January 28, 2004  




Savath & Savalas
Telefon Tel Aviv
Dani Siciliano
Arthur Russell (compilation)
Daft Punk (remixes)


Euphoria (reissue)
Girls Go Zonk ('60s girl group compilation) Cornelius (remixes and DVD)
Echo & the Bunnymen (reissues)







Hypnotic Underworld
(Drag City)

"Aramaic Barbarous Dawn"

The bar has been set very, very high for 2004 by the first Ghost album since 1999's "Snuffbox Immanence" and "Tune In, Turn On, Free Tibet." Not only is "Hypnotic Underworld" the best Drag City release in a couple of years, it's quite possibly the greatest record Ghost has made in its decade-plus career. After 5 full-lengths, a live record, and a collaboration with Damon and Naomi, the band has grown into one of the finest psychedelic rock acts of all time.

Their new album begins impeccably with a four-part title suite that builds slowly and deliberately for 20 minutes, then suddenly explodes in jubilant rock madness. Once the fun starts, "Hypnotic Underworld" is, in fact, completely hypnotizing, and it doesn't let down one bit until the whaling vocals, distorted power chords, and bells of the album's last track (a medley of Syd Barrett's "Dominos" and a Ghost original) all fade away. Masaki Batoh's voice is perfect throughout, whether he's singing in his native Japanese, or in English, or just ooh-ing a wordless melody.

The production is extraordinarily ambitious, even cinematic, with almost as many instruments on hand as there must have been when they were recording the Lord Of The Rings soundtrack. It's rare for one of the year's best albums to be released in January, but it's almost impossible to imagine that a better rock record could possibly come out in the next 11 months. So epic, it hurts. [RH]







$15.99 LP



"Colores Sin Nombre"
"Um Girassol da Cor de Seu Cabelo"

Soon after 9-11, Guillermo Scott Herren relocated from Brooklyn to Barcelona and recorded two albums for his Prefuse 73 project, and then went on tour with Manitoba, Four Tet, and Beans. Now signed to Warp, on his third release under his Savath & Savalas alias he and vocalist Eva Puyuelo Muns sculpt warm and breezy reflections of what life must be like in Spain.

Recorded half abroad, half in Chicago, Herren enlisted John McEntire and his Soma studio to create Eno-meets-Nascimento styled sonic washes. McEntire plays synths and drums along with John Herdon, and together they give the album a constantly shifting percussion shuffle set against the occasional trademark P73 beats and slices. Josh Abrams continues his Latin styling for the upright bass, which he used on Sam Prekop's solo effort, and the beautifully slow bowing he mastered with Town & Country.

Also in the mix are flugelhorn, bass clarinet, trumpet, bass harmonica, and guitar. "Apropa't" is a soft, warm and shining tropical mixture of processed Nelson Joyce & Angelo-esque vocal styling, all lyrics sung in Portuguese, and shifting mellow moods. Sorta like a Brazilian Stereolob in their McEntire/O'Rourke phase. A great listen for fans of the nu sound of Barcelona, Latin inspired downtempo, or soft and sweet acoustic-electronic fusions. Recommended.








Map of What Is Effortless

"I Lied"
"My Week Beats Your Year"

Telefon Tel Aviv has always hinted at their songwriting abilities. Their first album "Fahrenheit Fair Enough" was an ultra-melodic masterpiece that treaded the fine line between post-rock luminaries like Tortoise and the bedroom electronics of artists like B. Fleischmann and Isan. The duo completely switch directions with their second full-length, "Map of What is Effortless." Gone are the post-rock textures, and they are replaced by warm digital soul with vocals.

Not unlike Spacek, Herbert, and even Luomo at times, basically this is a pop album. Tracks such as "I Lied" feature a lush R&B feel that is influenced as much by the Neptunes as it is by Aphex Twin with its crunchy broken beats and the lush, soulful vocals of newcomer Damon Aaron. "My Week Beats Your Year" features vocals from L'Altra's Lindsay Anderson and is a pure pop gem. Featuring whispered female vocals, electronic beats courtesy of an 808 and electro handclaps, it just has a sexy swagger to it that sticks in your head.

There are nine tracks on the album with six of them containing vocals. The other three have lush orchestration from the Loyola University Chamber Orchestra, and on these tracks Josh and Charlie compose tracks that could be used to score a film (something to think about guys). All in all, "Map of What is Effortless" is extremely different than anything else that they have done before, not what I expected, but great nonetheless. [JS]







Talkie Walkie

"Cherry Blossom Girl'"

Not many can match Air for their ability to make effective electronic pop, where the sweet and the synthetic sit side by side in perfect harmony. Imaging Cornelius with all his pop mastery, hero worship and dreaminess, but without all the pomp, noisy cut-up collage and awkwardness. "Talkie Walkie" is a totally varied intimate pop album, full of cleverly hidden Beatles melodies within soft flowing, dreamy electronic pop sweetened with a little dash of soft rock nostalgia. It has the Sunday morning with the paper feel, on the headphones in the city feel, and the romantic-date feel all wrapped up in one.

