Other Music New Release Update
September 18, 2002

In This Week's Update:

Boom Bip
Mount Sims
Mr. Lif
Casino Versus Japan
Sondra Lerche
Walkmen/Calla (Split EP)
Dancer (Various Artists)
Flaming Lips (Box Set & Limited Picture Single)
Doug Martsch
Sue Garner
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone
Guided By Voices

Just In:

Thomas Brinkmann
T. Raumschiere
Selection 1 (Trapez Compilation)


ESG "Step Off" (Soul Jazz) CD/LP $15.99/$18.99
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It's fitting that while New York's post-punk revival is taking the city
(and much of the globe) by storm with the howling force of typhoon
winds, one of the lesser known but very influential originators of this
hybrid of dance beats and punk simplicity has returned with a new
record. "Step Off," ESG's first proper album in ten years, doesn't
owe much to evolution. In fact, the three original Scroggins sisters,
now joined by lead singer Renee's two daughters, are still sticking to
their original formula. Stiff, mechanical beats and a low, repetitious
bass lay down the fragile but funkily effective groove as single-note
guitar leads and the occasional cowbell or conga never quite fill the
holes. This art funk minimalism still sounds as fresh as it did back in
1981, and it's surprising that two decades have passed since ESG
were sharing the stage with Liquid Liquid, A Certain Ratio and
Grandmaster Flash. "Step Off" does seem a bit darker than their past
efforts and sometimes the beats move suspiciously slow; but these
extra-sparse moments are nicely offset by tracks like "Six Pack" and
"My Street." (The latter, a revved up album closer with Renee
practically sneering an echoed "what the hell's going on" on top of tribal
tom-tom drum fills.) Certainly, the whole music-scape has changed and
then come full-circle since the days when ESG unknowingly laid a
foundation for both modern hip hop and house music, but even now no
one can touch them. [GH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502632810064&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502632800064&refer_url=email

BOOM BIP "Seed to Sun" (Lex) CD/LP $15.99/$18.99
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Indie hip hop and Anticon cohort, Boom Bip's latest project is a solo
album for Lex, Warp's new side label. Far from being a hip hop record
in the traditional sense of the word, Boom Bip's tracks are productions.
Songs flow from downtempo melodic grooves ("Roads Must Roll") to
the Amon Tobin flavored "Awaiting an Accident" with its jazzy grooves
and dark atmosphere. "Mannequin Hand Trapdoor," featuring Dose One,
could be an outtake from the Clouddead album while "U R Here" sounds
like a lost B. Fleischmann track. Thirteen songs in all and each one
sounds like it could be from a different artist entirely. It's nice to see
Boom Bip branch off from the Anticon/Mush school of hip hop and try
something different. With "Seed to Sun," the new Lex label is off to a
good start. [JS]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=80106150602&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=80106150601&refer_url=email

MOUNT SIMS "Ultra Sex" (Emperor Norton) CD $14.99
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DJ Hell's latest discovery, Mount Sims have possibly delivered the
best electroclash record since Fischerspooner's "#1 Record". "Ultra
Sex" is filled with 13 dancefloor anthems with influences that range
from Prince to Giorgio Moroder to Jeff Mills to many, many more. The
first track, "How We Do," is probably the best opening song on any
album this year. Catchy as hell, it is sure to rock dancefloors from
Williamsburg to Berlin and is so good that Madonna should cover it.
"Rational Behavior," first heard on International Deejay Gigolo's Volume
6 compilation, sounds like the Neptunes producing Prince. (Hint: this
would be a match made in heaven!) The rest of the tracks tread a fine
line between kitschy house and new electro. I have to admit that during
my first listen I was not really getting into this album but, as with most
of my favorite records, upon repeated spins the songs are stuck in my
head and now I am walking around singing them to myself all day.
Mount Sims have created a non-stop dance party with pop appeal. [JS]

MR. LIF "I Phantom" (Def Jux) CD/LP $15.99/$15.99
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Can hip hop be personal? Can it offer a glimpse into the concerns,
aspirations, struggles and triumphs of its messenger? Of course and
with "I Phantom" we witness the return of the college educated B-Boy,
Mr. Lif. With pointedly political, social and articulate lyrics, plus a
self-assured (not boasting) flow, he proves that this concept can be
effective, i.e., still keep you interested and dancing. Enlisting the likes
of Edan, Aesop Rock, Vast Aire, Jean Grae and Insight, they keep it
all in the family. The beats supplied by El-P and Fakts One help
illustrate the journey at hand. From frustrated school teacher to
vengeful B-Boy, latchkey kid or workaholic father, Lif assumes various
characters sculpting a story where the need to overcome the daily
grind and create something worthwhile and of value fuels the soul; but
it's ultimately met with constant resistance and frustration. Not
heavy-handed or preachy by any means, Lif knows that the best way to
deliver a message, spread the word and up the ante, is over a good
funky beat. And there are plenty here. Recommended. [DG]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=60030888602&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=60030888601&refer_url=email

