Other Music New Release Update
May 21, 2003

In This Week's Update:

Neil Michael Hagerty
Pernice Brothers
Weevie (Mix CD)
Richard Hawley
Arne Nordheim
Lexoleum (Various Artists)
Electric Six
Pink and Brown

Just in:

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (CD Single)


NEIL MICHAEL HAGERTY "The Howling Hex" (Drag City) CD $13.99
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ROCK ISN'T BACK. IT NEVER LEFT... It just took Neil a little longer
to finish his double album. That's the feeling you get listening to "The
Howling Hex." It's not a time capsule effect either, because the
elements are chewed up and regurgitated right onto your dinner plate.
It helps that Neil and his friends obviously know, and still believe in
what they're doing... Everything good about Royal Trux exists on this
album, except that instead of just slipping into druggy haze, you
wanna rock it at the front porch party with all your friends, or maybe
on the highway. The boogie jams are more surging, and tighter, the
downer ballads are dustier, and the guitar solos are blazing. The lyrics
are full of street poetry in classic RTx style: "Watching the Sands
Run Through...", "Greasy Saint", besides being a marriage of Big
Star's "On the Street" and something else I can't put my finger on
(yet), has the line: "It's nice to know the things you lost were real.."
and "an old dead horse with a cheap new coat of paint." Is he
mourning the loss of Jennifer Herrema in these lines? You won't. Not
after hearing the very next track, "Fat Street", where he proves he
invented that shit. "I got that taste in my mouth, before the bite...!"
(Fuck!)..."I'm Your Son" rules. "Creature Catcher" drips blood.
"Carrier Dog"(!) I can't even get started on his dancehall jam
("Witch"). One of my favorite albums of the summer for damn sure. I
can go on and on. Recommended. [SM]

PERNICE BROTHERS "Yours, Mine & Ours" (Ashmont) CD $15.99
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Wilco became nearly as popular as The Neptunes in the past year
(still waiting for the collaboration) while Will Oldham and Dave Pajo
were widely lauded as musical chroniclers of roadside and bedside
America. Meanwhile, Joe Pernice was holed up in a house in
Vermont with his band, fashioning their greatest record to date. It's
their rockiest album yet, but retains the instantly memorable pop
hooks and vignettes about people who live too close to the current of
a fallen world. I mention the artists above because it strikes me as
peculiar that those singer/songwriters who are Pernice's closest
peers gain far greater attention than he does. These sort of
comparisons might at first seem pointless but in this case, they're a
plea for greater attention to the best guitar pop artist in the West, who
sings of an America as broken and disillusioned as any of his
'cognate' peers. This album finally allows Pernice to display his
amazing vocal range. The falsetto verses on "Blinded by the Stars",
about how mutual obsessive love is the only way to escape the banal
everyday, will raise hairs all over your body. "Baby in Two" is the
unqualified masterpiece here, with the Biblical motif of Solomon
driving a desperate threnody in which an exhausted young parent is
driven to destructive thoughts which he regrets, but shakes. Finally, it's
Pernice's ability to provide such a consistently powerful counterpoint
that makes this record so necessary. That he can create fast,
strumming pop tunes under and over scenarios that make Leonard
Cohen or Ian Curtis seem like 24-hour party people, and maintain a
great sense of humor is what makes him a genius. [TH]

WEEVIE "Nighty Night" (Stoic) CD $10.99
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Wow! This was a very pleasant surprise. Weevie is a reclusive New
York soul who meticulously seamed together this truly creative mix
CD, that is meant to rock you sleep peacefully and soulfully, and it
also happens to be the second best mix CD I've heard so far this
year. This album consists of Weevie's bedroom 4-track remix and
dub reinterpretations of artists as diverse as James Brown, Donavan,
Zap Mama, and Pharcyde. Using King Tubby and Lee "Scratch"
Perry dub technique as his model, Weevie slows the track waaay
down leaving just traces of the bass and drums, brings in vocal
phrases and echoes them into infinity. As an added touch, he uses
home recordings of found sounds (cars beeping, cartoon and
documentary sound bites, kids whistling) as the sonic glue that
binds all of the tunes together. The effect is not unlike a simultaneous
sugar and codeine buzz. This is one of the more innovative
approaches to a mix CD I've heard in a while and it's something that I
wished more well known artists would try to do. This is a great OM
exclusive that will appeal to fans of dub, downtempo and R&B, and I
highly recommend it. (And to anyone who cares, the Peanut Butter
Wolf "Badmeaningood" mix is my favorite mix CD of the year, and
you should pick that one up as well.) [DH]

