Other Music New Release Update
February 6, 2003

In This Week's Update:

Tiga (DJ Kicks)
Peven Everett
The Hong Kong
Radioactive Man
Minny Pops (2 reissues)
Elizabeth Mitchell (from Ida)
The Orb (Back to Mine)


The Kills


TIGA "DJ Kicks" (K7) CD $17.99
The newest installment in the essential "DJ Kicks" series is
assembled by none other than the Canadian electro mastermind
himself, Tiga. Being in the company of Kruder and Dorfmeister, Truby
Trio, Thievery Corporation and countless others, he has a lot to live
up to with this mix, and I will tell you that this man holds his own.
Tiga picks a brilliant assortment of electro gems that are definitely
geared more for the dancefloor than your electroclash listening
pleasure, featuring cuts by Jolly Music, Swayzak, Martini Bros.,
Codec and Flexor, Antonelli Electr, Soft Cell, Tiga and Zyntherius, Le
Tigre and many more. Every track is seamlessly mixed to perfection
for a listening experience that is just plain old fun -- think squelching
synths, funky beats, and distorted vocals. Just when I was getting a
little tired of electro Tiga drops this! Along with the Radioactiveman
mix (also available this week) this has totally revitalized the scene
and re-instilled my faith in the future of the genre. Highly recommended.

MICROPHONES "Mount Eerie" (K) CD $13.99    
The Microphones' Phil Elvrum has already proven that he can run
creative circles around almost any other ambitious young songwriter.
At the age of 22, his super-imaginative masterpiece "Glow, Pt. 2" was
a swirling collage of fuzzy pop music, folky ballads and evocative
imagery. So two years later I cringed every time I read the word
"concept album" in the early press releases describing the next
Microphones record. Maybe he was pushing it this time. Or maybe
not... "Mount Eerie" is comprised of only five tracks that surreally spin
a story of birth, death and afterlife using objects like the sun and solar
system as oblique parallels. Beginning with the same pulsing beat that
finished out "Glow, Pt. 2," a recording of his heart starts track one. For
11-minutes, tribal percussion builds in tension and finally crashes into
the near silence inhabited by Elvrum's wavering voice. The
accompaniment is very sparse, but fractured horn stabs, a haunting
choir and strange noises take their turn emphasizing his quiet vocal
and eventually crescendo into a spray of hiss that fades into the gentle
lull of an acoustic guitar which introduces "The Solar System." While
Elvrum draws a parallel between a girl juggling a soccer ball to the sun
juggling a planet, the angelic voice of Mirah joins in. Other past
Microphone contributors Karl Blau and Little Wings' Kyle Field are also
back as well as K Record's very own Calvin Johnson. (Fittingly cast in
this abstract opera as The Universe, his unmistakable baritone voice is
playfully god-like.) While Elvrum's metaphors are cryptic, they are also
quite poetic; most artists would have fallen flat on their faces attempting
this production. Elvrum's creative strengths in instrumental
arrangement, his emphasis of breaths, syllables and vocal sounds, as
well as the sparse inclusion of unidentifiable noises brings everything
together beautifully. "Mt. Eerie" is haunting and cinematic in its scope,
but the rewards are breathtaking. [GH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=78985611402&refer_url=email

SUPERSILENT "6" (Rune Grammofon) CD $16.99    
Founded in Norway in 1997 by electronic music producer Helge Sten
(aka 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. Like their previous releases "1-3," "4" and "5," "6"
comes in a simple and elegant sleeve (designed by Kim Hiorthoy)
featuring one flat color, in this case gray.  Aside from the title and a
few small details such as where and when the material on the CD was
recorded there is no further information concerning the musicians,
instruments or even track titles. Stripped down to the bare essentials
this container does little to prepare you for the expansive and even epic
journey that the music contained evokes. "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. Another fantastic
release from the consistently engaging Rune Grammofon label. [KH]

PEVEN EVERETT "Studio Confessions" (ABB) CD $15.99
The first signing to hip-hop label ABB's new soul imprint is Chicago's
very own Peven Everett who spent years singing and playing trumpet
for House producer, Roy Davis Jr., the late jazz vocalist, Betty Carter,
as well as releasing several CD-Rs of original material with homemade
covers. This album falls in line with the digital bump of Spacek, Jay-D,
or a more refined D'Angelo -- minimal yet funky, but never over bearing
or in your face. Lyrics are thoughtful and used to pull you into his great
improvisational scat. Most if not all instruments -- keyboards, bass and
drums -- are played by Everett. A strong over-ground debut for an
underground favorite. [DG]

THE HONG KONG "Rock the Faces" (Etherdrag) CD $7.99
So, this band has been playing around the city for over a year
undetected by the proclaimers of the NEW ROCK CITY, fine tuning
their garage fueled spacey pop. The Hong Kong seem like a band that
was accidentally left off of the "Pretty In Pink" soundtrack, not to label
them new-new wave (although they do have a retro thing happening, it
doesn't whack you over the head in obviousness), they bust out with
brief but soaring psyched out bits. There are lots of driving rhythms,
sexy female vocals, fuzzed out guitar and some tracks are very
danceable. However, the proof is in the number of customers who have
been snatching the record up when we play it in the store. If I had to
break down and use the old "this group meets that other group"
method of describing their sound, I would mention artists like Stereolab
and Broadcast, Blondie and who knows what obscure early-'80s outfit
I'm forgetting, but to quote the words of LeVar Burton, "You don't have
to take my word for it." [NL]

