December 18, 2003

Other Music Year End Recap

The last few weeks before the holiday are always a slow time for new
releases, so we are continuing our tradition of recapping our favorite
records of the year. While a lot of these capsuled reviews, culled from
earlier editions of the Update, may be familiar to you, we've also included
many records that were essential releases to our store throughout the year
but are being reviewed here for the first time. Some of the albums on this
list are temporarily sold out, but we will announce re-stocks of these
albums in future Other Music Updates. In the upcoming weeks, we'll be
sending out our annual staff top 10 picks and a list of 2003's top sellers.
In the meantime, check our website's homepage for notable new releases that
may arrive before the New Year. Have a safe and Happy Holiday!


FOUR TET "Rounds" (Domino) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/shemoves.rm
When it comes to post-rock/folktronica, Four Tet, a/k/a Kieran Hebden, has
established a reputation as one of the greats. "Rounds" is definitely his
most accomplished album to date and here he has perfected his formula of
jazzy, folky bedroom electronics. On this record Kieran seems to take
inspiration in everything from folk and bluegrass, to traditional Indian, to
old school hip hop. Beautiful. [JS]

SPACEK "Vintage Hi-Tech" (!K7) CD $16.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/amazing.rm
The British trio, led by Steve Spacek, create another stunning slow burner
with "Vintage Hi-Tech," the perfect title for their brand of warm
atmospheric UK Soul. Is this space age funk, post-millennium soul, or just
plain ol' funky? You be the judge. I can't say enough good things about this
record. [DG]

VILLALOBOS "Alcachofa" (Playhouse) CD $16.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/dexter.rm
Recent minimal house releases have been more "yawn" than "YEAH!!" But I when
I walked into the OM office while this was playing I had to stop in my
tracks. This man is single-handedly reinventing the use of the vocoder for
psychedelic stimulation. The tracks segue nicely into each other for an
uninterrupted listening session and dig deep into you and rewire your
psyche. Guaranteed to be as influential as Akufen's "My Way." [SM]

BOOKS "The Lemon of Pink" (Tomlab) $14.99
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Somewhere between the folktronica of Four Tet and the sampling collage of DJ
Shadow lies the music of Nick Zammuto and Paul De Jong, collectively known
as the Books. "The Lemon of Pink" is a beautiful and pastoral montage of
cut-up vocals, found sounds, and acoustic instruments. Zammuto spent some
time wandering around the Appalachians before this record came together, and
you can definitely hear the influence of his travels in the album's ambient
Americana sound. Peaceful, serene, and ultra-melodic. [RH]

NOTO/SAKAMOTO "Vrioon" (Raster Noton) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/uoonII.rm
Equal parts Alva Noto's cold and dry minimalism and the simple yet lyrical
romanticism of Ryuichi Sakamoto's piano work, "Vrioon" is a carefully
crafted series of miniatures. Sakamoto's piano slowly phrases its way
through the brittle framework of Noto's static and pulse letting each note
linger just long enough to let us anticipate the next one. An elegant
release, this is Noto's most rewarding collaborative project yet. [KH]

BUG "Pressure" (Tigerbeat6) CD $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/executor.rm
I'm glad to see what's brewing with the likes of dj/rupture, DJ Scud, and
the Brooklyn Beats Collective. Effortlessly creating some of the most
wicked dancehall and ragga breakbeats around, this full-length from
producer Bug features various toasters and vocalists including Daddy Freddy,
Roger Robinson, and others. BOOMBASTIC rhythms abound and have you moving
instantly with no effort. Recommended for the 'ard core! [DG]

TRIOSK MEETS JAN JELINEK "1+3+1" (~scape) $16.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/onthelak.rm
Jan Jelinek sharpens the quality of his sounds by capturing the sound of
Australian jazz trio Triosk, and the tracks ride that beautiful line
between modern electronic music and modern live jazz. Although loops are
used throughout, there is a definite "live" tension retained throughout the
album. Maybe if Four Tet and the Necks collaborated the results would be
somewhat like "1+3+1," but probably not with results as good as this one.

MINAMO "Beautiful" (Apestaartje) CD $12.99
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A four piece collective from Japan, Minamo fuse their influences of
classical minimalism, psychedelic folk, electronica, free improvisation,
noise, etc., to create a universe of sound that is entirely their own.
They're true wizards of the slow, gradually unfolding process -- the musical
equivalent to the opening of a flower. This is deep music that demands your
full attention, because music like this needs time to creep into your whole
being and ultimately take over. [DD]

COLDER "Again" (Output) CD $15.99
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Marc Nguyen Tan (a/k/a Colder) clearly regards the late-'70s to early-'80s
as ground zero for his sound. He takes his cues from Joy Division, Can,
Suicide, and various other post-punk legends, while still retaining a
stronghold on the future at times recalling moments of Closer Musik, and
Pole. If anyone could predict what a band like Joy Division would sound like
in 2003, Marc Nguyen Tan does just that. Colder has created a kind of
tribute to that era that is both respectful to what has come before him
while also adding to that sound. [JS]

RHYTHM & SOUND "With the Artists" (Asphodel) CD $12.99
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RHYTHM & SOUND "The Versions" (Asphodel) CD $12.99
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Rhythm & Sound, cull eight selections from their much sought after 10"
series; released as two separate CDs, "Artists" features the full vocal
versions, "Versions" for the dubs. They create a warm, digital dub world,
often visited by contemporaries like Pole or Basic Channel; dark minimal
textures crawl in, out, and through your speakers. The vocal CD features
Love Joys, Cornell Campbell, Paul St. Hilaire (a/k/a Tikiman), among others,
while the companion disc places R&S firmly in the minimal techno and digital
dub arena. Ecstatically recommended! [DG]

MANITOBA "Up In Flames" (Domino/Leaf) CD $13.99
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Manitoba's second album is a production masterpiece, full of '60s
psychedelic flourishes, tape loops, distorted guitars, and beautiful
melodies. Like Spiritualized with beats, or Mercury Rev mixed with the Beach
Boys, "Up In Flames" is the essential blissed-out late night album for 2003.

GUSTAVO LAMAS "Brotes" (Onitor) CD $16.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/apasiona.rm
Unlike typical German house productions, Lamas is not content with letting
the same two beats alternately loop on and on; he's always shifting up
and down while keeping it minimal. Lamas keeps changing his melodies
constantly but so subtle and tasteful, all you'll do is keep nodding your
head. His tracks stand apart by having all the qualities of new deep techno
(dubby, warm minimal Basic Channel style) mixed with a controlled tropical,
yet still moody beauty. [SM]

SO "SO" (Thrill Jockey) CD $14.99
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Markus Popp's mid-'90s recordings as Oval were seminal explorations in early
glitch electronics. Here we have the debut of a new project "So," Popp's
collaboration with Japanese vocalist Eri. All the sounds are heavily
processed through various customized filters but there is much more of an
obvious reference to the original source material than on any of the Oval
recordings, with Eri's vocals and guitar often coming to the forefront
amongst Popp's both soothing and jarring digital washes. [KH]

MARTINA TOPLEY-BIRD "Quixotic" (Independente) CD $22.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/istillfe.rm
Martina Topley-Bird, the voice that adorned the first three Tricky albums,
finally releases her solo debut. Produced by members of Queens of the Stone
Age, David Holmes, Tricky, and herself, the first half is mostly acoustic,
seeing Martina croon, coo, and sway her way through a varied collection of
backdrops. Most of the beats come during the latter half, and the three
Tricky produced tracks are the best he's done in years. Fans of Via Tania,
Martin Gore, Bjork, Portishead, and of course Tricky should check it out.

AUTECHRE "Draft 7.30" (Warp) CD $16.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/uprock.rm
Where the last two Autechre full-lengths pummeled you over the head with
hyper distorted beats, ear piercing tones, and technological expertise,
Autechre's latest album focuses on melody, hip hop influenced breaks, and
layer upon layer of sound. "Draft 7.30" is definitely the most accomplished
Autechre album to date recalling moments in time from their past recorded
output, while still looking far into the future. [JS]

(Accidental/!K7) $16.99

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Matthew Herbert records a modern swing record for our time, boasting guest
vocals from Arto Lindsey, Super_Colliders' Jamie Lidell, and longtime
collaborator Dani Sciliano. There are still Herbert's trademark sound
glitches, but they are used more to accentuate the brass arrangements and
the beats aren't four-on-the-floor at all. Upon further listening and liner
note examinations, one finds that it's a thinly veiled protest album aimed
at the current Bush administration. One of the most cleverly executed
concept albums I've heard in years. [DH]

STYROFOAM "I'm What's There..." (Morr) CD $16.99
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Arne Van Petegem's songwriting has definitely matured with this release
leaving behind the crunchy electronics and distorted vocals of the past for
a new, cleaner and more melodic pop approach. Rumor has it the Notwist are
the ones responsible for edging on Arne to explore the more vocal driven pop
side of electronic music, and for this we all thank you! Absolutely
stunning, and a must for anyone who has purchased "Neon Golden." [JS]

