Other Music New Release Update
October 2, 2002

In This Week's Update:

Thievery Corporation
Blue States
Amon Tobin
Michael Nace
DJ Vadim
The Kills
Legendary Pink Dots
Jenny Toomey
Flaming Lips (CD Set)

Just In:

Ms. John Soda
T. Raumschmiere


THIEVERY CORPORATION "Richest Man In Babylon" (ESL) CD $15.99
Thievery Corporation's Rob Garza and Eric Hilton have been playing
musical chairs for years, tackling every genre under the sun, and the
duo's third proper album, "The Richest Man in Babylon," is a further
extension of their world music influences. From the onset, Icelandic
chanteuse Emiliana Torrini ("Heaven's Gonna Burn...") sets the tone
for this album's diversity in which you will hear Persian, Portuguese,
Farsi and French vocalists. From dub to jazz, electronic to acoustic,
the variety is incomparable to anything they have previously produced.
Of course the organic downtempo grooves they are most well known
for are available, evident on "Omid" and the title track. But "Richest
Man in Babylon" has an even balance of pop and tradition, leaving it
much more reflective, maintaining a consistent flow that makes for
an extremely comfortable and relaxing experience. [JD]

SHEARWATER "Everybody Makes Mistakes" (Misra) CD $13.99
Songwriters Jonathan Meiburg and Will Robinson Sheff have been
collaborating for a few years now, first in Austin's respected alt-country
ensemble Okkervil River and more recently moonlighting together here
as Shearwater. For "Everybody Makes Mistakes," their second LP
under this guise, the duo continue their dusty voyage down an
American folkway, welcoming a few new members to their quiet camp.
Augmented by an upright bassist and a drummer/vibraphonist,
Shearwater's music is fragile as ever. Beginning with "An Accident,"
Meiburg's hushed falsetto is barely supported by an old piano; the
mood is sad yet comfortable, as if revisiting your childhood one last time
in the old home of a grandparent. "Well Benjamin" is upbeat but
mordant nonetheless and the scruffy-voiced Sheff daydreams of heroic
notions to save an untouchable love. The two alternate between lead
vocals throughout, each singer reflective in their own right. Additional
accompaniment of strings and clarinet carefully cradle a lone guitar
or piano. During "Soon," Meiburg's chilly melody floats like a lost soul
(imagine Thom Yorke singing along to a well-worn copy of "Pink Moon")
and the occasional vibraphone only accents the emptiness. And though
the single thread of longing runs through every song, each track is
distinct and varied. Shearwater's narrative style is certainly influenced by
folk but rounded out by chamber pop and Americana sensibilities.
"Everybody Makes Mistakes" will fit nicely on the same shelf as your
Low, Neutral Milk Hotel and Will Oldham albums. Very beautiful. [GH]

CASSIUS "Au Reve" (Astralwerks) CD $16.99
In 1999, Cassius released an album called "1999." A somewhat
precocious bid for "album of the year" status that didn't quite pan
out as I recall. Vastly improved, they return in a mode incorporating
almost too many references/inferences/influences to attempt to
delineate. To be sure, they have picked up the rock/disco hybrid
virus which has similarly (and thankfully, in most cases) felled
their fellow countrymen Daft Punk, Phoenix, Benjamin Diamond,
(What are they putting in the water?!?) etc. But seriously folks, this
is an admirably strange record. I mean... Ghostface Killah?! When
debuted in the store, staff and present customers alike were equally
befuddled, and not in a Bright Eyes "this is so bad" way. Just
befuddled. Actually I would say in a good way. Seriously. [DHo]

ONEIDA "Each One Teach One" (Jagjaguwar) CD $14.99
Imagine Blue Cheer and Neu! piling into a couple of hot rods and
drag racing across the desert while an Amtrak train speeds past
them. Then imagine they lose control of their vehicles, veer off the
road, and collide with the train in a gnarled mess of burning metal.
Now imagine the sun exploding. "Each One Teach One" is an
amazing, intense listening experience. You'll hear chugging drum
beats, crunchy guitars, deafening feedback, pulsating bass, melting
organ drones... and a hell of a lot of energy. I thought their previous
records were great, but I had no idea they were capable of something
like this. It sounds like they tried to forget all about song structure
and just go into the studio and play like there was no tomorrow, and
it worked. This is easily Oneida's best recording effort to date and
quite possibly the heaviest psych record released in this young
reviewer's lifetime. Killer. [RH]

SQUAREPUSHER "Do You Know Squarepusher" (Warp) CD/LP $16.99/$18.99
With five albums behind him, plus a slew of EPs and assorted
oddities, you'd think that we would know Squarepusher by now. And
despite famously erratic behavior (it would be a wonderful and
appropriate bit of WARP-ed humor if the "Live in Japan" disc included
with this double CD package was in fact blank, to represent another of
Tom Jenkinson's no-show performances), his recorded output has a
fairly consistent angle. With an ever-changing approach, Jenkinson
combines jazz, prog, video games and hyper-charged electronica into a
stew that is alternatingly liberating and nauseating. I would have thought
the title track was as pop as Squarepusher could get, with subtle vocals
obscured by skittering electronic noodles reminiscent of last year's "My
Red Hot Car" single, or Aphex's classic "Windowlicker." But I was proven
wrong (yet again) by the disc closer, a surprisingly straightforward (and
GOOD!) version of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart," vocals and all.
The aforementioned live disc is a perfectly-paced mind bender, with 10
tracks building to an ominous yet joyful frenzy that leaves the listener
thoroughly spent, and makes it clear why, despite the flakiness,
Jenkinson is a performer well worth the price of admission. [JM]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=80106100972&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=80106100971&refer_url=email

