Other Music New Release Update
July 9, 2003

In This Week's Update:

The Clientele
Icebreaker International & Manual
Juana Molina
Rough Trade Shops "Post Punk 01" (Various)
New York Noise (Various)
Les Georges Leningrad
Staedtizism 4 (Various)
Summer Hymns
Pop Pop Pigalle (Various '60s-'70s French Pop Artists)
Postal Service (Single)
Magic Band
Boom Blip 12"

Just In:

Kings of Leon


THE CLIENTELE "The Violet Hour" (Merge) CD $13.99
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"The Violet Hour" is the first official full-length from UK-popsters the
Clientele. While not quite as lo-fi sounding as their previous EPs and
singles, it still has the hazy, slightly out-of-focus melodic pop songs
that they're widely loved for. Actually, the slight upgrade in recording
quality helps the listener to concentrate on the more introspective
songwriting -- some people might say the writing has matured. Listen to the
beautifully tremelo-ed guitar and the vocal melodies of the opening song
"The Violet Hour" and the acoustic guitar and piano interplay of the closer
"Policeman Getting Lost" and you'll be instantly hooked. To say that there
are echoes of the Velvet Underground and Galaxie 500 in the songs would be
selling the talents of The Clientele short -- this album displays their own
unique vision of the future (and past) of pop music. [RS]

ICEBREAKER INTERNATIONAL & MANUAL "Into Forever" (Sound of a Handshake/Morr) CD $22.99
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Morr Music has created a new side label devoted to collaborations entitled
Sound of a Handshake. The first release is a collaboration between
Icebreaker International and Manual. "Into Forever" is a beautiful foray in
ambient textures featuring plucked guitars, lush synth washes, gently
tapped pianos, and lulling whispered vocals. This collaboration references
so many ambient masters, "The Countdown" could be a long lost Ash-Ra track,
or something off of Cluster's second album filled with floating synths and
a faint, repetitious heartbeat percussion, it is a brilliant album opener.
Then this duo take us on a journey filled with hauntingly beautiful plucked
guitars, deep deep bass, melodic keyboards, and ambient vocals in the title
track. ("Into Forever" could have easily fit on one of the first four
Durutti Column albums; it's that good!) "A Thousand Years" is a beautifully
melodic downtempo track that recalls the earliest days of Morr Music, think
B. Fleischmann's "Pop Loops for Breakfast" and you're getting there, it is
nine minutes of complete aural pleasure. Track five comes in with a guitar
line that could be lifted straight off of New Order's "Low Life" LP, then
the keyboards come in -- this is their "Elegia." All in all, this album is
truly stunning, a beautiful late night listen, and an essential purchase
for any fan of the Morr Music label. [JS]

JUANA MOLINA "Segundo" (Domino) CD $12.99
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Singer-songwriter Juana Molina hails from Argentina and though it is
obvious that she is influenced by Brazilian singers like Joyce or Bebel
Gilberto, her sound is not easily categorized. Though I regret to make
comparisons such as these, Molina's contemporary songcraft reminds me more
of Bjork than any traditional South American vocalist. Her vocals are
delicate and sweet, her acoustic guitar playing is of the folk variety.
Molina's use of electronic elements, ethereal. I know I often say this but
there really are definite traces of psychedelia here, I am not projecting.
Molina resides in the digital tropics, incorporating various outdoor found
sounds (birds, dogs, monkeys, humming bugs) with lush electronics. This is
a pleasant album, great recording for headphone listening. [NL]

