September 22 , 2004  



Dear Friends:
We've had a tremendous amount of orders come in for Dungen's fantastic new album Ta det Lugnt, and because of this, we are temporarily sold out. Other Music is hoping to receive a new shipment next week, so we'll continue to take orders in the meantime. CDs will be mailed out in the order in which the web purchase was received.





Kathy & Carol (Reissue)
Manual and Syntak
Dub Trio
Elizabeth Cotten (Reissue)
Gary Wilson
The Go Find
Savath & Savalas
Josephine Foster & the Supposed
Daniel Johnston Covers Album
Warp DVD/CD (Various)
Frog Eyes


Thai Beat A Go Go (Various)
Akira Rabelais
Dread Meets B-Boys Downtown (Various)
Jens Lekman
Saul Williams
The Royals (Reissue)
VHS or Beta


Junior Boys (Domestic w/Bonus CD)
Camberwell Now (Reissue)

OCT Sun 17 Mon 18 Tues 19 Wed 20 Thurs 21 Fri 22 Sat 23


Other Music is again proud to be riding a team in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's New York City MS Bike Tour. We've done this for the last few years, and always have so much fun, while raising thousands of dollars for research and support services for New Yorkers suffering from MS. The ride is a traffic-free 30-mile circle of Manhattan, or a longer 45, 60 or 100-mile route that then takes you through the Lincoln Tunnel and up the Palisades and beyond.

This year, in addition to the usual sporty types with their fancy rides, we've been joined by the Brooklyn Civic Riders Bicycle Club, and we're riding a group of vintage Schwinn cruisers, for a relaxed one-speed cruise around the city. I can't emphasize enough that all levels of riders are welcome. Team members can choose their own distances and ride at their own pace, but we hope to make a show of force at the starting line and the after-party, and your participation or financial contribution would be deeply appreciated. To join or contribute, go to Team Other Music's Homepage, or visit for more information. Thank you, and please ride civic!

SEP Sun 26 Mon 27 Tues 28 Wed 29 Thurs 30 Fri 1 Sat 2


Other Music and the Junkshop Glam Collector's Guild are pleased to present a rare NYC appearance by PHIL KING, the selector of VELVET TINMINE, GLITTERBEST, MAGPIE and ZIG ZAG, our most favorite collections of obscure glam-punk and other 1970s wild fun. Phil will be joined by none other than URSULA 1000, as they spin the night away with the finest and rarest glam, punk, disco and other exciting vinyl rarities at one of Other Music's wild APT all-night bashes.

APT: 419 W. 13th Street NY, NY
Tuesday, September 28 - 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Boru Vodka Bar 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Vodka specials all night for glamorous dressers ONLY!

OCT Sun 3 Mon 4 Tues 5 Wed 6 Thurs 7 Fri 8 Sat 9


Other Music is pleased to announce a special in-store book release party for Damon Krukowski (Damon & Naomi, Galaxie 500, Magic Hour), who will be reading from his wonderful new book of prose poetry, The Memory Theater Burned, on Turtle Point Press. There will be music, refreshments, a short reading, plus a chance to buy the new book and hob-nob with the author.

OTHER MUSIC: 15 E. 4th Street NY, NY
Wednesday, October 6 - 8:00 p.m.

Memory Theater Burned








Kathy & Carol
(Collectors Choice)

"Sprig of Time"
"Carter's Blues"

Kathy Larisch and Carol McComb, an entirely self-taught Southern California folk duo, recorded their one and only album for Elektra in 1965. Kathy & Carol is an incredibly simple and beautifully understated recording: just two voices, a couple of acoustic guitars, and a wonderful Mother Mabel Carter style autoharp playing on two of the 12 tracks. Eight of the songs are traditional ballads, two are Carter Family covers, one was written for them by a friend, and only one is an original. From these details alone, one might conclude that this is your average mid-'60s folk album, but it is far from ordinary. The music that came out of these 20 year-old girls was completely astounding. Their avian voices chirp and trill, wrapping over and under one another in not-quite-normal high harmonies that are unlike anything you've ever heard before. More than anything else, this is a record of overwhelming spirit and sincerity.

