October 28, 2004  



Dear Friends:
We here at Other Music are deeply saddened by the recent loss of British radio broadcaster John Peel. Going back to the early days of David Bowie, Captain Beefheart and T. Rex, he was an amazing champion of new music who guided much of the world through the punk and post-punk explosions of the '70s and early-'80s, and faithfully continued to introduce us to unknown bands well into the 21st century. While most of us here weren't able to listen to his programs regularly, his passion for discovering and sharing new music could still be felt on this side of the globe through the excitement he generated from way across the Atlantic, and of course, those great Peel Sessions LPs. John Peel's spirit will continue to be a huge influence to all of us at the store. He will be sorely missed.





Morgan Geist
Cat Power DVD
Pavement (Reissue)
Where Will You Be Christmas Day
Wilco (Book)
The Dead Texan
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Slim Smith (Reissue)
Carlton & the Shoes (Reissue)
Robin Williamson (Reissue)


Bats'I Son (Various)
Early Man
Blackbeard (Reissue)
Brigitte Fontaine
The Relay Project (Audio Magazine)
Bright Eyes (CD Singles)

The Futureheads (Domestic)
Sigur Ros (Domestic)

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

Michael Mayer

Other Music is giving away two pairs of tickets to
see Kompakt Records' very own Michael Mayer, tonight at the Bowery Ballroom. Cologne's producer extraordinaire will also share the stage with none other than Reinhard Voigt, making this amazing evening of electronic music one not to be missed. You'll want to enter right away by e-mailing contest@othermusic.com. Please include a daytime phone number where you can be reached. Winners will be notified by 2 p.m. today, October 28.

Bowery Ballroom: 6 Delancey New York, NY

OCT/NOV Sun 31 Mon 1 Tues 2 Wed 3 Thurs 4 Fri 5 Sat 6



Other Music and Output Recordings are excited to be giving away two pairs of tickets to catch Colder's return to New York City. Opening the night will be Warp Records' latest signing, Home Video. Enter to win by e-mailing giveaway@othermusic.com. Please include a daytime phone number where you can be reached. Winners will be notified by 5 p.m. Monday, November 1.

Bowery Ballroom: 6 Delancey New York, NY

OCT/NOV Sun 31 Mon 1 Tues 2 Wed 3 Thurs 4 Fri 5 Sat 6


Slovenian politico-industrialists Laibach return to the US after a six year absence! Other Music and Mute Records are giving away two pairs of tickets to their show at Webster Hall in NYC with Bonfire Madigan opening. To enter, e-mail tickets@othermusic.com. Please include a daytime phone number where you can be reached. Winners will be notified by 5 p.m. Monday, November 1.

Webster Hall: 125 E. 11st. New York, NY

. Buy
Anthems 2-CD $21.99
Laibach's first best-of release








"World Invaders" Pluton & Humanoids
"Baja Imperial" Plastic Mode

According to Morgan Geist, an Unclassic is a "sonic oddity that exists in a space of its own" waiting for some adventurous DJ to pluck it from orbit, and create a new home for it on Planet Dancefloor. For Geist, who is 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. This comp contains 13 of those unintentional flashes of brilliance and any fan of Metro Area, Kerrier District or anything labeled "Disco Nouveau"(????) should do themselves a favor and check out these jams. "Baja Imperial" by Plastic Mode, with its rhythmbox electro beat and affected rap, is sooo stiff and unfunky that it's funky, and "Margherita," by Margheritas, is a Euro roller boogie mariachi number! (No really, I kid you not). This is some of the most original, vibrant dance music you probably will ever hear, and if you are into any left-of-center music at all, you definitely need this in your life. I looooooove this stuff! [DH]





$13.99 CD


Let It Die
(Arts & Crafts)

"L'Amour Ne Dure Pas Toujours"

