Other Music New Release Update
September 10, 2003

In This Week's Update:

The Rapture (Import full-length)
Donna Regina
Lost In Translation (Soundtrack featuring new Kevin Shields tracks)
My Morning Jacket
David Byrne (Soundtrack)
Iron and Wine
Chris Clark
The Decemberists
Tied and Tickled Trio
Town and Country
DM and Jemini


THE RAPTURE "Echoes" (Vertigo/DFA) CD $24.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/sistersa.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/houseofj.rm
Highly anticipated isn't even the phrase. Last year, the Rapture teased us
with the "House of Jealous Lovers" 12" which proved their alliance with DFA
to be quite holy. For all the hoopla in the press about the second coming of
New York's music scene, here was the song that finally lived up to the
hype. Now why it took another year-and-a-half to get their full-length
readied is anyone's guess but it's finally arrived. Opening with the Cure
goes acid house "Olio," the schizophrenic style-switching and pace that
awaits us in "Echoes" is established by track two, the hard hitting
"Heaven," where guitars pound and drums pummel amidst a squawking sax and
an anthemic multi-tracked chorus of voices. My favorite tracks are still
what the Rapture is known for: heavy on the hi-hat disco beats, funky
melodic bass lines, scratchy guitar and the melodic strained yelps of their
two throaty voiced singers. And there are plenty of these songs -- from
"The Coming of Spring" which briefly revisits their killer opening cut
off their 2000 Sub Pop EP, to the title track (which shamelessly borrows
the vocal melody from P.I.L.'s "Careering") and of course, "House of
Jealous Lovers." The production skills of DFA's Tim Goldsworthy and James
Murphy are most apparent on the synth pulses of "Sister Saviour" and
"Killing," which begins with a faint Kraftwerk sample trailing over a drum
machine's rhythmic steam train propulsion. Believe me, you'll dance. Aside
from the anticipated post-punk, early house, electro and disco influences, the
Rapture tries on a few other music styles. The tender and sparse Big Star
(or is it Queen) sounding ballad "Open Your Heart" and "Love Is All," with
a Ray Davies inspired chorus, both sound a little awkward in the context of
the album, but emphasize the band's determination not to be pigeonholed.
The biggest surprise though is the closing track "Infatuation," a slow,
brooding song that turns quiet melancholy into something unexpectedly
haunting. (Domestic release of "Echoes" is set for October 21, 2003.) [GH]

DONNA REGINA "Late" (Karaoke Kalk) CD $16.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/notagirl.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/rain.rm
I generally don't give an order preference to any top 10 list I create, but
if pressed, last year's Donna Regina record, "Northern Classic," would
probably be number one. The core elements that continue to make that record
shine for me include a combination of minimal electronics,
thought-provoking lyrics, and pop sensibility, all of which can be found on
the Cologne duo's latest "Late," but the direction is slightly different.
Regina Janssen maintains her soft-spoken, breathy delivery, but now there
is a deeper introspect and an air of confidence in the songwriting. One
only need listen to "Passer-by" or "Not A Girl Anymore" to understand what
I'm talking about here. Regina's cohort, Gunther Janssen, has also shifted
ever so slightly in his production ideology. Again teamed with Steffen
Irlinger, Gunther blends the familiar dense, minimal beats with a heavier
influence of shimmering acoustics including twangy guitars, synths, vibes
and other audible goodies. This more prominent role towards the
instrumentation gives "Late" its uber-pop vibe and allows the album to
seamlessly travel between the haunting and ethereal. My favorite song today
is "Bad Chemistry," a gumbo of blues, dub, and jazz. Man this record is
great! [JD]

SPIRITUALIZED "Amazing Grace" (Sanctuary) CD $17.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/ohbaby.rm
A relatively quiet sort of rebel, Jason Pierce is no less inclined (and
maybe even more so) to probe musically at some of modern existence's more
shimmering extremes. Firing his band even after the phenomenal "Ladies and
Gentlemen We are Floating In Space" had captured such extremes, in fact so
well as to achieve a rare kind of pop synaesthesia, he then retreated with
"Let it Come Down" into the confines of paid and professional (and
impressive, yet palpably very hired) session men. His now regular band on
"Amazing Grace" has him restored to jet-propulsive capacity, and you can
tell he's amped about it. This is carrying on from the "Ladies..." template
but the points when the hammer comes down the hammer really comes down.
Good album. [DHo]

