospel harmonies complete
with buried handclaps, while the string and flute arrangements of
"The Sulphur Man" are stirred into a psychedelic swirl. What
continues to make the Doves standout among many Anglo-
contemporaries is their expert-like handling of auxiliary sounds,
never hiding the actual song no matter how dense the layers. The
icey "M62 Song," is not much more than an acoustic guitar and
voice, but weaving in and out of the recording are samples from
King Crimson's "Moonchild," creating an altogether chilling
soundscape. Although I do miss the darker textures of "Lost
Souls," the white wash of "The Last Broadcast" is equally fantastic and
sure to please most Anglophiles. (This domestic release includes
bonus tracks previously unavailable on the British import.) [GH]

This week's contributors: Matt Connors [MC],J Dennis [JD],
Andy Giles [AG], Gerald Hammill [GH], Duane Harriott [DH],
Dan Hougland [DHo], Nicole Lang [NL], Josh Madell [JM],
Scott Mou [SM], Jennifer Orozco [JO], Alan Strack [AS] and
Jeremy Sponder.

The Big Picture:

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