Leslie Feist was in the first incarnation of Broken Social Scene and sung their runaway hit "Almost Crimes," and then mysteriously disappeared from the band. Well, Feist did not lay dormant for too long because here is a debut full-length Let it Die, and it is a beautiful album filled with five originals and six covers that run a gamut of styles including jazz, folk, disco and French pop. The album was recorded in Paris with Gonzales and it definitely has that distant airy feel to it. I can guarantee that before too long you will hear this in every lounge, cafe' and salon, from New York to Tokyo to Paris. Let It Die is a beautiful album that is a must for fans of Joni Mitchell, Keren Ann, and Herbert's muse Dani Siciliano. Gorgeous!! [JS]








Speaking For Trees

"Willie Deadwilder"

Artist Mark Borthwick's new film Speaking for Trees is a single long shot of Chan Marshall (Cat Power) performing in a sun-drenched grove of trees for nearly two hours 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. And while she doesn't change her elliptical approach, you get the feeling that she's perfectly comfortable as she paces herself through songs both fragmented and completed. She includes a number of covers (Dylan, Chilton, etc.) as well as songs not heard on any of her previous records, with passages often being cycled back into her near stream of consciousness performing style. And while that may drive some people crazy, I'd argue that it's the genius of her approach. Part of what makes her such a remarkable interpreter of other people's songs is fully evident here as she continually distills these songs to their essentialness. That is, she seems only interested in the best parts. And those are the parts I generally want to hear, the parts that are constantly floating in the back of my mind.

Included is a second disc featuring an unreleased 18-minute outtake from the You Are Free sessions performed with M. Ward that is quite unlike anything else in her repertoire. Borthwick also designed a really nice perfectly bound book to accompany the DVD. I was fortunate to see a wall collage of his work a few weeks ago and a number of the images that are in this book were also to be found there. I can honestly say it was one of the more loving and hopeful pieces of art I've seen in a good long while, and Speaking for Trees perfectly mirrors those sentiments in its sun dappled brilliance. [MK]







$21.99 LP



Black Mahogani II


With all the descriptions of Moodymann's production being more along the lines of modal jazz than "just" house music, Kenny Dixon Jr. wastes no time and hits us with some real, seemingly all-acoustic modal jazz! It seems like Cousin Theo isn't the only one with jazz instrumentalist friends! First listens brought cries of "Post Rock!!" and "Jazz Camp!" with its looped double-bass lines and vibraphone melodies, but after the third, all the patterns come to the fore and Dixon's reality-shift style becomes more evident.

The 18-minute "When She Follows" begins with that slightly echoing, almost roomtone sound to the production, mirroring the intro to Bitches Brew. Suddenly, a short crowd sound/party atmosphere breaks it up and then the patterns begin to jump. A listen on headphones reveals all the hidden bits: voices, throat swallows, sonic jumps from deep incidental sounds to ultra-crisp high hats and distant piano.

For me, the centerpiece is "Rectify." Another modal jazz exploration, slightly closer to house, that illustrates a conversation between two separated lovers. Female voice becomes male and vice versa. "Never knew your consciousness would lead you to a lie/I don't know nobody else who wouldn't give us a try." Beautiful track...

Recommended for all fans of Kenny, Theo, Jan Jelinek (with Triosk), Miles, Sonny Blount, TV on the Radio(?), and Tortoise. If you're worried about the price of the vinyl, just buy two and sell one to some hapless European in a few months for twice as much. [SM]







Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (Deluxe Edition)

"All My Friends"
"Kennel District"

It's hard for me not to get nostalgic while writing this review for Matador's deluxe CD reissue of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. Back in the day, I caught the Pavement bug with Slanted & Enchanted, wearing out two cassette copies in my car stereo. Days before their second album was set to come out, I impatiently convinced the frizzy-haired, acid-fried owner of the local record store in St. Petersburg, FL to sell me his shop's CD promo of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. The plastic cover was broken, the inlay card had a big tear, and I happily paid full price. Even though I was now into my twenties, I still had an almost-adolescent exuberance for the group.

Their sophomore album would mark a new era for the band, and looking back 10 or more years, it's even more apparent. By the early-'94 release of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, Pavement was no longer the faceless entity of the mysterious duo of SM and Spiral Stairs. They had names now, Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg, and a proper band whose ramshackle live performances (largely in part to 40-something year old prankster/drummer Gary Young's drunken antics) became a part of the early Pavement mythos. Young's unpredictability would turn into detriment and he was soon replaced by the amble, bespectacled Steve West before the proper recording of this album was to begin.