[V.A.] "Lost in Translation" (Emperor Norton) CD $15.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/aloneink.rm
Like her 1999 film "Virgin Suicides," Sofia Coppola's latest movie "Lost In
Translation" is set against a fantastic soundtrack which notably marks the
return of Kevin Shields who releases four new, original compositions -- his
first since My Bloody Valentine's 1991 watershed "Loveless." With music
supervision by Coppola's friend Brian Reitzell (former Red Kross drummer,
Air percussionist and also the music supervisor of "Virgin Suicides"), the
soundtrack is a soft, airy collection of new tracks and previously released
material. Shield's only proper song, "City Girl," sounds like an outtake
from a Valentine's session -- his breathy vocal and distinct overdriven
guitar is unmistakable. Short but sweet, his three other contributions are
shimmering Enoesque instrumentals, but also more melodic than many of his
recent re-mixes for other artists. Among previously released tracks by names
including Squarepusher,  Death In Vegas and My Bloody Valentine, Coppola
reaffirms her love of the French enlisting the perfect pop of Phoenix's "Too
Young" (from their brilliant "United" album), a moody instrumental track from
Sebastien Tellier, plus a new Air song. The soundtrack ends on a perfect note
with the Jesus and Mary Chain's bittersweet classic "Just Like Honey." Very
recommended. [GH]

SO "So" (Thrill Jockey) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/tracktwo.rm
Markus Popp's mid-'90s recordings as Oval were seminal explorations in
early glitch electronics that still sound more interesting then pretty much
all of the digital fragmentation that has become all too common amongst the
laptop set these days. Always at the forefront of new technology, Popp has
been creating his own software-based music making tools since before many
of us were using e-mail. Here we have the debut of a new project "So,"
Popp's collaboration with Japanese vocalist Eri. The project began in 2002
with the duo reworking material from Eri's vast archive of songs and
sounds. While Popp's stuttering melodics are almost instantly recognizable,
Eri's vocals and instrumentation are equally responsible for the 10
beautifully realized pieces contained on the duo's self titled record. More
playful and song oriented then any of Popp's previous efforts "So" comes
across less like a conceptual exercise or technological demonstration and
more like a suite of carefully crafted, albeit somewhat broken, pop songs.
While all the sounds are heavily processed through various customized
filters, there is much more of an obvious reference to the original source
material then on any of the Oval recordings with Eri's vocals and guitar
often coming to the forefront amongst Popp's both soothing and jarring
digital washes. Consistently engaging and unpredictable one can only hope
that this is the future. Complete with elegant cover art by prolific
Japanese illustrator Katsumi Yokota. Highly recommended! [KH]

MY MORNING JACKET "It Still Moves" (ATO) CD $11.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/masterpl.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/mahgeeta.rm
What makes rock "classic"? One of the megawatt radio stations here in NYC
used to say "it doesn't have to be old to be classic," and My Morning
Jacket has proved them right with their wonderful new album, "It Still
Moves." This Louisville, KY five-piece has been recording and touring for
quite a few years now, and the several releases since their Darla Records
debut (they now record for Dave Matthew's vanity imprint ATO) have seen
them grow musically and emotionally into a band that can sit comfortably
with their idols; they clearly pay a deep debt to Neil Young, and classic
southern boogie-rock, and maybe Uncle Tupelo for that "modern" 1990's
sound. Fragile, emotional vocals, soaring guitar solos, and a band with an
incredibly light touch, yet a deep well of power and intensity... this
album is a killer from beginning to end, and for those of you who are not
embarrassed to love good ol' rock and roll, this will likely be one of your
favorites in a long time. The album title might as well refer to the state
of rock, 2003; god bless all the micro-scenes that we have seen come and go
in recent years, but pure, majestic, rock music... "It Still Moves." A
truly great album from a band you will definitely be hearing from again. [JM]