RADIOACTIVE MAN "Fabric 08" (Fabric) CD $20.99
The legendary Keith Tenniswood who is half of Two Lone Swordsmen
and also records as Radioactive Man returns with a superb mix CD for
the "Fabric" series. This could be Radioactive Man's finest hour as it
truly represents his masterful DJ skills and his ability to move the
crowd. From the brilliant opener, the Two Lone Swordsmen mix of
"Slam" featuring Dot Allison, to the amazing old school electro feel of
Imatran Voima's "In/Out", and then onto the melodic keyboard driven
breaks of Sweetie's "Touch Me," this mix is an electro fan's dream.
Also featuring tracks by Tim Wright, Disco D and Princess Superstar,
Basic Units, Kitbuilders, Radioactive Man himself and many, many
more. "Fabric 08" definitely proves that this man is way underrated! If
you ever get the chance to see him spin, do not miss it or you will
regret it. [JS]

ELIZABETH MITCHELL "You Are My Sunshine" (Last Affair) CD $12.99
As several of my close friends have been adding cute little babies to
their lives over the last year or two, I have been treated to the distinct
displeasure of the REAL scourge of the music industry: namely,
children's music. Whether a crass marketing tool for some nasty TV
show, or just plain stupid, I must say that I find little to sing about in
the discs my pals are spinning for the wee ones. They seem to
capture little of the joy and youthful abandon which childhood favorites
of mine like Woody Guthrie and Schoolhouse Rock did. On the new
album by Elizabeth Mitchell and Dan Littleton (the brain-trust of Ida,
and young parents themselves), they try to set this right, with covers
by both of those artists, a dubbed-out take on the alphabet song, and
other favorites. Liz's voice has always been a classic beauty, and
rather than going for the madness and energy of youth, she uses her
assets here to spin a soft, dreamy and lush album of classic kids
music, set to understated backing with help from Dan and long time
collaborator Warn Defever. Fans of Ida will find many pleasures within,
but this one is really for the kids, and it could save you from another
afternoon of pain at the hands of your child's record collection. [JM]

MINNY POPS "Secret Stories" (LTM) CD $13.99
MINNY POPS "Sparks In a Dark Room" (LTM) CD $15.99
Admittedly I am a sucker for anything that even remotely sounds like
Joy Division. So yes, I have been buying just about every Factory
related item that has trickled out onto LTM, and the Minny Pops
reissues are no exception. Imagine an uncompromising minimal electro
variant of the Factory sound, so stark and deliberate that you will want
to dust off your strobe light and dance like Ian Curtis to every song.
Wally Van Middendorp's monotone vocals take on such an extreme
depth for their incredible second LP "Sparks In A Dark Room," harking
back to the melancholic splendor of Joy Division's "Closer," while also
reminiscent of Andrew Eldritch's half speed  - near spoken - gloom.
The career spanning "Secret Stories" culls together some earlier
singles and some Alan Vega/Suicide sounding demos but the
highlight - in my opinion - are the tracks, redolent of Tuxedomoon,
taken from their late career albums. Such pristine bleakness, like
dispassionate tears in the rain, is drama in need of an audience. Minny
Pops were unjustly relegated to a life of obscurity until now, please
take this opportunity to hear the misery missed. [AG]
"Secret Stories"
"Sparks In a Dark Room"

THE ORB "Back to Mine" (Back to Mine) CD $16.99
The twelfth installment of the "Back to Mine" compilation series is
another winner, this time with the Orb's Alex Paterson on board mixing
a varied range of electronica culled from the past decade or so with a
few unexpected surprises. Beginning with an early Aphex Twin track,
"Polynominal-C" then followed by Charles Webster's "Be No One", his
first selections are icy cool, any BPMs offset by chilly atmosphere.
Paterson's mix into Juno Reactor's "Nitrogen Pt. 1" is seamless and
the mood gets a little darker, the beats harder. His selection is exactly
the set you'd want to hear from any club DJ; it ebbs and flows. The
sampled auctioneer and skittering beat in "Ow Much!" (produced by
his recently deceased brother, Martin Paterson a/k/a Creature) as
well as Thomas Fehlmann's "I Wanna Be a Fishy" provide the
collection's more playful moments. An old R&B track from The Ch-Lites
as well as Julee Cruise's Twin Peak theme, "Falling," gives a nice,
organic mix-tape-variety feel to the overall compilation. Paterson throws
on the deck an exclusive Orb track as well as other winners like Aphex
Twin's "Blue Calx," "Electric Chair's "Barbie Girl," Joachim Spieth's
"You Don't Fool Me" and Schneider TM's beautiful updated version of
the Smith's "There is a Light That Never Goes Out." [GH]


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

This week's contributors: Lisa Garrett [LG], Andy Giles [AG], Daniel
Givens [DG], Gerald Hammill [GH], Kean Holtkamp [KH], Nicole Lang
[NL], Josh Madell [JM] and Jeremy Sponder.


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