Other Music New Release Update
March 19, 2003

In This Week's Update:

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
Markus Guentner
More G.D.M. Volume 1 (Various Artists)
M. Ward
Nurse With Wound
Moldy Peaches
Jeff Parker
"Slitch" DVD/CD (Soundtrack by Will Oldham & David Pajo)
Innerstance Beatbox


The Libertines (Domestic)


CD/LP $13.99/$10.99

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(DISCLAIMER: I will not be comparing this release to, or at all
referencing Pavement in this review, nor mentioning Mr. Malkmus'
previous album, except to say that I've listened circles around it with
this new one already. So there won't be any critical theorizing on
indie icons here, thank you.) It has been really warm here in NYC
lately, the sun has remembered the city exists, it seems, and I know
that when spring time arrives and summer rolls in, I need a worthy
soundtrack. Oddly enough, in the recently stagnant world of indie
rock, there are some heavy hitters in the running, Cat Power for
example, or the forthcoming effort from a certain Detroit duo. "Pig
Lib," for now, is the shoe-in. I can't imagine another album so easily
catchy, already running through my head as I walk the streets, as
this one by Stephen Malkmus AND the Jicks. One qualification for
my seasonal score which this release possesses in spades, ROCK
guitar. There are absolute, unadulterated, classic rock moments
that are sometimes, gloriously distracting. (We've mentioned bands
like Rush, Television, Heart, Queen and, shhh... don't tell anyone,
the Grateful Dead while listening in the store.) Listen to "(Do Not
Feed the) Oyster" for a taste, then graduate to 70s guitar trickery
101 with the epic "1% of One" to hear what I mean. All that said, we
cannot live on rock alone, (not in the summer!) and there is plenty of
pop and a bit of folk influence to be had here. Lyrical quirkiness and
herky jerky catchy melodies bridge the gaps, you will even find
some psych thrown in. The Jicks prove that (when credited??) they
can hold their own with Malkmus, providing a cohesive platform for
his whimsical prog-pop meandering and the addition of three-part
harmonies during the more delicate moments of the record. Yes,
this is a group effort and it comes together, tightly. So load up your
discman, i-pods, whatever, PIG LIB IST RAD!!! (Whoops.) [NL]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=7448105722&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=74486105721&refer_url=email

MARKUS GUENTNER "Audio Island" (Ware) CD $14.99
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You may know the name Markus Guentner from Kompakt's "Pop
Ambient" series, or from his early 12" releases on Ware.  His first
full-length "In Moll" (Kompakt) was a stunning display of romantic
ambience. His latest venture for Ware, "Audio Island," is becoming
one of the few albums I might want should I ever become stranded.
The heady ambience continues but is now accompanied by
misleading ideas that evolve into any available genre that need
commenting. On the isle you will find techno, tech-house and pieces
drawing neo-trance comparison -- think Kaito. Acid Maria and her
heavy German accent delivers a disjointed monologue over the
electroesque "So Well". The eleven-minute "Sunset" begins with a
warm rising, crests on the dance-floor and cascades into the
minimal. Dana Grey's rendition of Talk Talk's "Such A Shame" is
proof to me that Guentner is laughing at everyone else at this point --
way ahead of the game. "Audio Island" starts with a quiet
thunderstorm, explodes into a downpour and settles with the
down-tempo notions of "Tears In Rain," just when you can't take
any more of this relentless brilliance. Do I like this record? Maybe.

CALIFONE "Quicksand/Cradlesnakes" (Thrill Jockey) CD/LP $13.99/$9.99
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With this latest (and finest) album from Tim Rutili and company,
Rutili has continued to refine the hazy blues-influenced weirdness
that he has been mining since his early days in Red Red Meat.
Califone's music is at once instantly accessible and maddeningly
elusive, combining comforting and heartfelt melodies and warm
instrumentation with obscure poetics, accidental textures and
flickering images that lie just beyond our reach. Layers of acoustic
guitar, cello, percussion, electronics, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, piano
and much more lazily spill over each other and blanket the
well-smoked vocals in mystery. And yet this new record finds
Califone at their most focused, seemingly benefiting from a strict
round of editing, with their infamous interludes trimmed at the edges
and the strong songwriting brought unashamedly to the forefront.
This is a great album that should appeal to fans of Wilco's recent
alterna-roots opus, as well as those drawn to the mystery and
honest emotion of classic American blues and roots music. But at
its core, Califone owes only passing reference to anything previous,
as they have spent years building a self-contained world of their own
design, and as a listener it is pure pleasure to be invited in for a visit.
Don't miss this one. [JM]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=79037701222&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=79037701221&refer_url=email