LITHOPS "Scrypt" (Thrill Jockey) $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/foliofin.rm
Frankly, I have been needing an ass-kicking this grand from an electronic
album, for it's been months since I've been this stoked on one. Lithops is
the solo guise of one Jan St.Werner, one half of two great electronic duos,
Mouse on Mars and Microstoria. "Scrypt", his third album, demands a few
listens to get acquainted. Once you marinate in it and learn the language,
you will keep coming back for more, addicted. This thing unexpectedly
knocked me over, and I'm still dumbfounded. Firstly, since my CD player has
constantly been spinning the "Zig Zag" compilation, Woven Hand/16
Horsepower, and Thin Lizzy's "Sweet Marie", a record like this was the
farthest thing possible from my mind. Secondly, even though other Lithops
albums (as well as MoM, and Microstoria) have shown that St. Werner can go
to the nether-regions of inner/outer sonic-space, it has never been quite
so... so INTENSE. I mean, the climactic opening song "Generator" is
straight up NOISE. It's a raucous id jam, with its gusts of grainy, spewing
chunks, aural fireworks on the brink of utter mayhem. This is not to say
it's a noise album, because that it is not. Too many other elements,
influences, hidden layers, and flat out surprises are living in here.
Lithops uses heavily computer-processed live drums, horns, and woodwinds
throughout, with semi-recognizable bits of these said instruments
occasionally peering out of the data-rubble. He still maintains the warm,
lulling aspects of previous releases on tracks like "Folio Final" and
"Shift in Structure." Some jittery rhythms appear at the chewy center
("Playthrough", "Attached"), but for the most part, it's a beatless stream
for 50 minutes, saving the most primordial, titan of a beat for the finale,
"Arcart." The brilliantly sequenced song order displays his equally keen
senses of composition, accident, and improvisation... St.Werner controls
the whole set like a Tai Chi master. There is undeniably a new thing
happening for Lithops. I mean, it's obvious the guy absolutely relishes in
the infinite possibilities of where he can take the music. He's taking it
somewhere, uninhibited, and it shows. There's a clue where his head
might've been during the making of "Scrypt," just check out what lurks
beneath the crushing force of "Thrash Application". I won't tell you,
because that would be no fun for you listeners. Play this one LOUD. Killer,
an absolute killer. [DD]

DAVID BYRNE "Lead Us Not Into Temptation" (Thrill Jockey) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/thelodge.rm
David Byrne's latest record is not exactly a proper album, however this
soundtrack the film "Young Adam" is one of his best collections of music in
quite a while. Recorded at Glasgow's famed CaVa Sound Workshops with Tony
Doogan behind the mixing console, the former Talking Head is joined by a
large ensemble featuring members of Glaswegian bands like Belle and
Sebastian, Mogwai, the Delgados, Snow Patrol, Future Pilot A.K.A., and
Appendix Out. The Scotland born Byrne, who contributed alongside Ryuichi
Sakamoto in the acclaimed soundtrack for "The Last Emperor," proves
amazingly adept at portraying different moods utilizing, jazz, chamber and
orchestral music with minimalist restraint to create a unifying theme of dark,
brooding texture within each song. (The film is based on a novel of the
same name by Scottish beat writer Alexander Trocci and takes place in a
bleak, post-war Scotland.) The actual recording and arrangement process was
at times unconventional. For some tracks, Byrne borrowed a technique from
John Cage's textbook giving the players various sets of notes to be
played randomly and at their own discretion. He also utilizes recordings of
a squeaking church gate, the brakes of New York City's L train, as well as
single note drones from a broken hurdy gurdy that barely clings to its
tuning. There are a few vocal contributions from Byrne -- the dreamy
"Speechless" and the even more eerie "The Great Western Road" -- plus a
cover of Charles Mingus' "Haitian Fight Song." His loosely framed
compositions are absolutely engaging and will appeal to fans of modern
classical music, cinematic post-rockers like Mogwai and GYBE! as well as
Mr. Byrne himself. [GH]

