Other Music New Release Update
January 23, 2003

In This Week's Update:

DJ Spinna
Burnside Project
Sea and Cake
Gary Wilson
Crooked Fingers
L'Infonie (reissue)
Mendoza Line
Trad Gras och Stenar (reissues)
Vote Robot
French Paddleboat
Daniel Padden
Current 93 (reissue)
Rainer Maria
Sound Collector (Issue #8)

Just In:

Superchunk "Clambake Series Volume 2"
'Live at Tonic Volume 1"


DJ Hell (reissue)
The Impressions (reissues)
Blue Skied an' Clear


CALLA "Televise" (Arena Rock) CD $11.99
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The album of the year! Yes, maybe a silly thing to say since it is only
January but "Televise" is in my opinion Calla's best record to date and
that is saying a lot considering how much I love their two previous
albums. It is time that the world outside of New York City takes notice
of this amazing band. The first time I saw these guys perform (then as
The Factory Press) I knew that they had something very special, due
in part to Aurelio's unique reverb drenched guitar playing. 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. Calla have created yet another devastatingly beautiful
album that I can't recommend enough. Fans of Radiohead or even
Godspeed You Black Emperor should take special notice of this, an
album you should own. [AG]

DJ SPINNA "Here To There" (Beat Generation) CD $16.99
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BBE's excellent "Beat Generation" presents DJ Spinna's tribute to all
things deep and funky. From the get go, Spinna has always kept it
smooth with a roughness, and predated this whole neo-soul thing, so
it's no surprise that this record sounds so focused and tight. The
album boasts impressive cameos from underground hip hop luminaries
like Jean Grae and Apani B. Fly, but what I really like about this
record is the successful forays into deep house. "Music In Me,"
featuring vocals from Shaun Escoffery, is a beautiful four-on-the-floor
fueler that wouldn't sound out of place on a "Lazy Dog" comp. All in all,
a great album that will satisfy folks who felt underfed by the recent
Roots and Common full-lengths. I guarantee this one will satisfy your
fix for the funk. [DH]

BURNSIDE PROJECT "The Networks, the Circuits, the Streams, the Harmonies"
(Bar-None) CD $12.99

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The debut album from the NYC duo of Richard Jankovich and Gerald
Hammill (coincidentally the editor of the newsletter you are now
reading), this is a complex and multi-layered studio affair that lives
classic indie-pop and breathes electronica. Reference points might
include the recent work of the Notwist, the Sea and Cake's more
heavily sequenced stuff, or even classic New Order. It feels like a pop
band on stage, largely due to the excellent guitar work by Hammill and
live bass from Jankovich. But these musicians are awash in a sea of
drum programming and digital textures. Bubbling electronic rhythms
are used to great effect; shifting keyboard stabs, warped loops and
appropriated samples grabbed from the ether conspire to obscure and
elevate the simple melodies. Jankovich is the main vocalist throughout,
with wordy stream-of-consciousness lyrics and a plain, speak-singing
delivery. But this meticulous studio affair is layered with more than a
few guest appearances, including warm background vocals by L.D.
Beghtol (Flare, Magnetic Fields), Hub Moore, and (count 'em) five lush
vocal cameos by Shannon McArdle of the Mendoza Line. [JM]

SEA AND CAKE "One Bedroom" (Thrill Jockey) CD/LP $14.99/$10.99
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Put on any new Sea and Cake album and without looking at the cover
art, there's no question who the band is. Their signature sound of
breezy, jazz inflected pop with light touches of spacey electronics
and, of course, Sam Prekop's breathy melodies is instantly
recognizable, yet after about a decade, the group still sounds fresh
with every recording. Obviously, when your band includes seasoned
Chicago music vets like Archer Prewitt and John McEntire, there's
no shortage of creativity and on their latest, "One Bedroom," the
reconvened ensemble play with new energy. Frequently, the
beats skitter while the electronic textures shimmer more than ever and
the melodic interplay between Prekop and Prewitt's guitars continue
to weave around delicate synth sounds. McEntire's percussion styling
is immaculate, frequently blending live drums with loops; "Hotel Tell"
bounces along a pseudo-house beat and is complete with blips and
gurgles. The album's overall feeling is sunnier, especially when
Prekop's breathy croon draws out the word 'summertime' during the
verse of "Shoulder Length". This AM radio friendliness continues
during the backing 'ahhhhhh's' in the slower, drifting "Interiors," which
half-way through suddenly picks up the tempo and races to its finish,
egged on by a fuzzed out vibrato guitar. The sweet icing on this cake
comes when the album closes with the vocal assistance from the
Aluminum Group's Navin brothers during a pretty faithful version of
David Bowie's "Sound and Vision." [GH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=79037701162&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=79037701161&refer_url=email

