December 15, 2004

Other Music Year End Recap

Looking back over this past year, one thing was apparent to all of us at
Other Music. 2004 was a solid year for music. Our latest annual Year End
Recap reflects this, with more albums listed than in previous years. Culled
from earlier editions of the Update, many of these abbreviated reviews may
be familiar to you. But we've also included a lot of great releases that
we're featuring here for the first time. And while a few of the albums on
the list may be sold out, we will announce restocks in future Other Music

We're also now offering Other Music Gift Certificates on our website. Go to
//giftcertificates.html to place an order. And if
you do purchase one on-line, please make sure to take a moment to read the
directions on this page.

In the upcoming weeks we'll be sending out our annual staff top 10 picks and
a list of 2004's top sellers. In the meantime, please visit our website's
homepage for any notable new release that may arrive before the New Year.
Have a safe and happy holiday!

-All of us at Other Music


MITCHELL AKIYAMA "If Night Is a Weed and Day Grows Less"
(Sub Rosa) CD $13.99

While most of Mitchell Akiyama's recent solo work can be compared to many
other excellent post-Fennesz guitar and computer inspired projects Akiyama
manages to stand out with his almost classical approach to song structure
and hazy production. "If Night Is a Weed..." has the overall effect of an
underwater symphony. [KH]

AM/PM "The Ends 1 & 2" (Dreck) CD $16.99
This record is simply succulent. A two-part project originally released on
vinyl by Radovan Scasascia (aka AM/PM), "The Ends" is composed mostly of
final notes and hums recorded from ends of existing pieces of music. This
album has a distinctive ambient feel with minimal beats filling in the
pockets. It actually reminds me a lot of Jan Jelinek's "Loop-Finding Jazz
Records." Warm and earthy with a human-like pulse. [JD]

EFTERKLANG "Tripper" (Leaf) CD $14.99
Efterklang are a 10-piece ensemble from Denmark that includes Iceland's
Amina Quartet. (Amina are responsible for all the strings on Sigur Ros'
albums.) An incredible debut, the tracks range from Oval type glitch-pop
with beautiful lulling vocals, to Rachel's and Philip Glass inspired
orchestral compositions, to electronic pop gems that would fit well
alongside Morr Music's finest. [JS]

THOMAS FEHLMANN "Lowflow" (Plug Research) CD $11.99
Thomas Fehlmann's new album is a multi-dimensional 'downtempo' album with
catchy, un-tired breaks that are in the Dabrye "One/Three"-style. (Dabrye
also collaborates on three of the tracks.) Fehlmann really explores the many
ways one can weave through a looped break. He also injects extra layers into
the mix in his own skillful way that give it a bright, floaty, hazy, magical
sheen. [SM]

FENNESZ "Venice" (Touch) CD $14.99
Over the last nine years Christian Fennesz has created and refined a
signature style that effortlessly combines dense, noisy digital
fragmentation with a warm, almost subliminal pop sense. "Venice" comes
across like a personal document of a time, an idea or perhaps a place.
Highlights include "Transit," a stunning collaboration with David Sylvian
that literally bursts out of the speakers. [KH]

FOURCOLOR "Water Mirror" (Apestaartje) CD $12.99
A majority of this fantastic solo album from Keiichi Sugimoto (Minamo,
Fonica) was created using only the guitar as source material. He processes
his instrument as if it were going through the phase changes of water; it's
virtually unrecognizable as a string instrument. You can practically hear
the sounds freezing, melting, evaporating, and finally condensing back into
a liquid state. [RH]

OLIVER HACKE "Subject Carrier" (Trapez) CD $16.99
I've been trying to convince anyone within earshot that this is the best
minimal producer out there. Oliver Hacke stands out because he creates songs
not tracks, no filler. There's personality and movement, and there's
variance on this full-length. It's not all house or techno or some contrived
combination. Sometimes it's crunchy, sometimes bright. Ambient or deep, it
all draws you in. The funk runs rampant. [JD]

JUNIOR BOYS "Last Exit" (Domino) CD $14.99
When I first heard Junior Boy's debut single I was floored. "Birthday" took
the sound of Ultravox and Depeche Mode, and melded it with up-to-date beats
à la Timbaland and the Neptunes. With a follow-up single that was just as
stunning, this duo seemed unstoppable. But could the Junior Boys pull off an
entire record of their amazing brand of electronic pop? The answer is yes!

KHONNOR "Handwriting" (Type) CD $16.99
A 17-year-old wunderkind who created this record in his bedroom with an old
‘80s-era PC, Khonnor takes his cues from Slowdive, Fennesz's "Endless
Summer" and the Morr Music roster. What he has created is unlike anything
else around. [JS]

MOKIRA "Fft Pop" (CubicFabric) CD $16.99
MOKIRA "Album" (Type) CD $16.99
No more cliphop or clicks and cuts. Andreas Tilliander's Mokira alias is now
enrolled full-time in the Fennesz school of minimal electronica. "Fft Pop"
is an appropriately onomatopoetic title for this atmospheric, beat-free
release. It's a bit frostier than the comparatively warm "Album", which came
out near the beginning of the year. Both are lovely additions to this
bustling and increasingly popular sub-genre where fractured bubbles of tone
and drone are plentiful. [RH]
"Fft Pop"

MU "Afro Finger and Gel" (Tigersushi) CD $16.99
Maurice Fulton and his wife Mutsumi Kanamori have set out to mess with your
mind. Is it self-indulgent? Yes! Is it f**cked up? Yes! Is it interesting?
Yes! Melted at times like Super Collider, but also ROCKING at times like DJ
Pierre. All the Yoko Ono comparisons aren't COMPLETELY off base, but it's
"Tell You Something, "Let's Get Sick" and "Why I Left" that make you wanna
mosh on the disco floor. [SM]

PANTHA DU PRINCE "Diamond Daze" (Dial) CD $17.99
Pantha Du Prince (aka Gluhen) takes his personal palette of sounds and
applies them to new minimal techno structures. What we end up getting is the
classic Dial beauty and sophistication devoid of any straight up, generic
sounds. Pantha Du Prince blends the dark brooding drive of Carsten Jost, the
heavenly lift of Lawrence, and a tech/house structure similar to the Traum
label injected with impeccably chosen/arranged sounds. [SM]

DJ RELS "Theme for a Broken Soul" (Stones Throw) CD $14.99
Madlib takes on the West London sound: Broken Beat. These dirty, jazzy,
tweaked and at times slightly offbeat loops beautifully bridge the gaps
between soul, spiritual jazz, breaks, Afro-beat and drum-n-bass. Think Theo
Parrish, Carl Craig, Moodyman, or Maurice Fulton mixed with IG Culture,
4-Hero, and Kirk Degeorgio. [DG]

SAVATH AND SAVALAS "Apropa't" (Warp) CD $15.99
SAVATH AND SAVALAS "Manana" (Warp) CD-EP $6.99
Recorded half abroad and half in Chicago, Scott Herren and vocalist Eva
Puyuelo Muns recruited John McEntire and his Soma Studio to create
Eno-meets-Nascimento styled sonic washes. "Apropa't" is a soft tropical
mixture of processed Joyce and Nelson Angelo-esque vocal styling and
shifting mellow moods -- sort of like a Brazilian Stereolab in their
McEntire/O'Rourke phase. Following this Latin Billboard charting
full-length, the "Manana" EP gathered the same crew for an eight-song EP of
slightly more beat oriented and processed Brazilian folk and soul. [DG]

SPEKTRUM "Enter the...Spektrum" (Playhouse) CD $17.99
This debut is so sexy it hurts. Lola Olafisoye's spunky, naughty and bold
vox carries the infectious rhythms and beats. Spektrum sounds like the
futuristic soul sister of ESG, Kelis, A Certain Ratio, Derrick Carter, and
Betty Davis with enough sick bassisms to make your chest cave in. Get your
freak on with this deliciously sick pop-dance package. [MT]

STEN "Leaving the Frantic" (Dial) CD $16.99
Sten (a/ka/ Peter M. Kersten who also records as Lawrence and runs the Dial
label) has created an album that successfully merges the gap between
yesterday and tomorrow. If Kerrier District were a hybrid-car then Sten is
completely electric. There are still plenty of eerie spatial strings and
panned bells, but this makes you want to leave that Medusa state on the
couch and hit the floor. [JD]

JOHN TEJADA "Logic Memory Center" (Plug Research) CD $11.99
This year's finest, most coherent and funky techno album. John leaves behind
his trademark synths but all of the tracks are still extremely deep and
soulful. With vocal contributions from Jimmy Tamborello, Kimi Recor and Carl
A. Finlow, "Logic Memory Center" also maintains a pop appeal with a variety
of songs that seem born from Akufen. This LA legend just keeps getting
better. [JS]

TRIOLA "Triola Im Fünftonraum" (Kompakt) CD $14.99
Triola (otherwise known as Jorg Burger whose other aliases include the
Modernist, Bionaut, Autobianchi, Burger/Inc) takes us back to the classic
days of Kompakt. Downtempo beats collide with lush synths as the tracks
slowly build with gorgeous melodies. This album is fantastic and definitely
one of Kompakt's finest hours. [JS]

RICARDO VILLALOBOS "The Au Harem D'Archimede" (Perlon)
CD $17.99
Let me start by saying that this is not "Alcachofa 2" but it is equally as
good for different reasons. This album is repetitious; there is a lot of
meandering as well as improvisation, and there are no dancefloor stompers
like "Easy Lee." More reflective, background subtleties creep out of the
dark rhythms like rays of sun on a cloudy day. Track 9 might be the best
track he's done to date. [JD]


AIR "Talkie Walkie" (Astralwerks) CD $17.99
A totally varied, intimate album full of cleverly hidden Beatles melodies
within gently flowing, dreamy electronic pop sweetened with a little dash of
soft rock nostalgia. [SM]

CLARO INTELECTO. "Neurofibro" (Ai) CD $17.99
Producer Mark Stewart comes across like Metro Area (minus the disco) crossed
with John Tejada, with a heaping tablespoonful of Juan Atkins'
Cybotron/Model 500 project thrown in. [SM]

MELCHIOR PRODUCTIONS "The Meaning" (Playhouse) CD $17.99
Very effective house that will turn on classic house heads and discerning
minimal snobs alike. Moist and funky. [SM]

PAN SONIC "Kesto Box" (Mute) 4XCD $29.99
A three-part album that has the range and personality of their other
releases, but in a way that is almost "mapped out" compared to the other
starkly seeming inhuman albums. [SM]

SECRET FREQUENCY CREW "Forest of the Echo Downs" (Schematic) CD $12.99
Secret Frequency Crew take their hazy IDM textures to a new musical level
downplaying instrumental hip-hop rhythms and embracing a more electronic
aesthetic. [DG]


4-HERO "Life Styles" (Harmless) CD $21.99
4-Hero offer a sophisticated selection of artists that have inspired them
through the years. There are tons of clean, crisp, psychedelic and
orchestrated soul and jazz for late night grooving and beach party
festivities. Unmixed. [DG]

