September 15 , 2004  




Morr Music Japanese Tour Compilation
Devendra Banhart
Interpol (CD single)
Arcade Fire
Dizzee Rascal
Lo Borges (Reissue)
Will Johnson
The Faint
Gang Gang Dance
Bloc Party
Brown Bunny Soundtrack
Crime (Reissue)
Rob Sonic


The Decemberists (CD single)
Opto (Alva Noto & Opiate)
OHM: Early Gurus of Electronic Music

SEP Sun 19 Mon 20 Tues 21 Wed 22 Thurs 23 Fri 24 Sat 25




SEP 22 Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwell's (All Ages)
SEP 23 New York, NY @ Knitting Factory (All Ages)

Other Music is giving away two pairs of tickets to this special night featuring some of today's highest regarded names in electronic music. Winners will also receive the latest CDs from each of these Mush Records artists. E-mail to enter and please include your name and a daytime phone number where you can be reached. Winners will be notified on Monday afternoon, September 20.







Various Artists

"Between the Bars" Styrofoam

Morr Music Alert!! We here at Other Music have acquired a small quantity of this ultra-limited 2004 Japan Tour CD featuring three unreleased tracks from ISAN, two unreleased tracks from Styrofoam, and two tracks not on the forthcoming album from Morr's newest signing, the Go Find. Foaming at the mouth yet??? Well, how about Styrofoam does two brilliant cover songs, one by Sebadoh and the other, a cover of "Between the Bars" by Elliott Smith, which, by the way, is worth the price of this CD alone…trust me! Drooling yet?? Well, what more can I say? I truly love this label and if you are a fan, pick this up now because I can guarantee that this CD will not be around for long. Essential Bedroom Electronics!!! [JS]







Nino Rojo
(Young God)

"Be Kind"

Contrary to mistaken claims by some music journalists, Nino Rojo is by no means a collection of outtakes. The sessions which produced these tracks as well as those on the sublime Rejoicing In The Hands resulted in far more than the two discs' cumulative 32 songs, and the decision was made to stagger the release of the strongest material into two full-length installments. Simply stated, Nino Rojo is every bit as breathtaking as its predecessor. Devendra's gently eccentric voice and subdued fingerstyle acoustic guitar remain in focus on this second batch of lovely recordings, and a smattering of tasteful overdubs help to fill things out here and there. The biggest surprise on this one is "Be Kind," which captures Devendra leading a full-band folk-rock jam-out not unlike the one that closed his amazing New York City show with Joanna Newsom, Antony, and Vetiver at the beginning of the summer. It is abundantly clear that young Mr. Banhart understands the importance of simplicity, melody, and poetry far better than most musicians twice his age. Nino Rojo is a treasure, yet another highlight in his rapidly blossoming career. It's not often that two of the best albums in a given year are by the same artist. Does anyone need more evidence that Devendra is this generation's greatest singer-songwriter? [RH]







Slow Hands

"Slow Hands"

Patience is most definitely a virtue, and anticipation is (slowly) paying off as Interpol delivers their brand new single, "Slow Hands." Artists have come and gone in this proverbially over-saturated market of post-'whatever-ness' but not a single band has produced work comparable to the epic and ambitious beauty of Interpol, whose dramatically infectious musings of gloom, splendor, and isolation have morphed into classical eminence. Evident by their single -- which invokes yet builds upon the vivid, buoyant punch of previous cuts, "Obstacle 1" and "PDA" -- their sophomore full length, Antics, is destined to hold Interpol in that status, if not fully transcend it and completely outdo themselves. The CD-single also includes re-mixes of "Slow Hands" by Spoon's Britt Daniel and Dan the Automator. [MT]









"Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)"

Arcade Fire, the newest band on the indie-pop powerhouse Merge Records, have come out of the box swinging with a debut album that is already making waves amongst fans of homemade melancholy and readers of taste-making websites. Centered on the husband and wife singer/songwriter team of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, the group has delivered 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. They favor dense, chugging mid-tempo grooves, embellishing the standard rock band instrumentation with pianos, organs, strings, bells, accordion, and seemingly whatever else they can cram onto the tape, and they manage to build powerful yet fragile anthems out of simple chords and poetry. A lovely and varied album that will surely top a few top 10 lists this year, and serves as further proof that Merge is as relevant as they have ever been 15 years down the line. Arcade Fire, burning bright. [JM]