M83 "Dead Cities, Red Seas, and Lost Ghosts" (Gooom) CD $19.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/0078h.rm
M83 are a French duo with a fetish for old synthesizers and epic
orchestrations, stretching dense chords of buzzing analog sounds and guitars
over drum machine beats and haunting, manipulated voices. Much in the spirit
of Alain Goraguer's score to "La Planete Sauvage," M83 songs are
otherworldly yet sensually human at the same time. Recommended for fans of
Boards of Canada, My Bloody Valentine, and Mum. [GH]

ULRICH SCHNAUSS "A Strangely Isolated Place" (City Centre)
CD $16.99

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It seems that Ulrich Schnauss has taken a new direction like many of his
peers and incorporated elements of late-'80s and early-'90s shoegazing bands
into his brand of melodic electronics. "Gone Forever" could be the long lost
Slowdive track from their classic "Pygmalion" album, filled with downtempo
beats, lulling synth washes, and lovely female vocals that float by. He has
created an album equally as good as his debut. [JS]


BROADCAST "Haha Sound" (Warp) CD $15.99
After hearing "Pendulum" I was expecting more of a dark and sharp,
free-noise experience; and there are dark bits -- percussive and shattering
moments of electronic noise -- but the record as a whole is a careful
gathering of psychedelia and electronic-pop. The instrumental tracks,
bubbling and joyful, are full of childlike wonderment, complete with both
awe and tantrum. Broadcast appears to take it all in, past present and future,
and turn it into something both timeless and right on time. Surely my favorite
of this year. [NL] 

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE "You Forgot It in People" (Arts & Crafts) CD $12.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/kcaccide.rm
Broken Social Scene is a 11 piece Canadian collective and features members
of Stars, Do Make Say Think, A Silver Mt. Zion. The various musicians
frequently switch instruments and roles; so song for song, there is a lot of
musical ground being covered -- from the post-rock grandeur of bands like
Godspeed, to otherworldly ethereal of Sigur Ros, to the bittersweet yearning
of Jeff Buckley. It's an album that explores many different directions but
underneath it all are fantastic pop songs; even when at their grandest,
great rewards aren't far from the surface. [GH]

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE "Here Comes the Indian" (Paw Tracks)
CD $13.99

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This is some of the most important music being made in New York City right
now in terms of sheer creative production and intent. Sounds crest and
spiral, pastoral plateaus are reached only to give way to a gorgeous melody.
Hushed incantations or seemingly indigenous chants create string figures in
sound. That fact that the Animal Collective can marry this approach to the
occasional pop song is incredible. [MK]

CAT POWER "You Are Free" (Matador) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/free.rm
The way Chan Marshall molds a song, original or cover, with her version of
whiskey songbird vocals along with heartache guitar picking and piano
tinkling is undeniably golden. Don't expect all melancholy, slow songs ala
"Moon Pix" from this one, though. Refreshingly, there's definitely more
variety on "You Are Free" than any previous album. Cat Power acolytes will
love it, and dissenters will listen with another ear. [LG]

RAPTURE "Echoes" (Universal/DFA) CD $9.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/sistersa.rm
Opening with the Cure goes acid house "Olio," the schizophrenic
style-switching, (post-punk, early house, electro and disco) that awaits us
is established by track two, the hard hitting "Heaven," where guitars pound
and drums pummel amidst a squawking sax and a multi-tracked chorus of
voices. The production skills of DFA's Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy are
most apparent on the synth pulses of "Sister Saviour" and "Killing," believe
me, you'll dance. [GH]

TV ON THE RADIO "Young Liars" (Touch & Go) CD $4.99
You ever hear a record that blows you away, something you never knew that
reminds of all your favorite things? In 25 minutes, that's what TV On the
Radio did to me. This trio from Brooklyn are a thing of beauty, hard to pin
down but kind of like Eno and his vocalists Byrne, Bowie, and Gabriel.
Vocals, guitars, drum programming, bass, and synth atmosphere create a moody
pop, soul, gospel, hybrid. [DG]

DEAD MEADOW "Shivering King and Others" (Matador) CD $10.99
One of my absolute favorites of this year, Dead Meadow have made it possible
to relive the days of the mythic "Orange" amps all over the place, boulder
heavy, epic riffs, and a warm wave of sound crashing over you when they lock
in. This is the third proper recording from the DC trio, and it is both a
great introduction to their rich sound and an album within which their
aesthetic is realized. The album is split up between thunderously sludgy
fuzzed out rock ala Sabbath or Blue Cheer, then turns into an ethereal,
psychedelic lullaby. The vocals are more implied, bits of lyrics float into
your consciousness, buoyed among the distortion. A must have for the
purveyor of dreamy, dusty, dirgey, middle earth style sound. [NL]

POSTAL SERVICE "Give Up" (Sub Pop) CD $13.99
Postal Service is the long awaited project from Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel) and
Death Cab for Cutie's Benjamin Gibbard. The duo gives us a whole album
filled with 10 perfect electronic pop songs. "Give Up" takes elements from
some of the best electronic pop of the '80s, such as the Pet Shop Boys, OMD
and Ultravox, and adds a twist for the new millennium by adding some of the
crunchy bedroom electronics of Morr Music. [JS]

RICHARD HAWLEY "Low Edges" (XL) CD $14.99
Sometime Pulp guitarist and serious pop nostalgia-phile, Richard Hawley's
songs narrate a world peopled by sympathetic ruffians and melancholy road
trips. "Low Edges" recalls the finest hours of Billy Fury and Ricky Nelson
as played by someone who's other band might be Pulp, with bittersweet
warbling guitars, delicate percussion and a voice that at times sounds like
it's echoing out of a transistor radio, and at others feels whispered
directly in your ear. [MC]

THE OCCASION "Seven Songs" (Occasion) CD $7.99
The Occasion are one of the few groups I could point to who generate any
meditation at all on these vagaries of our infant millennium. There is both
the fed-up somnambulist of Neil Young's "On the Beach" or the same time
period's less wayward Tim Buckley in them, and as well the erudite intensity
of Australia/NZ '80s rock usurpers like Birthday Party. They can also at
times resemble cloudy Midwest iconoclasts like Smog or Low. This is just a
seven-song introduction to what looks to be a fantastic oeuvre in the
making. [DHo]

CALLA "Televise" (Arena Rock) CD $12.99
"Televise" is Calla's best record to date and that is saying a lot
considering how much I love their two previous albums. Here they have
further refined their sound, offering the warm western landscapes entwined
in agonizing late-nite obsessions of heartbreak, with even more structure
and melody than before. Speaking with the same sense of melancholy as last
year's Sigur Ros album but with much more to say. [AG]

MY MORNING JACKET "It Still Moves" (ATO) CD $13.99
This Louisville five-piece has been recording and touring for quite a few
years now, and the several releases since their Darla Records debut have
seen them grow musically and emotionally into a band that can sit
comfortably with their idols; they clearly pay a deep debt to Neil Young,
and classic southern boogie-rock, and maybe Uncle Tupelo for that "modern"
1990's sound. This album is a killer from beginning to end, and for those of
you who are not embarrassed to love good ol' rock and roll, this will likely
be one of your favorites in a long time. [JM]

ERASE ERRATA "At Crystal Palace" (Troubleman) CD $10.99
Erase Errata borrows heavily from the post-punk era and on their second LP,
the jerky, danceable rhythms of what's now called disco punk mingle with
distinct, metallic guitar lines and warm, popping bass. That wonderful
trumpet that gave Erase Errata's songs a fleeting free jazz vibe plays less
of a role on this album, though Jenny can be heard belting out the harmonies
more. The trade-off makes for a more diverse sophomore release. [LG]

GREG WEEKS "Slightly West EP" (Acuarela) CD $8.99
The Rochester songwriter takes another trip back in time to the England of
the late-'60s for a highly-successful exercise in Nick Drake-isms. Greg
Weeks sets himself apart from the pack by layering his sad, pretty acoustic
guitar and vocal tunes behind an intense wall of sound created by his
mellotron, Moog, and harmonium. The five dreamlike songs here are all pretty
spectacular; you'd be extremely hard-pressed to find anyone else making this
kind of music today and doing a better job. [RH]

CENTRO-MATIC "Love You Just the Same" (Misra) CD $13.99
Centro-matic do more than nod at their classic rock affection, notably Neil
Young, but with a natural, instinctive knack of melody that so many of
today's bands lack, particularly those currently sprinkling Americana seeds
over their indie rock roots -- imagine Grandaddy throwing away their Casio
keyboards and replacing their technology fetish with good-ol' fashioned
desert heartache and a shot or two of whiskey-drenched bar room rock. [GH]

SUFJAN STEVENS "Greetings From Michigan" (Asthmatic Kitty)
CD $13.99

Never have I heard such a great homage to a state than "Greetings From
Michigan." Sufjan Stevens wrote, produced, and played almost all of the
instruments on this record -- from spare, acoustic ballads using just
trumpet and piano, to layer upon layer of xylophone, flute, oboe, electric
organ, and banjo to name a few. Within the folds of this map, he offers his
memories allowing us to believe that we are the sum of our circumstances in
the most earnest way. [LM]

THE DECEMBERISTS "Her Majesty" (Kill Rock Stars) CD $13.99
"Her Majesty" is still filled with lush instrumentation and Colin Meloy's
witty storytelling lyrics, but most of the songs are slower and longer in
length making the album as a whole, a lot more somber than their previous
efforts. But you can hear the growth in the songwriting and their confidence
as a band and though this record took a while to grow on me, I now feel that
it's better than "Castaways and Cutouts" and should be considered a classic.