[V.A.] "Post Punk Vol. 01" (Rough Trade/Mute) CD $19.99
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[V.A.] "New York Noise" (Soul Jazz) CD $16.99
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These two essential compilations cover a similar time period, but each is
successfully different in its intent. A two-CD set, Rough Trade Shops'
"Post Punk 01" places the era's more acknowledged artists like Gang of
Four, Au Pairs, PiL, Young Marble Giants, Wire, The Slits, Swell Maps,
Magazine and The Fall, next to harder to find and possibly forgotten gems
from The Prats, World Domination Enterprises, Delta 5, UK Decay, Mo-
Dettes, New Age Steppers, and Maximum Joy. The unifying theme of this
44-track compilation is a similar spirit that stemmed from these performers'
shared sense of adventurism. But rather than acting purely as a timepiece,
the Rough Trade collection also fast forwards to the present and features a
new, new wave of artists who have welcomed the influences from more than 20
years ago into their own music. (These now-bands include Rapture, Rogers
Sisters, Erase Errata, Life Without Buildings, Chicks On Speed and Les
Georges Leningrad.)
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. The artists
here mimic the city's melting-pot-history, inventing their own rules and infusing a
more radical array of influences (the convergence of free jazz, Latin, Disco,
punk, hip hop, experimental composers, etc.) while welcoming the
participation of Downtown painters, graffiti artists, actors, photographers, film
makers and writers. This 16-track album is a fantastic primer for an amazingly
creative era in NYC. A detailed CD booklet offers short biographies on all the
featured artists which include Material, Mars, 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. The liner
notes also gives a brief history lesson on local labels 99 Records and Ze, and
insights on the emergence of no wave, punk-funk, hip hop, and electro. Both the
Soul Jazz and Rough Trade collections necessarily include a few of the same
bands (Liquid Liquid, ESG, Bush Tetras and DNA) but feature different tracks.
(James Chance's "Contort Yourself," is the only repeat song to appear on
both comps, but each contains a different version.) There's no way to recommend
one collection over the other; they're both fantastic. [GH]
"Post Punk 01"
"New York Noise"

LES GEORGES LENINGRAD" Duex Hot Dogs..." (Blow the Fuse) CD $14.99
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Earlier this spring, the Les George Leningrad CD accidentally landed at
Other Music during the week of their live performances around the city.
The band name, the crazy title, the misshapen, hand-drawn figures on
either side of the cover, one male, one female looking psychotic and
brandishing knives... how could we resist checking this CD out?? We
were happy to find out we COULD judge this book by its cover. The music
was a refreshingly uncalculated take on the whole post-punk/art-rock thing
with a healthy, yet deranged dose of Dadaist cabaret. Not just "post-punk"
either, but more in the spirit of post-punk, in that anything goes, no rules, so
it works, way. Overblown, lo-fi, self-taught guitar, drums and whatever else
thrown through shamble-y, then frenetic arrangements. Great, immediate,
shrieking vocals, male and female, claw through the mess. Primitive,
unstoppable grooves that a drum-machine couldn't invent. Reference points?
The Fall, I guess. The spirit of the Slits. The playful psychedelia of Sun
City Girls or Caroliner. The home-recorded kid-tape quality of Blectum from
Blechdom. Without sounding like any of those bands. Chaotic, naive, raw and
fun. Recommended. [SM]

[V.A.] "Staedtizism 4" (~Scape) $15.99
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We have come to the end of our Staedtizism journey. The project that sought
to explore the influences and influence of electronic music has driven us
through the land of dub, jazz and hip hop, and will leave us with the Funk.
One can argue that the Funk is ubiquitous (because it is), whether as a
sample source, an underlying idea, or merely submersed within the groove.
Each of these selected artists understands this concept completely.
Cappablack continue on with their hip-hop inspired anthems. Safety Scissors
dips back to the disco days with a wonderful piece full of synths and
breaks for the club, complete with vocal. Jan Jelinek takes the most
straightforward approach addressing the bass-line, the driving force of
Funk itself, and a wah-wah. Daniel Bell's pulsating, wavy chords give birth
to a beautiful "Star Child". Akufen contributes with a jazzy, 808 State
sounding cut with his traditional micro-samples and vocal blast of
accompaniment. Deadbeat has an upbeat swinger I like to call the "farm jam"
with a touch of the blues (maybe there is room for another installment).
I'm "Fascinated" by Tadd Mullinix's heavy, offbeat rhythm that could rival
the RZA and the Fehlmann track is unbelievable; check it out on the home
page. Sionara! [JD]

