Other Music New Release Update
May 10, 2002

In This Week's Update:

Kid 606
Mum (new single)
Tom Waits (2 new albums)
Closer Musik
Crooked Fingers
"Fields & Streams" (Kill Rock Stars compilation)
Alice Coltrane (2 re-issues)
Trans Am
St. Thomas
Justus Kohncke
Soft Machine
Herbert (re-issue)
50 Miles of Elbow Room (Issue #2)
Jeff Tweedy (Chelsea Walls soundtrack)
Fridge (re-issue)

Featured New Releases:

BLACKALICIOUS "Blazing Arrow" (Quannum/MCA) CD $12.99
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With Blackalicious' sophomore release (and their major-label
debut), they have created a soulful, original body of work that
places them squarely beside such West Coast soul-mates as the
Jurassic 5 and Dilated Peoples, but with personality and style of
their own. This is mind-expanding, positive hip-hop, based around
the many voices of main vocalist The Gift Of Gab, who effortlessly
shifts gears between complex machine-gun attacks, lazy poly-
rhythms and melodic vocals. From the opening sample hook from
Harry Nilsson's "Me And My Arrow," this record takes a playful
musical approach to hip-hop that reminds me a bit of early De La
Soul. And they send it in a satisfying new direction with an array
of live vocals, expertly arranged and performed, sample-free, to
form the backbone of the album. The combination of dark musical
production, live vocal choruses and head-spinning rhymes makes for
a very satisfying record with wide appeal. [JM]

KID 606 "Action Packed Mentallist Brings You?" (Violent Turd)  CD $13.99
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Kid 606's newest full-length and the second release on his limited-
run Violent Turd label is a distorted mash-up of the pop stars of
today and yesteryear. In one track, Kid 606 destroys Eminem,
blending it with a total rework of DMX. Throwing in a Miami bass
breakdown, it all ends with a frenetic drum and bass mutation of
the Buggles' early-eighties hit "Video Killed the Radio Star." The
destruction only begins there; the Kid also attacks hits by Soul II
Soul, Bikini Kill, Radiohead, Missy Elliott, The Bangles, and many,
many more. What more can I say, but pick this up now before the
lawsuit hits and they're all gone! [JS]

JAZZANOVA "In Between" (JCR) CD $19.99
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It's hard to believe that with the amount of attention and acclaim
Jazzanova has received over the past few years; this is the band's
debut (full-length) album. Appropriately titled, "In Between," the
six-man crew settles on no genre or label, opting rather to
approach, attack, and control everything there is. "In Between"
successfully fuses the art of soul, break-beat, bossa, jazz, funk,
R&B, and hip-hop into production perfection, with a seamless blend
of sampling and live instrumentation. "In Between" isn't as dance-
oriented as their "Remix" album, and it feels more complete. Each
song predicts the next, easing you into the following leg of the
journey. It often seems producers will make the vocalist work
around their tracks, rather than have them work reciprocally.
Jazzanova has always managed to build around the talents of their
vocalist (Ursula Rucker, Vikter Duplaix, Valerie Etienne and
others bless this album) and that practice is no less apparent
on "In Between." The beauty of this album overflows to its
packaging, a limited six-page die cut book. Innovation and
direction. It's hard to believe, this IS Jazzanova's first album.
Dont sleep. [JD]

MUM "Green Grass of Tunnel/"In Through the Lamp" (Fat Cat) CD/45 $6.99/$5.99
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As expected, the brand new single from Iceland's Mum is nothing
less than stunning. "Green Grass of Tunnel," taken from their
upcoming album "Finally We Are No One," shimmers with gorgeous
voices floating high above melodic electronics and light, IDM beats,
yet still remains incredibly organic. The additional non-album track,
"In Through the Lamp," is a new instrumental piece. Devoid of
vocals, the quiet repetition of electronics slowly cycles forward and
is wonderfully lulling. Available as a 3" CD or 7" vinyl. [GH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=60011699062&refer_url=email
45 //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=60011699067&refer_url=email