BAILE FUNK 2 "Various Agora e Moda" (Black Betty) CD $9.99
The second collection of funky Brazilian rarities from DJs Greg Caz and Sean
Marquand is unstoppable. The "31 Feel-Good Summertime Tracks" cover a range
of sounds, from psych-inspired tropicalia to funk and bossa grooves, but all
with that unmistakable earthy and soulful Brazilian spirit, a danceable
groove, and the warm welcoming feel of a wild Rio beach party. [JM]

DJ KOZE "All People Is My Friends" (Kompakt) $16.99
Cologne stalwart DJ Koze delivers a flawless mix. No style is left unturned,
and there's even room for the kitchen sink. Includes cuts by Thomas
Fehlmann, Ricardo Villalobos, Jan Jelinek, Thomas Brinkmann, Smith N Hack as
well as unusual but wonderful diversions by Franki Valli(?!) and a track off
of Langley School. [DDe]

HOW TO KILL THE DJ PT. 2 "Optimo Mix" (Tigersushi) CD $18.99
This second installment of "How to Kill the DJ" is compiled and mixed by
none other than the DJs behind Glasgow's very eclectic Optimo party.
Disc one is a super-tight, crazy mix that goes all over the map. Forty-two
cuts, here's a sampling: Hashim, CLS, Liaisons Dangereuses, Gang of Four, Os
Mutantes, Akufen, Nurse With Wound, Blondie, Loose Joints, Ricardo
Villalobos, Art of Noise, The Junkyard Band, get the picture,
right? Disc two is a little more subdued, unmixed featuring full-versions of
Optimo's favorite songs (as well as some of ours.) [GH]

[V.A.] "Kompakt 100" (Kompakt) 2XCD $17.99
The concept alone is mouth watering: two CDs worth of Kompakt artists
picking their favorite track from the label's back catalogue and remixing
it. It is amazing that so many classics are remixed in a way that
simultaneously displays love (like serious, hardcore, Grandma-style home
cooking) for the track as well as a desire to "do it one better." [SM]

MORGAN GEIST "Unclassics" (Environ) CD $15.99
To Morgan Geist (one-half of NYC's synth-house duo Metro Area and also the
Environ label svengali), the "unclassic" masterpieces are usually awkward
electronic disco funk records, most likely Canadian or Italian in origin,
containing a healthy dose of earnest camp and leftfield 4/4 rhythms.
Featuring 13 unintentional flashes of brilliance, any fan of Metro Area,
Kerrier District or anything labeled "Disco Nouveau" should check out these
jams. [DH]

[V.A.] "NICKY SIANO'S GALLERY" (Soul Jazz) CD $18.99
Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan, Arthur Russell and Kenny Carpenter have all
cited Nicky Siano as a major influence on their music and deejaying. He was
the first to bring dancefloors to a trance-like state by sustaining a
continuous 4/4 thump, and he played with three turntables! Remember, before
disco's explosion there were no 12-inches or stores that specialized in
"dance music." These were the records that Siano had to really dig to find.

THEO PARRISH "Parallel Dimensions" (Ubiquity) CD $15.99
A much-appreciated reissue of Theo's first album. All the raw, handmade,
heroin-house feel that graces all of his productions, but on "Parallel
Dimensions" a vapor-like electronic wash permeates the tracks giving them a
special tech-soul vibe. [SM]

TRAX RECORDS "20th Anniversary Collection" (Trax) 3XCD $24.99
The long awaited Trax label's compilation of Chicago house classics
showcases the electric basement party atmosphere from the Midwest straight
into your living room. Three CDs, two mixed by contemporary house maestros
Maurice Joshua and Paul Johnson, while the third features 12 of the songs in
their unmixed versions. [DG]


ANIMAL COLLECTIVE "Sung Tongs" (FatCat) CD $14.99
PANDA BEAR "Young Prayer" (Paw Tracks) CD $13.99
One of this year's finest albums, the sly hints of pop that the Animal
Collective tended to hide between the long gaps of silence and explosions of
noise are no longer mere flirtations. Comparisons to the Incredible String
Band, Skip Spence, Milton Nascimento, and the New Guinean folk songs on the
Bosavi collection could all be made, but in all honesty there has never been
a band that really sounded like this incarnation of the group. Another
worthy album coming from the Animal Collective camp is Panda Bear's solo
album. These gorgeous songs come from his personal visions of spiritual
music. Breathlessly introspective and beautiful. [RH]
PANDA BEAR "Young Prayer"

ARCADE FIRE "Funeral" (Merge) CD $12.99
Arcade Fire's debut album is probably one of this year's most requested
records at our shop. Centered on a husband and wife singer/songwriter team,
the group delivers a charming and often intense record of sadness and hope
couched in the scratchy orchestrated pop of bands like Neutral Milk Hotel,
Bright Eyes, Sebadoh, or mid-period Flaming Lips. [JM]

BLACK DICE "Creature Comforts" (DFA) $14.99
Black Dice continues their forward progression by sidestepping the swelling
linear structures that were so beautifully explored on "Beaches & Canyons."
These songs are even more complex and multi-latticed than ever before. The
ragged edges of the once unbridled noise are still celebrated, though now
carefully compressed into raw thickets of burnt synapse and whimsy. [RH]

Bloc Party are not just another post-punk revival band; they've got songs to
back it up! The leadoff track "Banquet" is one part Gang of Four and one
part the Cure, and definitely a bona fide hit. This EP's a must for fans of
early Factory records and Franz Ferdinand. [JS]

BLONDE REDHEAD "Misery Is a Butterfly" (4AD) CD $14.99
With their move to the 4AD label, Blonde Redhead are beginning to
incorporate their varied tastes and love of vintage international sounds into their own
songs. The trio's minor-key alt-abstractions are crossed with subtle
orchestrations and airy, shifting rhythms suggesting both Gainsbourg's sexy
French come-ons and ‘60s-era Brazilian moods. Their deepest, most original
record to date. [JM]

DEVENDRA BANHART "Rejoicing in the Hands" (Young God) CD $14.99
DEVENDRA BANHART "Nino Rojo" (Young God) CD $14.99
It's not often that two of the best records in a given year are by the same
artist. Both albums were recorded during the same sessions, and there's no
way to pick one over the other. Devendra Banhart's voice is as stunningly
expressive as Tim Buckley in his prime. His fingerstyle acoustic guitar
remains in focus with a smattering of tasteful overdubs to help fill things
out here and there. Vashti Bunyan even makes a rare appearance on
"Rejoicing..." What more could you ask for? [RH/MK]
"Rejoicing in the Hands"
"Nino Rojo"

DIANE CLUCK "Oh Vanille" (Self-released) CD $10.99
A beautifully handmade self-released CD-R, "Oh Vanille" features 11 low-key,
gently rhythmical but emotionally intense songs. Her songs have an
irregular, or even cellular logic which perhaps is exactly what makes this
such a compelling listen. [MK]

THE DOUBLE "Palm Fronds" (Catsup Plate) CD $13.99
The Double's phenomenal debut is one of those extremely rare records that
manages to perfectly blend adventurous production with spot-on songwriting.
They're a group that seems to pay attention to what's going on in music, and
they sound like they've got great taste. If Christian Fennesz joined the
Walkmen, this is what it would sound like. [RH]

DUNGEN "Ta det Lungt" (Subliminal Sounds) CD $15.99

The third long-player from Sweden's Dungen is so mind-blowingly good! Led by
Gustav Estjes, the band's multi-faceted arrangements weave through spacey
psych-pop, blistering Canterbury inspired jams, Swedish folk and even an
excursion or two into jazz. Estjes keeps you entranced with his cosmic,
hook-filled melodies that seem to come from a different time and place. [GH]

FRANZ FERDINAND "Franz Ferdinand" (Epic/Domino) CD $17.99
This was definitely the year of Franz Ferdinand. In my opinion, their
eponymous album was the strongest debut from a rock band since the Strokes'
"Is This It." It was certainly no surprise when the Glaswegian quartet's
potent mix of jagged post-punk guitars, Merseybeat-inspired harmonies and
dirty disco pulsed choruses crossed over onto MTV and rock radio. [GH]

THE FUTUREHEADS "S/T" (Sire) CD $14.99
England's Futureheads deliver a strong debut album filled with bouncy, new
wave inspired pop songs. Produced by Gang of Four's Andy Gill, you can hear
hints of the Clash, Jam and XTC throughout their eponymous full-length, but
the group's vocal harmonies seem to pull from ‘60s-era British groups and
doo wop as well. [GH]

INTERPOL "Antics" (Matador) CD $14.99
Two years after the release of "Turn on the Bright Lights," Interpol
delivered an album equally as elegant and brooding. Some would say that
"Antics" is more accessible than their first, however, the NYC quartet
stayed on course with their dark, romantic musings and chiming guitars.
These days, I don't hear many people saying "Interpol sounds like Joy
Division." Interpol sounds like Interpol. [GH]

IRON & WINE "Our Endless Numbered Days" (Sub Pop) CD 14.99
The glory of Iron and Wine, or shall I say Sam Beam's style, is his vivid
imagery and achingly emotive tale telling. His finger plucking and the warm
tones of his guitar playing remind me of Duncan Browne's self-titled album.
When listening, it is impossible not to visualize the tiny details he speaks
of -- a bucket in the yard filled with snow, a crack in the door -- and
recognize them, like you have passed by them over and over again in your own
old southern home. [NL]

JOANNA NEWSOM "The Milk Eyed Mender" (Drag City) CD $13.99
At age 22, Joanna Newsom -- who accompanies herself primarily on the harp
and occasionally on piano or harpsichord -- has already proven herself as a
completely unique songwriter. Her playful, literate verse calls to mind
nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and Lewis Carroll. Devendra Banhart and Chan
"Cat Power" Marshall are in the same league, but it would be just as
appropriate to consider her alongside '60s psych-folk luminaries. [RH]

MODEST MOUSE "Good News for People Who Love Bad News" (Epic) CD $17.99
Following various line-up changes, rumored court battles, substance abuse,
and problems with their record label, Modest Mouse returned with a new album
that spawned a hit single. For a group that has been through all of the
drama and then some, it is great to see Modest Mouse come out the other side
with a vitality rarely seen even new in bands these days. [JS]

JUANA MOLINA "Tres Cosas" (Domino) CD $13.99
Buenos Aires singer/songwriter Juana Molina has received repeated
comparisons to Lisa Germano, Beth Orton, Cat Power, Bebel Gilberto and even
Bjork. These comparisons aren't dead on but they do give an idea of the kind
of magic that a Molina record holds. Her lullaby-soft melodies and gently
picked guitar are steeped in folk traditions, but there are also light
electronic textures. I don't speak a single word of Spanish, but this
doesn't stop Molina from transporting me to a world that is uniquely hers.

