April 7, 2005  




Rio Baile Funk (various)
Tibetan Buddhist Rites
Dungen (reissue)
Gang Gang Dance
Magnolia Electric Co.
Pau Riba (reissue)
The Books
British Sea Power
Vast Aire & Mighty Mi


Great Lake Swimmers
Markus Guentner
Mutant Disco 3 (Ze compilation)
Undercover 3 (Ze compilation)
Swervedriver (compilation)

Jacob Kirkegaard
The Works

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


Other Music is giving away two pairs of tickets to the Fiery Furnaces' upcoming NYC show this Saturday at Webster Hall! Enter right away by sending an e-mail to tickets@othermusic.com. Please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. Winners will be notified by 2:00 p.m. Friday, April 8.

Saturday, April 9 @ Webster Hall
125 East 11th Street NY, NY

APR Sun 10 Mon 11 Tues 12 Wed 13 Thurs 14 Fri 15 Sat 16


Next week, M83 will be playing two nights at the Bowery Ballroom with Ulrich Schnauss opening, and you can win a pair of tickets to the Wednesday night performance! To enter, send an e-mail to contest@othermusic.com. Please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. Winner will be notified by 4:00 p.m. Monday, April 11.

Wednesday, April 13 @ Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey, NY NY

(M83 will also be performing the following night, April 14.)

APR Sun 10 Mon 11 Tues 12 Wed 13 Thurs 14 Fri 15 Sat 16


Brendan Benson returns to New York City to perform at the Bowery Ballroom. We're giving away a pair of tickets to see the singer-songwriter, and you can enter by e-mailing giveaway@othermusic.com. Please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. Winner will be notified by 4:00 p.m. Monday, April 11.

Friday, April 15 @ Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey Street NY, NY







Rio Baile Funk - Favela Booty Beats

"Tapinha" MCs Naldinho & Beth
"Cerol Na Mao" Dennis DJ

Since City of God came out, it seems like the once self-contained Favela bass culture in Brazil has many Euro and Yank tastemakers and critics mining the slums in the morros of Rio looking for hipster-cred gold. But seriously, who could blame them? Just one listen to the cut-n-paste, woofer-fryin' bounce comin' out of that area will leave anybody jonesin' for more. The problem was trying to find the music; through the years Brazilian authorities have intermittently banned these songs from being sold or played. Typically, this music is passed around on mini disc, or CD-R to the deejays, and like hip-hop, it still remains the party music of choice for a society that many powers-that-be would love to write off. Favela funk parties typically take place high in the hills of Rio and attract sometimes as many as 10,000 people. So finally, after many a bootlegged mix CD, this seems to be the first official compilation to document this amazing scene.

The sound grew out of Miami bass and freestyle from the late-'80s and early-'90s, which was always very popular Baile music, but progressed to include influences from dancehall, Batucada and hip-hop. The songs are always punctuated with ass-rattlin' low-end and heavy conga breakdowns, with hooks disparately lifted from popular dance songs (Bizarre Inc.? Baha Men? Front 242???). Never boring, super propulsive, and guaranteed to make your grandmamma try to stick her butt out and pop, this is a must have for fans of any sort of dirty dance beats. Now that Favela funk is garnering mainstream coverage in its homeland, it's only a matter of time before it hits big over here, so buy this thing now and impress your friends. [DH]







(Sub Rosa)

"Entreaty to the Three Buddha-bodies"
"Lama Norbu Guamtsho"

This pile driver of a two-disc set stems from the work of Englishman John Levy, an ethnomusicologist par excellence and a fiery sort of character to boot. Well-regarded for his previous work throughout Southeast Asia, recording hundreds of different tribes and ethnic enclaves for both the Folkways and Lyrichord imprints, he received a personal invite from the King of Bhutan's court in the early-'70s to come and extensively record the Buddhist rituals performed within the country. Able to reach the interior of cloistered monasteries far from the general populace, Levy documented sounds never before heard by Western ears, let alone the citizens of Bhutan. The resulting four-LP set that Lyrichord released at the time remain some of the heaviest music set to tape.