"Alice" (Anti) CD $15.99

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"Blood Money" (Anti) CD $15.99
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How to explain this windfall of Tom Waits in 2002? How to present
two new records from one of the more distinctive voices in
American popular music? Tom doesn't seem too concerned with his
marketing at this point, so I don't know why I should be. He now
self-releases his records on the Anti imprint (through powerhouse
punk-rock label Epitaph), and with little fanfare and no radical
new directions, it seems that his critical and popular acclaim
keep growing, as he does artistically. These two new albums,
released simultaneously, are soundtracks of sorts, both being
collaborations between Waits and his longtime songwriting partner
(and wife) Kathleen Brennan, and playwright/director Robert
Wilson. "Alice" is from a 1992 production in Hamburg, Germany,
loosely based on Alice in Wonderland (and I'm told the author's
obsession with Alice Liddell). This is a more restrained,
melancholy Waits, presenting 15 hazy, dream-like tracks. His
gravel voice and tinkling piano are the center of these
explorations, filled in mostly by crying strings and whining
woodwinds, with a laid back presentation that could almost cut it
in a rather progressive piano bar. Alternately, "Blood Money,"
from a forthcoming adaptation of Georg Buchner's "Woyzeck," grabs
a hold of the original's dark atonality, and delivers an intense,
percussive batch of songs. Marimba, bells, bass, accordion,
clarinet, this is classic mid-'70s Waits, creating melodies from
rhythms and vice-versa. Save the occasional electric guitar solo,
the record is exclusively acoustic, and Waits makes the most of
the space here, letting the instruments breathe and sigh into the
empty space. Two great new records from an artist who sounded
weather-beaten and on his last legs 30 years ago, and yet is just
as vibrant today as ever. He is a true original, and despite a
huge catalog of classics to pick from, either of his current
releases would be a great introduction for the novice, or
essential additions for the longtime fan. [JM]
Alice //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=04577866322&refer_url=email
Blood //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=04577866292&refer_url=email

CLOSER MUSIK "After Love" (Kompakt) CD/LP $15.99/$15.99
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Closer Musik's "After Love" attempts to get deep inside you from
its opening track, "Closer Dancer," which uses a hard-panned,
pulsating bass rhythm, creating a spatial ambiance that continues
throughout the duration of the album. "After Love" is alive and
breathing in your ear; it's creepy man. There are so many audible
treats distributed throughout this album, it's easy to get lost. To
give you an indication of its intricacies, the single, "You Don't Know
Me," has what sounds like a ping-pong ball dropping, and once you
find it, that sound is all you will hear. Each song is seven-plus
minutes in length, and keeps you engaged in its movements, with
layers of samples built into perfect ensembles. The vocals on
"After Love" are used sparingly and help to direct the mood. It's
funky, minimal, hypnotic, and carries this subterranean quality
that makes me want to drive at high speeds with no destination.
You can dance to this, meditate to this, sleep to this, and when
you are done, it will leave you feeling dirty and satisfied. If David
Lynch decides to remake "Blade Runner," this will be the
soundtrack. Find your headphones, and use this album at your
own risk. [JD]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=70875260292&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875260291&refer_url=email

CROOKED FINGERS "Reservoir Songs EP" (Merge) CD $8.99
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Eric Bachmann and company bless us with an EP of covers to tide
us over until the next Crooked Fingers full-length. Featuring five
tracks that have long been ecstatic crowd pleasers at their live
shows, here they are fleshed out and given the Crooked Fingers
treatment while also respecting the originals. They cover "Sunday
Morning Coming Down" by Kris Kristofferson, Neil Diamond's
"Solitary Man"', "When U Were Mine" by Prince, Bruce
Springsteen's "The River," and the Queen/Bowie collaboration,
"Under Pressure." Being a huge fan of the band and seeing them
live countless times, it is great to have these covers available at my
fingertips to play at any time instead of the horribly recorded live
mp3s I found online. A must for any fan! [JS]

DOVES "The Last Broadcast" (Heavenly) CD/LP $25.99/$28.99
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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. [GH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=72438122322&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=72438122321&refer_url=email

[V.A.] "Fields and Streams/Kill Rock Stars Comp" (KRS) CD$14. 99
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We've all been subjected to the "been there and heard that" lament
of many an ol' time indie rocker, but one needs only to give the new
Kill Rock Stars compilation, "Fields and Streams," a listen for proof
of life after the '90s' indie-rock sonic boom. KRS has compiled an
impressive array of the indie musicalia elite with unreleased songs
from the likes of Erase Eratta, Stereo Total, the Yeah,Yeah, Yeahs,
Aislers Set, Mary Timony and, really, so much more. Remarkably
un-repetitious and original as heck in that no band is "the new"
Bikini Kill or Unwound. (Obviously because this isn't Menudo -- we
don't need cheap imitations!) With two discs full of songs that never
disappoint, this may very well be the anomaly of various artists CDs
and the best KRS comp yet! Band To Watch: the Coolies --
seemingly conjured from one of Phil Spector's  better daydreams
with a song that is sure to get you dancing some
Watusi-esque-light-fantastic-trip. [JO]