"Our music," Kathy wrote for the original liner notes, "is intricately interwoven with everything that is good and healthful -- sunshine, fresh air, mushrooms, lichens, mould and rain, love and laughter, birth and death -- as a part of this kind, serene world which none of man's follies can ruffle." That may seem a lofty statement, but the music is every bit as gorgeous and life affirming as she indicates. Unfortunately, the eleven outtakes that didn't make it onto the original LP, including covers of the Everly Brothers and Merle Haggard, have been lost. Also missing are the long-lost demos of a country-rock follow-up album that never came to fruition and an even later session produced by Larry Murray of Hearts & Flowers. This is easily my favorite reissue of the year; I really hope that their other recordings turn up sooner or later. A forgotten masterpiece of the '60s folk revival scene, unbearably heartrending and unstoppably uplifting, not to be passed over at any cost. Totally essential. [RH]








Golden Sun

"Golden Sun"

On Golden Sun Manual and Syntaks have created the perfect combination of IDM influenced hip hop, Creation Records-era shoegazing bands, and traditional Middle Eastern music. The album is split into two halves; the first half, titled "Nissarana," relies more on the hip hop sounds of Prefuse 73 and Muslimgauze, while the second half, called "Sundazed," takes cues from shoegazers like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. This album is definitely one of Manual's finest hours and is easily as good as his Morr Music debut Until Tomorrow. This is a must for fans of blissful melodic electronics. Beautiful! [JS]







Exploring the Dangers of...

"Drive by Dub"
"Scoop and Smash 'Em"

My pick of the week, Brooklyn based Dub Trio's debut full-length, Exploring the Dangers of… is essentially and unmistakably a live dub assault. The small ensemble brings a much-needed rhythm and groove to the wandering antics of various Brooklyn collectives. Influences like King Tubby, Dennis Bovell, Sly & Robbie, Roots Radics and Dub Syndicate all shine through on this enthusiastic, skillful, playful and great listening experience. Each established groove gets tweaked and stretched-out bringing to mind slight moments of the roots of post-rock. Remember when Tortoise used to get dubby? Well this turns the tables a bit. Dub Trio place themselves firmly in the dub tradition, no cross-genre fusion.

Using simply bass, guitar, drums, live sampling and effects, and occasional melodica, they go places few have recently treaded or revisited. And when they get a little "post" it's always rooted in the tight rockers-style rhythms. From the opener "Drive by Dub," you'll know you're in store for a sonic, groove based, phunky-reggae party. With all the reissues and comps around, it's a wonder a new and young live dub band hasn't emerged until now. Fans of Dub, Dub, and Dub owe it to themselves to pick this one up. Oh, and if you like any groove based, slightly psychedelic live music you should check this out too. And if you need further proof of how good they are in person, Exploring the Dangers of… includes three live recordings as well. Definitely a band to go see! Recommended…d…d…d...d. [DG]





$15.99 CD


Shake Sugaree
(Smithsonian Folkways)

"Shake Sugaree"
"When the Train Comes Along"

Finally! A new collection of (old) recordings on compact disc by one of my all time favorite folk-blues singer-guitarists, Elizabeth Cotten. Cotten was born in North Carolina in 1895, she was a self-taught musician and incomparable stylist who made a singular body of work unlike nearly anyone else working in the folk-blues idiom. She wrote two of the all time classic folk songs, one of which, "Freight Train", when she was only 11 years old. When she finally recorded it in 1957 for Folkways under somewhat serendipitous circumstances, it almost immediately entered the canon.

The circumstances of her discovery are almost beyond belief, but in a nutshell they went like this. While working in a department store during the Christmas season she made the acquaintance of Ruth Crawford Seeger, noted composer/folklorist and wife of also noted composer Charles Seeger, mother and father of Peggy, Pete, and Mike. Cotten was hired to do housework and several years(!) went by before anyone in the family had any idea of Cotten's musicality. She was accidentally discovered playing a guitar in their home one day, and, as I'm sure anyone would have been, the Seegers were immediately struck by her talent. They went out of their way to foster her career and were useful in securing her the recording sessions she was to do for Folkways, from which the recordings here are drawn.