THE SHINS "Chutes Too Narrow" (Sub Pop) CD $15.99
The Shins sophomore release will pack few surprises for their fans but then
I doubt that many of you are clamoring for change to the group's wonderful
brand of power pop. The record is a bit less ‘60s sounding, the recording
cleaner and crisper than on their debut. Though the band prefers to keep
things simple with drums, bass, strummed guitar and organ bounding in unison
through the hits, they are not afraid to flesh it out here with an
occasional pedal steel or harmonica cameo. [JM]

SKYGREEN LEOPARDS "One Thousand Bird Ceremony" (Soft Abuse) CD $12.99
The Skygreen Leopards masterfully combine the Jewelled Antler collective's
sprawling and serene acoustic experimentation with an incredibly solid pop
songwriting prowess. There are echoes of the Incredible String Band and
"Magical Mystery Tour"-era Beatles along with a healthy dose of jangly
early-'80s New Zealand pop. This album is bound to turn a lot more people on
to the world of the Jewelled Antler Collective. [RH]

SUFJAN STEVENS "Seven Swans" (Sounds Familyre) CD $14.99
Produced by Danielson Family member Daniel Smith, Sufjan Stevens' "Seven
Swans" forgoes the denser arrangements of "Greetings From Michigan." The
singer uses guitar, piano and banjo to gently frame wonderful tales that are
filled with biblical imagery and personal emotions. [GH/LM]

TV ON THE RADIO "Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes" (Touch & Go)
CD $15.99

Brooklyn's TV on the Radio deservedly became household names with their
great debut full-length. Theirs is a sloppily tight, bluesy and soulfully
rocking brew where tracks build to a hip shaking, hand waving frenzy of
inspiration. "Desperate Youth..." is full of songs that you want to sing
along to, with an approach and sound that's hard to resist. [DG]

THE WALKMEN "Bows and Arrows" (Record Collection) CD $14.99
"Bows And Arrows" is every bit as good as the Walkmen's first album.
Hamilton Leithauser's strong vocals are a little more rough around the edges
this time while the instrumentation remains unmistakably their own, with
thick and dark guitar parts, some seriously haunting organs, and the
occasional piano making its way into the mix. [RH]

WHITE MAGIC "Through the Sun Door" (Drag City) CD $10.99
This Brooklyn trio, which includes Quix*o*tic's Mira Billotte on piano,
guitar and vocals, have released one of the finest rock debuts of the year.
Mira's haunting vocals are a bluesy mix of Karen Dalton, PJ Harvey, and Chan
Marshall while the songs are primarily based on late-'60s/early-'70s British
folk with a little bit of soul thrown in for good measure. [JS]


COMETS ON FIRE "Blue Cathedral" (Sub Pop) CD $14.99
One of the best heavy psych rock records released by one of the big indie
labels this year. I declare it to be stupendous. [RH]

THE CONCRETES "S/T" (Astralwerks) CD $16.99
The Concretes aren't the first to embrace both the Velvet Underground and
the Shangri-las but this Swedish ensemble add warmth, swirl and dreaminess
to a classic formula. [GH]

DEAD MOON "Dead Ahead" (Tombstone) CD $11.99
These are not teenage garage-rock retro-revivalists or part-time punks. Dead
Moon embodies rock 'n' roll abandon and they have the songs, wail, attitude
and trashy mono attack to back it up. [JM]

JOLIE HOLLAND "Escondida" (Anti) CD $14.99
Texan singer-songwriter Jolie Holland's first proper studio album is filled
with stark and haunting songs. Recommended to fans of Gillian Welch, Keren
Ann, and Carla Bozulich. [RH]

LOVE IS ALL "Make Out, Fall Out, Make Up" (What's Your Rupture) 7-inch $4.99
A slightly lo-fi wall of sound from Sweden that's as catchy as it is
charming and edgy. For fans of bands like the Shop Assistants, Au Pairs, and
Huggy Bear. [RS]

SUSANNA & THE MAGICAL ORCHESTRA "Lists of Lights & Buoys" (Rune Grammofon)
CD $15.99

Produced by Hedge Sten (Deathprod, Supersilent) and Jaga Jazzist's Andreas
Mjøs, a stunning understated album of pop, jazz, laptop and minimal
electronics that oozes sensuality. [GH]

[V.A.] "Golden Apples of the Sun" (Bastet) $17.99
Curated for Arthur Magazine by Devendra Banhart, The Golden Apples Of The
Sun is a perfect introduction to the new generation of folk-oriented
singer-songwriters that dominated the independent music scene in 2004. [RH]


TERRY ALLEN "JUAREZ" (Sugar Hill) CD $16.99
Terry Allen's 1975 concept album may be one of the finest artistic
statements ever put down about America's mythic West. It's just Allen on the
piano with a little steel guitar and mandolin from time to time to
accentuate these songs of exposed nerves. Destined to be a connoisseur's
choice for one of the best records of the '70s. [MK]

BILL FAY "From the Bottom of an Old Grandfather Clock" (Wooden Hill)
CD $26.99
Some of the songs on this collection of demos and outtakes are so brilliant
it hurts. "From The Bottom Of An Old Grandfather Clock" is mostly comprised
of stripped-down versions of many of the best songs from Bill Fay's two
fantastic Decca full-lengths, among them "Be Not So Fearful," a live staple
for Wilco on their most recent tour. British
very rarely get much better than this. [RH]

JOBRIATH "Lonely Planet Boy" (Attack/Sanctuary) CD $17.99
Hailed by fans from Morrissey to Mark Stewart as an under-appreciated glam
rock icon, Jobriath was the first openly gay rock star and one of the
biggest major label failures of the 1970s. Unfairly criticized as
a cheap Bowie rip-off, in retrospect, it's quite clear that Jobriath was an
immensely talented songwriter and performer in his own right. This CD
collects the highlights of his two highly sought-after Elektra albums from
1973 and 1974. [RH]

THE KINKS "Village Green Preservation Society -- Deluxe Edition" (Sanctuary)
3XCD $26.99

A total of three discs, those of you who already own and love one of the
many CD versions of "Village Green" take note -- the bonus tracks on this
collection are well worth the added cost. It's hard to imagine a more
complete aural picture of the band while they were making their masterpiece.

PAVEMENT "Crooked Rain...Deluxe Edition" (Matador) 2XCD $15.99
This 2-CD reissue of Pavement's watershed "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain" not
only includes a remastered version of the original record, but also
contains all the b-sides and compilation tracks recorded and released during
this era. A 62-page booklet includes interviews with Matador's Gerard
Cosloy, lots of photos, and liner notes from both SM and Spiral Stairs. Gold
Soundz indeed. [GH]

ANNETTE PEACOCK "My Mama Never Taught Me How to Cook" (Castle/Sanctuary)
CD $15.99

Annette Peacock had a poetic singing/speaking style comparable to Patti
Smith, the performance-art narrative ambitions of Laurie Anderson, and the
improvisational conceptual approach similar to "Low"-era Bowie. This
collection pulls from the music she created for British indie label Aura. If
anyone's art can be described as "other music," it's Annette Peacock's. [DH]

TERRY REID "Super Lungs/Complete Studio Recordings '66-‘69" (EMI UK)
2XCD $25.99

One of the most overlooked and under appreciated British vocalists of the
‘60s, in his late-teens Terry Reid famously declined offers to be the singer
for both Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Before the age of 20, he had recorded
both of the incredible full-length albums that are included on this
collection in addition to a slew of singles, b-sides, and demos that appear
here on CD for the first time. [RH]

THE REVELONS "Anthology" (Sepia Tone) CD $12.99
The Revelons Anthology collects studio and live recordings, many on CD for
the first time, from a great but largely forgotten New York punk/new wave
band. Singer Gregory Lee Pickard wrote raw and energetic songs that were as
catchy as anything by the Modern Lovers or the Cars. [RH]

TYRANNOSAURUS REX "Remastered Editions" (Straight Ahead/A&M Import)
CD $19.99

Marc Bolan's pre-glam configuration of T-Rex finally gets the deluxe
expansion and remastering they've so long deserved, and not a moment too
soon as these four albums have provided a crucial touching off point for
most of today's new folk revivalists. It'd be awfully hard to top these
masterpieces though, each indispensable with an average of fifteen (!) bonus
tracks apiece. [MK]
"My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair"
"Prophets, Seers and Sages the Angels of the Ages"
"Beard of Stars"

[V.A.] "Rough Trade Shops Indie Pop Box" (Mute) 2XCD $24.99
A great and varied selection of indie pop from the Rough Trade shop in
London. Two CDs crammed full of tracks by bands like Primal Scream, the Sea
Urchins, the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Field Mice, the Marine Girls,
Television Personalities, Heavenly, Beat Happening, Pooh Sticks, Love is
All, Wedding Present, Magnetic Fields, Velvet Crush... [GH]


ANTENA "Camino del Sol" (Numero) CD $16.99
Bringing with them a love for both early German electronic music and bossa
nova, in 1981 this French trio found themselves in London working with John
Foxx. While Antena's electro-pop-samba could be sweet and sultry, there was
no lack of adventurism or experimentation -- minimalism prevails. Often
songs resemble an unimaginable collaboration between Young Marble Giants and
Sade. Whether you're interested in finding some unheard bossa treasure or
digging deep into the Factory related discography, you'll love this. [GH]

ARTHUR RUSSELL "World of Arthur Russell" (Soul Jazz) CD $18.99
ARTHUR RUSSELL "Calling Out of Context" (Audika) CD $14.99
ARTHUR RUSSELL "World of Echo" (Audika) Limited CD/DVD UNAVAILABLE
Three amazing reissues from an NYC icon whose body of work cannot even
possibly be done justice in this short paragraph. "World of Arthur Russell"
documents the cellist's redefinition of dance music.  Russell introduced a
sense of experimentation and subversion with his solo works as well playing
in seminal groups like Dinosaur L and Loose Joints. "Calling Out of Context"
can truly be called a lost treasure, featuring all unreleased tracks culled
from the thousands of tapes that he had recorded almost up until his
untimely passing in 1992. The limited CD/DVD reissue of Russell's
atmospheric minimalist masterpiece "World of Echo" is now out of print, but
Audika will be releasing a CD version in early '05. [GH]
"World of Arthur Russell"
"Calling Out of Context"

Unfortunately, bouts with dismissive and unsupportive labels, legal battles,
and inter-band tensions prevented the Comsat Angels from receiving the
recognition they've long deserved. This box set harbors some of the most
dramatic and melancholy works of the early-'80s, including their fantastic
1980 release, "Waiting for a Miracle." This is emotive doom and despair,
passionately interpreted with perfect pop sensibility, floating somewhere
between Joy Division's existential torment and Robert Smiths' overindulgent
musings. [MT]

THE CURE "Three Imaginary Boys" (Fiction/Rhino) 2XCD $23.99
Twenty-five years after its initial release, the Cure's debut album finally
sees stateside release. The first in many to feature a whole extra disc's
worth of bonus tracks (a total of 20 included here), from rare demos to
early live recordings, fully remastered and in a gatefold digipack. A holy
bible for bands like the Rapture and Interpol, and a must-have history
lesson for any music fan today. [JS]

DNA "DNA on DNA" (No More) CD $14.99
Although they are practically synonymous with No Wave, up until this year
DNA's recorded output had been next to impossible to find -- barring a few
tracks which surfaced on some post-punk compilations and very expensive
Japanese imports. Featuring Arto Lindsay and Ikue Mori, this definitive
32-track retrospective includes all of their studio recordings, previously
unreleased songs and early live versions. [GH]