BLUE STATES "Man Mountain" (ESL) CD $14.99
Andy Dragazis' sophomore release to the Blue States masterpiece
"Nothing Changes Under the Sun" is an obvious progression in maturity.
"Man Mountain" is more melodic and song driven in composition, largely
due to co-writer/vocalist Tahita 'Ty' Bulmer, whose soft, classy lyrical
performance accompanies the lush orchestration found throughout the
album. Dragazis has moved away from his synth sounds in favor of string
quartet, brass section, and even the utilization of a children's choir
("Season Song") to enhance this overall symphonic record. Still present is
the traditional "Blue States" ESL chill-out vibe, but this time around,
it's much more romantic. If your shelf contains any Air, Axelrod, or Zero 7,
you'll love this record. [JD]

LUSTMORD "Zoetrope" (Nextera) CD $13.99
Brian Williams (a/k/a Lustmord) is back with another incredible dark
ambient album that you must experience. Featuring material that has
been three years in the making, "Zoetrope" is a soundtrack to a film
inspired by the Franz Kafka story "In the Penal Colony." But don't
think for a minute that just because this is a soundtrack that it is any
less amazing than last year's album, "Metavoid". This is a haunting
examination of imprisonment consisting of both the music and sounds
of the movie melded then mutated to recapture the atmospheric
nightmare where walls breathe and your darkest dreams become reality.
Each track is a step further into a life caught within the grasp of the
death machine. Low frequencies pulse and pound in a search for truth
hidden within the depths of the prisoner's mind. This is dark procession
of sound that will charge your mind with Orwell-like visions of oppression
and an ever-present inescapable fate. Beautifully packaged in a digipack
that uses black and white still photos from the film for artwork. Another
brilliant addition to the Lustmord catalog and definitely recommended!

AMON TOBIN "Verbal" (Ninja Tune) CD $6.99
A new single from Ninja Tune's Anglo-Brazilian wunderkind Tobin,
the main track here is lifted from the forthcoming album, due October
15. This is nothing radically new for Tobin, but it is more of his
patented sampledelic jazz grooves, alternating between hurky-jerky
acoustic guitar strumming and a punishing rolling bass that destroys
all in its path. The vocals (if you can call them that) are provided by one
MC Decimal R. Ten listens later and I still have no idea what he might
be getting at. Sounds like Tobin has been smoking blunts with some
angry chipmunks, and they are now battling for some lost crumbs dropped
inside the 1200s. Really good stuff, and the three exclusives and remix
included are pretty tasty too. [JM]

MICHAEL NACE "The Voyage Out" (Minority Records) CD $10.99
Anyone familiar with the name of Michael Nace will probably be
surprised when hearing his debut full-length, "The Voyage Out."
The singer-songwriter spent the better part of the '90s playing in a
fairly popular math rock trio, Philadelphia's Drill for Absentee. So upon
first listen to Nace's first solo effort, I was expecting something drawing
from Rodan's influence, not Nick Drake's. "The Voyage Out" may be an
ambitious change of gears but it is a wonderful and rewarding shift for
the talented guitarist. Produced by Geoff Turner (New Wet Kojak) with a
group of collaborator's that includes Adam Wade (Shudder to Think), "The
Voyage Out" is richly dynamic -- driven by soft, finger-picked acoustic
guitars and layers of strings and percussion. Nace's hushed vocal delivery
resembles Neil Halstead at times, but while both artists are equally lulling
the arrangements here are far more complex. Throughout, dual guitar
melodies weave intricately around each other accented by a wonderful
array of instruments and symphonic flourishes. The first verse of "Perfect
Place" is flavored with British folk influences, but by the chorus string and
synth accents shift the song into something more exotic and eastern.
In contrast, "Time Passes" almost floats, pushed by light jazzy
drumming and the accompaniment of a vibraphone. "How Do You Ask the
Night" is one of the album's most upbeat moments, still melancholy,
synthesizer washes create playful counter-harmonies to the folk guitar
melodies. Overall, "The Voyage Out" is an album with so many layers
that with every listen you are sure to hear the song differently than before.
And while there's a lot going on musically, Nace's melodies are simple,
memorable and soulful. Recommended.  [GH]

DJ VADIM "USSR/Art of Listening" (Ninja Tune) CD $14.99
Hailing from St. Petersburg, Russia, DJ Vadim represents the
evolution of a global hip hop nation. And this evolution is growing more
confident with each passing year. Vadim's productions are thick, rough
and not at all subtle. With drums that punch (or collapse) rather than hit,
and over-inflated basslines of grinding raw funk tracks, this would not
sound out of place among the recent Def Jux releases. "Above Ground"
features a long list of underground dancehall and hip hop MC's and poets
including Motion Man, TTC, DJ Plus One and others. Another score for
the Ninja Tune camp! [GA]