Cotten was a brilliant finger-pick guitarist with an unconventional playing and singing style. She played her guitar left-handed and upside down with incredible dexterity (I've often thought of Cotten while listening to John Fahey crib many of her moves) and sang with one of the most gently endearing warbles I've ever heard. It's nearly impossible to describe the sublimity of her art -- you just have to hear her play to know. Anyone that has ever come over to my house to listen to records and admitted to not having heard an Elizabeth Cotten album has seen me dash off to the stacks to slap a well worn copy on the platter and spout effusively about her charms. Highest recommendation! [MK]








Mary Had Brown Hair
(Stones Throw)

"Gary's in the Park"
"Debbie Debbie"

I never would have imagined that, going into my first proper (and frankly somewhat wary) listen to Gary Wilson's actual new record Mary Had Brown Hair, my only complaint would prove the appearance of, in my opinion, some premature fadeouts of the stronger tracks in the middle of the record. (Then again, Waylon Jennings' Honky Tonk Heroes has a bunch of them too, and not just in the middle!) "Gary's in the Park" happens to be one of the tracks in question, and it is a JAM. "JAM" as in holy shit! And 'holy shit' even for Gary Wilson. It's nothing less than a shockingly "meta" stalker narrative, and on top of one of his greatest choppy grooves. It rules.

Also there is "She Makes Me Think of Endicott," a slamming instrumental that just about connects this otherwise bewildering release to the rest of the Stones Throw aesthetic, and particularly to the funk/soul reissue branch (and surprisingly not to the Scuba Slim division).

I don't think this is the best place to start for a Wilson neophyte, but if you're already familiar with this American artist's themes and content-heavy lyricism, most likely via the classic You Think You Really Know Me, this is a dynamite continuation. As Other Music's Jeremy Sponder might say (but maybe not about this), "It does not disappoint!" [DHo]







$14.99 LP



"Over the Edge"
"City Dreamer"

Morr Music's latest signing, Belgium's the Go Find is in fact the "one man band" of Dieter Sermus who at one time played guitar in an indie rock band. And then he met Arne Van Petegem (a/k/a Styrofoam) who introduced him to the world of electronics and helped him create his debut album, Miami. Not unlike his mentor, Dieter's the Go Find is electronic pop in the finest sense of the word. He takes his cues from most of Morr's roster and has found a sound that is a perfect melding of the Postal Service, New Order and the Notwist. His vocals at times are reminiscent of Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan, but this is not a negative as the vocals fit perfect with the music. (And you know that Cogan's vocals were great no matter how "indie" you are!!) Miami is a gorgeous album of lulling electronic pop songs that is highly recommended for fans of Dntel, the aforementioned Postal Service, and Styrofoam. [JS]







$6.99 LP


Manana EP

"Sota L'Aigua"
"No Puedo de Cidir"

With Manana, Scott "Prefuse 73" Herren bookends the summer with a short return to his Savath & Savalas project. Following the Latin Billboard charting full-length, Apropa't, this gathers the same crew from Chicago, New York and Barcelona together for an eight song EP, and here we have a slightly more beat oriented and processed experiment in Brazilian folk and soul. Eva Puyelo Muns again brings her breathy, slow and sweet vocals to the mix for Scott to stretch, chop and fine-tune in his unique style. Fans of the new crop of international electronic-acoustic pop from the Latin and French worlds (Juana Molina, Keren Ann) should check this out, this will also appeal to fans of some of the new slow moving melodic Icelandic collectives keeping things mellow and beautiful. [DG]







All the Leaves Are Gone

"Well-Heeled Man"
"Jailbird (Hero of the Sorrow)"

Eagerly anticipated new album from Born Heller's Josephine Foster, who had the single best song on the compilation Devendra Banhart curated for Arthur magazine. Despite advance press, All The Leaves Are Gone can't be easily pigeon-holed into the much recently discussed "psych-folk" ghetto, for one thing it rocks far too hard, but it should sit easily on your shelf next to any number of name checkable bands like White Magic or Cat Power, etc. Foster apparently studied opera and there are moments when she gets away with pushing her voice into areas many singers wouldn't be comfortable approaching, and the results tend to be pretty moving. The guy playing electric guitar absolutely rips in a very original manner; super snakey with Middle Eastern overtones and discordant notes spilling out all over the melodies and colliding with Foster's unusual delivery. It's nice to hear a band willing to take a lot of risks and not fall totally flat, due no doubt to the somewhat raw emotional sincerity that seems to send these songs aloft. [MK]