It was here that the group would enter this new phase, refining a "sound" from their myriad of influences, and while still keeping their arrangements loose and open, would become all at once tighter and confident. Ironically recorded in a pieced together studio in midtown Manhattan, the group's jangly West Coast roots would come through shimmering pop gems like "Range Life," "Gold Soundz" and "Newark Wilder," while "Cut Your Hair" would become a modern rock hit of sorts and make Pavement a household name to viewers of Alternative Nation and 120 Minutes. Though Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain would be the group's most successful selling album, the record is far from a crossover reach to mainstream. Malkmus' lyrics cryptically reference the music biz, rock stars and a tennis tournament, and noise-damaged tracks like "Unfair" and "Hit the Plane Down," and the leftfield Dave Brubeck tribute "5-4= Unity" are uniquely Pavement. Slanted & Enchanted may be the ground zero starting point for any fan of the band, but Crooked Rain is just as essential in their discography.

This 2-CD reissue not only includes a remastered version of the original record, but disc one also contains all the b-sides and compilation tracks recorded and released during this era, circa '93 to '94. Much of the second disc connects the dots between Slanted and Crooked, featuring early versions of several of CRCR's tracks recorded with Gary Young, as well as 12 unreleased songs and four Peel Session tracks. (Some of these tracks are also early takes for songs which would appear later on the band's Wowee Zowee album.) A 62-page booklet includes interviews with Matador's Gerard Cosloy, lots of photos, and liner notes from both SM and Spiral. To this day, Pavement's influence can still be heard in young indie rock bands, sometimes the copycatting almost too painful to listen to. Yet 10 or so years later, to these ears Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain still sounds as fresh as it did in 1994. Gold Soundz indeed. [GH]







Various Artists

"Papa Ain't No Santa Claus" Butterbeans & Susie
"Christmas Morning the Rum Had Me Yawning" Lord Beginner

Just in time for the holidays, the label responsible for last year's extraordinary Goodbye, Babylon box set returns to bring us an abundance of yuletide cheer from the first half of the 20th century. Those of you who aren't necessarily mad about the usual winter festivities will be happy to know that, after the first couple of songs fly by, it's quite easy to forget about the disc's overall theme. Aside from a version of "Jingle Bells" by the Maddox Brothers And Rose, the folks at Dust-To-Digital have managed to leave out all of the usual schmaltzy standards. Instead, they've unearthed some fun and obscure tunes like "Papa Ain't No Santa Claus (And Mama Ain't No Christmas Tree)" by Butterbeans And Susie and "Christmas Morning the Rum Had Me Yawning" by Lord Beginner. This collection is ridiculously diverse, spanning genres from country, to calypso, to gospel, to the Ukrainian fiddle stylings of Pawlo Humeniuk, and to the blues of Lightnin' Hopkins and Leadbelly. There's even a brief but spirited holiday sermon by Rev. J.M. Gates, complete with shouted responses from his enthusiastic congregation. If the only Christmas record you can stomach is John Fahey's, you ought to give this compilation a shot. Make sure to bring this CD home to your folks so you don't have to endure Manheim Steamroller yet again. Includes a free "Christmas In Jail--Ain't That A Pain" postcard to send to your favorite incarcerated loved one. [RH]





Book w/CD




"The High Heat"

Is this the second Wilco book this year? With this lovely new hardcover (8"x10", 161 pages), what you have is an homage and tribute to recording and touring, Wilco style. Assembled during the year leading up to their latest A Ghost Is Born album, the book is a lovingly assembled collection of ephemera and musings on being Wilco. Here's a sampling of what you get: a photo of the power lines feeding the band's Chicago rehearsal loft; sketches of drummer Glenn Kotche's unrealized percussion inventions; a detail of a drawing by Fred Tomaselli called Every Band I Can Remember Seeing, Every Vertebrae That Has Become Extinct Since 1492; a biographical essay by Wilco recording guru, Theramin wizard and musical inventor Walter Sear; selections of found poetry; hundreds of artfully abstract photos of guitars, amps, pedals, drums, and all their minute parts; a short essay on life and creativity by Henry Miller; an ongoing series of quotes from band members and crew about why, how, where and when they find creative inspiration; a 40-minute CD of unreleased Wilco music. If you've struggled over what to do with your eyes while you listen to your favorite Wilco records, this book may be your answer…but remember it also comes with its own musical accompaniment. [JM]