[V.A] "More G.D.M. Volume 1" (Tigersushi) CD $15.99
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It seems like all of the hippest labels these days are going back in
time to find that lost, rare, dance floor post-punk/EBM jam from the
late-'70s and early-'80s that is sure to make it into DJ crates from NY
to London. "More GDM" is a compilation collecting the series of
highly acclaimed 12"s from France's premier label, Tigersushi. The
label's idea was to pair a lost dancefloor classic with one by a newer
artist that has been influenced by that said track. Here, we get
tracks by Gina X, Metro Area, Maurice Fulton, Bush Tetras, Material,
John Tejada, Silver Apples, and many, many more. Fifteen tracks in
all, and a must for anyone who has purchased the recent "Serie
Noire" compilation. Essential. Also keep an eye out for their next
compilation "How to Kill a DJ", it is another stunner. [JS]

SMOG "Supper" (Drag City) CD $13.99
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This music is "country" in the same way visiting a battle memorial
and eating BBQ later and ruminating with the sauce dribbling down
your chin is "country." Nice. Smog may come at creating these
songs sort of obliquely, both in Bill Callahan's writing and in the
band's execution, but the idea seems to be to leave for the listener
enough that emanates and is genuine so that no one involved is
merely trying to be cool. Unfortunately many people have missed
the point with Smog but it all just keeps on and thankfully what
remains is sound and life going on. Not to get heavy, but maybe it
IS heavy. [DHo]

DEERHOOF "Apple O'" (Kill Rock Stars) CD $13.99
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If there were a soundtrack to a two-year-old's brain, this would be it.
You know when the kid throws a tantrum and then you shove a
piece of candy in his face and it's blue skies? This is exactly that.
"Apple O'" is the follow up to last year's critically acclaimed
"Reveille." This album stays true to the distinct Deerhoof sound,
which is, to name a few, raw, exciting, cuddly and chaotic. This time
around, the band adds a bit of warmth to the compositions. The first
listen is always the hardest to follow. You never quite know where
the melody is going next making their musical forms so interesting
to hear unfold. Satomi, the singer, adds her usual but unique style
and schoolgirl lyrics, making almost impossible to sing along to. So
many things stand out with this band, but most of all the crashing,
anthemic, rock the f'ucking house, percussion. Pop music just got
hit by a 200 lb. baby rattle. [LM]

MAGAS "Friends Forever" (Ersatz Audio) CD $13.99
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Now that straight-up, new wave electro is a well run dry, it takes a
little "something else" to make a record stand out. Magas' new
album "Friends Forever" succeeds by combining the dark funk of
early Chicago acid house (i.e. Phuture) and new wave aggression
with vocals that are a sort of everyman's version of Lux Interior.
Tracks two through five are a non-stop romp of nasty beats, acid
funk, and a chanty, radio new wave sensibility that somehow works.
Track nine is a scorcher too. Of course. It's only fitting that an artist
on Ersatz Audio would figure out another way to make a dirty
electronic punk album made up of mostly American influences.