GILLIAN WELCH "Soul Journey" (Acony) CD $17.99
In many ways, her new record is a continuation of the creative arc Gillian
Welch has followed for years, mixing a few traditional country-gospel
classics with her heartfelt and genuine originals, creating timeless and
beautiful acoustic suites. Welch's vocals are as pure and strong as ever,
and her lyrics are still full of heartache and redemption. "Soul Journey" is
another honest and emotional batch of songs from one of the finest voices
and visions making American roots music today. [JM]

THE STILLS "Logic Will Break Your Heart" (Vice) CD $13.99
Like Interpol, descriptions like dark romantic pop, chimey guitars as well
as some similar late-'70s and 'early-'80s influences ala the Chameleons,
Bunnymen and the Smiths could all easily be applied; but stop there. On
their first full-length, the Stills add a lot more variety to the mix.
Starting with a healthy dose of dream pop guitar styling (Ride,
Swervedriver, and even Doves), the Montreal quintet simply craft songs
filled with great pop hooks and melodies. [GH]


!!! "Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard" (Touch & Go)
CD $4.99

It's been almost three years since !!!'s stupefyingly great debut album came
out on GSL, and they're finally back with an amazing new single that calls
to mind the best stuff by the Cure, Gang Of Four, the Contortions, PIL, and
all the rest of your favorite funky post-punk and new wave legends. A couple
of the folks in the band are also in Out Hud, and the dubby production
sounds from last year's "S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D." are used on this recording to
great effect. I seriously doubt you'll hear a better single in the year
2003. [RH]


GLENN BRANCA "Ascension" (Acute) CD $13.99
Finally, a legitimate re-release of Glenn Branca's seminal debut LP. After
fronting two of the most caustic no wave bands going (Theoretical Girls,
Static), Branca honed his vision, taking out the histrionics, but leaving in
the theatricality and grandiosity. Branca's ensemble employed Lee Renaldo
(who is featured here) and Thurston Moore in their pre-Sonic Youth days, and
the more you listen the more you realize how intensely this must have
influenced their subsequent careers. Essential. [MK]

KENNETH HIGNEY "Attic Demonstration" (Kebrutney) CD $14.99
Recorded in '76 as demos and never intended for commercial release, Higney
got tired of waiting for the publishing community to take notice and pressed
a couple hundred to distribute himself. Twenty some odd years later, and a
public that constantly clamors for the next bit of outsider Americana
freakiness, you've got yourself a bona fide Cult Artiste. Higney
occasionally sounds as if he'd had his fair share of relational
psychodramas. Seemingly off kilter one-handed funk containing some blazingly
original guitar solos alternate with folk-loner testimonials. [MK]

[V.A.] "94 Baker Street" (RPM) CD $17.99
"94 Baker Street," collects a whole album's worth of phenomenal psych-pop
material culled from the vaults of the Beatles' Apple publishing outlet. The
bulk of the collection comes from four bands: Focal Point, Grapefruit,
Misunderstood, and the Iveys (who would later change their name to
Badfinger). Don't pass this one up, it's easily the best collection of
psych-pop you'll hear this year. Fans of the Kinks, the Left Banke, the
Small Faces, Emitt Rhodes, and of course the fab four will be in heaven when
they hear this. [RH]

SPACEMEN 3 "Forged Prescriptions" (Space Man) CD $19.99
"Perfect Prescription," to make a lame play on words, was a sick record.
"Forged Prescriptions," hyped by Sonic Boom for years now and finally here,
is arguably that much more sick. The sonic aspects of specific psychedelic
import only granted greater prominence, even as both feature the same songs.
"Perfect" is thus recast as streamlined in this one's wake. "Forged" is
possibly as good as the subsequent "Playing With Fire," considered by most
to be their best. This is absolutely prime Spacemen 3. Check it out.  [DHo]

THE ACTION "Rolled Gold" (Reaction) $14.99
Signed to EMI by George Martin, the Action were a mod outfit along the lines
of early R&B oriented Who and Small Faces, but just couldn't seem to get
any chart success. Musicians came and went, and it seemed like that was
it. Like many, in the latter half of the '60s the remaining members
discovered psychedelics and found a new "inner creativity". "Rolled Gold,"
while technically demos, stands as a highly accomplished statement all on
its own and the songs are served well by the slightly roughhewn quality of
the recordings. As rocking as "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" and as catchy
and ambitious as anything on "S.F. Sorrow." [MK]

THE MOON "The Moon" (Rev-Ola) CD $14.99
Rev-Ola presents us with the chance to reconsider the unsung pop majesty of
The Moon. Featuring a whole gaggle of '60s West Coast scenesters (including
former Beach Boy David Marks), The Moon produced two albums of
McCartney/Badfinger-esque sonic bliss that will at the very LEAST hold you
over until Emmit Rhodes gets a proper reissue. [MK]

GENE CLARK "No Other" (Warner Brothers Europe) CD $18.99
Have you heard this record? As usual with Mr. Clark, great, great songs, but
David Geffen apparently did not agree and curtailed its release. Parked in a
hazy 1970s Los Angeles, this former country boy had by this time been
sufficiently exposed to a veritable inferno of excess and, for a spell here,
was able to locate himself inside of it all. I'd say it's the least guilty
pleasure any fan of West Coast myth-rock could afford themselves. One
of my favorite records. This remastered edition includes six alternate
versions and an unreleased bonus track. [DHo]

NEIL YOUNG "On the Beach" (Reprise) CD $11.99
For many, "On the Beach," which has been unavailable for many years, is THE
Neil Young record. At the time of its recording, his personal life was in
turmoil (friends dying, sick children, a marriage breaking up). Perhaps it
is so personal a record that Young preferred it to be unavailable. There is
some deep, dark stuff on this; brace yourself. It's a far cry from the
idealistic times of Buffalo Springfield and Young turns on the bright sunny
canyons that lured him from Canada. [NL]

THE AEROVONS "Resurrection" (RPM) CD $17.99
It seems almost too crazy to believe that in 1969 a 17year old Beatle maniac
from St. Louis could write such perfect pop tunes that he was able to go to
London, score a deal with EMI, record at Abbey Road Studios, meet the
Beatles and jam with the Hollies, and then never have his record released
until 34 years later. It's like suddenly discovering that Badfinger had a
record as good as their first after all these years, or that maybe John
Lennon and George Harrison had little brothers with nearly as much
songwriting sense as they did. [MK]

[V.A.] "Velvet Tinmine" (RPM) CD $18.99
"The Velvet Tinmine" is a collection of some of the best one-hit-wonders
that never bothered to hit. Bubblegum isn't even a fair description for this
music. This stuff instantly melts in your mouth. Highlights include a young
Nick Lowe's giddy homage to the Bay City Rollers (recorded as the Tartan
Horde), and the Andrew Loog Oldham produced "Va Va Voom" by Brett Smiley.
Who am I kidding? This whole CD is one big highlight from start to finish.

[V.A.] "Velvet Tinmine Volume 2 - Magpie" (RPM) CD $15.99
Volume two of the "Velvet Tinmine" series, "Magpie" takes its title from a
late-'60s children's television program. The music on this collection is
still sugary and unquestionably British, but unlike its predecessor it's
made up of songs from TV shows, films, and advertisements. Highlights
include Elton John's cover of "Spirit In The Sky," and CCS's instrumental
flute-jam version of "Whole Lotta Love." [RH]

[V.A.] "Zig Zag - 20 Junkshop Soft Rock Singles" (RPM) CD $17.99
"Zig Zag" collects 20 junkshop soft rock singles, some of which are among
the most perfect pop songs I've ever laid ears on. It's full of great
voices, incredible string arrangements, unforgettable melodies, and the
finest in British and American singer-songwriter balladry that hardly anyone
ever got a chance to hear. [RH]

BRETT SMILEY "Breathlessly Brett" (RPM) $17.99
If you loved Brett Smiley's "Va Va Va Voom" from the "Velvet Tinmine" comp,
don't miss this re-issue of his long lost album. Brett got his start on
Broadway in the title role of "Oliver!" and was taken under the wing of
legendary British producer and Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham by the time
he was 18. These recordings never saw the light of day after the lead-off
single failed to sell. "Breathlessly Brett" is lush, pouting, vampy cabaret
glam with breathy androgynous vocals and string arrangements worthy of a
classic Hollywood musical. A really fun pop obscurity with a hell of a story
behind it. [RH]