GARY WILSON "Forgotten Lovers" (Motel) CD $14.99
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Arabesque Perry Como (then) anachronisms with modest if forceful
Steely Dan chops, not to mention an inkling of that staple of genial
bachelor pretense, 20th century classical, syncretized into a directly
wondrous, heretofore unrecognizable strand of lounge-DNA. This label
is called Motel after all. It's thanks to them reissuing Gary's
unimpeachable "You Think You Really Know Me" that this is now a
recognizable strand actually, mainly for being atypically artistic for the
sort usually viewed as 'complimentary' entertainment. "Forgotten
Lovers" compiles unreleased and extremely limited recordings made
between 1973 and 1982. Jams a-plenty, no joke at all. [DHo]

CROOKED FINGERS "Red Devil Dawn" (Merge) $13.99
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Crooked Fingers return with their third album, and Eric Bachmann and
company have refined their sound, added lush instrumentation, and
created an album that can be considered nothing less than classic.
From the opening notes of the first track "Big Darkness", with its tape
loops, acoustic guitar and Bachmann's own gravel-y vocal delivery and
some of the wittiest lyrics I have heard in years, this album does not
let up! With the tear jerking "Boy with (100) Hands," all fingerpicked
guitar and weepy vocals, and two of Mr. Bachmann's finest hours in the
tracks, "Sweet Marie" with its lush string arrangements, plucked banjo
and Eric Bachmann's lovelorn angst filled lyrics, and "You threw a
Spark" filled with tormented lyrics about the opposite sex, and some
of the best horns in indie rock since Neutral Milk Hotel! I must say that
I love this record, it is truly filled with everything I still get excited about
in music today, and for that alone I hope that you give this a chance.
"Red Devil Dawn" is a shoe-in for a spot among my top ten for 2003.
Hands Down. [JS]

BROKEBACK "Looks At the Bird" (Thrill Jockey) CD $13.99
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With their latest full-length, Chicago's Brokeback has created their
strongest work yet, and a beautiful and original record that blends jazz,
imaginary soundtracks, and instrumental pop. The core duo of this
group is Douglas McCombs (Tortoise, Eleventh Dream Day, Aluminum
Group) and Noel Kupersmith (Chicago Underground Duo, Rebecca
Gates, Archer Prewitt Band). Both players are best known as bassists,
and while the record is rich with low-end, it is full of all sorts of textures.
Kupersmith's double bass is the heart of this album, fleshed out with
subtle, sometimes nearly imperceptible sequencing and editing duties
that only serve to compliment the organic playing throughout.
McCombs splits his time between clear, twangy guitar melodies that
owe as much to Link Wray as they do Sonny Sharrock (with a restraint
uncharacteristic to either), and a rumbling bass 6. Many tracks are
fleshed out by an array of excellent guests, with taught and melodic
drumming from the incomparable Chad Taylor, John McEntire on organ
and drums (as well as running the board for these sessions), subtle
colorings from Rob Mazurek, Aki Tsuyuko, and Laetitia Sadier, and
narcotic, angelic vocals on three tracks from Mary Hansen of Stereolab
(made all the more haunting by her recent tragic death). A subtle,
moving record that is full of small surprises and big rewards. [JM]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=79037701202&refer_url=email