Various/Discovered Covered

"True Love Will Find You in the End" Beck
"Walking the Cow" TV On The Radio

Daniel Johnston is an underground legend of sorts, a strange and singular songwriter and performer who is always name-checked and covered by the "cool" indie artists. Even if you don't own any of his own recordings (many of which were painfully rare self-released cassettes), you likely have heard one of his fragile love songs recorded or encored live by any number of great pop artists. But with a couple of notable exceptions (he has twice recorded actual "studio" albums working with accomplished producers and musicians), Johnston's own recordings are murky and uneven personal expressions, featuring his simple banging piano and child-like vocal wail. His lyrics and melodies are heart-stopping ("Hold me like a mother would, like I've always known somebody should, although tomorrow, don't look that good" from "Living Life") but his performances can test an audience, with a decidedly unpolished folk-art approach. He has reportedly battled mental illness his whole life, and his recordings and occasional live performances are far from professional, but always deeply moving experiences.

Gammon Records, with the cooperation of Johnston, his family, and a bevy of talented fans, has put together this incredible 2-CD tribute album, with 18 artists reinventing their favorite Johnston tracks, and a second companion disc presenting the Johnston originals, most of which appeared only on limited cassette releases, and are long out of print (plus one bonus unreleased recording). This is the best case that I've heard yet for Daniel Johnston as one of the finest songwriters of the modern era. These disparate artists each totally reinvent the songs in their own style, and in every case it sounds like the best tune that they ever wrote. The Eels track actually made me cry, and I'm pretty sure that I don't even like the Eels. Sad, emotional, powerful pop music, in the best sense. What else can I say? This record is wonderful from beginning to end. So many great artists appear that I feel the need to just list them all, and that's enough said: Teenage Fanclub with Jad Fair, Clem Snide, Gordon Gano, Eels, TV On The Radio, The Rabbit, Calvin Johnson, Bright Eyes, Death Cab For Cutie, Beck, Sparklehorse with The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Thistle, Vic Chesnutt, Starlight Mints, M. Ward, Guster, Tom Waits... I think you'll like this record. [JM]







Volume 1 / Various Artists
(Subliminal Sounds)

"Dance Dance Dance" Vichan Maneechot
"Do the Watusi" The Cat

Ah the sweet, sweet sounds of '60s Southeast Asian rock. American pop followed GIs to the war in Vietnam and its surrounding countries, where it was heard for the first time by many native musicians who had little choice but to make it their own. The proliferation of Vietnam movies in the past couple of decades has made most of us quite familiar with the blend of indigenous Asian music and early-'60s American and British rock/pop/dance music that can be found on this great new compilation. Thai Beat A Go-Go is far more straightforward than the relatively bizarre Folk And Pop collections on the Sublime Frequencies label, but that doesn't mean that it's any less interesting. The disc includes great English-language renditions of "Day Tripper" and "Hit the Road Jack," along with barely recognizable covers of Little Richard, Hank Williams, Ray Charles and others. Of course there are lots of great originals like the Cat's instantly classic "Do the Watusi," and there's an amazing Thai surf rock rendition of the James Bond theme. This is easily the best compilation of its kind since Teen Dance Music From China And Malaysia, which came out over two years ago and has been unavailable for quite some time. Super fun stuff, this one's a real crowd pleaser. [RH]







(Drag City)

"Speed to Roam"
"Is Red"

"RTX" is Jennifer Herrema's new configuration post-Royal Trux, the band that she co-founded (alongside ex Neil Hagerty) at the tender age of 15. I can recall as well RTX being the abbreviation/acronym which most broadly served their sensitive, conscious fanbase of the time (that time being principally the span of the '90s, more on which later)…the collection of all caps letters were often bandied in print (is that possible?) as kind of a code. Therefore this first, wholly titular decision on her part does seem wise.

Her decisions as far as production tactics are no doubt rigorous but will split the difference in regards to that former fanbase, as what we mainly have here are the vestiges of her sonic stamps on late-period Trux, in particular those awesome last few EPs. It's a continuation of some fearless effects abuse to be sure, but underpinned by straightforward Rock architecture that seems almost unfamiliar at first given the aural company. However the logic of it all does reveal itself after a couple of listens. Her vocals ring truer than probably ever (and one of the new dudes sings a pretty good song himself), and can manage to lure you into an acceptance of the wider RTX (Mk.2) picture.