Bhutans also call their country Drukyul, which translates as "The Land of the Thunder Dragon." So it should be no surprise that the music herein sounds somewhat like a "thunder dragon." While the Bhutan strain of Tibetan ritual music retains all the earmarks of the religious ceremony, with chants, chimes, gongs, drums, these recordings also prominently feature the dung chen, which are trumpets that range from five to 12 feet in length. These enormous horns, when they enter into the incantations and prayers, raise the tonic drone of the monks by a semitone, making for resonant harmonies both beautiful and discordant. The resulting tones and clangs that appear here should appeal not only to fans of world music but the more outré free jazz and noise scene. If you dig esoteric drone and clamor from groups as diverse as SUNN O))) or No-Neck Blues Band, there's something in these ancient ceremonies for you, too. [RB]







(Subliminal Sounds)

"Lilla Vannen"

Let's wind back about five years or so. Five years before Ta Det Lugnt blew our minds and sent us on a wild, windswept musical journey. Then, Gustav and friends were on a 'trip' of their own--delving into astonishingly brave experimentations and explorations, foraying into what would end up to be the sonic framework of Dungen's sound today. Dungen's first 'works' hint at a sound that's a bit more jammy in contrast to pop-oriented song writing, boasting a wondrous psychedelic montage, from sitar-rock to acid damaged jazzy-musings. In addition to their first album, this exclusive CD also features a lot of previously unreleased material, spanning 1999-2001. A must for those already inspired and taken by Dungen's magic, and highly recommended for those also looking for somewhere to begin. [MT]







God's Money
(Social Registry)

"Nomad for Love"

The second album by New York experimental rock group Gang Gang Dance shows the band expanding the fidelity of its unique sonic palette and apparently focusing much of its attention on developing song structures that aren't quite as loose as the ones they used to favor. They've shared many stages with their friends in Black Dice and Animal Collective, and though all three bands share a similar spirit, their sound is almost completely different. If you can imagine Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins sitting in with Can, you might have some idea of what to expect. Many of the songs are simultaneously percussive and ethereal, with sharp drums providing counterpoint to washes of keyboard and layers of echo and reverb drenched vocals.

Non-western influences are definitely a big part of Gang Gang's musical equation, but its difficult to put your finger on precisely what they are. For example, the third track is built around a repetitive melody played on what sounds like a cheap synthesizer approximation of a set of Andean pan pipes. There's a certain new age spirituality to their whole process, as if semi-intelligible singer Lizzi Bougatsos is leading some kind of shamanistic ritual.

Like their first album, God's Money flows seamlessly from start to finish without too many moments of silence. Many of the tracks are connected by lovely chiming cinematic interludes that fall somewhere between the less ominous passages in Angelo Badalamenti's scores for David Lynch and Dave Grusin's soundtrack to Richard Donner's The Goonies. God's Money is a huge step forward for Gang Gang Dance, a record that effectively captures the magic of their live performances. [RH]







$12.99 LP


What Comes After the Blues
(Secretly Canadian)

"Leave the City"
"The Dark Don't Hide It"

This past January, Jason Molina unveiled his new band Magnolia Electric Company with a "teaser" live album, Trials and Errors. From the first track on, the music blew my mind. The album had alt-country leanings, a southern drawl in the vocals, and most of all, it rocked! It had been a very long time since I heard anyone come that close to Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

On their "proper" debut, What Comes After the Blues, it seems that Molina has found a band that can finally express his vision, rather than utilizing the revolving cast featured on the numerous Songs: Ohia albums. The group is made up of nine members playing everything, from traditional rock instrumentation to instruments like Wurlitzer, trumpet and violin. The songwriting is great and as a whole the record is tight, but perhaps it's slightly too polished.

On Trials and Errors a song like "The Dark Don't Hide It" was a raucous southern rock stormer, but here the track is toned down a lot; maybe a little too much. It seems to have lost the urgency that initially made me so excited. The same thing can be said for "Leave the City," the only other song that appears on both records.

But don't get me wrong, this is a very good album and in my opinion, probably my second favorite "proper" Molina release, right behind his last Songs: Ohia album entitled, well, Magnolia Electric Company. If you are a fan of Jason's previous outings, or just a fan of southern rock and alt-country in general, then this will not disappoint. [JS]







Jo, La Donya I El Gripau
(Edita PDI)

"La Marramua"
"Donya Mixeires"

With the veritable avalanche of Spanish and South American psych reissues that have been coming into the store lately, it seems a daunting task to draw your attention to yet another. But even if you've already worn yourself out on Congreso, Lula Cortes E Ze Ramalho, Satwa, We All Together, Ana Y Jamie, Musica Dispersa, Sisa, and the like, don't pass up on Pau Riba. This might well be the best of the bunch, honest!