L'INFONIE "Volume 333"  (Tir Groupe) CD $18.99
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You might be familiar with these Canadian freaks spirited rendition of
Terry Riley's "In C" that was tacked onto the Cortical Foundation
reissue of "Reed Streams", or maybe you even picked up the Mucho
Gusto reissue of their first album "Volume 3" that we featured a couple
years ago. Well, "Volume 333" (two CD's worth) is L'Infonie's third
album (released in 1972) and is considered by many to be their
masterpiece. The Zappa-esqe prog/experimental/jazz/psych/rock of
"Paix", one song divided into 50 separate sections, comprising all of
disc one, will please many fans of Frank still looking for their next
fusion fix. Disc two creates what I perceived as a storm-the-symphony
scenario that starts with a Bach recital, is followed by some Varese
sounding stuff, and then finally let's loose with some pretty inspired
spoken splatter for the final track. Admittedly, I don't know where
these guys were trying to go, what they wanted to say, or if they ever
found what they were looking for, but I feel as though I have been
exposed to some sort of strange fantasy world that even with the aide
of a translator and two tabs of acid I still wouldn't be able to fully
understand. [AG]

MENDOZA LINE "If They Knew This Was the End" (Bar-None) CD $13.99
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The Mendoza Line's most recent opus, "Lost in Revelry," depicts a
band well-versed in rock history --  Dylan, Costello and the
Replacements all shine through. This was the Mendoza Line's fifth
full-length, and after years of very good albums they finally seemed to
have everything perfect. Bar-None now releases "If They Knew This
Was the End," a collection of early Mendoza Line recordings, some
previously released, sequenced and packaged in the way the band
always intended. Essentially the debut album that never happened,
"ITKTWTE" hints at the classic sensibility of "Lost in Revelry," but
more, it captures a youthful, free-spirited band writing exceptionally
literate, unpretentious pop songs. Guitar acrobatics pay homage to Ira
Kaplan's distinctive technique; mini-anthems recall the heyday of indie
rock (Superchunk, Elliot Smith, American Music Club) and some of
the punch of the aforementioned Replacements-and these recordings
have worn well. Recorded circa 1996 during the band's tenure in
Athens, GA (they are now a Brooklyn-based outfit), these songs feature
guest appearances by members of the Glands, Drive By Truckers, Elf
Power and Summer Hymns. Also included here are hilarious "behind
the music"-style liner notes penned by band member Timothy Bracy,
detailing the Mendoza Line's Schlitz-fueled life in Athens. Hearing
these recordings again after all these years, sequenced properly and
with lovely new packaging, makes something clear: The Mendoza
Line's songs have been better than "very good" for a long, long time
now. [PW]

TRAD GRAS OCH STENAR "Djungelns Lag" (1/2 Special) CD $13.99
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TRAD GRAS OCH STENAR "Mors Mors" (1/2 Special) CD $13.99
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Warm fields of drone-rock well worth basking in. No exact corollary in
U.S. nor, I would argue, in Europe really. Partly because TG & S
seemed to lack industry (1000 copies? Own imprint? Who cares?) but
they also lacked solipsism, which works out better for them now
certainly. It stands to reason that if the principal creative forces behind
something take such a generous and passionate risk and at least
passably (though in this case perfectly) document its success,
chances are the curious will ultimately hear of it... just as risk-averse
conforming to the exigencies of whatever happens to be the plain
commercial context of the time and PLACE would prove less
remarkable and would obviously be less celebrated upon (re)discovery.
And now finally, in the context of all this, unlike the many quasi-exotic
things being celebrated upon reissuedom, both of these titles justify
themselves seemingly immemorially. [DHo]
"Djungelns Lag"
"Mors Mors"

