Other Music New Release Update
March 6, 2003

In This Week's Update:

Songs: Ohia
Glass Candy
Ethiopiques (Volumes 12 & 13)
Lightning Bolt
Thomas Brinkmann (12" Single with bonus CD)
Angels of Light
Keith Fullerton Whitman
Monsta Island Czars (MF Doom)
Venetian Snares


Series Noire/Various Dark Pop and New Beat

Just In:

Angus MacLise (Volume 3 in Quakebasket's MacLise Series)
Joseph Spence (Reissue)


SONGS: OHIA "The Magnolia Electric Co." (Secretly Canadian) CD $13.99
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Recorded live with a backing band in Steve Albini's studio, Jason
Molina's latest Songs: Ohia album is filled with soulful rock for the
working class. Opening with "Farewell Transmission," the slide of a lap
steel guitar introduces the record and when the whole band kicks in you
expect to hear Molina sing "Old man look at my life" in his best Neil
Young voice. His lyrics are intimate and paint a nostalgic picture of the
good days passed and hope for better days ahead. Albini's production is
flawless, warm but far from overcooked you could hear these songs
comfortably sandwiched between the blue collar anthems and odes that
would blast from a juke box above the din of cue ball smacks in any
smoke-filled Midwestern dive bar, circa 1977. Jennie Benford (Jim and
Jennie and the Pinetops) returns to add some mandolin and vocal backing,
but it's two guest appearances that, for a few minutes, steal the album
spotlight from Molina. Lawrence Peters steps up to the mic during the
country/western ballad "The Old Black Hen," his deep swaggering
croon could easily be mistaken for Merle Haggard. "Peoria Lunchbox
Blues" follows with Secretly Canadian staple Scout Niblett giving a
haunting, almost Chan Marshall-like performance. Amidst the slower
sentiments and some rocking moments, Molina's soul-searching is
always heartfelt. "Hold On Magnolia," finishes the record with one
last bit of lonesome hope. Molina explains in a throaty waver, "You
might be the last light I see, before the dark gets a hold of me."
(Includes limited edition bonus CD with home recorded demos of
several album tracks and more.) [GH]

GLASS CANDY "Love Love Love" (Troubleman) CD $11.99
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Rarely have the mottled lines of music and fashion tangled so
sweetly as in Portland, Oregon's Glass Candy. Often accused of
being nothing more than a bunch of talentless poseurs that wear too
much make-up, they are possibly our only true savior from the
mindless legions of postpunk-clones that are overpopulating the bins.
They provoke immediate and passionate responses of love or hate
with rough-hewn but incendiary performances that I thought would not
have translated to the studio. Johnny Jewel (John David V) and his
stacked-heel thug appropriation of Bolan/Bowie GLAM (they call it
"death disco") serves as the ideal backdrop to the post-goth shrieks
and screams of the lovely Ida No. Their first full album has been a
long time coming and (to be honest, I was certain that they would
have broken up before recording this) thankfully well worth the wait.
At 25 minutes in length "Love Love Love" reprises some favorites from
their previous releases (4 seven-inches, a live 12", and various CD-R's)
along with a few new songs all recently recorded with their newest
drummer, Ginger Peach. Included is their cover of The Screamers' "I
Wanna Hurt" as well as a rendition of The Rolling Stones' "The Last
Time". Glass Candy is in my opinion the most exciting band living
outside of New York City right now. [AG]

[V.A.] "Ethiopiques 12/Kirba Afaa Xonso" (Buda Musique) CD $14.99
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[V.A.] "Ethiopiques 13/Ethiopian Groove" (Buda Musique) CD $14.99
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Two strong additions to the consistently excellent Ethiopiques series
which has tirelessly worked to preserve the legacy of traditional as
well as more modern Ethiopian music. "Kirba Affaa Xonso" (Volume 12)
features modern recordings of traditional Ethiopian music, recorded in
2000 and 2001 by anthropologist Enrico Castelli. Perhaps the most
traditional offering yet in this series, this record would be at home in
the Folkways or Ocora catalogues. Played entirely on indigenous
instruments (flutes, bells, xylophones, trumpets, hand drums, etc.)
these are top quality modern recordings in an ancient tradition,
performed by musicians who live this music. "Ethiopian Groove"
(Volume 13) covers some older tracks, but in a much more modern
style. Featuring singles from the mid-'70s, this is the classic golden
age of the Ethiopian scene. Incorporating American and European
soul, jazz, funk and pop into African bands, several of these songs
were huge hits in Ethiopia back in the day, and are available here on
CD for the first time. There are elements of Fela Kuti's Afro-funk
experiments, as well as the shimmery African pop of other regions,
but the Ethiopian sound and its myriad influences stands alone.
Tracks by Alemayehu Eshete, Hirtu Begele, Seyoum Gebreyes,
Tamra Rerendji, Muluqen Mellesse, Ayalew Mesfin, and more, with
a 32-page booklet (English and French) of notes and photos. [JM]
"Ethiopiques 12"
"Ethiopiques 13"

