October 20, 2004  




Elliott Smith
Speicher 2
Ted Leo
Diane Cluck
Cyann & Ben


Charlie Tweddle (reissue)
Le Tigre
Bettye Swann (reissue)



Team Other Music would like to sincerely thank all the riders who joined us on this year's Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour, and the generous sponsors without whose financial support we would be lost. This year the team has already raised close to $9,000.00 for MS research and support services, and it's not too late for you to donate. Please visit Team Other Music's Homepage to make a secure credit card donation, or send a check made out to MS Bike Tour care of Josh at the NYC store address. Thanks again, and as always, ride civic.

OCT Sun 17 Mon 18 Tues 19 Wed 20 Thurs 21 Fri 22 Sat 23
  Sun 24 Mon 25 Tues 26 Wed 27 Thurs 28 Fri 29 Sat 30


Other Music and SpinArt Records are giving away a pair of tickets to each of the dates on the Dears' US tour. (Dates are listed below.) Enter by e-mailing contest@othermusic.com and list which city you would like to win tickets for. Please include your address and a daytime phone number where you can be reached.

10/21 – Detroit (with VHS or Beta)
10/22 – Cleveland (with Moving Units)
10/25 – NYC (with Brian Jonestown Massacre)
10/26 – NYC (with Brian Jonestown Massacre)
10/27 – Philadelphia (with Brian Jonestown Massacre)
10/28 – Cambridge (with Brian Jonestown Massacre)
10/29 – Hoboken (with Brian Jonestown Massacre)

OCT Sun 24 Mon 25 Tues 26 Wed 27 Thurs 28 Fri 29 Sat 30



Sunday, October 24 @ 7:00 p.m.

OTHER MUSIC: 15 East 4th Street NY, NY
Free Admission/Limited Capacity

There'll be lots of giveaways from Domino Records including CDs, vinyl and Junior Boys t-shirts.

OCT Sun 24 Mon 25 Tues 26 Wed 27 Thurs 28 Fri 29 Sat 30

Morgan Geist


Featuring DJ sets from:
Morgan Geist (Metro Area/Environ Records)
w/ special guest Danny Wang

Join us in celebrating the upcoming release of Unclassics: Obscure Electronic Funk & Disco 1978 - 1975, out on Environ. This great CD features a fantastic selection of Italo Disco, Euro Boogie and other rarities, mixed by none other than Morgan Geist.

APT: 419 W. 13th Street NY, NY
Tuesday, October 26
9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Open Grand Centenario Tequila bar from 9 to 10 p.m.
No Cover







$15.99 LP


From a Basement on the Hill

"Let's Get Lost"
"Strung Out Again"

It is up to us. The very first line of From a Basement on a Hill puts it plainly: "Last stop for a resolution." You can listen and pick apart moments of dark (fore) shadowy references. You can gulp at the song titles and let your mind wander to tragic thoughts, or ponder rash decisions that cannot be taken back. But more importantly, you can just listen. There is no use in analyzing the content at this late date. Elliott Smith has always addressed his personal demons through desperate imagery and light and unforgettable melodies in his songwriting, and From a Basement is no different.

It is intimate, dense, at times bombastic and ultimately a successful realization of Smith's songwriting -- an artist reaching heights regardless of the tragic circumstances. That we are privy to them at all and so quickly (and thankfully, with minimal outside tinkering) is lucky. There are traces of paths not followed and parts unexplored; it's fitting that his last artistic statement mirrors his life. I could go ahead and describe the songs, mention which tracks harken to what other time periods, and discuss influences and production, but I believe you know what you are getting into. (I will say that the arrangements are more elaborate than any previous release and that this album is a rocker.)