As a big fan of Royal Trux I can truly say that this album, along with Hagerty's already prodigious post-Trux output, constitute one the happier musical endings to come from any great band's demise. [DHo]







Various Artists

From acid, to glitch hop, tech, electro-soul, darkwave, experimentalisms, dancehall, breakbeats, IDM, modern b-boyisms and back (to acid, that is): Warp is one of the most prolific, uncompromising, and revolutionary electronic labels the dance world has ever seen. They are the relentless purveyors of electronic pop, in its purest form, and unyielding innovators, embracing an interdisciplinary approach to their work in combining the music with movement, visuals and conceptualism to establish themselves as a fervent, aesthetically challenging force to be reckoned with. "Label" does not suffice to describe Warp. Warp Vision can definitely attest to that.

These are some of the most mind-boggling arrays of visual masterpieces ever to hit your DVD player -- so prepare the popcorn, coffee, or pharmaceuticals and indulge. Some of these videos already have carved fond places within our memories -- most notably Aphex Twin's "Windowlicker" and Squarepusher's "Come On My Selector" -- and the ones directed by Chris Cunningham have appeared on his retrospective DVD, but for the most part, these gems have been shelved for a while since their original airtimes. Classics, new school, and straight-up oddballs include LFO, Autechre, Nightmares On Wax, Luke Vibert, Plaid, Antipop Consortium/Beans, Mira Calix, Aphex Twin, Prefuse 73, Squarepusher, Broadcast, Jamie Lidell and more.

Personal favorites include the entire Cunningham filmography for Warp -- highlighting his jaw-dropping synchronization for "Come On My Selector" (the Director's Cut!). Jarvis Cocker of Pulp shows off his video-making flair early on for Warp with his charming cut + paste collages and sensory-scapes for Aphex Twin's "On," in 1993. His Atari-visuals of Sweet Exorcist's (Richard Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire) "Test Tone" definitely brings one back to (the Atari age, for one!) a time where endless studio and at-home film editing possibilities were a far-flung dream.

Story-telling brilliance and total mastermind action comes through with Plaid's "Itsu" video, directed by Pleix in 2003, and LFO's "Freak" (craze-blaze single off of 2003's Sheath), directed by Daniel Levi. Pork corporations, human slaughterhouses and moshing Japanese schoolgirls never looked this good. Getting up close and personal with the sexy, synth-soul broken-electro croonings of Jamie Lidell is definitely a treat, as is Broadcast's "Papercuts." Some of the more unconventional yet enjoyable views are John Callaghan's sweetly experimental cut, Mira Calix's short film, and the Warp commercial, directed by David Slade. The DVD includes a short, displaying artist credits for album work (and emphasizing Warp's long-standing relationship with the Designers Republic). Many of the artists here were not featured in the video selection. If that wasn't enough, the package also includes a separate, 55-minute mix CD. Radical music envisioned by equally prolific filmmakers and visual artists. It couldn't have been done any other way. [MT]







The Folded Palm
(Absolutely Kosher)

"The Fence Feels Its Post"
"New Soft Mother Hood Alliance"

One of my favorite artists from the Great White North, Victoria's Frog Eyes deliver another indescribably dark and disturbing treat. Led by the weirdly enigmatic frontman Casey Mercer, the group continues to travel down a bleak path of abrasive surrealism. Their third album, The Folded Palms also serves as a finale for what the band perceives to be a stylistic trilogy started with The Bloody Hand, then followed by last year's The Golden River. Supporting Mercer's elastic howls and yelps, the group creates haunted-carnival accompaniment from violent bursts of guitar, ghostly vaudeville piano and jarring percussion that's often accented with clanks from a sea ship bell. And while there's a constant feeling that the singer and his musicians are about to catch fire amidst disturbing stream-of-consciousness observations, The Folded Palms is their most dynamic release yet.