"Get By"

ALLRIGHT…here we go!!! Showtime, Dizzee Rascal's follow-up to the British award winning debut and last year's topic of debate, The Boy in da Corner, is better than I expected, and probably not what most are expecting. Stripping things down to a raw yet crispy and tasty method of beat constructing, this is beyond anything you've heard from the Neptunes, Jay Dee, Autechre, Timbaland, Pole, Luke Vibert, or Kid 606. He refines his production removing a lot of the excessive bleeps, wobbles, click, snap and rubber band effects that made his debut a "like it or hate it" type of thing in both IDM and hip-hop scenes.

Dizzee now sounds more confident and comfortable. His double time accent-laden delivery now has a stronger weight and bigger, sharper bite than before; his scope is larger and his awareness is opening. With hardly any typical radio singles -- aside from the current misguided hip-house update, "Stand Up Tall," and the great "Get By" -- this is almost flawless, definitely harder yet addictively catchy.

Each song has a strong character and flavor of its own and holds together well. Dizzee bridges the young sound of London's streets with the bounce 'n' shake strip club soundtrack and minimal electronic funk of NYC, Atlanta, New Orleans, Florida and West Virginia by reducing things to basically a tasty beat and a killer baseline. This time the sounds are more separated and used in a much more effective way that better reveals the groove hidden in the sparse soundscape, and highlights the tones utilized, as well as the great rhythms he creates. Check the post-Kanye West fueled ending track, "Fickle" for the real next thing.

Hip-hop hasn't sounded this innovative, fresh, new, or classic in a while. My hip-hop album of the year, tied with Madvillain -- a different beast, yet just as innovative. Honestly, this is better than Dizzee's debut. "Don't ever think I'm just chatting." [DG]







Lo Borges
(Odeon Brazil)

"Homem Da Rua"

There are a few records…you know, the kind where when you hear them you think to yourself, why isn't this taught in schools? How could I have missed this one all these years? Do I really need to keep all of these other records? Two such releases are Milton Nascimento's masterpiece Clube da Esquina and its companion piece of sorts, Lo Borges' self-titled debut release from 1972. Created with some of the same players, Nascimento among them, the sheer joy of this record is really beyond description. Without falling into the oft-tread trappings of excessive soloing and "big for the sake of being big" production, the music here is of a very progressive Brazilian pop type, carefully arranged to, dare I say, perfect effect: everything in the mix is essential.

Although there was definitely something in the air in the music world during the years 1969-1972, this album transcends even the times and provides further evidence of Borges' prowess as a master arranger, songwriter, singer, and guitarist of great originality. Also, in case you need something else to remind you that you've accomplished very little in your life so far, he was 19 years old when he made this record! Quite an achievement considering the fact that to this day it remains one of the greatest recordings committed to tape. I cannot recommend a record more. Best reissue of 2004 by far! [KC]







Vultures Await

"Just to Know What You've Been Dreaming"
"Catherine Dupree"

I haven't visited Texas in a couple of years now, but I have no doubt that Will Johnson, the mighty songwriting force behind Centro-matic, is one of the Lone Star State's favorite sons. With his various projects -- South San Gabriel is yet another one of his musical outlets -- Johnson has penned hundreds of songs in less than a decade. But it's not his prolific output that is so impressive, it's the amount of heart he's able to put into a tune, or rather the amount of heart he's able to pull out. With his second solo album, aptly titled Vultures Await, he spills his guts. Unlike the brighter indie rock meets Americana sounds of Centro-matic, here Johnson strips the songs to the barest of bare, often his accompaniment is only a lone guitar, or a somber one-handed played piano passage. Against the darkly sparse instrumentation, you can feel the weight of the world in songs that recall the dimming hopes of Springsteen's Nebraska LP, sung with a whiskey soaked tenor twang at times reminiscent of Paul Westerberg. Vultures Await is the kind of record you listen to late, late at night accompanying your own thoughts of lost love, and Johnson assures you that you're not the only one. [GH]








$13.99 LP


Wet From Birth
(Saddle Creek)

"How Could I Forget'"
"I Disappear"