For many, Smith has been that quiet voice in the darkest of hours, singing stories and comforting those of us who recognized the tales and knew them by heart. This final effort is another tale, one with an unhappy ending, but tragically beautiful and epic in the telling. [NL]





$14.99 CD


Various Artists

"X" - M. Mayer
"Kontakt" - Reinhard Voigt

Michael Mayer is here to demonstrate, once again, his skills of big-room, crowd-pleasing quality control. While Speicher 1 was a bit hard and trance-y for some (well, at first, since so many Kompakt-heads came around to digging it eventually), Speicher CD 2 is the ideal mix of the deep, classic Kompakt-style techno naturally evolving into new hard, double A-side Speicher-style rockers. (With a lot more of what I can only describe as Mayer-style tracks and mixing -- throbbing, smart tracks with new twists on classic ideas AND lots of personality...and of course SO well placed in a way that resembles an ideal live set.)

As a CD it sits somewhere between Speicher CD1 and the Mayer Fabric 13 mix. Musically, it is a nice snapshot of the style Mayer played during his visits to the U.S. during the winter of 2003. (Starting deep in classic Kompakt-style, going into long rocking tracks with lots of beautiful atmosphere, then ending with some big-room Schaffel jams.) Anyone who came, saw and sweated on Volume's arena-like dancefloor at the Other Music/Kompakt/
Rephlex party needs to get this one for sure. What else can I say, really? Oh yeah, "Recommended!"

Standout tracks: W.Voigt's "Nachsub," Mayer's "X," Magnet's "KissKissKiss," Koze's "Brutalga Square," Blitz's "Are you ready to Rock," R. Voigt's "Kontakt/Protekt" and Koze's "Der Säger Von St. Georg" into Fuchsbau's "Null/Eins." [SM]








Shake the Sheets

"Me and Mia"
"Little Dawn"

Yeah! A new one from Ted Leo is like a much-needed shot of adrenaline, or perhaps in the spirit of the British mod bands that he often brings to mind, a handful of bennies and a pint of lager. Leo has been crafting, smart, edgy, socio-political pop songs for a good many years now, and with Shake the Sheets, he has come as close to perfecting the formula as we could ever hope for. Chunky, scratchy guitar, a ferocious rhythm section (touring nine months out of the year has honed this band to a razor's edge), and Leo's soaring vocals shred these infectious hooks and dubby rhythms. Add to that a thoughtful and intense set of lyrics that manage to be socially responsible, challenging, witty and fun, and Shake the Sheets is an instant classic, running full-speed at the wall, and miraculously flying straight up to the sky just a moment before impact. I love this record. [JM]








Oh Vanille

"Easy to Be Around"
"1/2 a Million Miles From Home"

We've had this album in since last March and it just about slipped under the radar. We get tons and tons of consignment CDs and some excitingly turn out to be hits as I'm sure Diane Cluck's Oh Vanille will be. Daniel played it on a recommendation last week and we were all pretty struck by her songs. We kept playing it throughout the week and it really seemed to resonate with customers as well. It's fairly rare that we sell a record every single time we put it on in the store.

From what I understand, Diane Cluck has been kicking around the New York folk scene for a few years now. Oh Vanille appears to be the fourth in a series of handmade self-released CD-Rs; this one is packaged in construction paper bound with masking tape and the song titles were charmingly filled in with a ballpoint pen. She's been associated with the anti-folk scene, but also championed by Devendra Banhart who's publicly expressed some antipathy to that movement, so she must be doing something right.

Eleven low-key but emotionally intense and gently rhythmical songs are performed almost solely with her excellently played acoustic guitar and voice. On "Easy to Be Around" she uses her multi-tracked vocals to brilliant effect, singing of diamonds in coal mines and infinite nights in a self-made chorus full of both air and gravity. It's probably one of the best songs I've heard all year. Her songs have an irregular, or even cellular, logic that I'm still attempting to sort out, but perhaps that is exactly what makes Oh Vanille such a compelling listen. Highly recommended. [MK]







$17.99 LP


Shock City Maverick

"Shards of Glass"
"You're Dead, Let's Disco"

"Not out of vanity/but for humanity," with Shock City Maverick the rapper simply known as Beans returns to up the ante in the indie rap and electronic music games. It's definitely his most accessible release to date, but don't fear, he hasn't lost any of his energy, inventiveness, talent, humor or skill. He's still hungry to gain the recognition he deserves. For those who've been paying attention, you'll remember he was once one-third of the now infamous and legendary Anti-pop Consortium. Beans infuses their love of groove-based un-convention and sonic textures into a futuristic urban-electro party record that will challenge you as much as excite. It's danceable and abstract.