CASINO VERSUS JAPAN "Whole Numbers Play the Basics" (Carpark) CD/LP $13.99/$9.99
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Casino vs. Japan (Erik Kowalski) astounded many with his
sophomore full-length effort, "Go Hawaii." He would have been
able to astound many more were it not for the botched nature of
its relative availability (though a track from that release does
appear in a Hummer commercial right now so it should return yet
again, at least for a little while). Anyway, with that record he managed
to invite himself onto the hallowed, bucolic premises generally agreed
to be lorded over by the likes of Eno and Budd, and more currently,
Boards of Canada, Dettinger, Gas, et al. That he arrived with a
sensibility equal parts technological so much as emotional did him no
disservice amongst this arena. Those who have been able to find his
work have seemed to prefer it in many cases; the moments therein which
capitalize on a potential for unfolding in mesmeric, seemingly truly
heartfelt ways do accrue often enough to be, I think, the 'kicker.' Not for
this dude the rarefied air of obliqueness and/or ambivalence. It's music
from the heartland after all. Lovely. [DHo]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=67751700182&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=67751700181&refer_url=email

SONDRE LERCHE "Faces Down" (Astralwerks) CD $11.99
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Norwegian pop star Sondre Lerche is truly a pop wunderkind. His
debut full-length, "Faces Down," not only went gold in his homeland,
but did so not far from his 19th birthday. Lerche has been scooped up
by Astralwerks in the United States (and Source in Europe); further
upping the ante, production guru Sean O'Hagan chipped in string
arrangements on a few of the tracks. O'Hagan's influence adds a suave
maturity to Lerche's sugary sweet pop melodies, but even with the
candy coating, Lerche sings with an earnest urgency that recalls a
young Bowie or a less depressed Divine Comedy. Lerche's album
combines playful exuberance with a sophisticated baroque sensibility,
a skill he's borrowed perfectly from '60s pop songwriting. Far superior to
the average indie-popster's rehash of the classics, "Facing Down"
manages both a whimsical charm and a subtle elegance that could
teach a lesson or two to most folks ten years his senior. [PW]

WALKMEN / CALLA "Split EP" (Troubleman) CD/LP $11.99/$8.99
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Troubleman Unlimited has just released an excellent EP with two
pairs of songs from a couple of New York's finest. Starting with
"Look Out the Window," the Walkmen are downright playful
shedding a layer of sensitive skin (ala' "Boy"-era U2) for something a
little less serious. The mamba beat and call-response guitar melody
make for a fun listen and musically, the song is slightly reminiscent of
the Pixies' "Here Comes Your Man," only lighter in feel with a fabulously
shrill harmonica break that literally buzzes above the refrain. For the
country-tinged ballad "Here Comes Another Day," singer Hamilton
Leithauser's dramatic delivery is acrobatic as ever while his voice dips
and slides around bluesy riffs and key changes. Expectedly, Calla take
a serious turn with "Don't Hold Your Breath," a somber track that slowly
builds around Aurellio Valle's whispered-speak vocals and a fuzzy guitar.
Halfway through, sleigh bells appear adding an icey depth to the song's
already cold tranquility. The EP ends with my favorite track, a precision
cover of Can's "Mother Sky." The hypnotic drone of a bass holds the
course while Valle's unaffected voice trades off between stabs of guitar
skronk and feedback; Calla make it their own.  [GH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=69463000952&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999184261&refer_url=email

[V.A] "Dancer" (Italic) CD $14.99
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A brand new various artist compilation from German minimal disco
master-label Italic, "Dancer" features artists such as Antonelli Electric,
Borneo & Sporenberg and Soda. Both Antonelli Electric and
collaborators Borneo & Sporenberg offer minimal electro-pop disco that
chugs along in tightly measured pelvic thrusts. Sophisticated frivolity.
Except for the single guest appearance by Miss Kittin, minimal vocals
appear only to add power to the groove. Soda breaks up the
well-dressed-sophisticate-dance-party with hypnotic minimal dub/pop
techno. All in all, Italic could be considered Kompakt's more
fashion-conscious younger cousin; not as arty or dry, but also not as
drunk and disorderly as Gigolo. Great stuff. Highly recommended. [SM]