HOMOSEXUALS "Astral Glamour" (Mesthetics/Morphius) 3XCD $26.99
Eighty-one tracks on three CDs, "Astral Glamour" culls every release from
this quintessential art-punk band. Includes songs put out under various
pseudonyms on their Black Noise label and never-before-heard material. [GH]

LIZZY MERCIER DESCLOUX "Mambo Nassau" (ZE) CD $16.99
In 1979, French transplant Lizzy Mercier Descloux arrived in NYC and
immediately immersed herself in the downtown scene. Following a stint in
Rosa Yemen, Descloux released her solo album "Press Color," an infectious
fusion of funk, disco and small doses of nervous no wave energy. Soon after,
Island Record's Chris Blackwell enabled Descloux, along with drummer Bill
Perry, to fly to Nassau to record the follow-up. A mix of traditional island
and African music, and modern dance music, "Mambo Nassau" paved the way for
future world-influenced records from artists like the Talking Heads.
Tragically, this year Descloux lost a long battle with cancer and passed
away shortly after ZE released these reissues. [GH]
"Press Color"
"Mambo Nassau"

METAL URBAIN "Anarchy in Paris" (Acute) CD $13.99
Metal Urbain's "Paris Maquis" single has the unique position in history as
Rough Trade 001. But most people in their native Paris, put off by their mix
of punk and custom-built drum machines making skeletal electronic sounds,
ignored them. Without Metal Urbain's influence groups like Big Black and the
Jesus and Mary Chain may have sounded radically different. The group would
eventually morph into various incarnations like Doctor Mix and the more
electro leaning Metal Boys. [LG/GH]

SO YOUNG BUT SO COLD "Various Underground French Music ‘79 to ‘83"
(Tigersushi) UNAVAILABLE

Compiled by Volga Select, So Young But So Cold explores a fertile yet mostly
unheard six-year period of French underground music. While the frozen sound
of drum machines and the robotic synthesizers are an obvious common theme,
the collection features a diverse selection of styles featuring cult artists
and electronic music luminaries. [GH]

VERSCHWENDE DEINE JUGEND "Punk und New Wave in Deutchland"
(Universal Germany) UNAVAILABLE

A bunch of similar compilations came out along the lines of Verschwende
Deine Jugend -- "Neu Deutsch" from Gigolo and Gomma's "Teutonic Disaster" to
name two. But while those comps brought to mind images of oddly dressed
German punks pogoing in a basement, "Verschwende Deine Jugend" actually
INSPIRES spontaneous pogoing. Typically raw, immediate and crucial sounding
German punk/new wave from killer obscure bands like Abwarts, S.Y.P.H., early
Einsturzende Neubauten, Der Plan etc. [SM]


FOTHERINGAY "Fotheringay" (Fledgling) CD $16.99
It would be difficult to name a group with as many excellent offshoots and
solo efforts as Fairport Convention. Fotheringay, led by Sandy Denny and her
future husband Trevor Lucas, only released this self-titled album. This was
Denny's follow-up to the amazing "What We Did On Our Holidays" album, and
the sound is very much in the same spirit. A true folk rock treasure. [RH]

KATHY & CAROL "Kathy & Carol" (Collectors Choice) CD $13.99
This entirely self-taught Southern California folk duo recorded their one
and only album for Elektra Records in 1965. An incredibly simple and
beautifully understated recording: just two voices, a couple of acoustic
guitars, and a wonderful Mother Maybelle Carter-style autoharp playing on
two of the 12 tracks. [RH]

Fairport Convention founder Richard Thompson's first three collaborations
with his wife Linda are among the finest folk-rock albums of all time. "I
Want To See the Bright Lights Tonight," "Hokey Pokey," and "Pour Down
Like Silver" all sound amazing nearly 30 years after their release and
continue to influence contemporary songwriters, most notably Will Oldham.
All three records have been digitally remastered and repackaged with great
liner notes, lyrics, and live bonus tracks. [RH]
"I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" CD $16.99
"Hokey Pokey" CD $18.99
"Pour Down Like Silver" CD $16.99

CD $16.99

"No Roses" was Shirley Collins' first foray into folk rock-oriented
material. Along with husband and Fairport Convention member Ashley
Hutchings, they enlisted a band featuring nearly every name of note then on
the folk scene. Collins was never one to shy away from the dark corners that
lurk in old ballads; her song selection is always impeccable. [MK]

SINGING IN THE STREETS "Scottish Children Songs" (Rounder) CD $14.99
Between 1951 and 1957, famed folklorist and song collector Alan Lomax
devoted a good deal of time to recording the music of children on the
Scottish Isles.  Often exhibiting imaginative wordplay and the interior sort
of logic only a child could dream up, these fifty-six tracks constantly took
me back to a world I'd nearly forgotten ever existed.  Fascinating. [MK]

CHRIS SMITHER "Honeysuckle Dog" (Okra-tone) CD $15.99
Chris Smither's unreleased folk masterpiece from 1972 is finally available
after thirty years. Recorded in Woodstock with a number of that scene's
notable denizens right before he dropped out of recording for a number of
years, "Honeysuckle Dog" exhibited all of his characteristic loneliness and
fleet fingerpicking. It should have at least made him a cult act alongside
former labelmate Townes Van Zandt. Smither sells out the clubs every time
he plays New York now, but man, if this had come out then. [MK]


BEANS "Shock City Maverick" (Warp) CD $14.99
It's definitely his most accessible release to date, but don't fear, Beans
hasn't lost any of his energy, inventiveness, humor or skill. It's danceable
and abstract as he infuses Anti-pop Consortium's love of groove-based
un-convention and sonic textures into a futuristic urban-electro party
record that will challenge you as much as excite. [DG]

DE LA SOUL "The Grind Date" (Sanctuary Union) CD $18.99
While the majority of the hip-hop industry continues making throw-away
music, De La Soul have been quietly producing formidable product that's
actually beneficial to your life expectancy. Just think, you can listen to
bounce inducing hip-hop, get your soul on, bug-out with Tony Starks (as
Ghostface), feel nostalgic about Flava Flav, "Rock Co.Kane Flow" with Doom
and nobody has to get shot.  I'm beginning to believe "The Grind Date" is
their best album to date. [JD]

DIZZEE RASCAL "Showtime" (XL) CD $14.99
Dizzee Rascal's follow-up to his British award-winning debut is probably not
what most are expecting. He refines his production removing a lot of the
excessive bleeps and rubber band effects, and his double time delivery now
has an even sharper bite than before. My hip-hop album of the year, tied
with Madvillain. [DG]

FOREIGN EXCHANGE "Connected" (BBE) CD $14.99
NC based MC Phonte Coleman, of acclaimed underground hip hop group Little
Brother, and UK producer Nicolay recorded this album by exchanging sound
files, never once meeting face-to-face until after the album was finished.
It's an impressive balance of mature progressive soul similar to the sounds
emanating out of Detroit and Philadelphia as of late. But props must go to
Phonte for infusing some surprisingly candid and insightful lyrics
throughout. [DH]

GHOSTFACE "The Pretty Toney Album" (Def Jam) CD $14.99
Hip Hop lovers need this album. All of Ghostface's strengths shine on tracks
like the Motown infused "Holla" where he takes a Delfonics song and rhymes
over the whole thing, not a sample but the whole track! Ghost kills it with
Jadakiss on "Run," one of the most manic hip hop tracks ever, and he pulls
out his sensitive side on tracks like "Love." Trust me there is nobody
around today that can even compare to Ghostface, from his MC skills down to
his production, and the only one that comes close is MF Doom. [JS]

MADVILLAIN "Madvillainy" (Stones Throw) CD $14.99
Madvillian is the stoned love child of Madlib and MF Doom, two of the most
prolific voices and producers in hip-hop today. Bringing together a wide
array of influences, from Saturday morning cartoons and b-movie montages to
Steve Reich and Sun Ra samples, everything is on point. Madlib brings his
Yesterday's New Quintet along for some post "Shades of Blue" soul-jazz
moments, Quasimoto returns as Lord Quas, and Doom flips it as fluidly as
ever. [DG]

MF DOOM "Mm...Food" (Rhymesayers) CD $14.99
Along with being one of the most imaginative wordsmiths in rap, MF Doom's
biggest talents are his skills as a crate digger and producer. Mixing his
obsessions with a theme -- this time all things edible, drinkable and
smokeable -- this one has a sly political undertone. He dresses his stance
towards world and local affairs with a topping of sci-fi and television
dialogue. Loopy, chopped soul, R&B and jazz samples lay the foundation while
Doom gets loose on the mic. [DG]

M.I.A. "Galang" (XL) CD-Single $5.99
M.I.A. "Sunshowers" (XL) CD-Single $4.99
With only two singles as well as the super hyped "Piracy Funds Terrorism"
CD-R, there's a big buzz going about London based dancehall-hip hop-grime
(or whatever) artist M.I.A. "Galang" is a massive meltdown of molten
electronics, distorted drums, processed handclaps, and swaying bleep shifts
while M.I.A. punches out big London dancehall toasting. In "Sunshowers,"
large bass drum kicks, warped guitars and wobbly basslines march in staccato
under her equally rugged rhymes. For fans of everything from Autechre to
Missy, I can't wait for the album. [GA]

PRINCE PO "The Slickness" (Lex) CD $15.99
Formerly of Organized Konfusion, Prince Po finally drops his solo LP.
Produced by a whole set of biggies (Madlib, Danger Mouse, Jel, J-Zone, Richard X,
etc.), Po steps up and delivers. Thirteen tracks of head-bobbing hip hop.
Welcome back. [GA]

SA-RA "Glorious and Rosebuds" (Ubiquity) 12" $9.99
SA-RA "Double Dutch" (Ubiquity) 12" $6.99

A couple of 12-inch EPs by the cosmic hip hop/funk/soul production team
who've sculpted for Common, Bilal, Erykah, Pharoahe, Dr. Dre, and many more.
Hot, sweaty beats and space age poetry descends from the Mother Ship to move
your ass. [GA]
"Glorious and Rosebuds"
"Double Dutch"

[V.A.] "Dread Meets B-Boys Downtown" (Heavenly) UNAVAILABLE
Filmmaker Don Letts focuses on the early sounds of hip hop and
includes classic and some rare tracks from icons like Grand Wizard Theodore,
Grand Master Flash, Fab Five Freddy, Hashim, and many more. But the comp
doesn't only fixate on the sounds being created in NYC, it also includes
ones that influenced the old skool, sounds you'd expect to hear rumbling
from Afrika Bambaata's sound system. [GH]

[V.A.] "Third Unheard - Connecticut Hip Hop 1979-1983" (Stones Throw)
CD $14.99

New York wasn't the only birthplace of hip hop; Connecticut also has had its
fair share of skilled producers, DJs, and MCs. You'd be surprised at some of
the jams in store: Mr. Magic, Outlaw Four and 12 year old Pookey Blow. A
fantastic slice of history from back in the day when rap was nothing less
than fun. [DG]


