Other Music New Release Update
May 23, 2002

In This Week's Update:

The Breeders
Ugly Casanova
Puffy AmiYumi
Dino Felipe
Girls Against Boys
Disco Spectrum 3 (compilation)
The Fucking Champs
Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit

Just Arrived:

Marumari (remixes)
John Zorn
Sharon Jones

Featured New Releases:

MUM "Finally We Are No One" (Fat Cat) CD/LP $12.99/$14.99
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Mum's "Yesterday Was Dramatic" set a whole new standard for
electronic music. Not by chance, the young Icelandic quartet
expertly blended the world of digital with the world of analog. Amidst
the Aphex-styled cut-up beats and bleeps, the album steered far
from IDM's icy trappings, instead hovering above lush, green
pastures -- warmly melodic and wonderfully organic. Two years
later, these same descriptors can and will be used in describing
Mum's follow-up, "Finally We Are No One." Their second proper album
is, however, a further expansion upon the warmth and feeling of its
predecessor. Continuing to draw upon a variety of sources, from
programmed beats and synthesized washes to a more traditional
assortment of instruments (including guitars, trumpet, accordion,
glockenspiel and cello), "Finally We Are No One" is much more
majestic in its approach. The digital element, though still very much
a keystone, is subdued allowing the melodic elements more room to
interlace and drift. (Production credits include Valgeir Siguresson,
also noted as an engineer and programmer for Bjork's "Vespertine.")
Starting with the slow building bell tones of "Sleep/Swim," a music
box melody segues into the shimmering "Green Grass of Tunnel"
with the hushed voice of Kristin Valtysdottir, hauntingly ethereal yet
playfully childlike. (Her twin sister, Gyda, is the group's cellist.) Like
a lucid dream, songs flow in and out of each other, but still remain
distinct. Even the bedroom electronics of the almost instrumental
"Don't Be Afraid, You Have Just Got Your Eyes Closed," remains
graceful throughout its beeps and gurgled beats. Like "Yesterday
Was Dramatic," Mum's new offering floats around otherworld lullabies
and rich textures, always soothing and quiet. For this one however,
Mum have completely surpassed the boundaries of electronica and
created a record that is ultra-modern, incredibly organic and instantly
a classic. [GH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=60011692182&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=60011699181&refer_url=email

THE BREEDERS "Title TK" (4AD/Elektra) CD $17.99
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Aside from being a self-referential bit of post-modern tomfoolery,
the title of the new Breeders album offers the suggestion of a
work in progress -- or even an unfinished effort. But well past a
decade since the release of "Pod," a now classic debut, one
gets the sense that this is exactly where the revered Pixies alum
Kim Deal wants to be. After a more rocking and polyphonic
sophomore album and various side projects, plus the addition of
her harmonizing twin sister and the ouster of every original
member, this most recent incarnation of the Breeders elaborates on
Deal's idiosyncratic songwriting chops, but returns to "Pod's"
haunting skeletal structures. From the first note, "Title TK"
harkens back to the early-Breeders' hook-encrusted basslines,
buffered with awkward, hesitating fuzzed guitar and organ
accompaniments, and of course Deal's unmistakable (and at this
point nostalgia inducing) throaty, sweet and sour drawl. A kind of
minimalism infuses the album which ranges from anywhere from slow
to vaguely mid-tempo, with Deal's centerpiece bass melodies
supporting the oddly galloping Beatles and Beach Boys (and Pixies!)
invoking melodies. The arrangements are extremely straightforward
with the most elaborate sonic digressions coming in the form of a
sustained keyboard gurgle or slightly reverbed drums. The real action
taking place, however, is in the captivating interplay between Deal's
heartbreaking vocals (augmented all the way by sister Kelley's
off-kilter harmonizing) and the band's meandering execution of the
slight, simple-yet-powerful pop songs. [MC]

UGLY CASANOVA "Sharpen Your Teeth" (Sub Pop) CD $15.99
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Long rumored to be the solo project of Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock,
this record turns out to be a whole lot more. Definitely a supergroup
of sorts, Brock is joined by a who's-who list of musicians featuring:
Brian Deck (Califone and Red Red Meat), Pall Jenkins (Black Heart
Procession) and John Orth, each member taking a part in the
songwriting process. Imagine the discordant and jagged
time-changing pop of Modest Mouse combined with the backwoods
warped roots rock of Califone. Then throw in some of the Black Heart
Procession's dark gothic rock, and you have one of 2002's finest
indie rock records. I have long been a fan of the full-time bands
associated with each member of Ugly Casanova, but upon hearing
this album I will tell you that I never expected something like this.
Recommended! [JS]