M. WARD "Transfiguration of Vincent" (Merge) CD $13.99
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I'm not sure if M. Ward is a songwriter of or from this era. His third
album, "Transfiguration of Vincent," could easily get lost in today's
sea of better known artists releasing their own worthy Americana and
folk inspired records, but it would be a damn shame. In fact, I don't
see how this could be possible; these songs are just too beautiful
and dare I say timeless to go unheard. Loosely revolving around the
themes of romantic loss and death, at his quietest, Ward's whispered
falsettos seem to be on the edge of cracking but never break. The
acoustic guitar is often the lone accompaniment, but in that rare
moment when the backing band (which includes an appearance from
Howe Gelb) does let loose, it's still restrained. The arrangements
are sparse, where every note and sound is used to emphasize Ward's
emotional burden while songs swing from dreamy, Southwestern
roots influenced pop to Appalachian folk. It's also very cinematic, with
additional piano textures; maybe an odd piece of percussion clanks or
an unidentifiable sound wheezes in the background. At times, Ward
emulates Tom Waits, his whiskey soaked rasp goes deep assuming
a role of the character, but often lighter, breathy sung melodies could
even be less-intentionally reminiscent of Colin Blunstone. As the
album comes to a close, a cover of Bowie's "Lets Dance" creeps in
almost unnoticed. Spooky and bleak, Ward's version is completely
personified perhaps using the song to spark nostalgic dreams of a lost
lover. [GH]

NURSE WITH WOUND "Salt Marie Celeste" (United Dairies) CD $18.99
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The latest ambitious undertaking from the world of Steven Stapelton
and friends comes in a digi-pak featuring a haunting portrait of a child
with arms raised suspended in motion as if doomed to fall forever -- a
rather apt representation for the brooding 60-minute piece contained
within. "Salt Marie Celeste" begins with a few solemn chords that
sway in the distance gradually becoming denser.  As they swell their
way into uneasiness, details begin to appear out of the haze
illustrating a faded picture of a long lost ship.  While structurally
similar to Gavin Bryars' 1969 piece "The Sinking of the Titanic"
(which was based on reports that the band on the Titanic played a
hymn as the ship slowly sank into the ocean), "Salt Marie Celeste"
comes across more like an ode to a decaying barge than to the
luxury cruise liner that was the Titanic. Recommended for fans of
William Basinski's recent work who are looking for something
darker. [KH]

MOLDY PEACHES "Unreleased Cutz & Live Jamz" (Rough Trade)
CD $16.99

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It's the stuff that anyone armed with a book of bad poems and a guitar
playing open mic nights in the local coffee house circuit dreams of.
Except in this case, the bad poems aren't your usual cringe-inducing
attempts at beat poetry and existential cliches, we're talking potty
mouth lyrics and obnoxious inside jokes. Still, this wise crack (or
crack wise), costume wearing team of Adam Green and Kimya
Dawson are absolutely loveable. You either get them or you don't,
meanwhile the Moldy Peaches have gone on to be some sort of
music sensation, stars in Great Britain even. The past few years I've
seen the Moldy Peaches perform together in various forms, and
costumes in venues ranging from small, Brooklyn loft parties to the
Bowery Ballroom, and always left with a grin, humming songs I
wouldn't want my little sister to hear. Last November, Green, Dawson,
and the rest of their motley bunch took a temporary break from Moldy
Peaches performances to pursue solo things, but with a promise to
reconvene. In the meantime, "Unreleased Cutz and Live Jamz" fills
two CDs worth of live takes, unreleased material and super fuzzy lo-fi
versions (acoustic and with backing band) of your Moldy Peaches
favorites including "Steak for Chicken," "Little Bunny Foo Foo," "D2
Boyfriend," and of course, "Who's Got the Crack." There's probably
too much for the non-initiated to digest, but fans will eat this up. [GH]

JEFF PARKER "Like Coping" (Delmark) CD $13.99
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Jeff Parker finally releases his first full length as a leader with
"Like-Coping." The tastefully talented guitarist from Tortoise, Isotope
217, and the Chicago Underground comes back to jazz leading this
trio which features bassist Chris Lopez and Chad Taylor on drums,
vibes and classical guitar. It's much in the arena of coffee table
listening, but it's also the kind that makes you ask the clerk what's
playing. All original, the compositions are written by the various
members of the trio, with explorations in free and straight-ahead
playing. Jeff and Chad are members of the next generation of AACM
musicians starting to offer albums on Chicago's Delmark label. Jeff
always provides beautiful tones, chords and melodies, at times Grant
Green, other moments inspired by Sonny Sharrock. Engineered,
mixed, and co-produced by John McEntire. [DG]