RICHARD HAWLEY "Lowedges" (XL) CD $14.99
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Just in time for the sure to be too hot New York summer comes some
misty escapism from Richard Hawley -- sometime Pulp guitarist and
serious pop nostalgia-phile. Guitars (lots of 'em -- Spanish, lap steel,
Hawaiian), omnichords, vibraphones, drums and strings meld with
thick and brushy vocals to create a brand new retro, recalling the
finest hours of Billy Fury and Ricky Nelson, as played by someone
who's other band might be Pulp. On a parallel track with late Smiths
and recent Morrissey, and much of the subsequent Britpop spawned
therein, Hawley's songs narrate a world peopled by sympathetic
ruffians and melancholy road trips, warmly executed with bitter sweet
warbling guitars, delicate percussion and a voice that at times sounds
like it's echoing out of a transistor radio, and at others feels whispered
directly in your ear. [MC]

ARNE NORDHEIM "Dodeka" (Rune Grammofon) CD $15.99
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The consistently engaging Rune Grammofon label celebrates its 30th
release with this beautifully produced collection of pieces culled from
source material that Arne Nordheim generated while working in
Warsaw from 1967 to 1972. Considered by many to be Nordheim's
most fruitful period, these 12 pieces are all based around the theme of
different kinds of yearning further illustrated by titles such as
"Awaiting", "Calm" and "Distance". While these pieces would
generally be considered "electronic music," the way in which
Nordheim explores melody is not so far off from many of his
instrumental works. A series of seemingly random notes scatter over
more dense textures to create a miniature sound world for the
listener to slowly sink into. At times playful or equally haunting,
these 12 pieces offer a glimpse into a unique and genuinely original
body of work. By combining older technology with modern production
techniques, Nordheim has created a series of pieces that sound
both timeless and dated at the same time. [KH]

[V.A.] "Lexoleum" (Lex) CD $15.99
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The second spring release from Warp's hip hop little brother Lex
Records is a primer for some of indie-hop's heavyweights and
unknowns. Collected from three separate 12"s with additional tracks,
this is the sound of "Now" (2000-2003). Boom Bip, Madlib, Tes,
Edan, Peaches, Req, Subtle, Jamie Lidell, and J-zone, among others,
offer mostly exclusive tracks that together form a surprisingly
enjoyable collection of beat driven, hip hop inspired IDM rhythms.
Vocals range from fire spitting verse, emo flavored whining, and
off-the-cuff rhymes. Again engaging packaging houses the 18 tracks,
from both sides of the Atlantic, with heavy bass and choppy snares
that keep the journey head nodding-ly strong. For fans of Chocolate
Industries, Anti-Con, Def Jux, Eastern Developments, Counterflow, or
Beta Bodega, if you know them you get the picture, if not, then listen
and learn. [DG]

NOXAGT "Turning it Down Since 2001" (Load) CD $12.99
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If you're searching for the next big Scandinavian rock-revival flavor of
the week, then these fellas are not for you... but if you're in the market
for 30 minutes of seriously heavy fuzzed-out grooves, look no further.
These Norwegians have a lot more in common with labelmates
Lightning Bolt and Sightings than they do with the Hives or the
Flaming Sideburns. Noxagt adds a viola to the ever-popular drum and
bass combo, and the results are magnificent. It's what you might
imagine Ruins would sound like if they played with Henry Flynt.
Production duties were handled by Billy Anderson (High On Fire,
Neurosis) and that doesn't hurt either. Don't let the demonic bubble
bath cover art scare you away, "Turning It Down Since 2001" will rock
you so hard you'll think you're 14 years old all over again. This is
heavy-duty rock and roll. [RH]

ELECTRIC SIX "Fire" (XL) CD $9.99
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Twenty years ago, this album would be total sacrilege to your older
cousin sporting that "Disco Sucks" T-shirt. Electric Six (formerly the
Wildbunch) have got the chops and pummel you with power chords,
tasty riffs and a macho singer who makes about a zillion lyrical
references to 'fire.' Then comes that disco thump with the patented
open-close hi-hat, and add to this some bouncy clinkety-clink rhythm
guitars and flashy '80s synthesizer accents -- that same cousin
wouldn't be caught dead blasting it in his Firebird. But this is
Y2K-something, the era of the mash-up, so crossing this-with-that
ain't so odd and certainly not as shocking as back in the day when
Eddie Van Halen laid down that guitar lead for Michael Jackson's
"Beat It." What you get with the Electric Six is Detroit's answer to
Andrew W.K. "Fire" has just as many, if not more over-the-top
anthems full of tongue-in-cheek crassness and bad ass lyrics. I
already mentioned the fire obsession, but singer Dick Valentine's got
plenty more tricks up his sleeve lifting lines from Van Halen, Romeo
Void and of course AC/DC, with the suave croon of Robert Palmer
along a hodge-podge of music juxtapositions. Valentine duets with
the White Stripe's Jack White on their Great Britain smash single
"Danger! High Voltage." The song is hilarious but it's pretty awesome
too, and sounds even better pumping out over the dance floor. (The
video is the most outrageous thing to hit MTV in a long time.) There's
really nothing serious about this album except for some serious party
anthems. [GH]