FLAMING LIPS "Finally, the Punk Rockers are Taking Acid"
(Ryko) CD Set $33.99
FLAMING LIPS "Do You Realize/Limited Picture Disc Single"
(Warner) LTD 7" Single $7.99

If you liked the last couple of Flaming Lips albums but never had a
chance to get familiar with the material they released prior to 1992's
"Hit to Death in the Future Head," then you're totally missing out.
From the homemade punk-a-delia of their early LPs to the grand
madness of "In a Priest Driven Ambulance," their first collaboration
with Dave Fridmann and in some ways their masterpiece, this
collection of unusually brilliant low-budget records convinced Warner
Brothers to add these wackos to their payroll. Included in these two
multi-CD sets are all of the band's full-lengths for Restless, plus a
whole bunch of EPs, demos, covers, outtakes, and unreleased tracks.
Revel in the deranged beauty of such classic Lips tracks as "Jesus
Shootin' Heroin," "Shine On Sweet Jesus," and "Unconsciously
Screamin'." And who wouldn't love their insane versions of tunes by the
Sonics, Louis Armstrong, Neil Young, Sonic Youth, Nick Lowe, and
Led Zeppelin? The Flaming Lips are without a doubt one of the most
important and influential bands of the last two decades, and these records
are proof. They're every bit as good as any of their recent critical
successes -- just a hell of a lot more rough-around-the-edges. It's a shame
that most of America still only remembers them as those guys who didn't
use jelly. These discs make up an amazing and absolutely essential
history of one of rock's greatest bands. (Also available: Limited edition 7"
single  picture disc with "Do You Realize" and the non-album track "Up
Above the Daily Hum.") [RH]
CD Set
Limited Picture Single

DOUG MARTSCH "Now You Know" (Warner) CD $16.99
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Doug Martsch has distinguished himself in the "college rock"
world for 10 plus years (as the frontman for Built To Spill as well
as his previous work in the Treepeople) with his subtle guitar
pyrotechnics and a plaintive wail that draws on a deep well of
emotion just below the surface. His debut solo release (while
BTS is on temporary hiatus) is a confident step ahead for an
artist who clearly has a lot more to say creatively, and he
tweaks his signature songwriting style while holding true to his
strengths. Although there are points on "Now You Know" where a
rock band sneaks into the mix, for the most part the album is
strictly acoustic, and Martsch's slide guitar competes, mimics and
compliments his distinctive vocals with chilling effect. Without really
changing his songwriting approach, he has drawn the blues out of
his music, creating a powerful country-blues record that will
doubtlessly satisfy all but the hardest-rocking Built To Spill fans, and
hopefully win legions of new ones from the ranks of the alt-country
nation. That Martsch can sustain the intensity of his power-trio with
just a guitar and vocal is strong testament to the depth of his
songwriting and performance talent. If there was any doubt, now we
know. [JM]

SUTEKH "Incest Live" (Force Inc) CD $15.99
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For the last five years under the assumed name of Sutekh,
Seth Horvitz has explored as many styles as he has labels,
manipulating any object, instrument or otherwise that might
produce sound. His latest album, "Incest Live" (great pun), is a
reworking of sound files captured from previous recordings that
have been rearranged into new tracks and laid out to emulate a
"live" DJ set. Sutekh has created a beautiful collage, with seamless
transitions that begins with ambient microwave electronics and
choppy glitch samples, only to climax into full dancefloor inspired
deep-tech/house and then descend into nothingness.
Recommended for anyone who's been searching for the companion
to Akufen's "My Way." [JD]

SUE GARNER "Shadyside" (Thrill Jockey) CD $13.99
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If you have followed Sue Garner's career, with recent solo releases,
as well as her previous bands (Run On, Fish and Roses, the Shams
and others), you have become accustomed to her warm, soulful
vocals atop an ever-shifting musical backdrop that often focuses on
rhythm, sound and experimentation. There is always a dichotomy in
her work -- a push and pull between her Georgia roots and her current
NYC reality. If you were lucky enough to see her brief performance
recently at Thrill Jockey's 10th anniversary celebration at Irving Plaza,
where her band joined Tortoise for several songs, you may have been
moved (as I was) to hear Garner draw the pop out of Tortoise as they
drew a dark tension and restlessness out of her. Her new Thrill Jockey
release, featuring long-time collaborator (and husband) Rick Brown, as
well her wonderful new band of multi-instrumentalists (plus Jim O'Rourke,
Marc Ribot, James McNew and others), is a creative peak for Garner.
Her straightforward country-infused songwriting is beautifully produced
here, with guitars, keys, percussion, accordion, clarinet, effects and much
more conspiring to cloak her beautiful drawl in mystery. This is subtle porch
music for a complicated world. [JM]