SUMMER HYMNS "Clemency" (Misra) CD $13.99
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For their third release, Summer Hymns decided to leave the comforts of
their home studio in Athens, GA, to work in Nashville with Mark Nevers
sitting behind the recording console. Judging from the first two
full-lengths from these psych-folk rockers -- both albums brimming with
breezy pop melodies spaced between surreal interludes -- I half-expected
the band to go a little overboard toying with the playthings (and more
tracks) that you can find in a bigger, proper studio environment. But the
resulting album is quite the opposite -- not surprising considering
songwriter Zachary Gresham's knack to carefully carve very memorable
melodies and of course the production skills of Mr. Nevers. "Clemency" is a
very focused effort, the instrumentation and arrangements totally
streamlined to compliment the bare essence of each song. Small bits of
playful psychedelia still tease the ears, with short sound snippets and
quick field recording vignettes occasionally segueing between or inside of
songs; but this is the album I've been waiting to hear come out of the
Summer Hymns camp. With a paired down studio ensemble, the heavy-handed
organ and marching band accompaniments are shed. Here Matt Stoessel's pedal
steel plays a bigger prominence alongside Gresham's wanderlust imagery --
whether it's a mournful desert dirge or a twangy bar room rave-up. Sad and
soulful, the nods to Galaxy 500 and of course Neil Young still reside, but
the band's ride-into-the-sun melancholy is more traditional and direct, and
very much their own. [GH]

LIFESAVAS "Spirit in Stone" (Quannum) $12.99
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Hailing from Oakland, CA, Lifesavas' debut for DJ Shadow's Quannum label,
"Spirit in Stone" flows like your favorite collection of backpacker hip-hop
tunes. Picture a harder Jurassic 5, a less eclectic Blackalious, or a
Cali-soaked Roots, or maybe a more hip-hop Black Eyed Peas. Three members,
Rev. Shines, Jumbo, and Vursatyl switch off between rhyming and producing
flawlessly, spitting tales of staying true to the game and culture,
everyday antics, and your typical fare. Featuring the Gift of Gab, J-Live,
Lateef, Lyrics Born, and Shadow, Lifesavas have a very accessible sound and
groove, with catchy choruses and party flavored melodies with plenty of
nice beats. Need something non-threatening, positive, and upbeat for your
summer picnic? [DG]

STATIC "Flavour Has No Name" (City Centre) CD $16.99
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Static has returned with his sophomore full-length, and like his first LP,
he has enlisted a slew of friends along for the ride. "Flavour Has No Name"
features vocal contributions from Valerie Trabeljahr of Lali Puna fame,
Justine Electra, Ronald Lippok and Stefan Schneider of To Rococo Rot, and
Christof Kurzmann. The tracks on "Flavour Has No Name" range from quiet
downtempo vocal numbers to early electro hip hop influenced jams, but all
the while maintaining an indie rock feel, most of these tracks are proper
pop songs. Think Tarwater, To Rococo Rot, Lali Puna, the Notwist, and the
list goes on... One of the real gems on this LP is a proper release for the
Static/Lali Puna collaboration "Turn On Switch Off." This track was
previously only released on limited 12" single, and it is now long gone. It
is a stunner of a track and probably one of my favorite moments from both
bands. "Flavour Has No Name" is equally as good as his debut, and also
maintains a musical progression that keeps it interesting. Recommended.