IRON AND WINE "The Sea and the Rhythm" (Sub Pop) CD $8.99
For those that remember my enthusiasm for Sam Beam's "Creek Drank the
Cradle", you may want to skip to the next review. You know what is coming.
Rest assured I have nothing but praise for this, "The Sea and the Rhythm"
EP. In fact, if the title track were the only song on this thing I would
buy it. Twice. It is easily the most beautiful ballad I have heard in a
long time and I remember it as a highlight from the Knitting Factory show
last year. It is a song to fall in love to. What is it that is so
comforting about this guy's music? He has mastered the sing-whisper
technique. Imagine someone near and dear to you, telling you a cherished
secret. Even when the lyrics are not sweet -- broken bottles, unholy goings
on -- somehow this becomes the stuff gentle dreams are made of. It has been
rumored that Mr. Beam is most prolific, I look forward to whatever he
offers next. Beautiful. [NL]

CHRIS CLARK "Empty the Bones of You" (Warp) CD $15.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/slowspin.rm
The wonderfully wicked Warp Records begins the fall with Chris Clark's
timely second album, "Empty the Bones of You". Distorted digital hip hop
inspired rhythms hold together the sparse and stretched shards of noise;
this is the next school in the Autechre, LFO, Black Dog lineage. Dark
ambience fills the hollow caverns of delay. Slightly electro-ed drum
patterns get clipped and fuzzy while ghostly synths haunt the night, moving
forward and back throughout the mix. Small percussion sounds and digital
crackles lurk in the shadows, only slightly more gentle than you'd expect
as the noise and beats are balanced with some subtle and oddly pretty
moments. Music for full moons and daybreak (check "Early Moss" and "Tycan"
for some post-"Endless Summer" bliss). Recommended. [DG]

THE DECEMBERISTS "Her Majesty" (Kill Rock Stars) CD $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/billylia.rm
The Decemberists' second full-length contains all of the elements that made
their debut so highly acclaimed, but this time out Colin Meloy and company
have presented us with an entirely darker affair. "Her Majesty" is still
filled with lush instrumentation and Colin's witty storytelling lyrics, but
most of the songs are slower and longer in length making the album as a
whole, a lot more somber than their previous efforts. With the exception of
"Billy Liar," and "Song for Myla Goldberg," which are pure pop tracks not
unlike their "5 Songs" debut EP, their sophomore effort is slightly harder
to absorb. But after repeated listens you can see the growth in the
songwriting and their confidence as a band. I have to say that this record
took a while to grow on me, but now I feel that it may even be better than
"Castaways and Cutouts." It seems like everyone compares the Decemberists
to Neutral Milk Hotel, so in my mind this is their "In the Aeroplane over
the Sea". It is slightly less accessible, but over time it will definitely
be considered a classic. Highly Recommended. [JS]

QUASI "Hot Shit" (Touch and Go) CD $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/whitedev.rm
For their fifth proper album, the duo of Elliot Smith bassist Sam Coomes
and Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss retain their signature harmonies but
scale back the overall arrangements into a slightly sparser but more
intricate production with some of their catchiest songs yet. Coomes'
musicianship really shines here, barely touching his roxichord, instead
dabbling heavier into the blues (taking a cue from his recent solo project
the Blues Goblins), and utilizing layers of keyboard and guitar that are
swirling rather than dense. His warbled voice, at times reminiscent of
Grandaddy's Jason Lytle or Wayne Coyne but more cynical, takes a melodic
forefront frequently offering biting criticism of the country's current
state of affairs with his tongue-in-cheek wit numbing the sting. As always,
Weiss' harmonies and rollicking drumming propel this rockin' indie cabaret,
supporting occasional honky tonk piano breaks and lots of slide guitar.
While many of the songs like "Seven Year's Gone", "White Devil" and "Good
Times" deal with post-September 11th themes, the sad, soulful "No One"
offers the tender personal assurance that "No one will hurt you/I won't
allow them to hurt you." Quite obviously a Quasi album, this is the band's
most original and ambitious to date. (Also included is a bonus 19-track
limited edition live CD.) [GH]