[V.A.] "New York Noise" (Soul Jazz) CD $16.99
Subtitled "Dance Music from the New York Underground 1978-1982", "New York
Noise" celebrates the more percussive, sometimes spastic, and often funky
sounds which once emanated from NYC's Lower East Side. A detailed booklet
offers short biographies on all the featured artists that include Material,
Mars, ESG, Dinosaur L and Arthur Russell, Glenn Branca and Theoretical
Girls, Rahmelzee Vs K. Rob (produced by Jean-Michel Basquiat), Konk,
Defunkt, the Dance, and the Bloods. Recommended! [GH]

THE SOUND "Jeopardy" (Renascent) CD $21.99
Remember when you were in high school and your older friends turned you on
to the Gang of Four, Wire, The Only Ones, Pere Ubu, and all that other
awesome post-punk from the late-'70s when you'd just been listening to the
Red Hot Chili Peppers? Well, why didn't they mention The Sound?!?
This record will certainly fulfill your post-punk jones. The Sound's 1980
debut was a stunning album of propulsive rhythms, jagged guitars, catchy as
hell hooks, and frighteningly emotional. It just doesn't quit. As good as it

MARS "Complete Studio Recordings" (G3G/Spooky Sound)
CD $16.99

No Wave was a new way of thinking about noise and MARS was at the center of
the movement. This very limited album contains the band's entire studio
recorded output. The two song 7" on Rebel, the four songs from "No New York"
on Island, and the five song EP on Lust/Unlust are now for the first time
all available on one CD. Lovingly packaged with a full lyric sheet and
extensive liner notes by China Burg and Mark Cunningham. [AG]

[V.A.] "Cool As Ice: The Be Music Productions" (LTM) $15.99
Between 1982 and 1985, the individual members of New Order produced and
re-mixed a slew of bands and artists, always using the production tag Be
Music. The 12 tracks on "Cool As Ice" are focused on Be Music's dance
productions and include club classics like Section 25's electro pulse driven
"Looking From a Hilltop," Quando Quango's funky "Love Tempo," and 52nd
Street's "Cool As Ice." A necessary compilation for those wishing to explore
Manchester's very important contribution to dance music. [GH]

MEDIUM MEDIUM "Hungry, So Angry" (Cherry Red) CD $16.99
Everyone keeps saying that Medium Medium sound like Gang of Four, but they
don't have the political anger or metallic punch. They do have the elastic
funk of Blurt, the endless groove and chant of Liquid Liquid, a drop of the
primal abandon of Malcolm Mooney-fronted Can coupled with soaring moments
that touch on the beauty of the Cure. Medium Medium formed in '78 recording
the main body of this LP in '81. [SM]

JAMES CHANCE "Irresistible Impulse" (Tiger Style) CD Box $42.99
A fantastic four-CD retrospective from James Chance, one of the key figures
in New York's late-'70s no wave movement. "Irresistible Impulse" includes
his three classic albums on Ze plus 1982's "Sax Maniac" originally released
on Chris Stein's Animal imprint. This is a great collection for completists
as well as those unfamiliar with Chance's cool abrasive style mixing free
jazz influences like Ornette Coleman with the flash and funk of James Brown,
and the aesthetics of the city's avant-garde and punk circles. [GH]

[V.A.] "Wild Dub/Dread Meets Punk Rocker" (Select Cuts) CD $15.99
Twenty years after the fact, finding a compilation of post-punk songs is
nothing new, yet showcasing the cross-cultural marriage of reggae and punk,
under the influence of dub is an area yet to be tapped. This excellent
collection from Select Cuts, subtitled "Dread Meets Punk Rocker," focuses on
the dubby side of the era. Tracks include dubs from the Slits, Grace Jones,
the Clash, Generation X, and Vivien Goldman, as well as vocals from the Pop
Group, the Ruts, Killing Joke, Stiff Little Fingers, and PIL. Insightful
liner notes by Vivien Goldman. [DG]

ESSENTIAL LOGIC "Fanfare in the Garden" (Kill Rock Stars)
CD $14.99

An absolute must for anyone re-visiting Rough Trade's golden era. After
leaving X-Ray Spex, Lora Logic formed Essential Logic in 1978, a peculiar
ensemble in the punk circle who embraced art rock tendencies amidst
off-kilter arrangements, dance beats, and her banshee-warble vocals and
honking sax. This 2-CD set culls a majority of the tracks from "Beat Rhythm
News" as well as 1981 solo recordings made with a line-up that included
This Heat's Charles Hayward, a 1982 track she recorded with Red Crayola,
plus demos and unreleased tracks. [GH]

FRA LIPPO LIPPI "Early Years" (Rune Grammafon) CD $15.99
An early-'80s art pop band in the vein of the Wake, Felt and Durutti Column,
Fra Lippo Lippi were remarkable for their almost insanely melodramatic
sounding lead singer who was offset so beautifully by their ever-present,
slightly reverb-tinged, winding piano melodies. Undoubtedly holding a debt
to post-punk forerunners like Joy Division, and later the Cure, Fra Lippo
Lippi have that quality that makes them unique despite their influences --
as if the ideas within their influences mutated and became something else
somewhere in the distance between Manchester and Norway. [SM]


ED ASKEW "Little Eyes" (De Stijl) LP $14.99
Brilliant outsider folk from 1970. Ed Askew cut one record for ESP in 1969
and this was to be his follow-up, but the label ran out of money making this
the first release of this material. "Little Eyes" is even better than his
first LP. He plays an adapted lute and piano and the whole record was
recorded in one take. Quality wise, it ranks up there with the very best of
Pearls Before Swine. Limited pressing. [MK]

JOHN FAHEY "Red Cross" (Revenant) CD $17.99
Created just months prior to his unfortunate passing in 2001, "Red Cross" is
a triumphant end to an astonishingly original body of work. A true American
maverick, John Fahey combined elements of folk, blues, country and
psychedelic music to create his own unique style of Americana. Fahey brings
us on a tour of his entire musical output, from the electrified distortion
and reverb of his recent CDs to the beautiful acoustic fingerpicking of his
early LPs. [KH]

BERT JANSCH "Avocet" (Castle/Sanctuary) CD $19.99
Little known vocal-less gem of Bert's from 1977, featuring tracks co-written
with Martin Jenkins of the Dando Shaft, who contributes a very prevalent
violin. "Avocet" is easily one of the highlights of Jansch's career, with
achingly beautiful songs and virtuoso performances. [MK]

FAIRPORT CONVENTION "Unhalfbricking" (Polydor UK) CD $18.99
Arguably Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson's best Fairport album together.
Originally released in 1969, "Unhalfbricking" features quite a varied range
of styles, including three Dylan covers. Tragically, drummer Martin Lamble
would die in a van crash (which also took the life of Thompson's girlfriend)
soon after the recording of this album. [GH]

MEIC STEVENS "Outlander" (Rhino Handmade) CD $22.99
Deluxe reissue by Rhino Handmade of Welsh superstar Meic Stevens' sole
album recorded in English c.1970. Excellent folk rock with shades of Dylan,
Jackson C. Frank, and Bert Jansch (the last two of whom Stevens was pals
with), "Outlander" also featured forays into raga-influenced psychedelia
and fractured pop songwriting ala Syd Barrett. A great opportunity to find
out what the Gorky's and Super Furry crowd have been gushing about for
years. [MK]


OUTKAST "Speakerboxx/The Love Below" (Arista) CD $21.99
Big Boi's "Speakerboxx," is more like a traditional OutKast release with
big, bouncing hyper beats, large live horn stabs, deep bass, smooth R&B
choruses, and down-south lyrical style and speed. André 3000's "The Love
Below" rewrites the story as a pysch-funk/soulful love turned to hate
letter, feeling both classic and forward thinking. Both sides have a lot to
offer; separately they've made the best record of their careers. [DG]

BEANS "Tomorrow Right Now" (Warp) CD $15.99
As a member of the defunct hip-hop powerhouse Antipop Consortium, Beans
never failed to first disorient, then stun and kill all listeners with
relentless and brilliant flurries of words and ideas. "Tomorrow Right Now,"
his solo album debut, succeeds on its own terms, crafted from vintage
hip-hop, electro, skewed electronica and blasts of psychedelia. With dense,
complex rhymes that can be both intensely personal and broadly metaphysical,
Beans' words are the heart and soul of the record. [JM]

DUDLEY PERKINS "A Lil Light" (Stones Throw) CD $14.99
Does the name Declaime mean anything? Dudley Perkins and Declaime are two
sides of the same coin, one side a rapper, the other a singer. With his
debut as Dudley Perkins, we get a true stoned soul picnic. Atop Madlib's
hip-hop collaged tracks, some of his best, Dudley croons like a 40 oz filled
blues or whisky drenched jazz singer. Think somewhere between Ol' Dirty B,
Eugene McDaniels, Snoop Dogg, Gary Wilson and Cody Chesnutt (without the
pretension), but better. Sho 'nuff recommended!! [DG]

DIVERSE "One A.M." (Chocolate Industries) CD $13.99
Interweaving weighty guitar-rock licks, smooth downtempo experimental beats,
and true school "get live" b-boy jams and presenting a stimulating mix of
guest artists repping the East to the West, "One A.M." contends for hip hop
album of the year. Listening to this LP immediately conjured the
beat-palettes of Pete Rock, and who other than RJD2 to furnish us the ideal
congruence with funk/soul infused joints. Diverse drops true, ruling the
rhymes without the bling and with sound delivery. And if this party wasn't
already bangin', also on the vocal tip are Jean Grae, Vast Aire of Cann Ox,
and Lyrics Born. [MT]