The Dead Texan

"Glen's Goo"
"Girth Rides a (Horse) +"

Adam Wiltzie's first release as the Dead Texan is a gorgeous CD/DVD collaboration with Baltimore filmmaker Christina Vantzos. Wiltzie himself is no stranger to working with visual artists; a member of Stars of the Lid, a few years back the ambient duo teamed up with painter Jon McCafferty for their Per Aspera ad Astra album. As his previous output would suggest, Wiltzie's Dead Texan compositions are stunningly cinematic. Utilizing musical sources like voice, piano, guitar, bell tones and strings, the deep almost cyclical progressions are slow moving and often submerged, but the melodies are also more direct than SOTL's brooding soundscapes. During "Gene Goo," the swells of strings are guided by the gentle pulse of a Rhodes and eventually joined by the beautifully hushed sung harmonies of Wiltzie and Vantzos. The accompanying music videos combine animation and geometric shapes with images of people, nature and architecture. The saturated white background and the blurred contrast between real life and abstract are hypnotizing reflections of the music's meditative qualities, the two mediums beautifully complimenting each other and becoming one. [GH]







Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus

"Abattoir Blues"
"The Lyre of Orpheus"

God picked up a giant hammer / And he threw it with a thunderous yell / It smashed down hard on Orpheus' head / And knocked him down a well

Eurydice appeared brindled in blood / And she said to Orpheus / If you play that f****** thing down here / I'll stick it up your orifice!

I guess all that Nick Cave wanted to do was express the Good in his life through his new double-disc release. Or to mutinously converse about God? I forget. Actually, it feels like a healthily mordant dose of both, in time-honored Nick Cave fashion. With sophisticated absurdity and the darkest of wit, we are presented with another audaciously gorgeous dialogue of blood-soaked bible jaunts in the spirit of Cave's post-Boatman's Call gospel-lilt croons. Poetically blazing through each and every track, the Bad Seeds are the bombastic choir in the preacher's church with their superior on-high bravado and grandiloquent songwriting. This is by far Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' most vigorous and multifarious release in many, many years -- unquestionably surmounting Nocturama. This is perhaps a bit striking considering the release also marking Blixa Bargeld's departure from the Bad Seeds. You could possibly say that the church is haunted with his poise, but the veracity lies in the fact that the house of worship is quite talented, regardless: with members of the Cramps, Gunga Din, Dirty Three, and Birthday Party... need I name more?

The archbishop in black and his fellow prophets deliver religious sex in sin-bathed, rock and roll debauchery -- graced with rolling/thunderous piano arpeggios, magnificent percussives, and even the occasional ministerial support from the London Community Gospel Choir. The only musical differentiation being that the Lyre of Orpheus possesses a slight, mellower affection. Both albums are profound with incisively sharp philo-social commentary, from a scathingly clever (re)interpretation of the Greek myth of Euripides and Orpheus to an ode-like, eccentric social registry of various historical and musical figures including everyone from Karl Marx, Nabakov, Gaugin, to Johnny Thunders. This holy writ is a stunning double-disc arrangement, now available in an enshrined hardcover edition, sanctified again by Mute Records. [MT]





Slim Smith


Carlton & the Shoes


Keep That Lovelight Shining

"If It Don't Work Out"
"Rain From the Skies"


Love Me Forever

"Love Me Forever"
"Be Mine"

The past couple of years have produced an absolutely ridiculous amount of classic reggae reissues, most notably from our friends as Soul Jazz and Sanctuary. The former, having seemingly taken the baton from Heartbeat, has made a truckload of rare and classic Studio One tracks available again. (In fact, there really isn't a Studio One sub-genre left that they haven't tapped, which means that before next summer we may begin to see titles like Studio One False Starts.) Sanctuary, on the other hand, has blessed us with brilliantly cheap 3-CD box sets inspired it seems by the original Tighten Up set that hipped so many Anglos to these sounds way back when.