[V.A.] "Pop Pop Pigalle" (Pop Pop Pigalle) CD $14.99
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"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, transcending
the kitschiness 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 and exceedingly triumphant, with not a bad nor boring
song in the lot. With its jostling mixture of horn bursts, echo-y female
choruses, twangy guitars, middle-eastern tinged psychedelia and youthful
yearning lyrics, "Pop Pop Pigalle" conjures melancholy transcontinental
nostalgia recalling the films of Jean Luc Godard, or a kind of Francophile
David Lynch-ian, pop obsessed cinematic sensibility as much as it directly
points the way to recent Parisian pop revivalists and Other Music favorites
Bertrand Burgalat and Etienne Charry. [MC]

POSTAL SERVICE "District Sleeps Alone Tonight" (Sub Pop) CD $5.99
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The second single from the Postal Service's great "Give Up" album, out
earlier this year. B-sides include a DJ Downfall mix of the title track, a
trancey John Tejada mix of P.S.'s "Such Great Heights", and a hazy cover of
"Suddenly Everything Has Changed" from the Flaming Lips' "Soft Bulletin"
album. [JM]

MAGIC BAND "Back to the Front" (ATP) CD $13.99
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The pieced-together Frankenstein's monster line-up of the Magic Band that
you'll hear on this sparsely-edited live recording came together in
February to rehearse for a gig at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival. No
more than two of the four players on here (John French, Mark Boston, Denny
Walley, and Gary Lucas) ever actually played with Captain Beefheart on the
same album, but together they still sound a lot like any of the
incarnations of the group during its early-'70s heyday. The set consists
mostly of material originally recorded between 1967 and 1972 -- with the
exception of "Floppy Boot Stomp" from 1978's "Shiny Beast (Bat Chain
Puller)" -- and the interpretations are mostly faithful. The musicians get
carried away a couple of times and go on awkward, out-of-place jams (a few
seconds of guitar tapping, a couple of bars of fretless bass solo, some
whammy bar action) but the playing is tasteful and appropriate for the
great majority of the time. Unfortunately, it just isn't as raw and, well,
magical as it was when all of these fellas were 30 years younger. Longtime
Beefheart drummer John French affects an admirably bluesy carnival bark
when he takes vocal duties, but what's ultimately missing here is the
Captain himself. A gruff voice is one thing, but the brilliant surrealist
poet/bluesman in Beefheart's gravely throat is a world away. If you're sick
and tired of waiting for Don Van Vliet to come out of retirement, this will
have to do. While "Back To the Front" is a fascinating musical document,
it's not such a great album. It's an absolute necessity for any die-hard
Beefheart fanatic, but not a very good introduction to some of the most
bizarrely profound and beautiful art rock ever produced. [RH]

BOOM BIP "From Left to Right" (Lex) 12" Vinyl $7.99
Boom Bip (Bryan Hollon to Mom and Dad) gets the remix treatment by Boards
of Canada, Venetian Snares, and his crew Clouddead thanks to label on the
horizon Lex. First off the title track, his own composition, "From Left to
Right," is a great piece of modern instrumental hip-hop/post rock
interactions, in the vein of DJ Shadow, U.N.K.L.E., or a more adventurous
Manitoba (thankfully no vocals) -- hard hitting drums, guitar, and
electronic beats collide. BOC give "Last Walk Around Mirror Lake," their
trademark stamp with mid-tempo, scratchy digital percussion, strummed
guitar, and floating synth lines. My favorite of the 4 tracks comes from
the threatening group Venetian Snares. They rip "The Unthinkable" into a
fevered frenzied cut and paste, stuttering drums workout. Lots of pulling
and pushing of the rhythm that interact with MC Buck65, sending him
throughout the digital blender. The whole song seems to be falling apart,
or more like it's about to break or snap at any minute. Worth checking out
for that one alone! Clouddead offer "Closed Shoulders", a moody, ambient
and slow crawling piece, again, thankfully with no vocals. Vinyl only! [DG]


KINGS OF LEON "Youth and Young Manhood" (RCA UK) CD $22.99
Nashville's Kings of Leon have been making NME headlines across the
pond, their live performances of dirty, '70s influenced southern garage rock being
hailed by the English press one of the hottest shows to catch this summer.

This week's contributors: Matt Connors [MC], J Dennis [JD], Daniel Givens [DG],
Gerald Hammill [GH], Rob Hatch-Miller [RH], Nicole Lang [NL], Josh Madell [JM],
Scott Mou [SM], Jeremy Sponder [JS], and Roy Styles [RS].


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