THE KILLS "Black Rooster" (Dim Mak) CD $8.99
Comparisons to Royal Trux and the White Stripes are only accurate
in this album's male/female garage duo factor. Fuzzed out effects,
solid percussion and "I don't give a fuck" rock n roll attitude
permeate this EP alongside guy/gal vocal trade-offs. How is this
different? "Cat Claw" is more reminiscent of Joan Jett and the
Blackhearts than Captain Beefheart -- more accessible than Royal
Trux but dirtier than the White Stripes. Ironically though, "Dropout
Boogie" comes dangerously close to sounding like RTX with its short
screams from VV and growling sampler effects backing the track. But
did I mention that VV (the naughtily enticing female voice) and her
guitar front the band while Hotel (the Lou Reed-ish male vox) provides
the backing beat, harmonica, electric viola and tambourine? It's a good
start from an American expat and London native. [LG]

JENNY TOOMEY "Tempting/Songs of Franklin Bruno" (Misra) CD $13.99
I've always been a fan of Jenny Toomey beginning with Tsunami's
debut. Still, their 1997 swan song "A Brilliant Mistake" was a
welcomed step forward from a more traditional indie rock style and
hinted at bigger and better things to come. Granted, it would take a
while. Following a four-year break from recording, in 2001 Toomey
reappeared with "Antidote," her first solo LP and a double disc set
at that. Backed by various friends from groups like Lambchop, Ida,
Pulsars and the Aluminum Group, she was truly coming into her
own as a singer and songwriter. Her lyrics pointed inward, her most
personal ever documenting the end of a tumultuous relationship. A
year later, her new album can't be considered another solo record,
and I'm sure she would be first to tell you. For "Tempting," the prolific
Franklin Bruno (Nothing Painted Blue) contributed a variety of songs
for Toomey and her backing band (which includes Calexico and
longtime collaborators like Amy Domingues) to interpret. In fact, it's a
perfect pairing and Toomey personalizes every phrase. Opening with
"Your Inarticulate Boyfriend," (previously released on Bruno's "Etudes
for Voices and Snackmaster" Shrimper cassette), she literally croons
over the band's Morricone flavor. For the uninitiated, Bruno's witty
wordplay is most apparent with mariachi trumpet stabs accenting
Toomey's matter-of-fact delivery about a boyfriend who can't complete
a sentence. Almost every song on "Tempting" highlights Toomey as a
vocalist (in the most traditional sense) manifesting herself through
Bruno's clever lyrics and melodies. During the sultry, old-fashioned
country ballad "Cheat" (originally heard on his Simple Machines
issued "A Bedroom Community), your eyes literally sting from
cigarette smoke lingering in the late night air of some small town bar.
The production throughout is elegant; the wavering strings in "Masonic
Eye" or the jazz piano accompaniment in the title track is absolutely
cinematic. But even during these moments it's apparent that Toomey,
Bruno and company have enjoyed every single second in the creation
of this album.  [GH]

LEGENDARY PINK DOTS "All the King's Men" (Roir) CD $13.99
This is the first of two new studio full-lengths from Legendary Pink
Dots. Thankfully this one has arrived just in time for their US tour
proving to me that these shows should not be missed. "All the
King's Men" is a unique attempt to mend what has fallen apart.
Some songs illustrate the downward spiral of the guilty, while others
try to remember what life was once like. LPD's dark "carnival through
the looking glass" vision is ever present, mixing together the
electronic textures and psychedelic whimsy that has kept them going
for more than 20 years now. A poignant record that is both a paradox
and a provocation that will leave you wanting more. I hope to see those
of you who live here in the NYC area next week at the Village
Underground. [AG]

FLAMING LIPS "The Day They Shot a Hole in the Jesus Egg" (Ryko) CD $18.99
The second of two in Ryko's series of now classic Flaming Lips
records and outtakes, "The Day They Shot a Hole in the Jesus Egg"
is a double CD set featuring the band's mind-blowing "In a Priest
Driven Ambulance" LP and the concurrent "Unconciously Screaming"
EP. Also included is the exhaustive collection of demos and outtakes
from the frequently bootlegged "Mushroom Tapes" (which contained
the original versions for most of "In a Priest Driven Ambulance") plus
alternate takes and rare compilation tracks which were recorded
during the period of 1989 to 1991. This is no doubt the Lips' moment of
enlightenment, the band tripping, errr, stumbling into their greatness.


MS. JOHN SODA "No P or D" (Morr) CD $15.99
Full review in next week's update.

PILOTE "Kingfood" (Certificate 18) CD 15.99
Full review in next week's update.

T. Raumschmiere "Anti" (Hefty) CD $13.99
Full review in next week's update.

This week's contributors: Geoff Albores [GA], J Dennis [JD],
Lisa Garrett [LG], Andy Giles [AG], Gerald Hammill [GH],
Rob Hatch-Miller [RH], Dan Hougland [DHo] and Josh
Madell [JM].

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