The Faint arrived onto the music scene via indie powerhouse Saddle Creek- yet, have no attributes or qualities that associate many with the other artists that call the label their home (namely Bright Eyes and Cursive). Their initial explorations in the world of new wave, lo-fi synth pop with the records Media and Blank-Wave-Arcade led to a steady progression that climaxed with Danse Macabre, a dark exercise and genius re-working of the cacophony of Gary Numan, early Simple Minds, the chic hooks of 80's glam-synth a la Soft Cell, and the occasional showing off of a gritty industrial edge. Their fourth full-length, Wet From Birth steps down from the mayhem that was Danse Macabre into a sound that they have probably labeled as more 'mature'- a more stripped, systematic electro-rock approach with a layered theatrical wash of keyboards and strings as opposed to free form chaos and collage. Also recommended for fans of Casiotone For the Painfully Alone, Broken Spindles, Postal Service, and the Notwist. [MT]







Revival of...


Gang Gang Dance

"The Thread"

Revival of the Shittest
(Social Registry)

Gang Gang Dance are a group composed of well-known entities (in and around NYC in particular) but have left a sporadic, almost shadowy, impression upon people nonetheless. Various members play/have played in various other bands. They'll 'surface' to perform a clutch of shows, most all well-attended, only to 'disappear' again (as regards to any kind of reliable congregation). Up until recently, there had been no record to speak of, save a 100-copy CD (which we'll talk about in a moment.) Anyways, Fusetron has just reissued their first "proper release," a self-titled LP from earlier this year, now available in the CD format.

The opening female vocal ululations soon enough refract electronically, and the summoned whale-song dimension spires into an urgent metempsychotic groove. Coming as they do from different angles, it's safe to assume there is humanity to the postproduction approach on here. Indeed the first side in its totality achieves a narrative facility which, when sized up against the nature of its parts, could remind one of a more quietly-alloyed Chrome.

It does not end there, in fact there is something of a sense of unfinished business, and the second side strikes off with a snapping dream of desert suspense. Machinic industry rises up here too though, marking yet another salient entrée into the crafted spuriousness GGD seek to espouse. An open drone fills for much of the half, accumulating a lyric denouement that possesses overtures toward melody and texture but less toward propulsive mien.

Again, and as always with this outfit, not so fast, especially in assuming the accumulation will not build anew, and fairly dramatically, before the end. And it is when it in fact does that sadly deceased member Nathan Maddox joins the fray most obviously, his vox working up the Can-like lather along with the suddenly more brash (especially after the subdued interlude) compatriots, everything spiking up to the sendoff digitized muezzin wail. Good record.

Mentioned in the opening paragraph, the limited 100 copy CD-R that Gang Gang Dance first released for Social Registry's label showcase at last year's CMJ Festival (and sold out in less than two weeks), has just been resurrected by way of this vinyl LP pressing. Pulled from various outtakes, live show and boom box rehearsal recordings, and compiled together in a 12-hour session at Junkyard Studios, Gang Gang Dance's chaotic mix of spooky singing, cyclic rhythms and jagged sonics is on full, ragged display. [DHo/GH]







Bloc Party EP
(Dim Mak)

"She's Hearing Voices"

Bloc Party is not just another post-punk revival band. This foursome from London definitely has plenty of hype behind them, but they also have the songs and the talent to back it up. The leadoff track "Banquet" is one part Gang of Four, one part The Cure, one part Peter Gabriel, and definitely a bona fide hit! What really stands out about Bloc Party are Kele Okereke's vocals, which at times sound like Simon Topping of A Certain Ratio, Morrissey, and the aforementioned Mr. Gabriel. His voice is quite unique and helps separate Bloc Party from the pack of post-punk revivalists. The track "She's Hearing Voices" could be a modern take on a classic track by ACR and it is a stunner. Their American debut EP contains six-tracks culled from various U.K. singles that are now out of print. I have to say that at first I kind of dismissed this band but, as with most of my favorite music, upon repeated listens they have grown to become one of my current favorites...and I tell you that since I received this, not a day has gone by that it has not been in my CD player. A truly great EP that is a must for fans of early Factory records, the Futureheads, and Franz Ferdinand. [JS]






Various Artists / Soundtrack

"Milk and Honey" Jackson C. Frank
"Forever Away" John Frusciante

The Brown Bunny. One of the most elusively astonishing films I have seen in quite awhile -- also one that I would probably never recommend to anyone else, least have any expectations of enjoyment or gratification. Yet, as for myself, I will brazenly file this flick next to, say, Fellini, amongst the adored. Pour quoi? Well, my vindications lie in the framework of the personal, and anyways, this isn't really a film review....