Track 2,"Blossom Girl" sounds, like the title suggests, romantic J-pop, full of flutes, natural sounding bass lines and picked guitar. "Run" trails off into a looped vocal vapor trail that softly lifts you off the floor. It's so nice to hear someone combining pop and electronics, without one simply becoming an accessory to the other. It seems as if this album was made for the duo's own listening enjoyment. Thanks for sharing guys. (Includes limited bonus DVD that features a 35-minute film of Air in concert.) [SM]







Margerine Eclipse

"Margerine Rock"
"Vonal Declosion"

After a two-and-a-half year absence since their last proper full-length, Stereolab have returned with "Margerine Eclipse," a new album that, compared to their last few releases, is a more refined effort. By most rock band standards this is still by no means a straightforward record, however certain accoutrements of more recent 'lab LPs (e.g. free jazz freak-outs and multiple layers of horns) have almost been completely shed. Enlisting Fulton Dingley for engineering duties, and of course unofficial member/multi-instrumentalist Sean O'Hagan, both John McEntire and Jim O'Rourke are absent for these sessions.

The record's brighter tones point to a band trying to look forward after suffering the tragic loss of long-time member Mary Hansen. Always laconic and soothing, there's a hint of optimism in Laetitia Sadier's warm vocals. Sometimes sung in her native French, when she harmonizes with herself you can still almost hear Hansen performing the singsong counter-melodies.

"Feel and Triple" begins as a bittersweet lullaby with Sadier singing "Memory of a friend, memory I need to embrace." But the tempo picks up and the sentiment turns hopeful: "You will sing forever like an angel who flew away."

Tracks like "Margerine Melodie" bounces to a light, minimal-tech beat while drone rockers "Bob Scotch" and "Margerine Rock" could both be catchy outtakes from "Emperor Tomato Ketchup." Throughout, Stereolab play-up their core strengths on this headphone-friendly mix with their trademarked mechanical rhythms and tightly wound art-rock-funk supporting lots of sparkling guitars, multiple tracks of synths, Farfisa, harpsichord, and spacey Moog blips. Though no radical reinvention, "Margerine Eclipse" is an extremely enjoyable album from modern music's most distinctive pop "groop." [GH]








"Walk the Line"
"Come as You Are"

The beautiful voice behind Matthew Herbert's elegant click-house sound finally gives us the solo record she'd been threatening to do for years. "Likes" takes that organic found sound aesthetic that Herbert is known for, and gives it a slower, jazzier feel. Fans of Spacek, Jamie Lidell, Bjork and Lali Puna will find lots to sink their teeth into here. Although Siciliano self-produced many of the tracks here, Matthew Herbert did contribute a bit of co-production and you can hear his influence pervade throughout, especially on the cut-up hand-jiver "Walk the Line" and the near ballad "Red". But essentially this vision is hers alone. This sounds like the type of jazz record that had been playing in her head for years, and she just now found the technology and collaborators, to bring it out, and anybody who can cover Nirvana's "Come as You Are" and make it sound fresh again is A-OK with me. Recommended and tell a friend. [DH]







(Locust Music)

"Flowery Noontide"

This one came out of leftfield when it dropped on us this week. I popped it in only because it was a new release on the always-interesting Locust Music label, which has graced us with Henry Flynt, Michael Hurley and others in recent years. But it took only a couple of minutes of this lovely chamber-psych-folk to make me look closer and realize that this is in fact a new group featuring Other Music favorite Greg Weeks, in a new trio with Meg Baird and Brooke Sietinsons. Serene simply beautifully produced songs, with strummed acoustic guitars, acid-dipped electric melodies, dulcimer, chimes, finger cymbal, flute, strings and mesmerizing lead vocals from both Weeks and Meg Baird. A wonderful winter treat. [JM]







The World of Arthur Russell
(Soul Jazz)

"Is It All Over My Face" Loose Joints
"In the Light of the Miracle"

Arthur Russell's is work of an impossible, poetic integrity. Melding so many traditions into a value judgment-free sphere, and now considered to be a body singular enough to just about beggar belief. It's also more than likely you have never heard of him, or only in passing. Present in the NYC formative music circles of the '70s, both in nascent urban folk band The Necessaries and also drumming for people such as Laurie Anderson and almost the Talking Heads, he transitioned into the '80s by co-founding Sleeping Bag Records and releasing upon it the phantasmagoric first track here, "Go Bang" (this under the nom de plume Dinosaur L). This collection proceeds to plumb Russell's extraordinary control over various forms of what are essentially ecstatic musics, even as they are often imbued with mournful, soulful detours. A killer, unifying compendium which tends towards a slipstream of Dance. It is timeless American music too. Look for more reissues of his work this year... the year of Arthur Russell some of us have been saying around here. [DHo]