BABY HUEY "The Living Legend of..." (Water) CD $15.99
Heavy D may be the overweight lover and Notorious B.I.G. was Big Poppa, but
30 years ago there was Baby Huey, the biggest and brightest of his time.
This reissue brings his psychedelic soul back to life. Produced by Curtis
Mayfield, "The Living Legend" includes covers of his "Mighty Mighty" and the
much sampled "Hard Times." Sadly, his history of substance abuse took its
toll and the 350-pound singer died from a heart attack shortly before his
debut LP's 1971 release. An underground classic, this is raw, dark, and
moody soul for those that can take the weight. [DG]

BETTYE SWANN "S/T" (Honest Jons/Astralwerks) CD $15.99
A breathtaking anthology of singles. Born in rural Louisiana and hailed as
"the missing link between Muscle Shoals and Motown," Bettye Swann recorded
these songs for Capitol Records between 1968 and 1970 with first-time
producer Wayne Shuler, who made daring and unexpected choices of material
for her to interpret. This music is absolutely timeless, full of overwhelming hope,
beauty and sincerity. [RH]

CANDI STATON "S/T" (Astralwerks) CD $18.99
Although she is primarily remembered today for her 1970s disco albums, Candi
Staton actually got her start in 1968 working with Rick Hall at the
legendary Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama. This exquisite and impeccable
collection includes 26 of Candi's earliest recordings, including amazing
southern soul versions of "Stand By Your Man" and "In The Ghetto." It's a
truly incredible anthology. [RH]

CLOUD ONE "Atmosphere Strut" (Octipi) CD $11.99
If you want to know what blueprint the current wave of nouveau disco
producers like Metro Area, Chicken Lips and Danny Wang use to get their
sound from, this record is a great place to start. The brainchild of
prolific New York producer Patrick Adams and NYC record mogul Peter Brown,
the result was this Moog-heavy deep disco classic. [DH]

CONNIE PRICE & THE KEYSTONES "Wildflowers" (Now Again/Stones Throw)
CD $14.99
Not simply a revivalist act, Connie and Co. draw from a wide palette of
influences including jazz, reggae and soul. Featuring members of LA Carnival
and Breakestra, "Wildflowers" opens with "Sticks and Stones," a deep, hazy,
psychedelic epic. Vibe accents and punchy horn stabs propel this lazy
summer jam into a hypnotic trance that you just don't want to end.
Recommended if you like your funk deep, jazzy and kinda smoked out. [GA]

[V.A.] "Eccentric Soul --The Capsoul Label" (Numero) CD $16.99
[V.A.] "Eccentric Soul --The Bandit Label" (Numero) CD $16.99
Numero brings us a pair of essential volumes of soul music from two
shamefully overlooked labels. Columbus, Ohio's Capsoul Records produced some of the
most moody, complex, heartbreaking and simultaneously breathtaking 45s the soul
genre has ever seen. The second edition of "Eccentric Soul" focuses on
Chicago's Bandit label. Bluesy, darkly orchestrated gospel-injected grooves
and emotion are the stylings of these sultry, scorned soul sides. [DG/MT]
The Capsoul Label
The Bandit Label

MANZEL "Midnight Theme" (Dope Brother) CD $17.99
Twenty-five years after being recorded, the long lost Manzel single, "Space
Funk," fetches upwards of $1500. Kenny Dope has unearthed all 10 songs from
the same recording sessions and presents these instrumental tracks as a
full-length. Fans of Patrick Adams and Peter Brown's sweeping synth work
will find a lot to appreciate, but it's not disco, it's heavy minimal funk.
Recommended to fans of early Mark Moulin's Placebo recordings, Stevie
Wonder's keyboard work, and Herbie Hancock. [DH]

MCNEAL & NILES "Thrust" (Chocolate Industries) CD $13.99
Rescued from obscurity by Chocolate Industries and purportedly previously
plundered by the likes of Prefuse 73, McNeal and Niles have one foot in the
soul jazz stylings popular a decade before the 1979 conception of their sole
album, and yet another firmly planted in the atmospheric New Wave and Disco
movements that were then popularly entrenched. "Summertime" can't seem to
decide if it wants to be "Dub Housing" or Chic, while other tracks seem to
arrive at the exact point where musical integrity and broad appeal meet.

[V.A.] "Midwest Funk - 45s from Tornado Alley (Jazzman) CD $14.99
Writer, DJ and archivist Dante Carfagna compiled this collection of rare
funk from Tornado Alley and it kills. There's a ton of dynamics that range
from the frenetic popcorn funk of Des Moines' "New Establishment of Soul,"
the psych-tinged organ rumblings of Lawrence, Kansas' Epitaph, to the mellow
red-light rework of "A Day in the Life" by Wichita's "Chocolate Snow." [DH]

MINNIE RIPERTON "Perfect Angel/Adventures In Paradise" (Stateside) CD $16.99
This nicely done two-on-one CD brings together Minnie Riperton's
breakthrough second album "Perfect Angel," containing the international
smash hit "Loving You," with the follow-up, "Adventures In Paradise." Anyone
who has ever heard Riperton's work with the Rotary Connection or any of her
solo stuff has likely been stopped in their tracks by her stunning yet
always tasteful 5-octave vocal range and haunting innate sadness and joy.
These two records compile some of her finest stuff. Dreamy and psychedelic
and sexy and soulful. [JM]

TEMPTATIONS "Psychedelic Soul" (Motown/Universal) 2XCD $22.99
In 1968, at the top of their game, the Temptations shockingly severed ties
with David Ruffin, their silk-voiced frontman. What followed, however, was
an incredible second life for the group. Dennis Edwards took over the
vacated fifth spot and his raw, powerful delivery gave the band an
undercurrent of rage that matched the sounds emanating from crumbling
American inner cities all around them. They opened the door for the
psych-soul that is to follow, from Parliament-Funkadelic to the Rotary
Connection and beyond. [JM]

[V.A.] "Wonder of Stevie 2" (Harmless) 2XCD $24.99
[V.A.] "Marvel of Marvin" (Harmless) 2XCD $24.99
Two superb compilations featuring covers of songs by Stevie Wonder and
Marvin Gaye. DJ Spinna and Bobbito bring us their second volume paying
tribute to the Melody Man, and not to be out done, influential beat
alchemists 4-Hero assemble a compilation highlighting their favorite covers
of one of their musical heroes, Marvin Gaye. Both tributes are double-disc
sets with CD-1 laying down a mix and CD-2 featuring the songs in unmixed
form. [GH/DH]
"Wonder of Stevie Volume 2"
"Marvel of Marvin"


OREN AMBARCHI "Grapes From the Estate" (Touch) CD $14.99
Shifting from moments of pure sound to almost song-like structures, "Grapes
From the Estate" excels at pulling the listener in and rewards with subtle
arrangements and melodic percussive textures. Oren Ambarchi lets each sound
evolve in such a gradual manner that nothing sounds out of place or forced.
An intimate and personal document of one the more singularly focused voices
in the contemporary experimental scene. [KH]

SIR RICHARD BISHOP "Improvika" (Locust Music) CD $14.99
The first installment in Locust Music's spin-off series of full-length
improvisational guitar records by each of the four gentlemen who contributed
to the acclaimed "Wooden Guitar" compilation. The Sun City Girl member's
fingerpicked explorations are influenced by anything and everything: from
jazz to bluegrass to blues to folk to any number of ethnic traditions. In my
book, this one is tied with Jack Rose for solo acoustic guitar record of the
year. [RH]

BOREDOMS "Seadrum/House of Sun" (Warner) UNAVAILABLE
Boredoms' "Seadrum/House of Sun" delightfully pulses with the tribal
drumming that rattled skulls in "Vision Creation Newsun." Two 20-minute
tracks swim in and out of chaos, calm and quietude. On "Seadrum," Yoshimi,
ATR, and Yojuro all contribute to the rhythms, amassing man made waves that
crash and flow around vocals, piano, East Asian percussion and electronic
distortions. Yamataka Eye and guitarist Yamamato Seiichi bundle it together,
making this album's lineup closer than ever to the constantly evolving
original. [LG]

BROKEN HEARTED DRAGONFLIES "Insect Electronica From Southeast Asia"
(Sublime Frequencies) CD $14.99

Recorded by Tucker Martine in Laos, Thailand and Burma, these four long
recordings of dragonflies, cicadas and other insects haven't actually been
put through any kind of electronic processing. Totally otherworldly, many
moments really do sound like ultra-minimal electronic music, with
oscillating static noise and seemingly unnatural changes in pitch and
volume. Really hypnotic and bizarre stuff. [RH]

LUCIANO CILIO "Dell 'Universo Assente" (Die Schachtel) UNAVAILABLE
Luciano Cilio's "Dell 'Universo Assente" is a truly singular work of
intimate acoustic arrangements that reference many different musical genres
while existing in a unique space all its own. The 11 tracks in this
collection represent the entire recorded output from the virtuosic
multi-instrumentalist whose unfortunate suicide in ‘83 left few artifacts
behind. One of my favorite releases this year. [KH]

CLIMAX GOLDEN TWINS "Highly Bred & Sweetly Tempered"
(Northeast Indie) CD $13.99

The mysterious Climax Golden Twins' new album is in part a kind of folk
collage. Not completely unlike what the Books have done but far more sparse
and minimal. That said, the bulk of the album relies heavily on straight-up
acoustic guitar playing, much more than most of this group's prior work. If
you're looking for some lovely and not too far out-there experimental
sounds, stop right here. [RH]

RICHARD CRANDELL Mbira Magic (Tzadik) CD $14.99
During the early-‘80s, Richard Crandell released two great Fahey-esque
guitar records and toured with African music icon Thomas Mapfumo. In
2004, Crandell reemerges; the eight pieces on this disc are performed on the
mbira, an African thumb piano, with additional percussion provided by Cyro
Baptista. The sound is incredibly deep and rich, with slowly rolling rhythms
and repetitive melodies that are likely to put you in a deep trance. One of
the most gorgeous recordings I've heard this year. [RH]

JOHANN JOHANNSSON "Virthulegu forsetar" (Touch) CD $16.99
This CD/DVD-Audio set is the follow-up to the Icelandic composer's stunning
2002 soundtrack, "Englaborn." A nine-piece horn section merges with organ, bells,
glockenspiel, and Johannsson's electronics for the four movements of
"Virdulegu forsetar," and it moves at an exquisite, almost glacial pace.
Incredibly nuanced and elegant. [RB]

PAUL PANHUYSEN "A Magic Square of 5 to Look At..." (Pinkity Plonk)
CD $18.99

A magic square is a series of numbers arranged in a square grid so that the
sum of each horizontal and vertical row and the corner diagonals is always
the same. Dutch composer/sound artist Paul Panhuysen used this principle as
the basis for a quadraphonic installation that took place in Tokyo in 2003,
as well as the stereo version that appears on this CD. Using computer-generated
tones, "A Magic Square..." is an intense and hypnotic study in pure listening
which projects itself into your environment creating an almost hallucinatory
sense of space. [KH]

ZEENA PARKINS & IKUE MORI "Phantom Orchard" (Mego)