Lyrically he has "nothing to lose" because he raps like no one else. Remember, Beans comes out of the same NYC poetry scene that also gave birth to Mos Def and Saul Williams, but he doesn't dabble in their adolescent rock experiments; he keeps it funky, solid, urban, raw, electronic and avant-garde. Beans is one of the more interesting people on the underground hip-hop scene at the moment. He has a very alive sound with a dry, smart and odd sense of humor; just listen to the poetry of "Interval" (e.g. "A memory of the future looking back through the eyes of a historian"). He also has an excitingly graphic love of wordplay: "Like a finger down your throat/I spit it out."

Shock City Maverick, like the recent Dizzie Rascal album, is about lyricism, sonics and pushing the boundaries of urban electronic music. Beans continues to bring odd imagery and, again, innovation to the cipher, with the perfect blend of pop culture, sex, abstraction, timing, metaphor and choruses that separates him from everyone else. He sings, "MCs don't like my styling 'cause they can't do no better" at the beginning of the irresistibly catchy "Shards of Glass." Beans also brings in female singers (think a black Debbie Harry) to sing the title track, adds live guitar to the great "Papercut," and simply calls a song "Death by Sophistication." He's an original for sure.

Then there's the instrumentals, where Beans rolls up his sleeves and gets busy on the beat machines and keyboards, creating classic electro inspired grooves that let you know why he's signed to Warp. He updates and invigorates their classic sound -- bleeps, samples, chimes, digital scratches, strings, effected voices, sonic warping, church bells, synth stabs and crisp electronics will make your spine tingle and bounce. Check the first half of "A Force on Edge" which builds into a strict and rigid urban landscape of rhythm and sound leading me to believe he just may be "the Ornette Coleman of this rap sh*t." 'Nuff said. Recommended. [DG]







Happy Like an Autumn Tree
(Locust Music)

"A Moment of Nowhere"

"Circle," the opening track on Happy Like an Autumn Tree, is instantly deceiving; you wouldn't expect it to come from Cyann and Ben. Its urgent tempo and the dynamic crescendo of circular guitars and grand keyboard passages are far more epic than anything on last year's Spring. While that album certainly had its share of "post-rock" accoutrements, any grandeur of their debut full-length was more often draped in a narcoleptic haze, with larger traces of Flying Saucer Attack than say Godspeed. But it's right after this first song vaporizes into a cloud of reverb and then settles into the minute-long transition of a dreamy synth-scape, that the group's earlier pastoral penchant shows itself like a late blooming flower during the waning days of an Indian summer.

As the title suggests, Happy Like an Autumn Tree seems to mark a change in season or direction for the Parisian quartet. For one, their new album is much more electric. There are still quiet moments of gently picked acoustic guitar and Cyann and Ben's fragile melodies, but any psych-folk influence is countered by exquisite arrangements and slow, expansive rises and falls. In a little over a year between their two releases, the group demonstrates a wider range of dynamics - the lush minor key synthesizer bed meets the lengthy prog rock climax of "A Moment of Nowhere" lies somewhere between a track off of Air's score to Virgin Suicides and Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here.

Throughout the album, the lulling harmonies of the two vocalists for which the band is named after are offset by stretched out instrumental passages; layers of keyboards and electric guitars build and build before collapsing back into warm, soothing melancholy. While Cyann and Ben experiment more with musical arrangements and the overall production, they have left intact their instinctive sense of emotion and restraint. Happy Like an Autumn Tree is a very strong follow-up to Spring and actually surpasses it. [GH]








The Fantastic Greatest Hits by Eilrahc Elddewt

"Track 7 - Untitled"
"Jesus and the Devil"

Charlie Tweddle's album The Fantastic Greatest Hits by Eilrahc Elddewt is an outsider folk gem. Try to imagine Bob Dylan's unreleased basement tapes with the Band accompanied by French musique concrete composer Luc Ferrari's masterpiece of natural sound Presque Rien, and you'll get an idea of the brilliance to be found on this privately pressed, head-scratchingly amazing opus of Appalachian psychedelia. Originally from Kentucky, Tweddle found himself ensconced in the Haight-Ashbury scene in the late-'60s where he experimented with a good deal of LSD.