Daft Club


Your fave Parisian duo, Daft Punk invite us to join them on the dancefloor. "Daft Club" gathers singles from their previous albums into one cohesive unashamed, unabashed, guilty pleasure ride. You get banging beats, sick synths, watery vocoder from producers like Basement Jaxx, Boris Dlugosch, Laidback Luke, Cosmo Vitelli, and Gonzales, each giving DP the bump-n-grind workout. The tasties from the bunch include the hip-hop freaky fusion that both Slum Village and the Neptunes give the boys. Lots fun, for those who like their hands in the air, and the bass at their backs. [DG]







A Gift From Euphoria

"Lady Bedford"
"Suicide on the Hillside Sunday"

Euphoria's lone album "A Gift From Euphoria" came out to little fanfare on Capitol Records in 1969. In the 35 years since its release, the LP has become a highly sought-after collectors item, and it is now available on CD for the first time thanks to Rev-Ola. This very unusual album combines psych-pop and country-rock sounds with extravagant production values (the liner notes describe "elaborate orchestral arrangements that might have made Scott Walker blush"). The band recorded in Hollywood, London, and the famed Bradley's Barn near Nashville with studio musicians fresh off the sessions for "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo." As far as Rev-Ola stuff goes, the psych stuff is as good as the Moon and the country stuff is as good as Hearts And Flowers... basically, it's as great as they come. One of the most interesting '60s reissues of the last few months, and one of my personal favorites. Not to be missed at any cost. [RH]








"Golden Twig"
"Sponge Chorus"

To be honest, I was a bit worried about the second Tape album. Having been so enamored with last year's debut "Opera," I wasn't sure they would be able to create such magic the second time around. Thankfully, the thread continues and we see Tape solidifying their sound as well as pushing it in new directions. Acoustic guitar remains the focus, but it's the colorful arrangements that permeate the thin layers of static and pulse which focus our attention on every grain of sound. All and all, a more ambitious and song oriented effort then last year's debut. Vibraphone and pedal steel perfectly compliment harmonium, guitar and electronics creating a series of environmental folk songs oozing with a pastoral ambiance that is both a pleasure to listen to as well as a truly engaging template for reinvestigation. A fine document of a group in its prime, not to be missed. [KH]







Various Artists

"So, Do the Zonk" Donna Loren
"Tell Me in the Sunlight" Margie Day

Compiled by girl group expert Mick Patrick, "Girls Go Zonk" is an excellent 22-track collection featuring a great selection of fairly known and obscure mid-'60s tracks from American artists. A follow-up to RPM's British Girl "Dream Babe" series, this compilation highlights a music scene rich with summertime romance, rich harmonies and Phil Spector mimicked productions. The opening track, produced by David Axelrod, Donna Loren's "So, Do the Zonk" sets the mood with its reverb heavy production and sassy call-and-response choruses.

Tracks like the Girls' "Chico's Girl" was originally to be recorded by the Crystals with Spector as a follow-up to their hit "He's a Rebel," until the producer dropped the song choosing "Uptown" in its place. The liner notes rightfully point out that the Girls' version is "possibly the best record the Shangri-Las never made." The same could be said for the Jack Nitzsche produced "Daddy You Just Gotta Let Him In" by the Satisfaction. The compilation also features the Honeys, the Twilettes, and Sharon Marie, these three artists all sharing affiliations of one form or another to the Beach Boys.

Collectors will love the inclusion of the Margie Day's Scott Walker produced "Tell Me in the Sunlight," the Murmaids' 1968 cover of Traffic's "Paper Sun," or "Games" by the Pandoras, an all-girl-band whose members, taking cue from Beatle-mania, also played all their instruments. "Girls Go Zonk" is the perfect music remedy for this deep-winter freeze. You'll find yourself sitting on a beach blanket basking in your radiator's heat longing for the surf. [GH]






I am the Fun Blame Monster

"Cough Coughing"
"The Late Great Libido"

What first drew me to Portland, Oregon's Menomena was their unique composition technique. The band essentially uses a computer program named Deeler -- built by vocalist/pianist/multi-instrumentalist Brent Knopf -- to arrange and write their songs. After bits of music are recorded and mixed up on the computer, the group then recreates each part acoustically. This electronic element is very apparent in Menomena's sound, yet it's never too challenging, more electronic indie-glitch pop, if you will.