This stunning collaboration between Zeena Parkins and Ikue Mori is one of
Mego's most exciting releases. "Phantom Orchard" is an album of
juxtaposition and contradiction as the warm organic tones of harp, electric
piano and mellotron weave through a digital realm full of everchanging
dynamics and intense emotion. [GH]

PHONOPHANI "Oak or Rock" (Rune Grammofon) CD $15.99
The third album from Norway's Phonophani (a.k.a. Espen Sommer Eide who is
also one-half of Alog) sees him exploring new directions dissecting and
reassembling 'real' instrumentation, in a sense masking the borders between
the virtual and acoustic. Eide's music is imbued by a healthy sense of
wonder and experimentation too often lacking in the generally sterile
quarters of contemporary electronic music. [KH]

ROLF JULIUS "Early Works Volume 1" (Fringes Archive) CD $19.99
Important archival release from under-heralded German composer Rolf Julius.
"Early Works Vol. 1" investigates his late-‘70s and very early-‘80s
conceptual works that deal primarily with small sounds and shimmering tones.
With liner notes that read like haiku, his Zen-like restraint arrives at a
crucial intersection between Cageian and Fluxus practices. Imminently
listenable for those with sensitive ears. [MK]

SKYPHONE "Fabula" (Rune Grammofon) CD $15.99
The reference point for this group is another Scandinavian trio that
seamlessly blends acoustic and electronic elements: Tape. While Tape has a
more direct approach to song structure, Skyphone's loose, almost dreamlike
compositions still retain a strong sense of melody and form. Fans of Boards
Of Canada and Kompakt's Pop Ambient Series will most certainly dig this
beautiful and understated record. [RH]

SUNN O))) "White 1" (Southern Lord) CD $15.99
SUNN O))) "White 2" (Southern Lord) CD $15.99
Ambient doom metal duo Sunn O))) initially came together through their
shared love of Earth (the band, not the planet). After 5 albums, they've
evolved into much more than a glorified tribute band. Their metal minimalism
and has made them one of today's most exciting and respected experimental
noise groups. Crushingly heavy and devastatingly slow guitar riffs crunch
over ultra-low-end electronic drones to create a wall of sound unlike
anything you've ever heard. [RH]
"White 1"
"White 2"

JOZEF VAN WISSEM "Simulacrum" (Bvhasst) CD $14.99
This past year has seen a slew of new releases by Dutch lutist Jozef Van
Wissem. Realized in NYC at Harvestworks, "Simulacrum" features lute,
electronics and field recordings. Utilizing custom live sampling techniques,
Van Wissem carefully extends his subtle fingerpicking into more electronic
textural territories while never obscuring the acoustic origins of his
source. An exceptionally produced combination of electronics and acoustics.


ACTIVE INGREDIENTS "Titration" (Delmark) CD $16.99
Drummer Chad Taylor continues to broaden his great textured playing with his
latest group, Active Ingredients. The seven-piece includes Jemeel Moondoc on
alto, Tom Abbs on bass, David Boykin on tenor, Avereayl Ra on percussion,
with the surprisingly soulful trombone of Steve Swell, and Taylor's Chicago
Underground partner, cornet player Rob Mazurek. Together they bring a
refreshing sound to the current jazz scene. Not totally free or noisy, this
is a soulful and controlled exercise in the true spirit of jazz. [DG]

ALBERT AYLER "Holy Ghost Box Set" (Revenant) CD $99.99
Revenant addresses the titanic impact of tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler's
artistic legacy through 10 CDs of unreleased and archival material. You also
get a 200-page hardbound book with reams of information about sessions,
sidemen, influences, rare photos, interviews, etc. Not to mention exact
replicas of LeRoi Jones' little magazine "Cricket", Paul Hanie's jazz
poetry/polemic about Ayler, a handbill for a gig at New York's legendary
Slugs, a "distressed" wallet sized sepia toned photo of Ayler, and a dried
flower! Revenant is practically giving away one of the most essential
musical documents to be released this year. [MK]

ALICE COLTRANE "Huntington Ashram Monastery" (Impulse Japan) CD $31.99
Deep expansive opus of tranquility and meditation made by a trio led by
Alice Coltrane. This is the sound of jazz transcending into other worlds.
Thank you very, very much Impulse Japan. [GA]

COOPER-MOORE "Box Set" (50 Miles of Elbow Room) 45s $35.99
A five-record 7-inch box set devoted to instrument builder and noted jazz
pianist Cooper-Moore, limited to 300 copies and housed in a cedar box.
Includes an engrossing interview where he recounts a good deal of his
history and working methods. There are also stunning pieces for hand held
harp, diddley-bo, mouth-bow, and bamboo fife amongst others. The man is
clearly a treasure. [MK]

EAST NEW YORK ENSEMBLE "At the Helm" (Ikef) CD $14.99
Since its ‘74 release on Folkway Records, the East New York Ensemble de
Music's "At the Helm" had been yet another long-lost gem in the myriad of
soul-jazz recordings imploring to be unearthed. The vibe throughout is that
of the finest macrocosmic spiritual jazz incorporating literally a world of
polyrhythmic influence, truly stimulating. Asian/African influences
gallantly shine throughout. [JC]

ANDREW HILL "Black Fire" (Blue Note) CD $11.99
Andrew Hill's music, like that of Charles Ives, seems to occupy a tonal
space just outside the comfortable. He never attacks the listener with
swells of rapid-fire notes like say Cecil Taylor. Hill, on this session
anyway, plays standard post-bop of the Mal Waldron order, albeit on a piano
that sounds more than a little out of tune. Only it's perfectly in tune.
Hill's Blue Note debut helped usher in an era that would find the label
reaching further and further out. [BB]

WADADA LEO SMITH "Kabell Years" (Tzadik) 4XCD $45.99
Tzadik graces us with a deluxe package devoted to the creative genius of
trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith's self-released albums of the ‘70s.
He kick-started his Kabell imprint to further his creative vision,
subsequently releasing four albums that would chart the progression of his
ideas in both group and solo configurations. Smith is a pretty
individualistic composer who is hard to pin down, to understand the full
picture of jazz in the ‘70s is to be familiar with this work. Includes over
two hours of unreleased material. [MK]

PATTY WATERS "You Thrill Me" (Water) CD $15.99
Seemingly out of the blue, this beautiful collection of unreleased material
has surfaced from the enigmatic Patty Waters. Compiled by the singer herself
from her personal archives, a majority of the tracks are from the
early-'70s, a few years after her mid-'60s ESP records. The songs here focus
more on her mellow side, lovely ballads with spare, simple arrangements for
voice and piano that generally are as strong and moving as anything on her
two classic records. [JM]


THE BEAT OF THE EARTH "S/T" (Radish) CD $16.99
THE ELECTRONIC HOLE "S/T" (Radish) CD $11.99
Three mind-blowing reissues from musical genius Phil Pearlman. The first
album, released in '67 under the moniker The Beat of the Earth, has got to
be one of the least tedious "freak-out" albums I've ever heard. Just two long
serpentine tracks seemingly influenced by the druggier and heavier moments
on the first two Velvet Underground records. Three years later his release
as The Electronic Hole bridged the gap between the drone raga rock of the
former and the tunefulness of what was to come. Two long suites of
forward-looking psychedelic rock unlike any I've ever heard before,
effortlessly prefiguring the likes of Galaxie 500 and Spacemen 3. In 1975
Pearlman unleashed a privately pressed rural/psych rock gem under the name
Relatively Clean Rivers. All California sunsets and country living clean,
you can feel the wind in this album, in the melodies and in the guitar
lines. [MK]
The Beat of the Earth
The Electronic Hole
Relatively Clean Rivers

BOBBY BROWN "Enlightening Beam of Axonda" (Akarma) CD $16.99
Bobby Brown self-released at least three albums which he sold out of his van
as he traveled the west coast as a street musician. With a six-octave range,
he vocally resembles Tim Buckley. His orchestra was an elaborate contraption
comprised of over fifty instruments that he played with every limb, and was
amplified by homemade contact microphones. Visionary, virtuosic and
frequently terrifying. [MK]

BULENT "Benimle Oynar Misin" (World Psychedelia) $17.99
Bülent Ortacgil's absolutely phenomenal 1974 debut "Benimle Oynar Misin" is
a landmark album in his native Turkey, yet the singer-songwriter remains
virtually unknown in the United States. Follows in the tradition of Fairport
Convention, Dando Shaft, Nick Drake, Duncan Browne, Bert Jansch, et al. [RH]

CAN "Remastered Editions" (Spoon/Mute) CD $15.99
While the term Krautrock is an umbrella word that describes a plethora of
German bands, many very different in sound, style and approach, there's no
denying that Can defined the genre. Newly remastered, these reissues sound
great, louder and crisper. Includes liner notes by David Stubbs and
unreleased photos. [GH]
"Monster Movie"
"Tago Mago"
"Ege Bamyasi"

CIRCLE "Forest" (Ektro) CD $19.99
Four tracks of marvelous, hypnotic drones, conjuring runic visions of
faerie-enchantment and other-wordly realms. Though crafted in Circle's
hallmark conceptual, repetitive moodisms, this record is a departure from
the corrosive, distorting guitar jams into delicate, shivery acoustic works
paired with percussive tribalisms. Recommended. [MT]

EXTRADITION "Hush" (Vicious Sloth) CD $25.99
Mixing the delicate acoustic textures of British folk with a freer approach,
in 1970 Australia's Extradition recorded their sole album for the tiny Sweet
Peach label. The album revolves around songwriter Colin Campbell's
understated guitar and piano and Shayna Karlin's lush vocals. Water, palm
leaf, sticks and stones are featured instruments alongside harpsichord,
dulcimer, harmonium, organ, cello, and various drums and gongs. [KH]

FAIRFIELD PARLOUR "From Home to Home" (Repertoire) CD $19.99
After releasing two amazing but commercially unsuccessful albums in the
late-‘60s, the British group Kaleidoscope changed their name to Fairfield
Parlour, signed to Vertigo, and slightly tweaked their sound. The result was
1970's "From Home To Home," a sprawling, magical, and whimsical gem of an
album that still failed to sell. Quite honestly, this record is a masterpiece that
is right up there with the Kinks' "Village Green Preservation Society." [RH]

SIMON FINN "Pass the Distance" (Durtro/Jnana) CD $14.99
First-ever legitimate reissue of Simon Finn's incredibly rare album, amongst
the accompanying musicians was a very young David Toop. Parts of the record
are beautiful and idyllic, but there's an unsettling undercurrent to some of
the music with moments where Finn sounds like he's on the verge of a total
breakdown. Psychedelic folk at its finest. [RH]

GHOST "Hypnotic Underworld" (Drag City) CD $13.99
Not only is "Hypnotic Underworld" one of the best Drag City releases in a
couple of years, it's quite possibly the greatest record Ghost have made in
their decade-plus career. The production is extraordinarily ambitious, even
cinematic, with almost as many instruments on hand as there must have been
during the recording of the Lord Of The Rings soundtrack. So epic it hurts!