PUFFY AMIYUMI "An Illustrated History" (Bar None) CD $13.99
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The United States and Japan represent the two largest music
markets in the world, so it's no wonder that pop stars
manufactured and manipulated by record producers and marketing
firms dominate the charts there. The difference is that in Japan
there are actually artists of this sort who you'd actually want to
listen to. The female duo known as Puffy (dubbed Puffy AmiYumi in
America for obvious reasons) are arguably Japan's best example of
plastic pop that doesn't suck. They embody better than anyone an
irresistible girl-next-door allure with a cartoonish sense of fun and
fashion. "An Illustrated History" -- a compilation of tracks from their
four proper albums and one remix project -- is the best introduction
to their music aimed specifically at a non-Asian audience. In
deference to that audience, Puffy have re-recorded two of their best
songs -- the inspirational "Asia No Junshin" and poppy "Love So
Pure" -- with English lyrics. Their muddled English is nearly
unintelligible, but the overwhelming power of these tunes simply
can't be denied. Somewhat illicit thrills are found on "That's The Way
It Is" and "Jet Police" which lift riffs from The Who and The Beatles
almost verbatim then hilariously muff a note or two ostensibly to skirt
copyright infringement. Elsewhere the duo, aided by Japanese
producer Tamio Okuda and American Andy Sturmer, expertly conjure
ELO-style glam rock, ABBA-esque harmonies, and '80s pop-rock in
an infectious fashion. Sure, tracks like the retro "Boogie Woogie No.5"
(included here as a bonus video) and "Wild Girls on Circuit" are terribly
hokey. But there's enough great stuff on "An Illustrated History" to more
than make up for it. Finally, corporate rock you can learn to love. [TC]

DINO FELIPE "Flim Toby" (Schematic) CD/LP $13.99/$14.99
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Schematic's latest signing, Dino Felipe fits right in with the label's
trademark aesthetic. The 24-tracks that make up "Flim Toby" are
all distinct -- ranging from the Mouse on Mars funk of "Dolipon"
(full of frenetic breakbeats, squelching synths and video game pop
appeal), to the Richard Devine-like soundscapes of "Un-It," which
utilizes high-pitch electronic distortions and musique concrete
influenced percussion. The playful electronic pop of "Sundecker"
wouldn't sound at all out of place on a Morr Music compilation.
Felipe has created a very diverse album that incorporates a variety
of styles and keeps it fresh and interesting. Here's to the Schematic
boys for putting out another wonderful and consistent release! [JS]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=650670002442&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=65067000241&refer_url=email

GIRLS AGAINST BOYS "You Can't Fight What You Can't See" (Jade Tree) CD $12.99
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Girls Against Boys are finally back following their ill-fated
journey into commercial-alternative waters. Longtime fans, many
who were put off by the modern rock sheen of their major label
debut, "Freak*on*ica," will find "You Can't Fight What You Can't
See" a welcome return to form (and also a happy return to the rank
of indie status via Jade Tree records.) Back in the production
saddle is Ted Niceley, who certainly lent a hand in capturing the
distinctively bottom-heavy sonics of earlier GVSB albums. The
guitar grind of "All the Rage" is as propulsive as anything from
"Cruise Yourself," but add to the overall mix a little more pop
flavoring. (And this is a good thing, lest the band be stuck in some
1994 post-grunge groove.) Scott McCloud's voice is as gruff as ever,
taking more than one swipe at the glamorous life in locales like
Hollywood and Miami, and rock star life in general. This is
classic GVSB, from the cool pulse of the fuzzed out bass and heavy
handed drum assault to the tightly wound tension between guitar
and keyboard stabs. Still, Eli Janney and company keep the old
formula fresh, tapping into a few new-found strengths by way of
super, yet subtle, hooks. [GH]