ALICE COLTRANE "Transcendence" (Sepia Tone) CD $12.99
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"Eternity" (Sepia Tone) CD $12.99
Another very welcomed reissue from Alice Coltrane! Originally
released in 1977 on Warner Brothers, "Transcendence" is a
continuation of her later work, leaving behind her earlier jazz
base while retaining an improvisational approach. Combining
Eastern and Western instrumentation with ancient spirituals from
India, this is rich and fulfilling devotional music. Starting with the
gorgeously lush "Radhe-Shyam," (a five piece string section
accompanies Alice on harp), the album moves into rhythmic, almost
gospel-Hindu, chants with organ, tamboras, hand clapping and
percussions. The overall effect is meditative but strangely, a bit
funky too. Also freshly reissued is Alice Coltrane's "Eternity,"
another stunning record released in 1975 and very complimentary
to "Transcendence." [GA]
Transcend //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=65503600062&refer_url=email
Eternity //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09362478992&refer_url=email

TRANS AM "TA" (Thrill Jockey) CD/LP $13.99/$11.99
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Trans Am's latest effort finds the Oberlin boys riding the same
new wave/electro hullabaloo that has been sweeping the
dancefloors, with Aquanet-near-asphyxiation induced reveries of
cheap, white leather and ironic haircuts. Yes, friends, Trans Am
has made an electro-pop album complete with vocals(!) that seduce
with a no-holds-barred decadence over lush, robo-tech
orchestrations that would make Styx proud. This may very well be
the "jauntiest" make-out album of the year. [JO]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=79037701092&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999176001&refer_url=email

ST. THOMAS "I'm Coming Home" (Misra) CD $12.99
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At first listen, you'd never guess that Norway's newest pop star,
the twenty-five year old Thomas Hanson, is even a native son. In
fact, his album "I'm Coming Home" (released in Europe on City
Slang) resonates with "Harvest"-era Neil Young-isms and the ghost
of some old mountain man still wandering the Appalachian trails.
Forget that St. Thomas is thousands of miles from the source.
Opening the record with nothing more than the lonely strum of a
guitar and a warbly falsetto, "The Cool Song" grabs you instantly,
long before the first harmonica sustain even comes in. Yes, a
classic combination (ala Mr. Young), but more striking is Hanson's
ability to channel the spirit of a weathered frontier man through
song without even trying. I imagine if there is such a thing as a
past life, one or two of his spent many nights in the prairie sipping
whiskey while staring at a star filled sky. Like Will Oldham and
David Pajo's Papa M, the Oslo born singer's rustic approach
lends each song a timeless sensibility left so far behind in this
modern music era. The quiet restraints of "Oh I Have Left the
Ground" and "Failure #1" float across the Mojave Desert, while the
southwestern styling from a reverb drenched guitar in "Goodbye
Emily Lang" twists around Hanson's melodic yearnings. Songs like
"Take a Dance With Me" or "Cornerman," a top ten hit in Norway,
are wonderful modern-folk music narratives edged along by the
pluck of a banjo. Sometimes, songs move at a slow drunken pace.
Propelled by barely-present percussion accents, these give the
sense of an old fashioned sing-a-long, something passed to your
grandfather by way of his grandfather. It's obvious that Hanson has
more than affection for an American music legend or two, but writing
with such natural grace, St. Thomas simply ascends into a place of
his own. [GH]

JUSTUS KOHNCKE "Was Ist Musik" (Kompakt) CD/LP$15.99/$16.99
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An unexpected, but welcomed pop twist added to the Kompakt stable
of artists. Basically, German, nu-romantic house with the repetitively
building quality of techno. Tracks range from Miami Vice-styled disco
pop, to downtempo, vocal disco with nice mid-'80s vocal melodies
throughout. Cool points to Kohncke for rhyming every last word in a
very New Order style. "Was Ist Musik" is an odd dance-pop record
that becomes ultra-lovable with repeated listens, and could have
been a release on Ladomat (Sand 11,Turner, etc.) --I'm down. [SM]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875260312&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875260311&refer_url=email

SOFT MACHINE "Backwards" (Cuneiform) CD $15.99
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"Backwards," the title of this collection of unearthed recordings by
some of the first incarnations of Soft Machine, refers to the nature
of the timeline reflected here --beginning with tapes from 1970
and going back to those from 1969 and then 1968. The opening
1970 tapes ("Facelift", "Moon in June" and "Esther's Nose Job") are
mostly delectable if polite prog-swirliness, cut through by guitar jabs
which prefigure those on "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by 15 odd
years. It must be said that the 'collagist' feel of the early Soft
Machine albums is retained even in these
never-intended-for-release recordings, what with bona fide musical
genius Robert Wyatt's vocal interludes and such, all of it revealing
them to be the Dadaists with chops, they really were. (At least
some of them.) Save the two interminable readings of "Facelift"
(despite having their moments), this is jolly good stuff, the closing
"Moon in June" demo more than making up for some of the more
bland passages earlier on the disc. [DHo]