As I watched The Brown Bunny, the phenomena -- the singularity -- of the 'road trip' that Gallo so gorgeously rendered conjured both the psychological and corporal familiarity within me. I began wondering, and recalling my own delicate experiences on the road -- explicitly the music that bridged the connection between the mental and the scenery, making for a kind of cerebral landscape, I guess. This portrayal of the cerebral landscape involves the greater essence of The Brown Bunny, as we intimately watch Bud Clay travel cross-country. From grassy New England, through the midwestern heartland, lost amidst the infinite desolation of the desert-west, to his objective destination of Los Angeles, California -- we participate on this scenic trip with all its splendor and aridness as we peer in first-person through the windshield. This melancholy abandon, hypnotizing disassociation... this candor, lonely allure is captured idyllically through crude shots of fuzzed out windscreen wipers, as the rain gushes down the glass, and through the dreamlike washes of an ever-permeating dusk -- imagery that is stunningly channeled through the music of Jackson C. Frank, Jeff Alexander, Gordon Lightfoot, Matisse/Accardo Quartet, and Ted Curson.

Moody, jejune, sentimental, warm, and poignant -- these cherished cuts range from candid folk to charming, unadorned jazz. Although, the tunes are primarily acoustic, including the last five pieces featured on the soundtrack. These songs belong to John Frusciante, which ambiguously did not appear in the movie yet served as an inspirational platform to Vincent Gallo in the developing of The Brown Bunny. I was introduced to Frusciante's world, external of the Chili Peppers, quite recently through his collaboration with the Mars Volta and his amazing effort Niandra LaDes and Usually Just a T-shirt. His brilliant guitar work and unique, otherworldly vocals delivers a mesmerizing ambience that lingers on the brink of sorrow and wanders through the depths of alienation, an atmosphere paralleling that within the film.

As a general rule I've held that soundtracks are best held solely within the context of the film and are usually superfluous as independent releases; but this can hold its own (outside of the fact that half the songs weren't even in the movie) as one can divulge their own narratives and imagery to this frank perception of sadness and disaffection... [MT]





$13.99 CD


Air Curtain
(12 K)

"Cloud Whereabouts"

Keiichi Sugimoto has now released 4 albums in half as many years with his groups Minamo and Fonica and on his own as Fourcolor. Water Mirror, out earlier this year, was a gorgeous experiment in guitar processing. His new album Air Curtain, released by Taylor Deupree's 12K label, takes narcotic digital serenity to a whole new level. The fragile, glassy drones remain in full effect and, while there were very subtle rhythmic pulses on the first Fourcolor record, a couple of the tracks on this one build to moments that sound like they could have been produced by a narcoleptic SND. On all of his projects, Sugimoto steers clear of the cliches that sometimes make minimal electronic music too cold and cerebral for many people to appreciate. Like Alva Noto's collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto a couple of years ago, Air Curtain has a melodic sensibility that might make it more accessible to people who wouldn't normally be interested in this kind of music. This CD is utterly fantastic, one of the best electronic releases I've heard in a while. [RH]





$14.99 CD


San Francisco Is Still Doomed

"Rockabilly Drugstore"
"Baby, You're So Repulsive (Alternate Take)"

Crime were so deep that they managed to find some rare and secret portal, one which seems to have extricated them from punk's even more secretly inevitable, torporous continuum. They must have done this primarily by coming before much of what was convulsively tagged as punk, and as well by aligning themselves, image-wise, WITH authority (dressed up as policemen, rumored to have worked as prison guards etc.). In fact there's a lot of simple "rock" to their music, at least here and now, with a fair amount of hindsight. The guitarist's frequent squalling leads are as redolent of L.A. Sunset Strip sleaze action as they are of anything else. Their claim to have been Frisco's "first and only rock and roll band" seems too a swipe at where they hailed from. In both the aforementioned way and a few more, they could be sufficiently construed as part of an L.A.-centric, unabashedly doom and art-wracked mindset. The alternate takes included at the end of "Hot Wire My Heart" (sound familiar?) and "Baby, You're So Repulsive" are an added treat, with the latter being one of the finest love songs I've heard in some time. [DHo]