VOTE ROBOT "Five Score, Six Bicycle" (Catsup Plate) LP $10.99
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Vote Robot's newest full length, "Five Score, Six Bicycle," is a
dizzyingly cerebral listening experience. Limited to just 300 copies,
this LP's silk-screened covers are suspiciously Freudian (look at the
way the schoolgirl is eyeballing the banana). Melodic patterns are
interspersed with stomach-churning low tones while seemingly
abstract crackles morph into snippets of song. Bells ring off in the
distance while bursts of silence rip through the ambient noise. There
is also something distinctly "hands-on" about the abstract sounds of
Vote Robot. Maybe it comes from the process: Most of Vote Robot's
peers (Oval, etc.) rely on laptops to create their digital art, while Vote
Robot favors analog equipment like tapes, turntables, mixers, and
analog synths. There is something unmistakably human about this
music -- at times you can really feel the knobs being turned. But what
makes Vote Robot wonderful is not the process -- these Canadians'
newest full-length is a stunning work regardless of the method. Move
over Markus Popp. Here is Vote Robot. [PW]

FRENCH PADDLEBOAT "Rome Loves Tan" (Catsup Plate) LP $10.99
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Scott August, the man behind French Paddleboat, is also half of Vote
Robot, and this side/solo project is sort of the Robots' distant "pop"
cousin. Many of the same sounds appear (bells, analog synths,
buzzing electronics), but in French Paddleboat the arrangements are
quite different. Assembled within a more song-based context, these
electronic sounds are much closer to B. Fleischmann, Hausmeister or
something on Morr Music than to the experimentalism of Vote Robot.
You can dance if you want to, but French Paddleboat is more about
bobbing your head and humming these sugary-sweet melodies. "Rome
Loves Tan" continues in the recent tradition of many of your favorite
electronic pop masterpieces. Limited to just 300 copies, with
paint-by-numbers-style covers, these LPs might not last long. [PW]

DANIEL PADDEN "One Ensemble" (Catsup Plate) CD $11.99
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Completing the recent Catsup Plate trifecta might be the best of the
bunch -- the first solo album from Volcano the Bear member Daniel
Padden. "The One Ensemble of Daniel Padden" is a deeply
psychedelic album that almost defies definition. Assembling elements
of English choir music, Eastern folk sounds, Third Ear Band-like
chamber moods and Terry Riley-esque droning psychedelia, this
album truly does it all. Using an array of acoustic instruments (piano,
clarinet, violin, chimes, bells, organ), the album brims with a mournful
tone. Strikingly beautiful at times, Padden's music truly comes from
another place. The gorgeous songs weave in and out of one another,
giving the album a singular somber feeling. Cinematic and strange,
Daniel Padden's debut touches on a surrealist mood (much like
Volcano the Bear) but while VtB is a collaboration between four
distinct voices, the One Ensemble, true to its name, is unmistakably
Padden's own very personal creation. Wholly unique and lush with
feeling, "The One Ensemble of Daniel Padden" is a rare and
unclassifiable masterpiece. [PW]

CURRENT 93 "Dawn" (Durtro) CD $17.99
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David Tibet has now issued the definitive version of Current 93's
"Dawn". Originally released in 1985 as an LP on Maldoror. When it
was first issued on CD by Durtro in 1989, an alternate version of
"Great Black Time" was accidentally used. This digipak reissue
features both mixes of "Great Black Time" (track 1 is the CD version
and track 3 the original vinyl version). One of the finest examples of
their early tape loop days and a bit of a last hurrah before diving into
the apocalyptic folk they are now known for. The track is an abrasive,
highly structured, series of loops complete with guitar feedback and
electronics. As featured on previous editions it also includes the
incredible version of "Maldoror Is Dead", as well as "A Day In
Dogland". Now added for the first time is "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla
Salus" which was recorded during the "Nature Unveiled" sessions.
Everything is remastered from the original master tapes apart from the
vinyl mix of "Great Black Time" (the master tape was destroyed by the
pressing plant for being Satanic) which was taken from a vinyl copy of
"Dawn". It includes the original artwork as well as photos of Tibet and
John Balance taken at the Current 93 performance at London's 100
Club in 1985. Let the darkness reign, the hell from which it sprang,
this is the way it should be one day not too far away...  [AG]