KING GEEDORAH "Take Me To Your Leader" (Big Dada) CD $14.99
Released on Big Dada, this is classic MF Doom. No matter which mask he puts
on, which name he chooses, it's always cinematic, space age, underground and
smoked out. Looped sections of everything from soul, disco, jazz, soft and
hard rock, b-movies, film noir, and blaxploitation are his palette, and form
the grounding for many of his rhymes. Production-wise Doom is in the league
of RZA, El-P, DJ Shadow, and Madlib. [DG]

EXPRESS RISING "Express Rising" (Memphix) CD $13.99
While this is his first full-length, Dante Carfagna has been a
behind-the-scenes force at the margins of hip-hop for some time -- hanging
around Luther Campbell's studio, turning up on obscure Miami Bass 12"s and
receiving writing credits on Professor Griff albums while still a teenager.
Carfagna knows how to coax beautiful melodies out of his record collection.
A palpable sense of romanticism should certainly appeal to fans of Boards of
Canada, and the invention is on par, if not exceeds, that of the recent work
of RJD2 and Boom Bip. [MK]

DIZZEE RASCAL "Boy In Da Corner" (XL) CD $22.99
The summer of '03 brought us Dizzee Rascal's "Boy in Da Corner," the latest
to emerge from the UK two-step/ultra digital hip-hop scene. Arcade
game/digital sounds swirl, bounce, snap, and stretch around the background,
while Mr. Rascal, rides the rhythm like he's doing gymnastics -- think
Southern Crunk with a heavy British accent. The UK garage/two-step/hip-hop
fusion scene is HUGE is England, but outside of Europe it's hard for groups
to break through. Rascal has the speed, attitude, humor, and skills to keep
the UK in the game, and possibly get them over [DG]

DM & JEMINI "Ghetto Pop Life" (Lex) CD $15.99
"Ghetto Pop Life" is the joint effort of producer DM (formally Danger Mouse)
and Jemini (the gifted one), with contributors including J-Zone, The
Pharcyde, Tha Liks, and Prince Po from Organized Konfusion. Slick production
shines like the gold paint used in the artwork with big beats, string
swells, guns firing, and crowd hyping choruses. [DG]


PETE ROCK / INI / DEDA "Lost & Found" (BBE) CD $17.99
This isn't a newjack producer/MC copping '94 and precariously trying to make
it relevant. This IS '94, Pete Rock delivering his signature production work
through two barely known artists -- INI and Deda. Pete Rock infused his
distinguishing beat-wizardry, all that voluble, butter-smooth deep soul and
groove that he is celebrated for. Widely bootlegged and painstakingly sought
after, now we have both albums accessible to us, INI's "Center of Attention"
and Deda's "The Original Baby Pa" in full format. Featured MCs on the discs
include Large Professor and Q-Tip. [MT]

CHARIZMA & PEANUT BUTTER WOLF "Big Shots" (Stones Throw) CD $15.99
A great slice of lost hip hop history, recorded between '91and '93, "Big
Shots" reminds us of when the genre was still creative, genuine, and fun.
PBW's production is a warm collage of jazz and soul samples, skillful
scratches, and tasty beats. Sitting between classics by Special Ed, KMD, 3rd
Bass, Pete Rock and CL, De LA, Tribe, etc., if only Charizma (who tragically
died in 1993) stuck around along enough to show us more of his skills. [DG]

[V.A.] "Go With the Flow" (WEA UK) CD $18.99
O.K, compilations, as a general concept, is a bore as we usually see the
same songs re-released for the 23,847,483th time in glossier packaging. But
we do know that there are exceptions to the rule, in addition to the fact
that "Go With The Flow" is a collection that is long overdue. Quite possibly
the best comp of 2003, repping the greatest hip hop jams of the late-'80s --
musically ranging from the melancholy soul-funkadelic to the b-boy
bombtastic. Featuring 20 joints by KMD, Ice-T, Pete Rock, Brand Nubian, and
many more.  [MT]


EUGENE MCDANIELS "Outlaw" (Water) CD $14.99
Eugene McDaniels' began his career as an R&B singer, but gained famed
penning one of the best socio-political jazz-soul songs of the '60s,
"Compared to What," recorded by Roberta Flack and Rashaan Roland Kirk. This
predecessor to the classic "Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse" is less of
the pysch-soul fusion, and more of the urban folk, political rock, socially
aware soul variety. It plays like a time capsule of the Civil Rights
movement and in these current troubled times, the lyrics still resonate.

L.A. CARNIVAL "Would Like To Pose a Question"
(Stones Throw/Now Again) CD $14.99

Stones Throw have given us another unreleased, "shoulda-been-classic"
record. Hailing from Omaha, the L.A. Carnival was an early-'70s multi-racial
hard funk band. Their sound and attitude mirrored that of Sly & The Family
Stone -- ferocious rock-inspired funk drumming, spirited accented horn
lines, and socially conscious lyrics that expressed a need for respect for
your brother man. At times the band is playing so hard and heavy, it's
almost overwhelming; but then the most sublime three part vocal part comes
in and soothes it... like if the Impressions sang "Get into it, Get
involved" with the J.B's. [DH]

AL GREEN "I Can't Stop" (Blue Note) CD $16.99
Reuniting with long time producer Willie Mitchell, and enlisting the horn
section and session players used on many of his classic records of the '70s,
with his new record on Blue Note, Al Green moves back to secular music after
spending the past decade singing only spirituals and gospel, and running his
church. The reverend's falsetto is as good as ever with sweet, classic
feeling songs of love, faith and devotion, delivered in a spirit that
effortlessly marries the secular and sacred. [DG]

MICKEY & THE SOUL GENERATION "Iron Leg" (Calitex) CD $15.99
Mickey and the Soul Generation were a San Antonio based funk outfit
operating in the late-'60s and early-'70s. They had a fair amount of
regional success unfortunately they weren't a high priority for their record
label. In the late-'90s, a couple of their tunes started popping up on
bootlegs and 45s by the group became holy grail items to rare funk
collectors. Think the best of the Meters and early Kool and the Gang, snappy
breaks and a truly innovative stretching of the boundaries of funk and R&B.

[V.A.] "Straight To Watts" (Ace) CD $17.99
Using Watts, California as its muse, "Straight to Watts", showcases dozens
of little known artists from the '40s and '50s, and is an excellent
compilation of the independent scene of the time. The collection features
lots of smooth-crooners, doo-wop harmonizing, tales of wayward women, and
heartbroken men, as well as swinging instrumentals. [DG]

STARK REALITY "Now" (Stones Throw) CD $15.99
Stark Reality was a late-'60s ensemble led by vibe player Monty Stark, a
musical contributor at a Boston PBS television affiliate. There he met
Hoagy Bix Carmichael, (son of famed composer Hoagy Carmichael) who
approached Stark with the idea of remaking his father's children's songs for
a music program. The results were mind-blowing. Imagine Soft Machine meets
Funkadelic as funk and free jazz rhythms are mixed with an almost Canterbury
feel. Stark Reality's songs have since been sampled by the likes of Pete
Rock, J-Live and Madlib and the original LP can fetch hundreds of dollars on
e-Bay. An essential reissue!  [GH/DH]


WEEVIE "Nighty Night" (Stoic) CD $10.99
Weevie is a reclusive New Yorker who meticulously seamed together this
creative mix meant to soulfully rock you sleep. This CD consists of his
bedroom 4-track remix and dub reinterpretations of artists as diverse as
James Brown, Donavan, Zap Mama, and Pharcyde. Using King Tubby and Lee
"Scratch" Perry dub technique as his model, Weevie slows the track way down
leaving just traces of the bass and drums, brings in vocal phrases and
echoes them into infinity. Highly recommended to fans of dub, downtempo and
R&B. [DH]

RICARDO VILLALOBOS "Taka Taka In the Mix" (Cocoon) CD $16.99
Ricardo Villalobos teams with Frankfurter label Cocoon to showcase his
renown DJ skills that South America and Germany have been treated to in
previous years; I haven't heard a house mix of this quality in a long time.
It begins with Akufen/Herbert-like IDM, shifts into tech-house and descends
with smooth, melodic 4/4 funk. The best part about "Taka Taka" is that it is
compiled of many artists you've probably never heard of lending a helping
hand to those DJs seeking the hottest new ish. Check this one out. [JD]

TOBIAS THOMAS "Smallville" (Kompakt) CD $15.99
Tobias Thomas, ultra-suave producer and a member of Cologne super-group
Forever Sweet, displays his penchant for building it up nice and slow. Most
of the tracks are presented "connoisseur style," allowing the song to play
almost completely through, and when the mix comes on, the blend is ridden
for as long as possible letting the flavors roll around on your tongue like
a warm sip of red wine. From the smooth modern house of Sten and Jan
Jelinek, to the sophisti-kicked funk of Feadz and Forever Sweet, this mix is
just the beginning of a long night. [SM]