LIGHTNING BOLT "Wonderful Rainbow" (Load) CD/LP $12.99/$10.99
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Lightning Bolt does us all a favor with their new LP, "Wonderful
Rainbow," by presenting a studio recording with all the in-your-face
breakneck immediacy of their live show. What immediately comes to
mind is the relentless pummel of live Jesus Lizard without the "jazz,"
combined with the precision of Japan's Ruins without the cartoon
opera vibe. Caroliner Rainbow moments here and there to heighten
things. Unsane, but with a brain. High concept sludge. It's fun. The
bass riffs race neck in neck with the drums, each one constantly
poking in and out of the other without becoming "solos." Everything
stays sonic, which is a plus. Time becomes double-time, man
becomes machine. Things build up, level off and never stop till you
don't expect it to. Recommended. [SM]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=60419710412&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999193051&refer_url=email

THOMAS BRINKMANN "Tina" (Max Ernst) 12" plus bonus CD $8.99
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The ever prolific Thomas Brinkmann returns with a very limited four-
song 12", but the real treat here is the bonus CD "Tanks A Lot".
Fifteen tracks culled from various 12" singles on his Max Ernst label,
most have never before been on CD! The highly sought after "Corvette"
track appears as well as his rare remix of Depeche Mode's "I Feel
Love". Definitely some of his finest work and all this for the price of a
12" single. Brinkmann does it again! [JS]

ANGELS OF LIGHT "Everything is Good Here/Please Come Home" (Young God) CD $14.99
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This is the third full length offering from Michael Gira's Angels Of Light
and quite possibly the most ambitious record of his career. After years
and years of exploring everything that was grotesque with his band the
Swans, this album is filled with overtly beautiful orchestrations and
carefully obsessed-over layers of sound that are every bit as powerful
as something from his younger days, his music continues to evolve
and mature in unexpected ways. His rugged moan may be familiar,
and yes, lyrically he still explores the darker sides of the human
condition with obscure images that could be read as portraits of
sadism, masochism, and melancholy. I know that Angels Of Light
has been described as the continuation of what was started with the
Swans, but I think that with this album in particular we are only just
beginning to see what greatness he is actually capable of generating.
The malignancy that is Michael Gira continues to fester in the most
beautiful way. One of the best albums to come out this year. [AG]

KEITH FULLERTON WHITMAN "Darmouth Street Underpass" (Locust) CD $14.99
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The first installment in Locust Music's new location series features
Bostonian Keith Fullerton Whitman's recording and reinterpretation of
the Dartmouth Street Underpass. The CD begins with a fairly straight
recording of the environment which, according to the CD booklet,
consists of "a tunnel that connects Back Bay Station to Copley
Plaza under Dartmouth St". Having never actually been to the
location one can only imagine the large reverberant space that this
recording evokes. Machines hum, voices and distant muzak linger as
the occasional train fills the space with sudden and dense distortion.
As in Luc Ferrari's seminal "Presque Rein" the recording is at its
most fascinating when there is almost nothing going on. Track two
features Mr. Whitman's live reinterpretation (or "reply" as he puts it)
of the underpass recording. The piece begins with a distant machine
like drone that slowly rises in anticipation of something greater only
to slowly disappear somewhere off in the horizon. Not as engaging as
his excellent "Playthroughs" album on Kranky but an interesting
exercise nonetheless. [KH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=64631590192&refer_url=email

CURSIVE "The Ugly Organ" (Saddle Creek) CD $12.99
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"Domestica" was definitely the Cursive's turning point. Mirroring group
leader Tim Kasher's divorce and the addition of Lullaby for the
Working Class's Ted Stevens, the Omaha band created a record that
moved well past your typical emo musing, shattering standard song
structures and replacing these with interesting arrangements and
deeper lyrical substance. Two years later, "The Ugly Organ" is
another big step forward. New addition Gretta Cohn cements her
membership in the group's line-up, the beautiful strains of her cello is
juxtaposed against the jagged guitars, stops-and-starts, and
emphasizes Kasher's ultra-personal lyrics. Conceptually, "The Ugly
Organ" continues to deal with love-gone-bad, but this time intensely
dwells on the emotional aftermath of a wrecked relationship and his
music craft. Musically, there are many moments of orchestrated
builds amidst Dischord-inspired rhythm shifts, angular guitars, organ
breaks and dynamics that rise and fall at the turn of a dime. [GH]