RAINER MARIA "Long Knives Drawn" (Polyvinyl) CD $12.99
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Kicking off with the anthemic "Mystery and Misery," Rainer Maria make
a triumphant return with their latest, "Long Knives Drawn." Essentially
starting where their last album "A Better Version of Me" left off,
singer-bassist Caithlin De Marrais' voice is elastic as ever handling the
all of the lead vocal duties delivering catchy, bombastic melodies. For
this outing Kyle Fischer's voice is all but non-existent but his guitar
styling is unmistakable, still explosive and rhythmic; Rainer Maria have
streamlined their raw emotion punches into a rock-it science. But the
album comes to a quiet close with the "Situation: Relation." Supported
only by a picked guitar, the strength of De Marrais' voice really shines in
her hushed singing -- simple and beautiful. [GH]

MILEECE "Formations" (Lo) CD $13.99
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Mileece is a sentient being who is in touch with the languages and
codes of nature. She is inspired by this infiniteness to create her very
special music. Via her laptop, the Elements are sculpted deftly, and
she uses them to weave gorgeous webs that entrance and engage.
Life recordings, cello, voice, and little else are processed and
composed into a conceptual whole, separated into five parts. "Aube"
begins with effervescent tones that overlap and caress one another.
These chiming tones (possibly those of a Rhodes) are drawn out and
given room to breathe. In the second piece, Mileece uses similar
tones, but these are clipped and move faster creating percussive
meanderings (not unlike Oval, circa the "Systemiche" era) that are like
little popping bubbles of warmth. Warmer still are the bass tones that
appear, hugging the formations of small chime clusters basking in
lush, verdant melodies. "Tridi" continues as a variation of this theme,
adding suspense and the playful movement of fizz across speakers. A
truly touching moment during "Formations" happens near the end, where
Mileece coos gently along with a plaintive melody and wisps of cello...
stunning. This is a wonderful album of minimalist beauty, filled with the
presence of microscopic flora, and an inspired soul. There are many
special moments within and in-between these forty-five minutes.
Mileece has created a world where the organic and the digital coalesce
beautifully. A lichen covered laptop perhaps? I love this record and I
highly recommend it. [DD]

OMIT "Rejector" (Anamalous) CD. $12.99
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By operating with an array of cheap delay units, old synthesizers, and
tape loops Clinton Williams (Omit) pushes the limitations of out-dated
technology into rather unlikely shapes and forms where accident and
invention co-exist on even plane. The abstract analogue pulses of
"Rejector" seem to almost resonate in sympathy with "Cyborg" (Klaus
Schultze), "Blau" (Conrad Schnitzler), and "Trance" (Chris & Cosey).
Open minded fans of minimal techno will find a repetition to fall into
but don't expect a Kompakt security blanket of "Pop Ambient"
pabulum melodies. These are strange primitive mantras from dark
distant landscapes and wild twitching beasts with no devotion for the
4/4. This is the first American CD release by veteran New Zealand
artist Omit, edition of 500 copies. Pure alchemic beauty. [AG]

SOUND COLLECTOR "Issue 8 / Winter 2002 - 2003" $7.50
At long last, the new Sound Collector is out. That crazy Latvian you
all love, Laris Kreslins, has packed SC 8 (subtitled the pink/bearded
man issue) with more articles and interviews than before. Now in a
larger format featuring Sun City Girls, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Eric
Dolphy, and more. With a CD included containing music by Iron &
Wine, Zammuto, Calla, and many others.


SUPERCHUNK "Clambake 2/Music for Kinugasas" (Clambake) CD $13.99

[V.A.] "Live at Tonic Volume 1 / 1999-2002" (Tonic) $14.99


DJ HELL "Munich Machine" (Disko B / V2) CD $18.99
DJ Hell's second album is finally back. Originally released in 1998 this
is a fun classic from the German producer, with Hell working disco
influences into his acid-electro sounds and as hinted by the title, more
than an obvious nod to Giorgio Moroder. Includes deconstruction
covers of "Warm Leatherette", "The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight",
"Copacabana," and No More's  "Suicide Commando."