This brings me to my only real beef. Both labels, had almost completely ignored two of the greatest voices on the Island: Slim Smith and Carlton Manning.

Smith led two popular groups (The Uniques, The Techniques) before going solo under the watchful eye of Bunny Lee in the early-'70s. A number of vocalists in the rocksteady period incorporated styles very clearly inspired by U.S. soul singers. Alton Ellis, for all intents and purposes, was the Jamaican Marvin Gaye while Ken Boothe and Delroy Wilson are more synonymous with the grit and gravel of Memphis. Smith, on the other hand, had a boyish innocence one might compare to Sam Cooke or Brenton Wood. And he got his feelings hurt by women -- a lot. In fact, Smith's conviction is so clearly evident that it's difficult to divorce his achingly emotional delivery from the fact that many of these tunes are actually covers of American pop songs.

Carlton Manning, and his group Carlton and the Shoes, stuck with Coxsone Dodd for much of his early career and issued his most beloved sides on the Studio One and Coxsone labels; the highlight being the Love Me Forever LP. And let me tell you, few records upon first listen have had as profound an impact upon me as this one. By the time I stumbled upon this date, I was already more than sold on Jamaican rocksteady; having been something of a scavenger of this hybrid of down-tempo ska and American soul for many years. Still, something made this record special in a way that I couldn't quite verbalize, and still might not be able to do today, frankly. All I can tell you is that, not unlike the Impressions, these guys made some of the most earnest and warm soul music ever recorded. It just so happens that Carlton and the Shoes were from Jamaica and not the States.

These records function as a near-perfect synthesis of Motown innocence and the gritty, muddy production of the Memphis Stax sound. If you haven't yet been turned on to the sublimely soulful music of either Slim Smith or Carlton and the Shoes you owe it to yourself to do something about that right away. Your girlfriend will thank you. [BB]








"The Dancing of the Lord of Weir"
"Rends-Moi Demain"

Robin Williamson's first solo album Myrrh, from 1972, has much of the same magic as his first four albums with the Incredible String Band. Unfortunately, the record was cheaply manufactured by a small Island subsidiary due to poor sales expectations after the failure of Mike Heron's solo album the previous year, so it was relegated to obscurity and has never been released on CD until now. Williamson is more or less by himself on this record, playing at least eight different instruments and accompanied here and there by a motley crew including his future wife, a member of the String Band's American road crew, and his manager. The highlight of this splendid album is "The Dancing of the Lord of Weir," an epic tale describing the origin of fairies that makes exquisite use of the Jew's harp, bazooki, Chinese flute, and a gong. Robin borrows lines from James Joyce on the opening track, and hearing him sing in French on "Rends-Moi Demain" is a real treat. As with his best work in the String Band, Myrrh is whimsical, unusual, and memorable. Absolutely essential for fans of the group. [RH]








"Malibu Love Nest"

What is there to say about the seventh (and final) studio album from pop stalwarts Luna? Well, plenty I guess, as this is my favorite record from the band since maybe Bewitched or Penthouse…but perhaps not much really. Dean Wareham has been crafting sexy, melancholy pop since the mid-'80s with the legendary Galaxie 500, through several solo and collaborative releases and his substantial output with Luna, now winding down after more than 10 years. His craft has been refined, but his style hasn't changed much. Subtle nuances vary as his band has changed personnel and matured, but in the end Wareham creates warm, comforting pop that envelops you like your favorite sweater, perfect for both lonely Saturday nights at home and pedal-to-the-floor drives down the Pacific Coast Highway in that stolen Mustang convertible, with your new friend by your side. A great record from one of indie-pop's quiet legends, and despite their announcement that this will be the band's swan song, I have no doubt that we have not yet heard the last from Wareham. [JM]







Music of the Highlands of Chiapas
(Lattitude / Locust Music)