MONSTA ISLAND CZARS "Escape from Monsta Island" (Metal Face) CD $14.99
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The man behind many aliases, the man behind that metal-faced
mask is MF Doom. This super group of underground rhyme-sayers
comes together to form the Monsta Island Czars and delivers another
episode in the real life comic book that Doom is creating with every
release. A collage of B-movie dialogue, raw underground flow, and
sparse beat programming, Doom's expertise is in creating funky,
soulful, yet incredibly animated beats for an array of urban sci-fi lyrics.
Like albums by Kool Keith, Def Jux, Jaydee, Madlib, or early Wu
Tang offshoots, this is leftfield lyricism and futuristic retro beats.
Featuring vocal versions to many of the tracks featured on Doom's
Special Herbs series. [DG]

VENETIAN SNARES "Find Candace" (Hymen) CD $14.99
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Their Hymen Records bio states: "Find Candace" is the second and
final installment in the so-called 'doll sequence' through which Mr.
(Aaron) Funk obliterates the lines between jungle, d&b, gabber,
breakcore, and post-industrial." There's no argument. Beginning with
a break-heavy remix of "Befriend a Child Killer" from "Doll Doll Doll,"
Funk plunders through percussive drum samples and synth tones at
such a hyperactive pace that during the first few tracks you're literally
catching your breath every moment a calming soundscape comes in.
At its heaviest, cuts like the title track show why Funk is able to
pound contemporaries like Alec Empire over the head with punishing
ping pong cut-ups pressed against soothing decrescendos and
bubbling breaks. The latter moments are like an eye of the hurricane
that brings a temporary reprieve from the 130mph winds, but here you
never know when the calm is finally going to come. Like
Squarepusher, Venetian Snares cuts with surgical precision but using
post-industrial ambience as his anesthetic. Once again, the prolific
Funk proves to be expert, a mad scientist of sort, grafting organic
textures, voices and diverse sonics around jacked-up paranoia. [GH]


[V.A.] "Serie Noire/Dark Pop and New Beat" (Eskimo) CD $21.99
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The "Serie Noire/Dark Pop and New Beat" compilation is a well-
mixed collection of gems from the early-'80s dance underground
when "electronic music was still made in a special kind of splendid
isolation, far away from the mainstream. Shying away from disco's
all too obvious hedonism (sound familiar?) or industrial's blatant body
politics, underground dance from the early-'80s excelled in creating
music that perfectly encapsulated both feelings of tension and
release." It's all true: amazing tracks from bands like Grauzone, A
Split Second, Kissing the Pink, Section 25 (plus a well camouflaged
Metro Area track slipped in), etc. Combine the anxiety of Suicide
and/or Joy Division with the undeniable sexual nature of Chris and
Cosey or dark Chicago House. You won't know what to do first: start
a band, start DJing, or get on e-Bay(!) Another reference point could
be: Somewhere in between the underground disco of Playgroup's DJ
Kicks compilation and the foundation-laying synth-punk of Andrew
Weatherall's "Nine O'Clock Drop" compilation, but "Serie Noire"
manages to outclass them BOTH in track selection AND in the mix.
The tracks are nasty, sleazy, sexy and above all, real.
Recommended. [SM]


ANGUS MACLISE "Astral Collapse" (Quakebasket) CD $14.99
The original drummer of the Velvet Underground and having
worked with Tony Conrad, LaMonte Young, Terry Riley, and Jack
Smith, Angus MacLise is now considered a '60s underground icon.
Volume 3 in Quakebasket's Maclise series, "Astral Collapse"
features some of the last compositions that he recorded. Not a
"drum record," the pieces here reflect his fascination with tape
music and noise with MacLise exploring synthesizer and waves of

JOSEPH SPENCE "Happy All the Time" (Water) CD $14.99
Originally released in 1964, "Happy All the Time" is an outstanding
album by the gruff voiced guitarist Joseph Spence and finally
reissued on CD for the first time. Born in the Bahamas, his
percussive guitar picking was extremely inventive and would influence
greats from Ry Cooder to Taj Mahal. A Bahamian folk music

This week's contributors: Andy Giles [AG], Daniel Givens [DG],
Gerald Hammill [GH], Kean Holtkamp [KH], Josh Madell [JM], Scott
Mou [SM] and Jeremy Sponder [JS].

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