During "New Soft Mother Hood Alliance," the band suddenly goes quiet as drones of a church organ and Mercer's breathy, almost panting vocal delivery turns everything creepily lucid. "A Library Used to Be" is even more minimal, the absence of percussion replaced by low frequency hums and electric buzz. As in any Frog Eyes album, there's a morbid sense of romanticism throughout -- during "Russian Berries but You're Quiet Tonight" Mercer laments, "You better hold me tight because even cancer needs a home." You'll hear influences like Birthday Party-era Nick Cave, Captain Beefheart, and Tom Waits, but listening to a Frog Eyes record is always an intense, visceral peek into a nightmarish world that is very much their own, and only one in which they could inhabit. [GH]





$14.99 CD


$16.99 LP


(Big Dada)

"Money, Power, Respect"
"Indian Thick Jawns"

The new Big Dada release from DJ and producer Diplo is like a trip across the swampy state it's named after. Diplo gained credibility by being a member of the mash-up/funky breaks collective Holletronixm, and on Florida he touches on everything: from trip-hop to hip hop, to dancehall to Miami bass. He mixes some nice beat programming with things like classical strings, found sounds, piano, rain sticks, jazzy southern-styled horns, and some tasty synths; it's kind of an everything-but-the kitchen-sink sort of thing. Think of a less refined Boom Bip or a southern fried DJ Shadow. Crunchy, loopy, and with lots of double time hi-hats and stuttering drums, Florida is mostly instrumental but with occasional guest vocals from Martina Topley-Bird, P.E.A.C.E (Freestyle Fellowship), Vybz Cartel, and Spanish MC Pantera Os Danadinhos. More heady than dancefloor, but with its fair share of uptempo numbers. [DG]







(Samadhi Sound)

"Promp. Parv. 518/20"

Though you can't judge a book by its cover, the iconic painting of the Madonna with child set against the desolate confines of a drab hotel room comprising the artwork of this CD is an apt glimpse of what to expect from L.A. based composer and software author Akira Rabelais' new release Spellewauerynsherde. (To clarify, this is not a bad thing.) His fourth release and first for David Sylvian's Samadhi Sound imprint finds Rabelais using recently discovered decades-old recordings of Icelandic a cappella hymns as his source material. Employing his Argeiphontes Lyre software to manipulate (i.e. stretch, randomize, filter, multiply, divide, etc.) this rather other-timely singing, he achieves an effect at times not dissimilar to the haunting textural/cluster choral works of Ligeti or Penderecki, or perhaps the dark ambient soundscapes of Lustmord. At other times, the subtle use of processing allows the devotion and seeming folk-like sorrow of the vocalists to come through, reminiscent of plainchant from medieval times mixed with Child ballads from England and Scotland.

For those inclined to contemplate complex faith and morality issues in this time of war and political misguided-ness, particularly with the realization of an America split in two in an election year, this may be the soundtrack for you. [KC]







Various / Selected by Don Letts

"Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)" Hashim
"The Mexican" Babe Ruth

After documenting London's exploding punk scene, filmmaker Don Letts moved to New York to capture the Clash's American invasion unknowing that he would soon be a firsthand witness to another burgeoning subculture. Between the summers of '81 and '82, Letts would be caught smack dab in the middle of hip hop's migration from Bronx block parties into downtown clubs and art galleries.

Almost parallel to the UK punks' embracement of Jamaican music via the dub and reggae plates that Letts was spinning during his London DJ residency at the Roxy, hip hop would weave its way into NYC's white, downtown rock scene. Deborah Harry's friendship with Fab Five Freddy, spray can artist Futura 2000, Ruza Blue's rap night at the NeGril on 2nd Avenue, Grand Master Flash's opening slot during the Clash's historic 17-night run at Bond's, and Letts himself -- knowing or not, these names would all be ambassadors, guiding the initial cultural influence of early-hip hop. Letts' unique position makes him the perfect selector for a compilations such as this one and its London focused predecessor Dread Meets Punk Rocker Uptown.

Dread Meets B-Boys Downtown is a diverse collection, featuring several essential tracks of early scratching from purveyors like Grand Wizard Theodore and of course Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The production may seem somewhat crude, but it only emphasizes the amazing display of speed, accuracy and creativity of these DJs and their breakthrough audio collages. Letts also selects essential hip hop cuts like the Fearless Four's "Rockin It," "Down By Law" by Fab Five Freddy, as well as Hashim's classic electro-funk track Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)."