$14.99 CD


(Def Jux)

"Location Is Everything"
"Super Ball"

The former leader of the now defunct live hip-hop band Sonic Sum, Rob Sonic steps up to bat and releases his solo full-length debut. Telicatessen features many of his crew-members, but instead of simply being hype men, they actually play instruments adding a musical-feel element missing from most hip-hop records. Sonic combines the distorted guitar, jagged, dipped beats and electro bass lines of El-P, with the fractured stories and counterculture flow of Aesop Rock (nowhere as nasally though), with a little Mike Ladd weirdness; but he's not simply a knock off of any of them. Rob's a skilled MC in his own right, and given the platform he holds his own adding his funky darkness to the label's palette. Telicatessen's overall tone blends eerie city imagery and updated yet old school electro styling underneath the urban jungle. Dark but never scary, moody and yes, often times danceable, and very original, now's your chance to check to this fresh debut from one of the under-appreciated underground veterans of the NYC scene. This is a return to form for Def Jux. [DG]









Billy Liar
(Kill Rock Stars)


Colin Meloy and his band of Decemberists have recently been in the studio putting the finishing touches on their third full-length with Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla producing. In the meantime, a solid month of tour dates and this new single should certainly keep fans happy until the album's March release. Featuring the whimsical, '60s-influenced British pop sounding "Billy Liar," as well as "Los Angeles, I'm Yours" (both taken from their Her Majesty album), the CD single also includes two unreleased Decemberists songs, "Right" and "Sunshine."








(Hobby Industries)

"10:45 a.m."

Last year, Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto) and Thomas Knack (Opiate) were commissioned by a Japanese fashion company to create music to accompany a clothing line based on an "in the woods theme." What results is the second Opto full-length, inspired by an old cassette found in an Eastern German forest containing almost inaudible recordings of someone playing short guitar pieces in the woods. This tape works itself into the album as a sound source, while delicate layers of minimal electronics unfold into warm melodic pulses and the magical ambience of forest sounds. Assembled over a 48-hour period, the tracks are titled by and reflect the mood of the time of the day in which they were recorded.








Early Gurus of Electronic Music 1948-1980
(Ellipsis Arts)

"Poppy Nogood" Terry Riley

This collection exposes the history of academic electronics and electroacoustics in all its thoughtful and sometimes contrived glory. The opposite of populist (nary a toe is tapped here), it's an extended version of Caipirinha records' Early Modulations, only more listenable, and with hardly any overlap (only Schaeffer and Subotnick are duplicated). From disc to disc, the shifts from the academia and the scientific sound studio into loose-limbed extrapolations and sprawling improvisations are documented. Timbre-matching from track to track, there are rhythmic pieces (Hugh LeCaine, Raymond Scott, Reich, etc.), fantastical excursions (Tudor, Riley, Oskar Sala, Jean-Claude Risset, Louis and Bebe Barron), experiments with the voice (Charles Dodge, Robert Ashley), the conceptual (LaMonte Young, Maryanne Amacher), and where musique concrete turned into ambient music by the late-'70s (Jon Hassell, Alvin Curran). Over this period of time, you hear how a wider, warmer range of tones are drawn from the machines.

Downsides? A few only dogs-can-hear sine-wave/tonal pieces (Richard Maxfield and Pauline Oliveros' tracks, sadly--I would have liked different ones by them), and only one non-Westerner (Joji Yuasa). Also, a lot of longer tracks are edited at 7 minutes--which only affects the aforementioned conceptual pieces, really (and they were meant to be experienced in fully saturated sound environments, anyway). And I'm still not sure why it's labeled as covering 1948-1980 when it includes a gorgeous Messaien piece from 1937. The 96-page book annotates all 42 tracks, and proffers essays on the major studio/artist groupings from the U.S. and Europe through the years. Split between pieces of tape manipulation and electronically-generated sound, the artists (and technicians) here display their tools and how they're used. On the way, they reveal that sometimes the best art comes from limitations in process. [RE]



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[KC] Kevin Coultas
[RE] Robin Edgerton
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[DHo] Dan Hougland
[JM] Josh Madell
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[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

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