RIMA "This World" (JCR) CD $15.99
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From the super consistent Compost label comes a new dose of
sweet progressive soul music. The Dutch duos' newest release
features tons of vocal-heavy broken-beat style rhythms, but it is built
on a solid foundation of classic deep house and expands on those
ideas. It's a lot more like Vikter Duplaix and 4 Hero than Jazzanova
and Rainer Truby, but it's still a very solid release. If you are a fan of
the nu-soul sound, this will be a welcome addition to your collection.

ESMERINE "If Only a Sweet Surrender" (Resonant) CD $13.99
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Featuring Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Bruce Cawdron and A
Silver Mt. Zion's Beckie Foon, Esmerine is a spacial chamber
rock/neo-classical ensemble that revolves around strings and mostly
percussive instruments. Sparse arrangements breathe through cello
and violin interludes, as drums, marimba, piano, and ambient textures
hover and pulse underneath slow, dynamic builds. The instrumental
arrangements are more minimal than the Rachel's but just as focused
on mood and atmosphere; the music is quiet and mesmerizing and
always full of emotional tension. By track four, "Leaving No Room for
Fear," Cawdron's drums suddenly climax into a propulsive beat that
pushes the strings into an eerie frenzy. Throughout the album, these
ascensions are slow to come and quickly decline back to the hush
where it began, but by the end you're left breathless.[GH]

GARRISON "The Model" (Iodine) CD $9.99
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The depth of this Boston-Williamsburg, Brooklyn four-piece has
always manifested itself two ways -- the expansiveness of their
influences and the ability to interweave those influences into
something a few steps ahead of the rest of the pack. "The Model"
manages to combine the raw earthiness of the hardcore scene that
the band was somehow lumped into years back (hello, colored
seven-inches!) with catchy hooks and riffs that get in your head and
stay there. The calling cards are the same -- the clean/distorto guitar
dichotomy mixed with the thudding, thundering rhythm section and
the dual vocals that bounce and veer into different directions -- but
this one's different. I'd say more refined if I hadn't already said it each
time the band put out a new record, and lame words like 'progression'
and 'incessant' don't cut it, either. Five songs in 25 minutes that
won't seem quite so short because you'll keep hitting repeat. [LR]

DWELE "Subject" (Virgin) CD $10.99
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So you would think that Dwele, the guest vocalist and producer of
Slum Village, T-Love, and others, could release a CD of modern soul
that would rival Spacek, Peven Everett, or more forward thinking acts.
Well, "Subject", his anticipated debut album, is a collection of
neo-soul/R&B groovers that at times feel like D'Angelo or Raphael
Saadiq with its smooth, organic meets digital production. It's not a
bad record, Dwele comes through with a few tracks that would make
you bounce like the best of them, thanks to drums by Karriem
Riggins (Common, Bilal, Slum V, Detroit Experiment), but overall I
was a little under-whelmed. Maybe it's one of those "grow on you"
type of records. I sort of blame his label for sculpting him into an over
wrought "new" voice of urban America for this season, because I feel
he's more talented than that, but he still comes out above average. A
good listen although it's not the record I wanted. [DG]

PINK & BROWN "Shame Fantasy II" (Load) $12.99
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From members of the Coachwhips and Young People came Pink &
Brown. Sounding like an obnoxious younger brother of Lightning Bolt
or Black Dice, they'll terrorize you with their pummeling drums and
screechy, nails-on-a-chalkboard guitar. But don't think that that's all
you get, there are actual hooks in these songs amidst technical
ability and short blasts of catchy punk noise. The cover is fitting with
its headstone engraved with Pink & Brown since they are now
deceased as a band. They'll live on with this CD which contains their
complete discography plus five new songs recorded on New Year's
Day, 2003. Pick it up now and use it for the soundtrack for the most
manic hot tub party ever! [RS]


BONNIE 'PRINCE' BILLY "Happy Child" (Palace) CD $5.99
Originally released as a limited single with the first 2000 copies of
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's "Master and Everyone" album, b/w "Forest

This week's contributors: Matt Connors [MC], Daniel Givens [DG],
Gerald Hammill [GH], Duane Harriot [DH], Tim Haslett [TH], Rob
Hatch-Miller [RH], Kean Holtkamp [KH], Scott Mou [SM], Lyndon
Roeller [LR], and Roy Styles [RS].


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