An anagram for "The First Menomena Album", "I am the Fun Blame Monster" opens with "Cough Coughing" as Knopf's "Chopsticks"-ish piano weaves around Danny Seim's choppy drumming, and then with the addition of organ and multi-vocals, expands into something reminiscent of a Thom Yorke creation. The second track, "The Late Great Libido," demonstrates Menomena's ability to create an incredible sound of atmospheric depth with a vast array of instruments. Knopf interlaces the multiple stages of the song with gentle piano arpeggios that are interrupted by an almost chthonic-sounding saxophone and guitar.

Encroached by deep saxophone and piano sounds, the album is moody, dark and melancholic, yet hip hop influenced drums also lend a 'groovy' feel. Just when you think Menomena are about to build their volume and sound, they will pause or jump to a startling low tone, and then finally explode into multi-instrument chaos crystallized by the crescendo of piano. The melodies are light and Knopf's vocal range is impressive. Menomena became one of my favorites of this past year! Sure, the lyrics on "I Am the Fun Blame Monster" can be a bit on the stranger side, but Menomena is guaranteed to be a wonderful, if not inspiring, listen. Plus, the CD case/flip-book can't be beat! [CP]







Five Point One

The "Five Point One" DVD features 10 Cornelius videos, and includes an accompanying "PM" ("Point Mixes") CD. This audio portion features the 12 winning mixes from a contest held last year inviting people to remix Cornelius tracks from 2002's "Point" album. Packaged in a "super-jewelcase."




Heaven Up Here


Ocean Rain

Remastered Editions


Echo & the Bunnymen emerged in 1978 as a scrappy three-piece plus drum machine ("echo") in slightly sleepy Liverpool. From the outset, you can hear the same urgent magic that helped to create the myriad of new sounds emanating from all over England. However, the Bunnymen mixed their adherence to the punk sound and ethos with a dash of literary mystery and musical nostalgia. Their originality was built on a sacred respect for psychedelia and the Doors at their ecstatic best among other unlikely (not to mention unfashionable) antecedents, injecting a serpentine jangle and an atmospheric aesthetic imagination all their own.

I hate to end yet another review by saying "this is/these are a must have," but if ever I said it I MEAN it for real now. All five reissues have been completely remastered and come with deluxe packaging, extensive liner notes and photos, and amazing and numerous bonus tracks.

CROCODILES The band's first proper album, produced by the Chameleons, has glorious rough edges and punk pedigree showing while introducing Ian McCulloch and Co's dramatic flair from the first note. Includes amazing early versions and unreleased tracks as well as the live EP "Shine So Hard" that garnered them their first major buzz and shows of their incredible live chops.

HEAVEN UP HERE Gaining in maturity and self-confidence, the Bunnymen sound darker and deeper while maintaining their rock and pop interests as well. From the liner notes - McColluch says "I always had the Velvets 'What Goes On' in the back of my mind. A rhythm with a drone."

PORCUPINE Energy explodes after some time off and the band boosts further in to the charts and continues to tour year round. An ultra tight, jaunty mixture of pop and dirge, "Porcupine" troubled some of the bands earlier fans with its high-speed rhythms, bells and electric violins (Indian string master Shankar plays on the album's major hits) as The Bunnymen delved into Talking Heads-like dance influences.

OCEAN RAIN An immediate classic! The Bunnymen come to a stunning fruition as their always-latent romanticism emerges like a tsunami and sweeps each song with undeniable poetic power. Influenced by Love, Scott Walker, Brecht/Weill and Jacques Brel, "Ocean Rain" was recorded mostly in Paris, where the band benefited from the introduction of brushed drums, xylophones, glockenspiels, antique reverb machines and exhilarating strings. This record will come to be seen as one of the best ever made.

ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN While representing the dénouement of their glory days, this self-titled effort still has some amazingly good moments. Ray Manzarek cements the Doors worship by playing keyboards on the jaunty "Bed Bugs and Ballyhoo," and who can forget "Lips Like Sugar." Included as B-sides are cover versions of "Soul Kitchen," demo versions of other tracks and a rocked out early incarnation of "Bring on the Dancing Horses." [MC]




  All of this week's new arrivals.

Previous Other Music Updates.

Previous week's releases.

Visit www.othermusic.com.


Phone orders are accepted at
(212) 477-8150 (ext. #2, mailorder) Mon-Fri, Noon - 7pm EST

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

This is an automated list. If you would like to be removed from it for any reason, please send an email from the address you wish to delete to list@othermusic.com and make sure the word "Remove" is included in the subject line.
[MC] Matt Connors
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[DH] Duane Harriott
[KH] Koen Holtkamp
[DHo] Dan Hougland
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou
[CP] Carrie Pierce
[JS] Jeremy Sponder
[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

- all of us at Other Music
   Newsletter Design Big Code