IMPRESSIONS "This is My Country" (Sunspots) CD $15.99
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IMPRESSIONS "Young Mods' Forgotten?" (Sunspots) CD $15.99
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These two absolute masterpieces are where Curtis Mayfield matched
his ability to write some of the most glorious love songs ever sung with
an overt political consciousness. He'd been writing, arranging, leading,
and recording with the Impressions since the late-50s. By 1963, they
were averaging nearly two records a year for the next five years. "This
Is My Country" and "The Young Mods' Forgotten Story" would prove to
be the crowning glory of his work with the Impressions, just before he
embarked on an equally stunning solo career that culminated
(commercially at least) with the mega-hit "Superfly." This is soul music
of the highest order. Pieces of art that operate not as singles (as
much soul music did at the time), but as a fully realized album-length
statement of ethics and devotion. Simultaneously tough and pliant,
Mayfield wasn't about to let rock music eclipse his vision and he
delivers repeatedly here at the highest level. Highest
Recommendation. [MK]
"This is My Country"
"The Young Mods' Forgotten Story"

GUITAR "Sunkissed" (Morr) CD $15.99
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Hands down, Guitar had the best track on Morr Music's recent double
CD compilation, "Blue Skied an' Clear." A one man project from
Germany who goes by the name Digital Jockey has taken the spirit of
early shoe gazing and My Bloody Valentine's masterpiece "Loveless"
album from 1991, and brought it into the new millennium. Although a
little contrived, Guitar definitely do the genre justice incorporating
heavy reverb and tremeloed guitar, downtempo beats, and lush
processed female vocals courtesy of guest stars Regina Janssen
(of Donna Regina fame) and Ayako Akashiba. Take a song like the
opener "Sunkissed," a track so lush, distorted and beautiful that you
would swear Kevin Shields was in the room, and then the backwards
double vocals come in -- amazing in itself and it doesn't stop there.
Followed by "House Full of Time" from the Morr compilation, and
featuring six other gems, this is an absolutely beautiful debut, and the
closest thing to the legendary "Loveless" album that we will ever see.
Essential! [JS]

[V.A.] "Blue Skied an Clear" (Morr) CD $16.99
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Considering the impact left on so many of today's electronic artists
from the effect-laden sounds of the early-90s shoegazer bands, it's
fitting that Morr Music would dedicate their 30th release to the
legendary Slowdive. Titled after a track from the group's final and
most ambient album, "Pygmalian," "Blue Skied an' Clear" is a
beautiful new double CD compilation from the Berlin label. Disc one
features the Morr Music roster covering a range of tunes throughout
Slowdive's brief five-year history. Interpretations by Manual and Lali
Puna actually don't stray too far from the original arrangements, their
covers both performed in a way that conveys an admiration and kinship
of two music styles which in some form or fashion have defined two
different decades. Ulrich Schnauss's instrumental version of "Crazy for
You" (well, almost instrumental save some very buried voices that
appear halfway through) is warm and dreamy, like waking from an early
afternoon nap on a sunny isolated beach. B. Fleischmann & Ms. John
Soda's take on "Here She Comes" is playful in feel and a stark
contrast to Mum's delicate yet haunting version of "Machine Gun." As
a tribute record, "Blue Skied an' Clear" is absolutely gorgeous and
almost every artist's contribution succeeds in reinterpreting and
recreating the qualities of Slowdive's stunning dream pop. And while it
may not be deliberate, disc two underscores how this early-90s
movement lives on in today's music. Featuring new upcoming original
tracks from established Morr Music acts as well as some artists
making their label debut, German newcomer Guitar is a wonderful
inclusion to a compilation loosely paying tribute to the scene that
celebrated itself. Their swirling guitars, white noise blasts and a
hypnotic drum loop could have been lifted directly from a "Loveless"
session. [GH]

This week's contributors: Daniel De Rogatis [DD], Andy Giles [AG],
Gerald Hammill [GH], Duane Harriott [DH], Dan Hougland [DHo],
Michael Klausman [MK], Josh Madell [JM], Jeremy Sponder [JS] and
Phil Waldorf [PW].


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