HERBERT "Around the House" (K7) CD/LP $16.99/$19.99
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Matthew Herbert (a.k.a. Herbert) once said: "In this house the
sounds are important. With one or two exceptions, they are
not drum machines, they are my sounds. The sounds of the
environment singing in ways you need a microphone to hear."
It's this type of conscious decision making that produces the
most interesting experiments in dance-floor heaviness and
continues to leave house-heads in heaven. "Around the
House" is a reissue of an album Herbert produced in '98, on
which he samples and draws influence from the organic,
natural sounds found in your everyday home environment.
The vocal compliments of Dani Siciliano add a soulful, watery
texture and should be studied by all. "Around the House" is
sexy yet subtle, driven by movements of bass and light percussive
snippets. Its minimal qualities captivate, while leaving room for
interpretation, allowing the album to remain background or become
intensively thought provoking. Turn this up on the weekend and
relax, if you can. [JD]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=73000371052&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=73000371051&refer_url=email

50 MILES OF ELBOW ROOM "Number Two" (50 Miles of Elbow Room) Magazine $4.99
After far too long of an absence, the second issue of "50 Miles of
Elbow Room" has hit the magazine racks. This superb publication is
so special because of its thoroughness and detail given to all of
the artists covered. Included is a mammoth piece on master
percussionist Hamid Drake (20-plus pages) and perhaps the most
insightful coverage ever done on Otha Turner and the Rising Star
Fife and Drum Band. Most of the interviews are done with a Q & A
approach allowing wonderful folklore and life experiences into each
article. Aside from Turner and Drake, there are interviews with the
brilliant bluesman Reverend Charlie Jackson and South African
drummer Louis Moholo (conducted by William Parker). There is
also a piece on Sun Ra Arkestra vocalist June Tyson that includes
an interview from the late 80's and conversations with people who
knew Tyson. The only piece in the magazine that is not an
interview is an essay about the music of another legendary
bluesman: Robert Pete Williams. "50 Miles of Elbow Room" captures
so much more in an interview than just the typical biographical
facts; it transports the reader into these artists lives -- whether it be
Moholo's upbringing in South Africa or the rural life of Turner and his
band in Mississippi. This fanzine is essential reading. [PW]

JEFF TWEEDY "Chelsea Walls/Soundtrack" (Rykodisc) CD $15.99
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Released almost simultaneously alongside Wilco's breathlessly
awaited "Yankee Foxtrot Hotel," Jeff Tweedy's soundtrack to the
Ethan Hawke directed film about Chelsea Hotel residents cobbles
together an eclectic but cohesive atmosphere of sultry melancholy.
Roughly half-instrumental and half-vocal, "Chelsea Walls" expertly
mingles the countrified slow rock of Wilco and the wistful, rootsy
nostalgia of the their collaboration with Billy Bragg on the "Mermaid
Avenue" releases next to instrumental guitar and piano jams that
alternate between delicate and searing. Little Jimmy Scott's drawn
out and deeply moving reinterpretation of John Lennon's "Jealous
Guy" is an astounding standout. (This cover more than offsets the
few moments of Chelsea Walls star Robert Sean Leonard's stabs
at a singer songwriter role.) Overall, very enjoyable and a nice
companion to the new Wilco record. [MC]

FRIDGE "Eph/Of EP" (Temporary Residence) CD $14.99
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A timely and generous reissue at a domestic price. (We don't really
deserve it, but let's not ask questions.) Fridge has since moved on
from the phase of music represented here, their new album being
full of all manners of synthesized instruments creating intertwining,
jazzy melodies. On "Eph," Fridge shows that they are prime
candidates for the "Best Post-Tortoise Self-Titled Post-Rock Band"
award. I mean that in a good way. Very bright uplifting melodies
woven through broken, yet steady rhythms, Fridge has to be credited
for taking the electronically processed instrumental idea further. And
also for leaving most other bands of the same ilk in their dust simply
by writing their own melodies as well as being more savvy in regards
to electronic music. "Eph" is a must-have for any post-rock fan. The
second CD, featuring extras like "Kinoshita", "Teraska," the "Of" EP
and remixes that include Matthew Herbert, is the icing on the cake.

This week's contributors: Geoff Albores [GA], Matt Connors [MC], J
Dennis [JD], Gerald Hammill [GH], Dan Houghland [DHo], Josh Madell
[JM], Scott Mou [SM], Jennifer Orozco [JO], Jeremy Sponder [JS]
and Phil Waldorf [PW].

The Big Picture:

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