MARSHALL JEFFERSON "Move Your Body" (Unisex) CD $22.99
House music godfather and innovator Marshall Jefferson guides on an
educational journey picking 29 influential tracks for this fantastic
collection celebrating the musical influences to and evolution of the
Chicago house scene. The two CD set includes classic grooves from Mr
Fingers, Ce Ce Rogers, Farley "Jackmaster" Funk, Frankie Knuckles, Sleezy D,
Phuture, and ESG. [GH]

CHICKEN LIPS "DJ Kicks" (!K7) CD $16.99
Chicken Lips' entry in the DJ Kicks spans genres jumping from electro
breaks, disco, and house, to dub and rock. It features tracks from Rhythm &
Sound, Gwen Guthrie, Colourbox, Nina Hagen, Sharon Redd, Tik n Tok, Big Two
Hundred (one of their aliases), Chicken Lips themselves and many, many more.
The trio has produced a mix that is up there with likeminded artists such as
Trevor Jackson (a/k/a Playgroup) and 2 Many DJs. [JS]

K.I.M. "Miyage" (Tiger Sushi) CD $16.99
A concept mix CD from the K.I.M. duo/collective, sources as varied as the
French world music label Ocora, to street-dwelling jazz musician Moondog, to
Psychic TV, to the Gun Club, to K.I.M.'s very own organically twisted
productions are all seamlessly mixed into an eclectic and psychedelically
satisfying "Back-to-Mine" session. Though there are some beats here and
there, many tracks are used only for a minute or so to segue to the next
track. The focus is more along the lines of a themed "voyage in sound"
experience. [SM]

[V.A.] "Serie Noire 2" (Eskimo) CD $22.99
The Glimmer Twins offer us another excellent mix of dark, dancefloor gems.
"Serie Noire 2" features influential tracks to the late-'80s Belgian new
beat scene that emerged from clubs like Ghent's Boccaccio, and continues to
influence DJs and producers of today's electro and house music. Mo and
Benoelie handpicked a diverse range of classics from artists like
Blancmange, Boytronic, P.I.L., Die Warzau, Delta V and Liaisons Dangereuses.

DJ MUTAMASSIK "Bidoun" (MIS) CD $9.99
Highly respected NYC DJ and Burnt Sugar member who recorded this disc in
support of a tour in Dubai. Thirty-five minutes of dancehall, hip hop,
distorted breaks and Middle Eastern and North African rhythms mixed
seamlessly to devastating effect. An Other Music exclusive! [GA]


SUPERSILENT "6" (Rune Grammofon) CD $16.99
Founded in Norway in 1997 by electronic music producer Helge Sten (a/k/a
Deathprod), trumpeter Arve Henriksen, drummer Jarle Vespestad and keyboard
player Stale Storlokken, Supersilent has created some of the most
challenging and rewarding improvised music to come out in recent years. "6"
moves effortlessly between moments of almost ferocious noise and moments of
austere beauty often combining the two to create a subtle yet forward wall
of sound out of which the slightest details are slowly coaxed. An
uncompromising recording full of passion and guts. [KH]

[V.A.] "Wooden Guitar" (Locust) CD $15.99
"Wooden Guitar" brings together four great guitar players from around the
world: Tetuzi Akiyama from Japan, Steffen Basho-Junghans from Germany, Sir
Richard Bishop (Sun City Girls) and Jack Rose from the United States. Each
player is featured in his own extended and tastefully virtuosic acoustic
guitar piece. The compositions on this album are mostly dark, minimal, and
meditative. Highly recommended for fans of the late John Fahey, this is one
of the best solo guitar collections in recent memory. [RH]

BASIL KIRCHIN "Quantum: A Journey Through Sound" (Trunk) CD $13.99
After over three decades of obscurity, Trunk records has released "Quantum:
A Journey Through Sound In Two Parts," a recent reworking of material from
the early '70s. Kirchen's blend of field recordings of birds and mammals,
free improvisation, the voice of his wife Esther (which fluctuates between
whisper and scream) and other concrete and synthesized sounds is more
mysterious than the lack of specific information concerning his work. What I
imagine is the low growl of some sort of feline (a tiger perhaps?) sits
perfectly alongside a fractured guitar improvisation while Evan Parker's
circular breathing is nicely complimented by the fluttering of tropical
birds. [KH]

GLEN VELEZ "Internal Combustion" (Schematic) CD $13.99
A surprising release, Schematic has brought back into print the second solo
LP by virtuoso frame drummer Glen Velez. Hailed by the likes of Aphex Twin
and Squarepusher, the percussive rhythms created with frame drums, adorned
with small to large cymbals, or with varied diameters, can create a
hypnotizing staccato, polyrhythmic trance, and with the addition of dual
voice and percussion, an organic flange can form waves of overtones and
unimaginable bass. [DG/MK]

CHRISTOPHER TREE "At the Cathedral of St. John the Divine" (Quakebasket)
CD $14.99

Originally planned as a release for the now legendary Aspen magazine these
six meditations in "spontaneous sound" have finally made their way into mass
consciousness. Recorded live at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in 1970
using a truly vast array of gongs, cymbals, chimes, timpani, bass drums,
woodwinds, as well as some instruments specifically designed for him by
somnambulist instrument builder and musical maverick Harry Bertoia. From a
faint whisper to a giant roar, these recordings drift through space
effortlessly creating a feeling of calm that becomes even more engrossing
with each new listen. [KH]

VICTOR GAMA "Pangeia Instrumentos" (Rephlex) CD $17.99
"Pangeia Instrumentos" is a beguiling collection of compositions
specifically written for Victor Gama's handcrafted instruments. He draws
inspiration from his own native Angolan folk music traditions, as well as
those from throughout the African diaspora and his performers are virtuosos
on these outstanding compositions. This is mainly pattern music in its most
beautiful, lulling sense, with only the occasional violin to provide
dramatic counterpoint. [MK]

TAPE "Opera" (Hapna) CD $14.99
Tape, an electro-acoustic trio hailing from Stockholm, have created one of
the most rewarding experimental folk albums that I've been lucky enough to
come across in some time. Combining conventional song-making tools such as
melody and harmony with extremely tactile textures, warm modulating drones
and processed field recordings, "Opera" is a beautifully restrained album
that gets better with each listen. Reminiscent of Minamo or even Gastr Del
Sol but with a warmer more song oriented focus. [KH]

LA MONTE YOUNG / MARIAN ZAZEELA "Tamburas of Pandit Pran Nath"
(Just Dreams) CD $28.99
A lucky occasion in any year to have a La Monte Young sanctioned release.
"The Tamburas of Pandit Pran Nath" is a duo performance that is exactly in
line with Young and Zazeela's life long devotion to exquisitely long drones
and chiming tones that transform the experience of listening. Packaged with
a magazine sized pamphlet containing reams of information about Pandit Pran
Nath's instruments, music, and influence. [MK]

AMI YOSHIDA "Tiger Thrush" (Improvised Music From Japan)
CD $16.99

Ami Yoshida has created an otherworldly collection of untreated
vocalizations that are sonically closer to contemporary electronic music
then anything that would generally emanate from human vocal chords. "Tiger
Thrush" is a beautifully packaged document of Yoshida's current vocal
capabilities -- one of the most exciting of a new generation of improvisers.


BYARD LANCASTER "It's Not Up to Us" (Water) CD $14.99
Philadelphia based, Byard Lancaster had spent time in ensembles with Sunny
Murray, Bill Dixon and Sun Ra, and the music he created for the Atlantic
Records subsidiary Vortex proved to be extremely accessible avant-garde
jazz. This may seem surprising seeing that his main collaborator for this
date was none other than guitarist Sonny Sharrock. Originally released in
1966, "It's Not Up to Us" is a beautifully spiritual jazz record that shares
affinities with the best works of Alice and John Coltrane, Marion Brown, and
Sun Ra. [MK]

EDDIE GALE "Ghetto Music" (Water) CD $15.99
Eddie Gale earned his merits playing trumpet on Cecil Taylor's "Unit
Structures", and various recordings with Sun Ra, and Ra's influence sparked
Gale to create a group/collective of his own design. "Ghetto Music" is a
concept album that included costumes, dancers, actors, etc. to reflect life
in the ghetto, circa 1969. Featuring an 11-piece choir, the Noble Gale
Singers, two drummers, including Elvin Jones on B.R.H., two basses, sax,
flute, thumb piano, steel drum, African drums, and bird whistle, they create
a beautiful, darkly uplifting journey through the streets of the down
trodden yet hopeful. [DG]

FRANCOIS RABBATH "New Sound of Jazz" (Spalax) CD $16.99
Reissue of Syrian born virtuoso double bass player's first two solo LPs on
one disc. Often called the Paganini of the bass, these albums completely
refigured peoples ideas of what the double bass was capable of creating. The
compositions are essentially jazzy, but also combine beautiful passages
inspired by both classical and folk music. [MK]