His album was primitively recorded in San Rafael, California in 1971 with a gang of guys that look like ex-Burrito Brothers. But when I say primitively recorded, I don't mean to say that it isn't strikingly original. Tweddle had a great love for nature that he was able to perfectly marry to his downer folk songs through the use of exquisitely recorded field recordings. Only a lysergic attention to detail or a degree from INA-GRM could have produced such a wonderful cornucopia of seagulls, frogs and crickets. He's got a John Cage sense of Zen silence, with patches of tape seeming to descend into a physical nowhere. On side two, he even provides about 25-minutes of beautiful nighttime ambience. I don't think I've ever come as close to hearing a record sound as still as a pond, but the whippoorwills are quietly cooing to the sounds of a hootenanny gone adrift in the distance. I'm thinking he may actually be right on with his proclamation on the back of the LP's jacket: "Eilrahc is to music what Christ is to religion." He must share my pantheistic tendencies.

Fantastic Greatest Hits was released to little fanfare and even less acclaim, but it's aged quite well for an early-'70s artifact and should sit quite nicely with your Michael Hurley and Holy Modal Rounders albums. The CD has six extra bonus tracks that weren't on the original album -- all are great. In the decades since this album was released, Charlie Tweddle has found fame as a maker of completely kick-ass cowboy hats worn by the likes of Kris Kristofferson. Check 'em out on his website. [MK]







Collecting the Kid
(Def Jux)

"Leaving this Place"
"Intrigue in the House of India"

What?! A new El-P release? Well. Not quite 'balls-out' yet. This instrumental teaser may even frustrate the uber-fan, understandably -- but check it, this intimate behind-the-scenes peek at what the el-producto has been diligently crafting in his studio is, in fact, quite an indulgence. I am even a bit surprised that this opportunity to listen to these beats even exists, considering he's been industriously active with his jazz album, a new project with the larger-than-life, multi-talented Jukie, Camu Tao, called Central Services...and combating the Man -- amongst other civil duties. But, that doesn't stop one of the illest hip hop producers ever to yield a yet still captivating and fantastical collection of rarities, outtakes, de-vaulted gems ("Feel the Ghost" was created for Cannibal Ox's sophomore album), Central Services beat-previews, and soundtrack compositions created for fictitious graffiti documentary called Bomb the System. This limited (once only available in Japan) CD also comes with a preview of the film, with El-P's original score included. Recommended. [MT]







This Island

"Tell You Now"
"I'm So Excited"

While Le Tigre has made a surprising step by releasing their third full-length on a major label, fans will be pleased to hear that the band has stayed true to its roots on This Island. The album opens with "On the Verge" and "Seconds" which demonstrate Le Tigre's development as an electro-indie band. The simple synth melodies are joined by hoarse, fuzzy guitars while Kathleen Hanna's voice, however, reminds us of her riot grrrl days of yore, passionately wailing politics, invoking her Bikini Kill vocals. Le Tigre offers upbeat tracks deepened by low basslines and highlighted with carefree minimal staccato melodies. Hanna sings about romantic relationships and of course politics -- more specifically queer politics -- and even a whole song devoted to the anti-war rallies of February 15 ("New Kicks") which features sound clips of protestors shouting, "This is what democracy looks like." And of course, This Island features tracks to which one just can't keep from moving their feet -- the title song might just be the "My Metrocard" of the album, while the cover of the Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited" couldn't be more perfectly sung by Hanna. This Island is a strong third album, where Le Tigre succeeds in what they do best: delivering politics in fun, accessible, danceable and catchy songs. [CP]







(Asthmatic Kitty)

"You Are the Blood"
"As You Do"

The brainchild of Raymond Raposa, until now Castanets' recorded output was only some elusive homemade CD-Rs passed along to friends. So for most including myself, Cathedral is our first introduction to Raposa's weary world. At the age of 15, the songwriter -- who is also reported to be authoring a book that will expand on this album's bleak theme -- began a Greyhound bus trip which would turn into a four year exploration across the United States and subsequently inspire his dark deconstruction of Americana. Assisted by a few San Diego music scene stalwarts that include members of Pinback, Rocket From the Crypt, and Tristeza, Raposa's music is at once surprisingly sparse yet cinematic. Much of Cathedral was put to tape in a secluded cabin in the woods, and effectively, the recording is very open.