HARMONIA "Musik Von Harmonia" (Brain/Universal) CD $19.99
In 1973 Michael Rother took a break from Neu! and trekked to the countryside
studio of Cluster's Hans Joachim-Roedelius and Dieter Moebius. The informal
jam sessions that ensued would lead to the '74 release of the stellar "Musik
Von Harmonia." Cluster's clinical, spacey electronic explorations met the
motorik pulse and drones of Neu! Kosmische musik of the highest order! [GH]

L "Holy Letters" (VHF) CD $13.99
I'm excited to see this barely circulated Japanese psych folk classic by
Fushitsusha drummer Hiroyuki Usui finally receive wider distribution.
Recorded in 1989 and 1990, "Holy Letters" is a haunting document of an
intense period of self-reflection. Combining psych, folk and an intuitive
ear for sound and texture, Usui has created a delicate atmosphere that
continues to resonate over 10 years later. [KH]

MOGOLLAR "S/T" (World Psychedelia) CD $17.99
A Turkish collective, Mogollar made use of the usual rock instrumentation in
addition to their nation's indigenous instruments. This reissue of their
self-titled album has a similar feeling to the looser, folkier moments on
Amon Duul's "Para Dieswarts Duul," but with a distinctly Turkish sense of
melody and song structure a la Erkin Koray. Excellent stuff. [RH]

MORGEN "S/T" (Radioactive) CD $16.99
A highly esteemed obscurity for the longest time. The self-titled release by
New York anomaly Steven Morgen is considered a 'classic' and undoubtedly a
favorite of many acid/psych connoisseurs. Morgen is blistering, mind-bending
hard rock loaded with enough noodly-freak-boogie and trippy lyrical anecdotes
to send your head into psych-addled bliss. [MT]

PEARLS BEFORE SWINE "Wizard of Is" (Water) CD 2XCD $18.99
A 2-CD compilation of demos, home recordings, covers, lost tracks and live
shows from Tom Rapp's own collection of ancient tapes. It's like having Bob
Dylan's "Basement Tapes" dropped in your lap for the first time. Spanning
the peak of his career, from '67 to '76, these tracks confirm his reputation
as one of the most humanely sympathetic singer/songwriters and interpreters
of the past forty years. [MK]

PHARAOH OVERLORD "Battle of Axehammer" (Last Visible Dog) CD $13.99
Recorded in Helsinki, this live recording from 2001 is a snapshot of Pharaoh
Overlord's heavier times. "Black Horse" is worth the ticket price alone. The
band starts with a weighty but unassuming groove and then drives it into the
stratosphere. [NL]

JACK ROSE "Two Originals of..." (VHF) CD $13.99
Pelt's Jack Rose abandons electricity and goes acoustic for his first two
solo releases, both originally issued on vinyl. His pacing is stately and
graceful. And while a good deal here is inherently melancholy, a swelling
hopefulness and breezy undercurrent always lifts the arrangements. This is
some incredibly beautiful and accomplished music, perfectly realized.  [MK]

CHARLIE TWEDDLE "Fantastic Greatest Hits" (Companion) CD $14.99
Imagine Bob Dylan's unreleased basement tapes with the Band accompanied by
musique concrete composer Luc Ferrari's natural sound masterpiece "Presque
Rien," and you'll have an idea of this amazing, privately pressed opus of
Appalachian psychedelia. Charlie Tweddle had a great love for nature that he
marries to his downer folk songs through the use of exquisitely recorded
field recordings. [MK]

Formed by ambitious composer Joseph Byrd, US of A is one of the '60's most
eccentric psychedelic rock bands. Their sole album is years ahead of its
time as weird electronic instruments are juxtaposed by Dorothy Moskowitz's
lovely vocals. An absolute masterpiece! This new edition includes 10 bonus
tracks, six of which have apparently never been available anywhere. [RH]


AQUARIUS ROCK "Various / Hip World of Herman Chin-Loy" (Pressure Sounds)
CD $16.99

A superb collection of spirited reggae produced by Herman Chin-Loy.
"Aquarius Rock" compiles 24 mostly instrumental cuts recorded during the
early-'70s from artists like Augustus Pablo, Dennis Alcapone, Sounds
Unlimited, Dennis Brown and Alton Ellis. [GH]

BLACKBEARD "I Wah Dub" (More Cut/EMI) CD $17.99
Producer extraordinaire Dennis Bovell was one of the main figures in
Britain's reggae scene during the '70s and '80s. On "I Wah Dub" he played
nearly every instrument for the backing tracks, and then went on to utilize
some pretty audacious production techniques. Deeply echoed drums and
squiggly poly-Moog runs rub elbows with brittle guitar scratches -- every
element positioned to produce the craziest results. [MK]

BURNING SPEAR "Creation Rebel" (Heartbeat) CD $16.99
Some of the earliest recordings of "Creation Rebel" with production by
Clement Dodd get lovingly reissued with plenty of unreleased and alternate
gems. Introspective and uplifting all in one. This is roots reggae at its
very finest. [GA]

CARLTON & THE SHOES "Love Me Forever" (PSOC) CD $14.99
Carlton Manning and his group Carlton and the Shoes issued their most
beloved sides for the Studio One and Coxsone labels; the highlight being the
"Love Me Forever" LP. Not unlike the Impressions, these guys made some of
the most earnest and warm soul music ever recorded. [BB]

MIKEY DREAD "African Anthem Dubwise" (Auralux) CD $19.99
The deluxe reissue of Mikey Dread's groundbreaking dub masterpiece comes
loaded with bonus tracks never previously heard on CD before. Recorded at
King Tubby's studio and mixed by Prince Jammy, the post-production was
handled by Mikey himself. He was absolutely intent on stunning his listeners
with surprise after surprise, and he succeeded in creating one of the most
outrageously joyful and good-humored albums you could hope to ever hear.

DUB TRIO "Exploring the Dangers of..." (ROIR) CD $13.99
Brooklyn based Dub Trio's debut full-length is a live dub assault. The small
ensemble brings a much needed rhythm and groove to the wandering antics of
various Brooklyn collectives. Each established groove gets tweaked and
stretched out, bringing to mind moments of the roots of post-rock. But when
they get a little "post" it's always rooted in the tight rockers-style
rhythms. [DG]

KEITH HUDSON "Flesh of My Skin, Blood of My Blood" (Basic Replay)
CD $18.99

One of this year's best reggae reissues! This is the record that earned
Keith Hudson the "Dark Prince" moniker. As expected, some of reggae's
mightiest are here to help bring Hudson's vision to fruition: Augustus
Pablo, Santa Davis, Chinna Smith and Leroy Sibbles. And the vocals... oh my,
the vocals! He coos, seethes, and wails like a man yearning to keep his
faith while bloodletting inner demons. [DDe]

LEE PERRY "14 Upsetters Dub Blackboard Jungle" (Luxx) CD $19.99
Ethnomusicologist David Katz compiles a choice selection of dubs by one of
reggae's self-crowned princes. Smoldering and sweating, dripping reverb and
delay create a haze of atmosphere atop the Upsetter's trademark "sinky-
beats"! Originally released in 1973 as an edition of 300. [DG]

THE ROYALS "Dubbing With..." (Pressure Sounds) CD $16.99
Headed by Roy Cousins, this highly underrated vocal group produced some of
the finest roots reggae of the day. This collection of obscure dub versions
is a proverbial who's who featuring vocal contributions from Gregory Isaacs
and Knowledge, DJs Prince Far I and I Roy, and session musicians that
include Ernest Ranglin, Sly and Robbie and Tommy McCook. The dubs are mixed
by Scientist, Prince Jammy, Lee Perry, King Tubby, Errol Thompson, and
others. Reggae music of the highest order. [GA]

LINVAL THOMPSON "Whip Them King Tubby!" (Luxx) CD $16.99
This fantastic Linval Thompson collection gathers tracks mixed by King
Tubby, exclusively for his sound system. The tracks are solid rockers style
as heavy rhythms abound amidst some familiar songs, but with exclusive
mixes, and voicings by Horace Andy and Johnny Clarke. [DG]


KEREN ANN "Nolita" (EMI) CD $17.99
Recorded in New York, Keren Ann's fourth proper full-length is softer than
"Not Going Anywhere," adding an even more intimate tone to her beautiful
songs. Sung in both French and English, her gentle ballads effortlessly move
through folk, rock and pop styles. Acoustic instrumentation like harmonica
and violin add to the sweet melancholy. [GH]

LO BORGES "Lo Borges" (Odeon Brazil) CD $14.99
A companion piece of sorts to Milton Nascimento's masterpiece "Clube da
Esquina," Lo Borges' self-titled debut release from 1972 is beyond
description. The music here is of a very progressive Brazilian pop type,
carefully arranged to, dare I say, perfect effect. This album transcends the
times and provides further evidence of Borges' prowess as a master arranger,
songwriter, singer, and guitarist of great originality. [KC]

(RCA/BMG Brazil) CD $22.99

In 1970 Brazilian singer-songwriter Chico Buarque teamed up with legendary
Italian composer Ennio Morricone to produce a gorgeous album of richly
textured sambas. Morricone draws from his typically diverse palette to
create settings that are highly sympathetic to Buarque's lovely delivery.
One of the high points in both artists' illustrious careers. [MK]

DIVINE COMEDY "Absent Friends" (EMI/Parlophone) CD $15.99
With the exception of arranger Joby Talbot, Neil Hannon has shed himself of
his backing band. "Absent Friends" is neatly wrapped in the warmth of pop
history's glow, equal parts Frank Sinatra, Scott Walker, and Michael Nyman.

EDU LOBO "S/T" (Universal Brazil) CD $15.99
Recorded in 1967, this noted bossa nova composer and singer's third record
is generally considered to be his greatest. The arrangements are
sophisticated without being too syrupy and many songs are often stripped to
just the barest essentials. Edu Lobo was obviously pretty influenced by
Antonio Carlos Jobim and here at least he seems to have Jobim's knack for
understatement down pat. [MK]

GALT MACDERMOT "Galt MacDermot in Film" (Kilmarnock) CD $13.99
An excellent collection of Galt MacDermot's film scores recorded between
1969 and 1973. Soulful, funky, moody and groovy, this music has inspired a
generation of beat makers and crate diggers like Madlib and the Beatnuts.

MILTON NASCIMENTO "Maria Maria/Ultimo Trem" (Far Out) CD $21.99
The first ever release of these two beautiful ballet scores composed by the
South American music icon. Featuring some of the finest Brazilian musicians
and singers, Milton Nascimento crafts onto his hauntingly gorgeous melodies
a restless sense of experimentation that is positively avant-garde and
wonderfully atmospheric. [MK]

SERGIO SAMPAIO "Eu Quero é Botar Meu Bloco na Rua" (Universal Brazil)
CD $16.99

Wonderful post-tropicalia approach to Brazilian pop-rock circa 1973,
recorded with an amazing band and produced by legend Raul Seixas. Sergio
Sampaio's singing and songwriting on this album compare favorably to, even
stand alongside, contemporaries like Veloso, Gil, Tom Ze, and Os Mutantes.