DIANNE BELLINO/CONTINENTAL OP "Slitch - Film and Soundtrack"
(Drag City) Double Sided DVD-CD  $15.99

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Perhaps to hedge their bets in this faltering music economy, the Drag
City label has been expanding their empire in many directions, with
books, comics, and now film releases in the catalog. Directed by
Dianne Bellino,"Slitch" is a 23 minute, 16 mm color film available here
for the first time commercially as a two-sided DVD/CD, packaged in a
traditional DVD box. The film follows a day in the life of a high-school
beauty who is a bit too lusty and free for the repressive mores of her
middle-class uptight world (prompting her bitter sister to conjugate
slut and bitch into a new nickname, hence the title). She masturbates,
eats pink sno-balls, follows her dreams and pursues straight-on the
many young men that stir her passion, including (pre-beard and
overalls) Will Oldham, returning to his roots on the screen here in a
supporting role as "The Surfer." Oldham also composed and performed
the soundtrack with longtime collaborator David "Papa M" Pajo
(previously released vinyl-only as Continental Op's "Slitch Music,"
included in its entirety here on accompanying CD). The music is a mix
of melancholy, if somewhat unremarkable mood pieces and heavier
stoner-rock. Also included on the DVD is a music video by Bellino for
Palace's "Come In," and an additional film walk-through with a track of
audio commentary (!?!) by the director. (TECHNICAL NOTE: The DVD
should be format compatible with all regions. However, as the disc is
a two-sided DVD/CD combo, you may have trouble playing the CD in
a front-loading in-dash car stereo CD player, or other sensitive
machines.) [JM]

INNERSTANCE BEATBOX "All Little Boys Do Silly Little Dances"
(Wobblyhead) CD $8.9

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Innerstance Beatbox is the fun-filled solo project of Jason Todd, who
also records under the Def Harmonic moniker. The album "All Little
Boys Do Silly Little Dances" is a journey through crate digging
breaks, live instrumentation, bedroom electronics, and an amazing
knack for melody. Todd definitely takes his cue from the heavy hitters
of the genre like DJ Shadow, RJD2, and Kid Koala, but he gives it a
spin of his own while adding elements of downtempo electronica,
scratching, and cut-up vocals. Innerstance Beatbox's debut is a great
addition to the instrumental hip-hop genre, and a definite late night
listen. Recommended. [JS]


LIBERTINES "Up the Bracket" (Rough Trade) CD $14.99
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It's hard to believe that two years ago the Strokes couldn't get
arrested in New York City if they had tried; but simultaneously across
the Atlantic they were being hailed in the NME as "rock 'n' roll
saviours." Soon after, the rest of the free world caught up and the fab
five ignited the careers of the White Stripes, Hives, B.R.M.C., et al.
None of these bands really sound anything like the Strokes, the only
uniting factor being a sloppier style of guitar rock coming back in
vogue. The Libertines don't really sound much like them either, but
unlike the aforementioned groups, there is a very obvious Strokes
influence in their basic formula. The first two tracks of "Up the
Bracket" is brimming with "'isms," from the vocal delivery (minus the
saturation of Julian's overdriven mic) to the upstrokes of the dueling
guitars. And this is where the comparison stops. Substitute the
Velvet Underground and Television with a few nods to the Jam and
the Clash (who's very own Mick Jones handles the production duties),
the Libertines remind me of a late night spent in some London pub
sipping ale waiting for the band to kick into a cover of "In
the City." That is if I'm lucky and they're drunk enough. [GH]

This week's contributors: J Dennis [JD], Daniel Givens [DG], Gerald
Hammill [GH], Kean Holtkamp [KH], Dan Hougland [DHo], Nicole
Lang [NL], Josh Madell [JM], Liane Moccia [LM], Scott Mou [SM]
and Jeremy Sponder [JS].


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