Raposa often grapples with loneliness, questioning faith and life's purpose while searching for some sort of holy deliverance. His voice doesn't project much above a hoarse, throaty waiver, but accompanied by the smoky harmony of labelmate Liz Janes, together the pair's melodies are chilling and beautiful. The seemingly unstructured, murky arrangements are very minimal -- a distant acoustic guitar supported by a hesitant rhythm section, weird creaks and other odd sounds -- yet drenched in reverb and room sound, the songs feel like they're drowning in swampy water and often literally sink into a wash of sound. And when a song does happen to pick up the pace, there's still an emotional emptiness that resonates within the bare-bone production. But it's not until the final track, "We Are the Wreckage," that Raposa turns hopeful. A playful keyboard and the metronomic beat from a drum machine join his down-strummed guitar. For a brief moment, he accepts life's lack of absolutes and optimistically announces, "There's no path in our flight." [GH]







Bettye Swan
(Honest Jons/Astralwerks)

"Don't You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me)"
"Cover Me"

Those of us who were hopelessly enamored with the recent Country Got Soul and Eccentric Soul compilations have something huge to be excited about. To follow up their great collection of music by Candi Staton, the Honest Jons label has put together a breathtaking anthology of singles by the incredible Bettye Swann. Born in rural Louisiana and hailed as "the missing link between Muscle Shoals and Motown," Ms. Swann recorded these songs for Capitol Records between 1968 and 1970. First-time producer Wayne Shuler, the son of a legendary Cajun and Zydeco producer and label owner, was also from Louisiana, so even though the two worked together in Los Angeles, the music had a decidedly Southern feel to it.

Shuler made daring and unexpected choices of material for Bettye to interpret. Included here alongside Bettye's own compositions and soul classics by the likes of Otis Redding are great country songs by Tony Joe White, Merle Haggard, and Tammy Wynette, two pop masterpieces by the Bee Gees, and a version of "Angel Of The Morning" that's just as good as P.P. Arnold's. This music is absolutely timeless, full of overwhelming hope, beauty, and sincerity. For lack of a better adjective, it is real, completely real. I've listened to this tremendously enjoyable disc on repeat for weeks and weeks. If you like soul music even a little tiny bit, this is an absolutely essential introduction to a massively under-appreciated singer. [RH]








"Some People Take Tablets"

Following last year's noisy extravaganza Player Player, German guitarist, programmer and vocalist Kpt.Michi.Gan has found an even balance between noise, psych, indie rock and electronics with his self-titled full-length. Mostly a one-man band (he also moonlights as part of Schneider TM's live show), he adds harps, live drums and saxophone to his arrangements of click-n-scratch rhythms, soft vocals, subtle guitar and loops. Vocal treatments vary from a pure, honest voice to an effected and distorted alter-identity -- check the great two-part "Some People Cry" and "Some People Take Tablets," or the bipolar "Coughsong."

Sometimes soft and intimate, other moments he brings distortion, effected guitar and found sounds into the mix -- images of Animal Collective, Fennesz, the Double, Syd Barrett, Thurston Moore and Merzbow come to mind. It's like watching a fire burn as crackling rhythms float in, grow to a flame of sound, and then disappear cooling into a burned pile of ash while smoke rises from the remains. Fans of any of the above mentioned (people or images) should investigate. Another cross-genre experience from Aesthetics. [DG]




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[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[MK] Michael Klausman
[NL] Nicole Lang
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou
[CP] Carrie Pierce
[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

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