His compilation doesn't only fixate on the sounds being created in NYC, it also includes ones that influenced the old skool, sounds you'd expect to hear rumbling from Afrika Bambaata's sound system: cuts like Malcom McLaren's "Buffalo Gals" (another breakthrough track in early hip hop), Kraftwerk's "Metal on Metal, the British prog rock of Babe Ruth's Spanish guitar infused "The Mexican," "Apache" by Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band (which would provide staple breakbeats for Kool Herc and Grand Master Flash), and the Mohawks' groovy Hammond infused soul stomper "The Champ" (to this day, still a New York party favorite).

Letts also throws in the Clash's ultra-rare "Outside Broadcast," basically a re-mix/dub of "Radio Clash" that divulges an even bigger picture of the band's early hip hop and dub influences. Sixteen tracks in all with great liner notes and photos, I can't suggest a better compilation to capture the energy and excitement going on in early-'80s NYC, not to mention that it's a great party record too. Highly Recommended! [GH]

You'll want to also visit a nearby magazine store and pick up the September issue of Dazed & Confused for an excellent Don Letts interview accompanied by lots of great photos from this amazing era in NYC.





$13.99 CD


When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog
(Secretly Canadian)

"Tram #7 to Heaven"
"You Are the Light"

In his native Sweden, Jens Lekman is already a pop star. The young, 23-year-old's baritone voice is a mix of Stephin Merritt, Jonathan Richman and Scott Walker, delivering a smooth croon of romantic pining amidst humorous imagery and wit. Following a few EPs, his first full-length, When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog is an inventive indie pop record that is filled with classic AM radio pop sensibility. Album opener "Tram #7 to Heaven" channels Burt Bacharach through the Velvet Underground and is delightfully melancholic with its dreamy orchestration. Even the production sounds as if it were recorded in another time.

In "Happy Birthday, Dear Friend Lisa" Lekman's sad, deep voice juxtaposed against the song's whimsical trumpet and the lighthearted, breezy arrangement summons the sentiment from any number of Stephin Merritt's projects. The upbeat "You Are the Light" is a perfect example of the singer's sincerely honest yet goofy sense of romanticism as he opens the track singing, "Yeah I got busted, so I'll use my one phone call to dedicate a song to you on the radio." I wasn't expecting to be as taken by this record as I have, but Lekman's unpretentiously nostalgic, hook-filled songwriting is so natural and that it's impossible not to listen to this without longing for the simple days of summer car trips singing to the AM radio. [GH]







Saul Williams


Saul Williams' self-titled follow up to his hit-n-miss debut Amethyst Rock Star finds him still knee deep in Cali's hip-hop-rock scene. This self-produced outing, released on Fader magazine's new label, is another collection of mostly guitar driven tracks with a hip-hop backing beat; he even samples both Bad Brains and Chrome. Enlisting an at first head-scratching list of collaborators including Ikey Owens (Mars Volta), Zach De La Rocha (Rage Against The Machine), Thavius Ajabu Beck from the Mush records camp, and Mia Doi Todd, together they help Williams bring his urgent, dark, chaotic and layered musical prose to life, though it's always his own rock-hop-era dream.

A great poet and upcoming actor in his other life, Williams is a master of language, however his music releases sometimes miss the mark. The best moments are when he ditches the guitars and layers of fuzz and grit, and gets back to the roots of hip-hop -- simply beats and prose. (Check the great trio of songs, "African Student Movement," "Black Stacey" and "P.G.") He's great when his voice is raw and when his words, spoken in their original intonation, create a mood (i.e. "Talk to Strangers" and "Seaweed"). Williams' new album is for those who want a lot more depth from N.E.R.D., enjoy the urban poli-rock fusion of R.A.T.M., like intelligent pro-black storytelling, are seeking the rebirth of Black Rock, or are simply just waiting for Andre 3000 to completely rock out. [DG]








Dubbing With the Royals
(Pressure Sounds)

"Nose Hole"
"Sugar Candy"

This highly underrated vocal group, headed by Roy Cousins, produced some of the finest roots reggae of the day with their strong harmonies and sweet melodies -- a combination that typified the sound of the Royals. Now, thanks to Pressure Sounds, this collection of obscure dub versions finally sees the light of day. This set is a proverbial who's-who featuring vocal contributions from Gregory Isaacs and Knowledge, DJs Prince Far I and I Roy, and some of the finest session musicians of the day including Ernest Ranglin, Sly and Robbie and Tommy McCook. The dubs, several never before released, were mixed by Scientist, Prince Jammy, Lee Perry, King Tubby, Errol Thompson and others. There is great variety in the tracks here -- from Scientist's stark, hollow drum sounds to Lee Perry's lumber some bouncing rhythm, Prince Jammys' driving steppers to King Tubby's echo drenched sonics. Honestly, everything I love about dub music is here. The well placed effects, balanced horn arrangements, boombastic DJs and tuff militant rhythms make this reggae music of the highest order. Recommended. [GA]








Night on Fire

"Night on Fire"
"No Cabaret!"