[V.A.] "Disco Spectrum 3" (BBE) CD $20.99
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First of all, let me start by giving Joey Negro and BBE their props
for giving us this series. These volumes were desperately needed
to help document and preserve the underground urban disco
sounds that were put out by small independent local labels.
These records were barely heard outside of the discotheques and
loft parties that they were created for. You couldn't hear them on
the radio, and if you didn't live in any urban areas, you probably
didn't know they existed. But these songs were the silent links
that connected Larry Levan to Grandmaster Flash, and Grandmaster
Flash to Frankie Knuckles, and so on. Sweet Potato's "Hot Disco
Night" was a minimal percussive break number that Flash would cut
up in the South Bronx for the breakers, and also a Paradise Garage
classic. Frankie Knuckles christened Eddie Kendricks' "Goin' Up In
Smoke" and Idris Muhammad's '"Could Heaven Ever Be Like This"
-- both early Chicago Warehouse classics that are still floor-burners
today. You can still hear the remnants in the fat bass lines and
whip-like snare cracks of Daft Punk in the Italo-funk of Koxo's
"Step by Step," and the sleazy after-hours jazz bump of Lenny
Williams' "Please Don't Tempt Me." All of the aforementioned songs
are included in this stellar double CD compilation. If you consider
yourself a fan of soulful dance music of any kind, you should definitely
familiarize yourself with this one, or any Disco Spectrum comp for that
matter. This is the good shit! [DH]

FUCKING CHAMPS "V" (Drag City) CD/LP $13.99/$13.99
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The follow-up to their 2001 collaboration with Trans Am, "V"
features more of the Champs' trademark metal mayhem, along with
the ethereal, reverb-laden live track "Children Perceive the Hoax
Cluster," plus a Kraut-rockin' rethinking of their previous LP's
"Policenauts" and a rendition of Bach's "Air On A G-String." Once
again, the San Francisco-based trio (founded by former Nation of
Ulysses guitarist Tim Green, who also recently released an electronic
solo album under the name Concentrick) have studied their back
issues of Guitar World and scoured the Iron Maiden catalog to cook
up a chunky bouillabaisse of two-part harmonies, double kick-drum
rolls, pinch harmonics, and palm-muted Les Pauls. If you were a fan
of the last Champs record or if you've got a copy of "Number Of The
Beast" hidden away in the back of your closet, you won't be
disappointed. It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with
the band that this is probably the best instrumental metal album
you'll hear this year. Riff-a-riffic! [RH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=78148402252&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999177161&refer_url=email

BURNT FRIEDMAN & JAKI LIEBEZEIT "Secret Rhythms" (Nonplace) CD/LP $15.99/$15.99
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Burnt Friedman unites with Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit to
create "Secret Rhythms," an adventure in the positive use of
negative space. The album captures the improvised jam sessions,
which include both Liebezeit and Friedman on percussion, and a
host of other instruments, along with the shimmering electric
guitar work of Mouse on Mars cohort, Josef Suchy, and Morten
Gronvad on vibes. Friedman pulls influences from his early works
with Flanger and the Nu Dub Players to create a downtempo, dubbed-
out, ambient-jazz fusion exploring the nature of polyrhythmic sound.
Liebezeit's sharp, toned-down drumming carries a metronome-like
quality that drives the album throughout its progression. Friedman's
bubbly, bellowing bass seemingly speaks a language that only the
body understands, guaranteeing a smooth transition through that long
night and into the early morning. The last two tracks of "Secret
Rhythms" are remixes of "Obscured by 5." They follow and flow,
seamless from the original into one reflective and stimulating piece
lasting just under 25-minutes. If you have the time, this album will give
you the space. [JD]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875273092&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875273091&refer_url=email


MARUMARI "Remixes" (Carpark) CD $13.99
Full review next week.
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=67751700142&refer_url=email

John Zorn "IAO" (Tzadik) CD $14.99
Full review next week.
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=70239773382&refer_url=email

Sharon Jones "Dap Dippin' With Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings" (Daptone) CD $14.99
Full review next week.
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=82313400012&refer_url=email

This week's contributors: Tom Capodanno [TC], Matt Connors [MC],
J Dennis [JD], Gerald Hammill [GH], Duane Harriott [DH],
Rob Hatch-Miller [RH] and Jeremy Sponder [JS].

The Big Picture:

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