"Rezo Por Ano Nuevo" Chalchihuitan
"Danza de Mujeres" Tenejapa

When the dense fog of the Aquarian days of self-discovery lifted, many travelers found themselves in faraway places, perhaps with an unopened yurt kit, much more kelp than needed, or nursing a yearlong ayhuasca hangover. 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. Alderson, an engineer for ESP-DISK, was behind the boards for many of the label's finest sessions, including Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, the Fugs, and the Holy Modal Rounders. He even served a stint as Dylan's sound guy. Here we find a newly remastered version of his virtually unheard Folkways releases, Modern Mayan, Volumes 1 & 2. Originally issued in the mid-'70s, and now redressed as Bats'I Son (or Real Song): Music of the Highlands Chiapas for Dawson Prater's Latitude label (a Locust sidebar).

There's a gripping lyrical quality to this music that's incessantly mystifying. Guitar and harp strokes entwine with primitivo violin sawing creating this fierce emotional tug. When the locals are in the full band fiesta set-up, lazy trombones sag with wasted horn bleats, all sounding very out and very wonderful. Look out for track 11 ("Fiesta de San Sebastian, Bats'I Son"), which Alderson likens to a localized version of "A Love Supreme." This is absolutely devastating stuff. Occasionally homemade rockets are audible passing from left to right channels, all just part of the festivities. And there's the cut ("Rezo Por Ano Nuevo") where a couple of guys who actually pray professionally create a vocal counterpoint not to be missed. With all this Boston Nation fervor, I'm reminded of that ancient Mayan ball game, the one where the coach of the winning team is executed because he is just too close to the Greatness. Richard Alderson's microphones may be getting close on this one. [JR]







3 Song EP


Spanning five million years of colossal rock history, this is the story of human evolution -- incorporating new assessments of old finds (in similar vein of fellow ancestors Black Sabbath), along with recent fossil discoveries, latest genetic developments and fledgling studies on the development of the mind: welcome to your vigorous chronicle of our aggregate past. This teaser three-song disc portrays the early human-animal in relation to activities such as hunting, communication in the form of shredding guitar-riffs, dwelling, fire use, flying beer cans as artifacts and epic social gatherings in the configuration of mosh pits. Early primates include Australopithecines (Early Adam), Homo Erectus (Early Mike), and Cro-Magnon (Dave Pajo). Are you ready for this??? [MT]







I Wah Dub
(More Cut / EMI)


Leftfield dub madness circa-1980. Multi instrumentalist and producer extraordinaire Dennis Bovell was one of the main figures in Britain's reggae scene in the '70s and '80s. He produced key albums not only for reggae stars such as Linton Kwesi Johnston and Alpha Blondy, but also for dub influenced new wavers and post-punkers like the Slits, the Pop Group, and Orange Juice. He was also the go-to man on the UK's sound system scene, creating hundreds of dub plates that laid the groundwork for the visionary tracks he'd go on to produce for his I Wah Dub album under the moniker Blackbeard. 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. It's one of those records that practically makes you crack up laughing at the dubs he's managed to produce. Definitely for fans of the recent Mikey Dread reissue, as well as for folks who like the dubby side of '70s post-punk. [MK]







Russaint-Louis en l'Ile
(Virgin France)

Three years after Kekeland, France's pop-eccentric Brigitte Fontaine returns with a new album, written with long-time collaborator Areski Belkacem. Named after a fetish district, Russaint-Louis en l'Ile is an eclectic collection of songs, some electronic driven while others feature the sweeping orchestrated scope of vintage French music -- the deep, breathy voice always unmistakably Fontaine's. Includes notable pairings with the Gotan Project, Mouss et Hakim (for a remake of "Le Nougat," the title track of her 1990 comeback LP), and of course a duet with Belkacem. [GH]







Various Artists
(The Relay Project)