SAINT ETIENNE "Various/The Trip" (Family) 2XCD $24.99
Saint Etienne dig like Keb Darge to present you with some of the most
amazing tunes of pop past. Focusing mainly on the late-‘60s and early-‘70s,
you'll hear exquisite rarities from the well known (Marvin Gaye, Supremes)
to the unknown (Jeff Britton, The Attack), compiled with the kind of care
and love of a mixed tape to a potential lover. If you've ever gotten chills
from a descending string line in a Burt Bacharach bridge, Saint Etienne know
the feeling and they've compiled a collection of 48 other spine-tinglers to
keep your eyes glazed in permanent pop bliss. [DH]


[V.A.] "Afro-Baby: Evolution of the Afro Sound in Nigeria" (Sound Way)
CD $17.99
From the same label who brought us 2002's fabulous Ghana Soundz comes an
excellent compilation featuring rare and out-of-print records from a vibrant
period in Nigerian music. All 12 songs have never before been released
outside of Nigeria, including a track from Fela. Extensive liner notes by
Miles Cleret and Benson Idonije. [GH]

BATS'I SON "Music of the Highlands of Chiapas" (Lattitude / Locust Music)
CD $14.99

When the dense fog of the Aquarian days of self-discovery lifted, many
travelers found themselves in faraway places. Richard Alderson found himself
in Chiapas, Mexico, newly emigrated, with a pair of Electrovoice mics and an
incredible knack for finding amazing indigenous music in the highlands. A
newly remastered version of his virtually unheard Folkways releases,
originally issued in the mid-'70s, not to be missed. [JR]

[V.A.] "Ghana Soundz 2" (Sound Way) CD $17.99
Another great compilation of straight-up floor filler dance music from
mid-to-late-‘70s Ghana. As if we needed further proof that Afro Beat was not
the sole property of Fela and company, here we are given 14 rare tracks that
run the gamut from hard, tuff funk jams to shuffled hypnotic jazz infused
steppers and call and response vocals. [GA]

USTAD HAFIZULLAH KHAN "Khalifa Kirana Gharana" (Just Dreams)
CD $14.99

La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela's Just Dreams label brings us three ragas
from sarangi virtuoso Ustad Hafizullah Khan. The alap sections are
impossibly graceful, full of elaborate vocalese that pick up in speed as the
raga progresses. Intricate and positively ecstatic, these performances offer
a living testimony to the possibilities still to be found in this increasingly
neglected instrument. [MK]

KING SUNNY ADE "Syncro System" (Sterns) CD $18.99
King Sunny Ade was the leading light and foremost innovator in African
Highlife music. He recorded scads of records, but unfortunately the majority
of ones that have made it to the U.S. market over the years have suffered
from too much studio sheen. "African Songs" is a new British label started
up to rectify this situation, and "Syncro System" is the one I've been
waiting for -- totally raw, invigorating, and spirited fun. Easily addictive
as the best of Fela, just check the mind-boggling talking drum. [MK]

THE NGUNI SOUND "South Africa & Swaziland" (SWP) CD $19.99
The Sharpwood label highlights the amazing recordings of sound
preservationist Hugh Tracey. The Nguni Sound collects gems from his
recording trip to southern Africa in the late-'50s. There are beautiful
choral groups, loping jazz progenitors, ill flute, and the fantastic,
searing guitar style signature to South Africa. A crucial release for
traveling souls. [JR]

Founded last year by Sun City Girls member Alan Bishop, the
Sublime Frequencies label quickly became a staff and customer favorite. You
can't go wrong with any of the imprint's releases, but these are our picks
from this year. You can also find the individual reviews for these posted at
CAMBODIAN CASSETTE ARCHIVES "Khmer Folk & Pop Music Volume 1"
(Sublime Frequencies) CD $14.99

BUSH TAXI MALI "Field Recordings of Mali"
(Sublime Frequencies) CD $14.99

PRINCESS NICOTINE "Folk and Pop Music of Myanmar"
(Sublime Frequencies) CD $14.99


(Honest Jons) CD $18.99
Out of the mythical camp established by Fela Kuti comes two albums from
contributors to his Afrika 70 band, baritone saxophonist and vocalist Lekan
Animashaun, and trumpeter Tunde Williams. Both are given a chance to lead
and record their own compositions with Kuti's band featuring Tony Allen on
drums. This strong, political music is not a toe out of step with the great
rhythms and extended vibe that Fela established. [DG]


ELIZABETH COTTON "Shake Sugaree" (Smithsonian Folkways)
CD $15.99

A new collection of (old) recordings by Elizabeth Cotten. She was a
brilliant finger-pick guitarist with an unconventional playing and singing
style. Cotten played her guitar left-handed and upside down with incredible
dexterity and sang with one of the most gently endearing warbles I've ever
heard. Highest Recommendation! [MK]

JOHN FAHEY "The Great Santa Barbara Oil Slick" (Water) $15.99
Recorded in the late-'60s at the legendary Matrix club in Berkley, CA, this
recently unearthed performance capture John Fahey at what many consider to
be his peak. Up there with the finest of Fahey's work. [KH]

JIMMY MARTIN "Don't Cry to Me" (Thrill Jockey) CD $14.99
A career spanning retrospective of the legendary Jimmy Martin that features
all of the virtuosity, grit, and grace that the best bluegrass music never
fails to exhibit. The songs here span nearly 50 years worth of recording
with his solo act The Sunny Mountain Boys, and the cuts from 2000 are just
as good as those from 1954. Brilliant. [MK]

SISTER GERTRUDE MORGAN "Let's Make a Record" (Preservation Hall)
CD $16.99

I first heard this album while visiting Sister Gertrude's exhibit at the
incredible American Museum of Folk Art on 53rd St. (If you haven't been
there yet I urge you to go at once). Sister Gertrude Morgan was a prolific
artist for several years after having a number of religious visions in which
the Lord urged her to begin painting. But not only did she paint and draw,
she composed reams of poetry (which Rod McKuen edited into a book called
"God's Greatest Hits") and sang some pretty fervent gospel. Her art dealer
financed the recording of this LP in which Sister Gertrude comes on like
Blind Willie Johnson sans guitar. A banging tambourine provides the sole
accompaniment to her divine and absolutely rocking exhortations. [MK]

ISAIAH OWENS "You Without Sin Cast the First Stone" (Case Quarter)
CD $13.99
Isaiah Owens' debut album at the age of 69 is idiosyncratic gospel at its
finest. Owens has long been a gospel singer, but didn't pick up the guitar
until he was in his 50s. Owens' loud angular strumming screams nothing but
the utmost conviction unto the Lord. Many of these tracks were culled from
Alabama gospel radio programs. An amazing discovery deserving to be heard
well beyond whatever radius those radio signals are able to reach. [MK]

[V.A.] "Country Got Soul Volume 2" (Casual) CD $25.99
Follow up to last year's incredibly popular Country Got Soul compilation,
Volume Two features tons more genre defying Muscle Shoals country soul and
swamp rock. [MK]


CAT POWER "Speaking for Trees" (Matador) CD w/DVD $21.99
Artist Mark Borthwick's new film "Speaking for Trees" is a single long shot
of Chan Marshall performing in a sun-drenched grove of trees amidst the din of
nature. Fairly uncompromising, yet utterly compelling, Borthwick has created
a setting that is very sympathetic to Marshall's somewhat legendary stage
animus. Included is a second disc featuring an unreleased 18-minute outtake
from the "You Are Free" sessions. Performed with M. Ward, it is quite unlike
anything else in her repertoire. [MK]

FELA KUTI "Music is the Weapon" (Geffen) DVD $14.99
The prolific, political, and polyrhythmic Fela Kuti, brings his Afro-beat
theology to life in the film "Music Is the Weapon of the Future." This DVD
gives you a glimpse at Kuti before, after, and in performance. He speaks
candidly about corrupt governments, musical inspiration, and black power.

GALAXIE 500 "Don't Let Our Youth Go to Waste" (Plexifilm) DVD $24.99
Over four hours of footage that captures the arc of the group's career, and
includes their four music videos. Also comes with a booklet that contains a
pretty extensive interview conducted by Yo La Tengo's James McNew. [JM]

JANDEK "Jandek on Corwood" (Corwood/Unicorn) DVD $17.99
"Jandek on Corwood" will draw the curious into the beautifully bleak,
self-released world of Jandek perhaps even more effectively than listening
to his records. Before, he was a quietly beautiful mystery. Now there will
be a lot more people in the world with one lone(ly) Jandek CD sitting
somewhere near the Joy Division section in their collection. For a guy like
Jandek, that's like superstardom. [SM]

CHARLES MINGUS "Mingus in Greenwich Village" (Eforfilms) DVD $22.99
Originally made as a student film, much of this 1968 documentary was shot in
Charles Mingus' Greenwich Village loft just moments before the police would
arrive to evict him. Also includes music footage.

Written and produced by psychedelic pop loner Harry Nilsson (purportedly
conceived while on an acid trip), "The Point" is a simple and heartfelt
children's story about a lonely boy whose round head doesn't fit in a
pointed world, and his quest for a point, literally and figuratively.
Directed and animated by Fred Wolf, the film's psychedelic undertones and
Nilsson's wonderful original soundtrack render the film just as engaging to
adults as it is to kids. Ringo Starr's narration is good silly fun through
and through. [JM]

STONES THROW 101 "Various" (Stones Throw) CD w/DVD $18.99
Stones Throw celebrate their 100th release with this best-of bonanza. This
release would be worthy just for the exquisite 70-minute mix CD by Stones
Throw svengali Peanut Butter Wolf. But there's more! You'll also get a DVD
of rarely seen Stones Throw videos ranging from the brilliant (MF Doom,
Quasimoto), bizarre (Gary Wilson), and breathtaking (live 1968 TV
performance of Stark Reality). [DH]

WARP VISION "Various Artists" (Warp) DVD w/CD  $18.99
Warp Records are the relentless purveyors of electronic pop in its purest
form, and unyielding innovators combining music with movement. Warp Vision
contains some of the most mind-boggling arrays of visual masterpieces ever
to hit your DVD player and comes with a separate mix CD. [MT]

WIRE "On the Box 1979" (Pink Flag) CD w/DVD $21.99
The footage on Wire's "On the Box" DVD is taken from a 1979 German
television performance. In spite of a lackluster response from the studio
audience, Wire play every bit as well as you'd expect at the peak of their
career. The sound and picture quality are exemplary, and the band rips
through most of the highlights from their incredible first three albums.
Includes an audio CD of the entire live performance with a bunch of extra
tracks that aren't performed on the DVD. [RH]

This week's contributors: Geoff Albores [GA], Randy Breaux [RB],
Brandon Burke [BB], Kevin Coultas [KC], JoAnn Colagiacomi [JC],
J Dennis [JD], Daniel DeRogatis [DDe], Lisa Garrett [LG], Daniel Givens
[DG], Gerald Hammill [GH], Duane Harriott [DH], Rob Hatch-Miller [RH], Koen
Holtkamp [KH], Michael Klausman [MK], Nicole Lang [NL], Josh Madell, [JM]
Liane Moccia [LM], Scott Mou [SM], Jeremy Rendina [JR], Jeremy Sponder
[JS], Roy Styles [RS] and Mahssa Taghinia [MT].

The Big Picture:

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