On their sophomore release, Kentucky's VHS Or Beta have taken a step back from their "Daft Punk…Live!!!" stance of the debut, and incorporated some fresher influences, i.e. the Rapture and Radio 4, for an up-to-the-minute disco-punk-funk-house attack, featuring vocals lovingly paying homage to Robert Smith and grooves assembled by producers Martin Brumbach and Adam Dorn (Mocean Worker). The instrumentation is classic-rock-band bass, drums, guitar, keys, and vox, but with metronomic playing, highly concepted production and I suspect a good bit of studio splicing, they have created a slick suite of songs that intentionally dehumanizes the musicians in favor of hand-clapping dance anthems. [JM]









Last Exit

"High Come Down"

Sometime late last summer, rumors were circulating about this new duo from Canada who recorded under the moniker of Junior Boys. The talk was how they were "the saviors of electronic music" and "pop geniuses." In late October 2003, they released their debut 12-inch on their own Kin label and it featured a remix by Fennesz. (Yes, that Fennesz!) It is quite rare for an artist's debut EP to have a remix by such a well-established persona, but hey, the Junior Boys are special. Upon first listen to their single "Birthday" I was floored; this record had everything that I loved about pop music at the time. "Birthday" took the sound of Ultravox and Depeche Mode, and melded it with up-to-date beats à la Timbaland and the Neptunes. The vocals were sweet sounding like Jay Jay Johanson, and the lyrics were exceptional. It was the perfect pop song and the Fennesz remix solidified my purchase...I needed this record immediately!

Approximately two months later they followed it up with the "High Come Down" 12-inch and guess what…another stunning slab of vinyl, and another remix, but this time out it was Manitoba's turn. This duo were unstoppable, but where was the album? And could the Junior Boys pull off an entire record of their amazing brand of electronic pop? Wait no longer because the answer is YES!! The Junior Boys' debut full-length is nothing short of brilliant. Ten tracks in all, including the two singles, this album lives up to all of the hype and more. Plus the re-release on Domino Records includes a bonus CD with the Fennesz and Manitoba remixes and b-sides. Read the reviews, listen to the record, and bask in the glow of the Junior Boys and their debut full-length Last Exit. It is one of the best albums that you will hear all year. Highly Recommended. [JS]









All's Well

"Daddy Needs a Throne"
"Working Nights"

This Heat's reputation for soul-jarring, timeless art rock is well established by their seminal second LP, Deceit (as well as the rest of their catalogue). Camberwell Now's All's Well is a collection of two EPs and one LP of material from the early-mid-'80s band led by This Heat alumnus, Charles Hayward. This stuff is at once recognizably related to their contemporaries, Soft Machine (intelligently critical socio-political commentary-vocals) and Faust (tireless sound exploration) while at the same time being just plain timeless.

Since both projects are essential, the most pertinent question to ask is: "What's the difference between the two bands?" Well, y' know how This Heat has a primal-machine quality amounting to the purest possible form of 'art-metal', that tends to either ascend (or descend) beautifully? Well, Camberwell Now has that quality plus a bit more of a 'band-feel' that has all the brain-pummeling sound variety, minus a bit of the metallic feeling, that rocks/drives and lurches forward (and in other directions too), at times at a quicker tempo than This Heat. Track 5, "Daddy Needs a Throne" lurches for a while than jumps into a breakneck gallop with so many changes you forget anyone came up with the term 'math-rock'. Math ain't got this much heart.

For fans of Faust, John Kerry vs. George Bush, Can, that band from Louisville, KY called Slint, and life-altering experiences in general. Essential and recommended. [SM]




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[GA] Geoff Albores
[KC] Kevin Coultas
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[DHo] Dan Hougland
[MK] Michael Klausman
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou
[JS] Jeremy Sponder
[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

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