Alvin Lucier speaks with Stephen Vitiello
"Phil's Baby" Found by Jaime Fillmore

I'm sure that I've heard of the concept of an audio magazine before, but no previous examples spring to mind. The very idea of it is both instantly appealing, and slightly vexing. The opportunity to hear interviews first-hand, full of life and inflection and the real humanity and tone of the interviewee (and interviewer) without struggling through a flat transcription, as well as creating a forum to explore the world through sound (found sound, music, audio tours and endless other possibilities), is a concept full of possibility. But where and when can I really enjoy this thing? My favorite answer is the car, when you are tired of your CDs and NPR is stuck in another hour of Prairie Home Companion.Curated by musician Rebecca Gates and Lucy Raven, this eclectic mix actually could fit into your life in any number of places, but be aware that the majority of the pieces here require a real listen, not just half an ear. But with laid back pacing and a shifting mix of music, quality interviews (highlights include Alvin Lucier with Stephen Vitiello and Merce Cunningham with Victoria Miguel), sound-art, and found snippets of life, the Relay Project is a lovingly assembled piece of free-form entertainment that will well reward your time investment. [JM]







Take It Easy


(Saddle Creek)


Take It Easy Love Nothing
(Saddle Creek)

"Take It Easy (Love Nothing)

Conor Oberst will be releasing a pair of Bright Eyes albums in January -- the country-tinged I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (which will feature appearances from Emmylou Harris and My Morning Jacket's Jim James) as well as the more rock oriented Digital Ash in a Digital Urn (with guests like Jimmy Tamborello and Nick Zinner.) Obviously a preview of what's to come, these two new singles prepare us for the stark differences between the forthcoming full-lengths. The quiet narrative "Lua" is just Oberst and his acoustic guitar while the three Americana inspired non-album tracks feature a full-band; "Well Whiskey" is down right rollicking. The beat driven single from Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, "Take It Easy (Love Nothing)" has an unmistakable Bright Eyes melody but the gurgling synthesizers are certainly unexpected. The two other non-album tracks aren't as playful but the electronics are still prevalent in the overall production. [GH]









The Futureheads

"A to B"
"Decent Days and Nights"

It seems that these days the Europeans are taking the post-punk revival and running with it. Not only are they doing it better than the Americans, but they're also having huge success with it. I am speaking of one band in particular here, Franz Ferdinand who now have a gold record with their debut. Well, look out because their friends the Futureheads are the next band to fight for the post-punk throne. Like Franz Ferdinand, they have jagged guitars, danceable rhythms, and an incredible knack for writing the catchiest of songs. Take "A to B," with a sing-along chorus that is filled with more vocal harmonies than a Beach Boys album, pounding, up-tempo drums, and jagged Gang of Four-like guitar work -- production courtesy of the one and only Andy Gill. At just under two-and-a-half minutes, it will make your feet move and keep you humming its melody all day long.

The track "Decent Days and Nights" could very well be an outtake from All Mod Cons. It is filled with that driving guitar line, repetitious drumbeat and a stop-start tempo that made bands like the Jam and the Clash the legends that they are today. One of the things that sets this band apart from their American counterparts is definitely the multiple vocals that switch on and off and harmonize as much as the songs' tempos change. Don't write the Futureheads off as just another post-punk revival band; this foursome have the songs, and the chops to back up the hype… prepare to be converted. Thirty-seven of the catchiest minutes that you will hear all year, and that I guarantee. Highly recommended! [JS]









(One Little Indian)

The first album from Icelandic natives Sigur Ros is finally available at a domestic price. Even though it was recorded while they were a trio, Von fans the flame of the dynamic orchestral sound made popular by Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Mogwai. Their sparse soundscapes, soaked in My Bloody Valentine reverb, ignite images of the land of fire and ice, seem directly inspired by the environmental extremes of their homeland. The beginning ambient notes float eerily like glacial drift slowly falling apart, accented by warped seagull cries. It's not until the second song that the high male vocals gently fade in to subtly carry the melody. By the third song, "Hun Jord," the traditional instruments carry the mark of mid-'80s experimental pop bands with pounding drums, distorted guitars, and the best part: an unexpected loop, creating the effects of skipping CDs and pitch-shifted vinyl. More quiet experimentalism characterizes this album than their later work, making Von a primeval journey into a groundbreaking future. [LG]




  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.

[BB] Brandon Burke
[LG] Lisa Garrett
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[DH] Duane Harriott
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[MK] Michael Klausman
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou
[JR] Jeremy Redina
[JS] Jeremy Sponder
[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

- all of us at Other Music
   Newsletter Design Big Code