DOROTHY ASHBY "Afro Harping" (Cadet) CD $11.99
One of the most successful of all the "East meets West" dates in mid-'60s
jazz, Dorothy Ashby's "Afro-Harping" (her main instrument is the harp) could
be a more accessible and swinging counterpart to Alice Coltrane's better
known forays into eastern mysticism and sound. [MK]

BURNT SUGAR "Black Sex Y'all Liberation / Bloody Random Violets"
(Trugoid) $17.99

The fourth proper album from the prolific New York ensemble known as Burnt
Sugar. A rich tapestry of instrument and voice comes together and flows from
free jazz to rock, spoken word to electronica and soul, and ends up sounding
like no other. Includes a searing Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln cover. [GA]

GRACHAN MONCUR III "New Africa / One Morning..." (Charly)
CD $14.99

Two of my favorite BYG/Actuel records on one CD by the single most
underrated player and composer of the '60s New Thing. Like most of the late-
'60s avant-garde, Grachan Moncur III, set off for Paris. The epic suite "New
Africa" features a brilliant ensemble: Roscoe Mitchell, Archie Shepp, Alan
Silva, Dave Burrell, and Andrew Cyrille. Similar to Coltrane's "A Love
Supreme," Moncur's arrangement is both dirge-like and airy. For "Aco Dei
De Madrugada", Moncur assembled a band of French players. All four
tunes have a distinct Latin vibe, and manage to be swinging, engaged,
free, and listenable. [MK]


LINDA PERHACS "Parallelograms" (Wild Places) $14.99
"Parallelograms" was introduced to me as a holy grail of (gentle)
psychedelia. Linda Perhacs' only album was originally released in 1970 and
finally reissued on CD in 1999, but has been out of print for the last two
years. It finally to returns to us now with a much better sound quality than
the original pressing. Perhacs has an exceptionally beautiful voice made
even more extraordinary by the hypnotic layering of her vocals and the
general freakiness of the lyrical content. [NL]

TETUZI AKIYAMA "Don't Forget To Boogie" (Idea) LP $23.99
Tetuzi Akiyama's homage to the electric guitar takes a simple, ultra-minimal
concept and executes it with inimitable perfection. There's nothing but fast
and dirty blues riffs, heavily distorted and repeated over and over again in
a show of guitar stamina that even Angus Young would have trouble matching.
If you took a bunch of five-second samples of guitar parts from the first
few ZZ Top records and looped them, you'd get something akin to the sounds
on this LP. One customer commented that John Lee Hooker must be rolling in
his grave, but I have a feeling he'd appreciate this incredible recording
more than any of us. [RH] (TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

TRAD GRAS OCH STENAR "Djungelns" (1/2 Special) CD $13.99
TRAD GRAS OCH STENAR "Mors Mors" (1/2 Special) CD $13.99
Warm fields of drone-rock well worth basking in, these two incredible psych
album reissues were originally released on the Swedish band's Tall imprint.
"Djungelns Lag" and "Mors Mors" were both recorded live in 1971 and 1972
respectively, and each includes a bonus cut. And now finally, in the context
of all this, unlike the many quasi-exotic things being celebrated upon
reissue-dom, both of these titles justify themselves seemingly immemorially.
"Djungelns Lag"
"Mors Mors"

MICHAEL YONKERS "Microminiature Love" (Sub Pop) CD $14.99
If this album had seen a proper release in its day, the cult career it would
have launched for Michael Yonkers might have put him in the ranks of Mayo
Thompson, Roky Erickson, and David Thomas. This reissue includes seven
tracks of seriously off-kilter outsider psych, plus six home-recorded bonus
tracks. Because the sessions for the album apparently lasted less than an
hour, the performances have an unbelievable energy and urgency that make the
music equal parts psych, garage rock, and proto-punk. [RH]

BRUCE PALMER "Cycle is Complete" (Collectors' Choice) CD $14.99
Bruce Palmer was the original bassist for Buffalo Springfield. Just as the
band really started to take off Palmer was busted for pot and deported to
Canada where he hooked up with a pre-superfreaky Rick James, and somehow
managed to finagle a deal with MGM. Raga-esque in nature and exuding some
seriously stoned late night atmospherics, this is the kind of record I see
appealing to anyone from beatheads to psych freaks into the Third Ear Band.

SUNROOF "Cloudz" (VHF) CD $13.99
I personally didn't think Matthew Bower could possibly top his latest
Skullflower record or last year's collaboration with Richard Youngs, but I
was dead wrong. There's a strong but off-kilter Krautrock influence this
time around, at times Bower sounds like Manuel Gottsching recorded in a
basement with sound effects sampled from 8-bit NES games, or Neu! if their
albums had been produced by Kevin Shields. Matthew Bower has become a genre
unto himself [RH]


CEDRIC IM BROOKS "Light of Saba" (Honest Jon's) $17.99
Born in Kingston, Brooks bridged the gap between roots, reggae and jazz
effortlessly. He first started playing saxophone and clarinet in a group
that included Ernest Ranglin, Tommy McCook, and Roland Alphonso. An extended
stay in Philadelphia '68 found him playing with Sun Ra. Inspired, Brooks
returned to Jamaica and began recording his soulful and hard funk brand of
reggae-jazz, inviting musicians, poets and dancers to live collectively. His
influence is finally being exposed; this is heavy, serious stuff. [DG]

KEITH HUDSON "Playing It Cool" (Basic Replay) CD $16.99
Listening to this record is like watching a psychological drama unfold
before your eyes, one that's so compelling you can't turn away. Produced by
the great Lloyd (Bullwackie) Barnes and featuring the usual Wackies records
crew, what begins as tightly wound funk is slowly unspooled into sub-aquatic
dub by Barnes' gritty production. Kick drums sound ten feet deep. Thoughts
pour out of Keith Hudson's mouth like he's writing a stream of consciousness
letter to a departed lover. One of the most compulsively fascinating records
I've listened to in ages. [MK]

PAUL ST. HILAIRE "Unspecified" (False Tuned) CD $16.99
For his solo debut, Tikiman drops his alias and resurfaces as Paul St.
Hilaire. "Unspecified" is a tasty selection of modern digital reggae and
dubby, bubbly lovers rock and soul. His sweet vocals are slightly
reminiscent of Horace Andy, half singing/half toasting, moving from falsetto
to lower tones effortlessly, a mix of Mad Professor style lovers rock and
soulful Pole flavored rhythms! [DG]

DENNIS BOVELL "Decibel" (Pressure Sounds) $14.99
Pressure Sounds offers us a fantastic collection of rockers and lovers dub
from the great Dennis Bovell. Many may not know of his production work for
such varied artist like Linton Kwesi Johnson, the Slits, Orange Juice, Fela
Kuti, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and On-U Sound, or for founding the first UK reggae
band, Matumbi. Bovell introduced British pop and American soul stylings into
the rude boy lead soundsystems. He plays bass and guitar on most of these
tracks, guiding the soulful melodies through his slippery dub creations.

[V.A] "600% Dynamite" (Soul Jazz) CD $15.99
The jams just keep on coming from Soul Jazz. Feeling like a roots of hip-hop
inspired reggae selection, each song has that flavor and you can hear the
influence of the groove, funk and soul which hip-hop has borrowed from
reggae, and vice-versa. Jumping from past to present, from dancehall to
roots yard, the selection here is stellar -- the Uniques, Dennis Brown,
I-Roy, Yabby You, Earth & Stone, Sister Nancy, Tenor Saw, it gets no better.

DIWALI "Greensleeves Rhythm Album" (Greensleeves) $15.99
Greensleeves continues its series of rhythm albums with 20 tracks of the
thumping, handclapping rhythm Diwali. Featuring the likes of Elephant Man,
Bounty Killer, Cecile, T.O.K. and others. This was one of the hottest
dancehall rhythms of the year. [GA] (TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

[V.A.] "Glory, Dominion, Power Majesty" (PK Records) CD $18.99
Top notch reggae from the same Toronto label that brought us "Darker Than
Blue, this compilation fuses some of the quirky production techniques that
we have come to expect from labels like Wackies, with excellent songs
delivered in a unique style. Includes the label's Half Moon singles released
during the '70s and '80s and features a diverse range artists like Stranger
Cole, Super 8 Corporation, Leroy Sibbles & The Otravis Band, Joe Higgs, The
Blenders, Johnny Osbourne, Bingi Kicks & G.Campbell, and many more. [GA]

TOMMY MCCOOK "Blazing Horns/Tenor In Roots" (Blood & Fire)
CD $16.99

Spending the '60s leading the Skatalites, recording for Coxsone Dodd and
subsequently Trojan label owner Duke Reid, Tommy McCook then shaped the
sound of rock steady with the Supersonics. The '70s led way to stints with
the Revolutionaries and the Aggrovators, as well as the material that this
collection focuses on, his work with Vivian "Yabby U" Jackson and Glenmore
Brown. McCook's great spirited, soaring sax sits atop driving rockers-style
rhythms and wonderfully blurs the lines between reggae, jazz and dub. [DG]