TIED AND TICKLED TRIO ""Observing Systems" (Morr) CD $15.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/motorik.rm
The Tied and Tickled Trio's fourth full-length album is released on the
fabulous Morr Music label. Even though musically it does not seem to make
sense because they are entirely different in sound than the rest of the
label's roster, they do contain members of the Notwist, Lali Puna, Ms. John
Soda, Village of Savoonga and many more bands too numerous to mention. The
Tied and Tickled Trio have always taken their cue from Blue Note jazz,
while adding elements of electronica and on "Observing Systems" the group
have expanded their vision. One song can flow from jazz fusion, into funk,
then into dub, and then onto Afro-beat all within the span of minutes, and
this group of talented musicians seem to pull it off with ease. They have
become extremely tight making this amalgamation of sounds seem effortless
as they flow through various musical styles and they have created 15 tracks
that can hold their own next to some of Chicago's post-rock masters. An
essential listen for fans of Tortoise, Isotope 217, Chicago Underground
Duo, Supersilent, and mid-period Miles Davis. [JS]

TOWN AND COUNTRY "5" (Thrill Jockey) CD $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/sleeping.rm
The latest Town and Country offering veers away from the slow, painterly
processionals of previous albums in favor of a modern classical exploration
of drone and subtle digestible abstraction. "5" was recorded entirely
acoustically with no amplification, overdubbing, sampling, or computer
sequencing for a very natural warm sound. Their chamber music approach to
composition suits them perfectly as the pieces explore slowly shifting
tones to reveal a range of details and melodic moods through a prism of
color. Harmonium, bass, guitar, viola, bass, cornet and clarinet weave a
very textural fabric of mood and energy bringing to mind a range of artists
from Terry Riley and Morton Feldman to Mogwai. [GA]

ENON "Hocus-Pocus" (Touch and Go) CD $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/candy.rm
The new Enon record has something for everyone. Fans of the earlier record
"Believo!" will be psyched to hear accessible-but-jilted pop songs. Folks
who were into the whirled-up blend of samples and electro sparked dance
tracks of "High Society" will be into such offerings as "Shave" and the
dubbed out "Daughter In the House of Fools." A gorgeous surprise is
"Mikazuki," updating what appears to be a traditional Japanese song by
infusing it with an electronic landscape. Next up is another highlight,
"Candy," with a swooping melody and John Schmersal's almost worthy of a
Teenbeat magazine cover vocals. I have heard some criticism over the
placement of songs on this record, that as an album it is inconsistent,
etc. For me, Enon are chameleons existing in a musical world of their own
creation. Keeping up with them is part of the fun. [NL]

DM & JEMINI "Ghetto Pop Life" (Lex) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/imadoome.rm
Lex Records continues in their quest to create an indie hip-hop
masterpiece. "Ghetto Pop Life" is the joint effort of producer DM (formally
DangerMouse) and Jemini (the gifted one), with contributors including
J-Zone, The Pharcyde, Tha Liks, and Prince Po from Organized Konfusion.
Slick production shines like the gold paint used in the artwork with big
beats, string swells, guns firing, and crowd hyping choruses. They got the
ride, the jewels, the lyrics, and the beats; they're just looking for the
party. It's best when the hype is downplayed and a song emerges. [DG]

This week's contributors: Geoff Albores [GA], J Dennis [JD], Daniel
DeRogatis [DD], Daniel Givens [DG], Gerald Hammill [GH], Kean Holtkamp
[KH], Dan Hougland [DHo], Nicole Lang [NL], Josh Madell [JM], and Jeremy
Sponder [JS].


To see a complete list of Other Music new releases for the week
ending September 9, 2003, use this link as a shortcut:

To see a list of new releases from previous weeks:

To see new release updates from previous weeks:

To order any of the items you see on these pages simply click the
links following each review or visit our Web site at:

Phone orders are accepted at (212) 477-8150 (ext. #2, mailorder).

For general inquiries or other information, please email:
"sales@othermusic.com". Do not reply to this message.

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music

Other Music NYC
15 E. 4th Street
New York, NY 10003