ASPERA "Sugar and Feathered" (Jagjaguwar) CD $12.99
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Do you think the latest Flaming Lips record lacks the "oomph" of their
early classics? Are you annoyed by the indulgent, Never Ending
Story-esque string sections on Mercury Rev's recent output? Well,
Philadelphia's Aspera have conjured a cure. Formerly known as Aspera
ad Astra, these oddballs from the City of Brotherly Love are responsible
for the psychedelic-pop brilliance of "Sugar and Feathered." With a fried
sonic-edge that recalls Mercury Rev's in the early days (think "Yerself
Esteem"), this re-release of Aspera's 2001 album is a trippy pop gem.
These songs are more than just effect-laden pop numbers; Aspera also
write incredibly memorable sing-alongs that are deserving of a packed
arena and the full-blown Pink Floyd laser light treatment. Besides the
music contained within, Aspera might offer up the finest cover art in
recent memory. Between the computer generated deer cartoon and the
downright hilarious font choice, Aspera's irony adds to the fun. "Sugar
and Feathered" is the dose of modern day psychedelia and strangeness
you've been waiting for. Play it and play it loud. [PW]

EXHAUST "Enregistreur" (Constellation) CD/LP $13.99/$12.99
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Montreal's drum, bass and tape trio Exhaust originally came to be
during the mid-90s performing their sparse and almost music
concrete pieces in local venues. But with other music projects taking
precedence, the three members played together sporadically at best
until last summer when they finally reconvened for a short tour. A
month-long recording session in a log cabin soon followed.
"Enregistreur," their first release since 1998's self-titled album, is a
collection of abstract sound collages pushed along by occasional bursts
of Aidan Gert's drumming. But unlike Gert's former band, Godspeed You
Black Emperor, Exhaust are far from epic, instead using sparse layers of
sound derived from tape loops, bass clarinet and signal noise.
Throughout, the low end of a bass guitar disguises itself, and like a foghorn,
something eerie rumbles, echoes and hovers in the not-so-far distance.
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=66656100212&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=66656100211&refer_url=email

CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE "Answering Machine Music" (Tomlab) CD $14.99
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Casiotone for the Painfully Alone make dirgy, outsider emo pop from
dusty lo-fi studio equipment and hissy samples. "Answering Machine
Music" contains songs of disillusionment, isolation, rainy days and
love lost. Here, keyboard drones, grainy beats and analog glitches
are assembled into a nonchalant collage of dusty sketches. [GA]

GUIDED BY VOICES "The Pipe Dreams of Instant Prince Whippet" CD/LP $10.99/$11.99
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There's no way that anyone in this world can be a Guided by
Voices completist, and I seriously doubt that Mr. Pollard himself
owns a copy of every single thing he's made an appearance on.
But for those of you trying, "The Pipe Dreams of Instant Prince
Whippet" is sure to help fill in some of the holes. This newest GbV
installment is a 10 track compilation of vinyl-only B-sides, UK
bonus tracks and unreleased songs culled from their "Universal
Truths" and "Isolation Drills" recording sessions. (If you're keeping
count, this is the 24th release in Pollard's Fading Captain Series.)
As far as odds and sods collections, fans can't go wrong here. In
fact, I'm quite surprised that songs like "Visit This Place" and the
title track didn't make onto the last GbV album. Keep on rockin'
Bob! [GH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=80268500612&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999184371&refer_url=email


KAITO "Special Life" (Kompakt) CD/LP $15.99/$16.99
Full review in next week's update.
CD  //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875260362&refer_url=email
LP  //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875260361&refer_url=email

THOMAS BRINKMANN "Row" (Maxernst) CD $15.99
Full review in next week's update.

LUCIANO "Live at Weetamix" (Maxernst) CD $15.99
Full review in next week's update.

T. RAUMSCHIERE "Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle" (Shit Katapult)
CD $15.99
Full review in next week's update.

[V.A.] "Selection 1/Trapez Compilation" (Trapez) CD $15.99
Full review in next week's update.

This week's contributors: Geof Albores [GA], J Dennis [JD], Daniel
Givens [DG], Gerald Hammill [GH], Rob Hatch-Miller [RH], Dan
Hougland [DHo], Josh Madell [JM], Scott Mou [SM], Jeremy Sponder
[JS] and Phil Waldorf [PW].

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