[V.A.] "Nyahbinghi Box Set" (Trojan) CD $16.99
A great collection of reggae songs that utilize beautiful Nyahbinghi
drumming, the Burru style which originated in Africa, was transported to
Jamaica by slaves, and became the backbone to Rastafarian spiritual
gatherings. This three-CD set showcases the use of the drums within roots
reggae as well as DJ styles, and more jazz and soul formats. Recommended for
investigators in the connection between roots/indigenous music and
reggae/soul. [DG]


NELSON ANGELO E JOYCE "Nelson Angelo E Joyce" (Odeon) $18.99
Nelson Angelo was best known for his appearance on Milton Nascimento's
"Clube da Esquina," while Joyce had primarily been known as a bossa nova
interpreter with a few albums under her belt. The two teamed up to make this
beautiful album of hushed atmospherics and sweet melodies. The emphasis is
on space, with songs constructed around Joyce's delicate acoustic guitar and
Angelo's moody string and woodwind arrangements. One of the finest
explorations into Brazilian song following the heyday of the Tropicalia
movement. [MK]

JUANA MOLINA "Segundo" (Domino) CD $12.99
Singer-songwriter Juana Molina hails from Argentina, and though it's obvious
that she is influenced by Brazilian singers like Joyce or Bebel Gilberto,
Molina's contemporary songcraft reminds me more of Bjork. Her vocals are
delicate and sweet while her acoustic guitar playing is of the folk variety.
Molina resides in the digital tropics, incorporating various outdoor found
sounds with lush electronics. [NL]

BENJAMIN BIOLAY "Negatif" (Virgin/France) CD $18.99
Benjamin Biolay's second album is a complex arabesque of mixed genres and
dark narratives. His fascination with American pop mixes assuredly with his
effortless homages to French antecedents. While soft duets with his wife
Chiara Mostroianni (daughter of Marcello and Catherine Deneuve) will surely
recall Gainsbourg and Birkin, countless tracks of countrified European
brooding and electronic naval gazing will leave you swooning. [MC]

ARTHUR VEROCAI "Arthur Verocai" (Luv N' Haight/Ubiquity) CD $15.99
A heretofore impossibly hard to find Brazilian masterpiece, Arthur Verocai's
eponymous release combined the melodic grandeur of Milton Nascimento's
"Clube Da Esquina" with brilliantly applied analog electronics. As
successful as it is ambitious. [MK]

[V.A.] "Pop Pop Pigalle" (Pop Pop Pigalle) CD $14.99
"Pop Pop Pigalle," a seemingly superficial romp through '60s and '70s pop as
seen through French eyes and ears, upon further listening quickly becomes so
much more than the sum of all of its (27) parts and transcends the kitsch of
many similar compilations. American influence goes without saying (from the
Shangri-La's to Abba via the Rolling Stones), however the Gallic morphing
that these sounds have undergone renders them uniquely compelling with not a
bad song in the lot. [MC]

SERGE GAINSBOURG "Aux Armes  Et Caetera" (Phillips/France)
CD $24.99

Only a raconteur such as Serge Gainsbourg could have gone to Jamaica to
combine French pop with the classic reggae production of Sly and Robbie, and
actually make it work. On this deluxe reissue, the seductively dubby vibe
Serge lays down is expanded to include bonus dubs not provided on the
earlier release, plus a bonus disc of DJ versions. [MK]

APRIL MARCH "Triggers" (Tricatel/Pias) CD $15.99
Four years since her last full-length, Elinor Blake's (a/k/a April March)
newest album is another collaboration with French producer Bertrand
Burgalat. Together the pair work masterfully, her gentle voice is fueled by
fun and sometimes-funky doses of melodic continental pop with extravagant
electronic arrangements. [GH]


[V.A.] "Night Recordings From Bali" (Sublime Freq.) CD $14.99
[V.A.] "Folk & Pop Sounds of Sumatra" (Sublime Freq.) CD $14.99
[V.A.] "Radio Java" (Sublime Freq.) CD $14.99
A series of world music CDs spearheaded by the Sun City Girls' Alan Bishop,
"Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra Vol. 1" features commercially released
cassettes, while "Radio Java" is essentially a snapshot collage of tracks
taped directly from the radio in cities like Jakarta or Bandung. "Night
Recordings From Bali" is comprised of field recordings which Bishop made. We
have a number of gamelan recordings, but also some really incredible ambient
pieces featuring the sounds of lotus pools and barking dogs, not to mention
an insanely bizarre recording he made off of Balinese television. There are
so many gorgeous melodies, virtuoso folk forms, and sorrowful laments that
these three CDs seem to contain a world. [MK]
"Night Recordings"
"Folk & Pop Sounds"
"Radio Java"

KINGS OF HIGHLIFE "Various Vibrant Music of West Africa"
(Wrasse) CD $19.99

A stellar collection of songs of highlife recordings from Nigeria, just
before Fela's vision would exert a stranglehold of influence over that
country's music. Bright and popping, with inventive guitar based grooves
that never fail to attack rhythmically. At least on this compilation, these
little know performers never create anything less than amazing. [MK]

PANDIT PRAN NATH "Midnight/Raga Malkauns" (Just Dreams)
CD $31.99

A long-awaited release from La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela's archives
featuring two hour-long ragas by Pandit Pran Nath, one of India's most
important singers of the 20th century. Recorded in '71 and '77 with
accompaniment from Young, Zazeela and Terry Riley, these are the only
available performances on CD. His ability to sustain a note for what seems
an eternity, and then continue to provide endless variations in pitch are
time disorienting and mind melting. [MK]

FRANCIS BEBEY "African Moonlight" (Trikont) CD $14.99
We've carried "African Moonlight" for a few years now, yet it seems hard to
believe that up until this year, this album was so overlooked in the store.
The Cameroon born musician-poet-novelist passed away in 2001, leaving behind
quite a legacy, yet his music is very hard to find in the States. On
"African Moonlight," he explores the roots of his homeland with hypnotizing
effect as melodies from a thumb piano circle around polyrhythmic hand drums,
soukous bass lines and African flute. Using guttural, double vocal
techniques and breathy vocals, Bebey's multi-tracked voice sounds mystically


[V.A.] "Flowers in the Wildwood" (Trikont) CD $16.99
Trikont releases another great collection of old time music, this one
compiling over 70 minutes of Great Depression-era recordings of hillbilly,
spirituals, bluegrass and mountain music from pioneering women of the time.
It's impossible not to be struck by the history lesson here. Mostly written
by men who project society's ideals alongside the themes of the death of
lovers and lost paradise, there's also a glint of hope and a promise of
afterlife, as well as a few risque' moments. Sixty-plus years later, I can't
think of any other music that can stir the soul quite the same way as these
songs. [GH]

ROSCOE HOLCOMB "An Untamed Sense of Control"
(Smithsonian Folkways) CD $15.99

Brilliant new collection of vintage performances from the man who
practically embodied the "high lonesome sound". This is Folkways' second CD
release solely devoted to Holcomb and it is every bit as revelatory as the
first. Holcomb was one of the finest traditional musicians to ever pick up a
guitar or banjo. This radical-ness stems from what seems to be a certain
quality of absolute truth in his songs, purely unadorned and undoubtedly as
real as it gets. [MK]

[V.A.] "Down In the Basement" (Old Hat) CD $16.99
Welcome to the basement of Joe Bussard, the King of Record Collectors, where
50,000 78 rpm's line the walls. He was kind enough to let the good folks
from the Old Hat label select 24 songs for this fascinating compilation of
pre-war Americana music. The songs, spanning from 1926 to 1937, cover a
multitude of genres like old time jazz, gospel, blues, country, hillbilly
string bands, and Cajun musics. An accompanying 72-page booklet contains
amazing photos, informative notes about each selection and anecdotes about
some of Joe's legendary record huntin' trips through the south. [DD]

[V.A.] "Country Got Soul" (Casual) CD $22.99
A fantastic new investigation into the oft-overlooked African American
influence on Caucasian country and western singers of the Deep South in the
late-'60s and early-'70s. That influence had been there since the very
genesis of country music, so it really isn't that surprising to see that the
influence of '60s soul and funk began to creep into the arrangements of
these mostly white country soul troubadours. Nothing sounds strictly
imitative and there isn't one single bad song in the mix. [MK]

REVEREND CHARLIE JACKSON "God's Got It" (Casequarter)
CD $13.99

Raw, raw, raw gospel tracks recorded as 45 RPM singles for obscure labels,
feverishly tracked down and lovingly compiled as a lasting testament to the
originality of Rev. Charlie Jackson's startling guitar playing. Always
astounding and full of explosive fervor, his cyclic guitar hypnotic and
intense. [MK]

This week's contributors: Geoff Albores [GA], Matt Connors [MC], J Dennis [JD],
Daniel DeRogatis [DD], Lisa Garrett [LG], Andy Giles [AG], Daniel Givens [DG],
Gerald Hammill [GH], Rob Hatch-Miller [RH], Duane Harriott [DH], Koen
Holtkamp [KH], Dan Hougland [DHo], Michael Klausman [MK], Nicole Lang [NL],
Josh Madell [JM], Liane Moccia [LM], Scott Mou [SM], Jeremy Sponder [JS],
and Mahssa Taghinia [MT].


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