Catalan singer-songwriter Pau Riba would later move into more electric territory and collaborate with Daevid Allen, but in 1971 he released an entirely acoustic album called Jo, La Donya I El Gripau which is beautiful. It sounds a bit like the Incredible String Band, or sometimes Caetano Veloso. His voice is incredible and goes literally all over the place. He's right on the notes one second, then a moment later somewhere mysteriously between the notes, with splendiferously rolled "r"s flying every which way and a great occasional leap into falsetto. Incredible! Hippie psychedelic folk at its finest. [RH]







Lost and Safe

"Be Good to Them Always"
"An Owl With Knees"

The Books have always been masters at fashioning collages out of obscure, strung-together audio samples. And this is still the case with Lost and Safe, their latest album on Tomlab. However, the most striking difference between this record and their previous releases, Thought for Food and Lemon of Pink, is the focus on live vocals. The soft-voiced Nick Zammuto adds a new melodic depth to each song as he sings over their signature plucks from a banjo and guitar, cello and clicky percussion.

There is also a stronger, more obvious interaction between their live playing and their digital sounds. On "An Animated Description of Mr. Maps," the percussion lines up with an audio sample that sounds like a criminal description. Sometimes even the lyrics mimic the samples with Zammuto skillfully fitting long sentences inside shorter melody lines. Lost and Safe never lulls, alternating between gentle ("It Never Changes to Stop"), creeping ("None But Shining Hours") and a few compositions heavy on the cut-and-paste tip like "Be Good to Them Always." The Books yet again prove themselves to be outstanding architects of fine aural found art. [CP]







New World Observer

"Port Au-Prince"
"Little Town of Bethlehem"

Montreal's Scott Monteith, aka Deadbeat, aka half of Crackhaus, returns with his third album for the fine ~scape label. And it's a quick turnaround from last year's evocative Something Borrowed, Something Blue. Monteith continues to plumb the digital depths set out by folks like Pole, Maurizio, and the early Basic Channel catalog. Still informed by dub reggae's oceanic feel, Deadbeat has moved forward and evolved a bit, branching out and adding a bit more commentary about politics to New World Observer. Aside from the overt political allusions (see "Abu Ghraib" for example) there are more vocals here than on any of his previous work. Sprinkled about are snippets from a Palestinian woman and a certain right-wing radio host, but the biggest presence is that of Montrealian chanteuse, Athesia. She brings a bossa-nova tinged vocal to the table, but rarely does Deadbeat allow them to pass by unprocessed. Instead, he breaks down her lines to a layer of finely chopped phonetics and encoded sighs, making for a fine marriage between the cool of his post-dub spaces and the warm touch that Athesia brings. [RB]







Open Season
(Rough Trade)

"It Ended on an Oily Stage"
"Please Stand Up"

Over the past few weeks we've been hearing from quite a lot of UK bands (as well as some domestic Anglo-influenced artists) whom, all in their catchy way, seem hell-bent on taking the dancefloor back to the pogo days of 1982. In spite of their name and motherland, Brighton's British Sea Power is not one of them, and their second album is in fact fairly tranquil. There aren't any raucous post-punk stompers like the first few tracks of The Decline of, and the Pixies-styled guitar riffs aren't as upfront in the mix. Open Season does however pick up from where much of the second half of their debut left us, with mid-tempo rock songs that seem born out of seafaring tales and old European tradition. Singer Yan comes from the same school as Bowie and Morrissey, and like the Moz, has a wit and charm that's inspired by 19th century British authors. While not as orchestrated as Echo & the Bunnymen's Ocean Rain, there is definitely a similar majestic sentiment running throughout, and Yan's breathy inflections frequently bring to mind the voice of Ian McCulloch. BSP's latest will not disappoint those looking for a little more substance in their Britpop. [GH]







The Best Damn Rap Show
(Eastern Conference)

"Buck 50 Express"

For his latest offering, Vast Aire has teamed up with producer Might Mi in his bid to create The Best Damn Rap Show. Now that's a weighty promise but they just about make due on their intention. This set places Aire closer to the yesteryears of Cannibal Ox than his official solo album did. It's accessible and very listenable, yet it's also a little noisy, choppy and punchy, but without journeying into the apocalyptic dark side that Can Ox called home. Featuring tight, snappy production and the articulate bass flow that keep the boys in backpacks coming back for more, fans of the latest by Pete Rock, Eastern Conference, and of course Def Jux should check this out. [DG]








"Just Let Go"
"O (Vision Creation Newsun)"

About the time the world was entering its new millennium, Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner's convergence of experimental theater, pop culture and music took the city by storm. Featuring a troupe of dancers, elaborate costumes and, of course, Spooner's obvious lip-syncing over the duo's pre-recorded music, their stylish performances quickly became the stuff of legend. Fischerspooner's single "Emerge" made electroclash a household name in nightclubs all around the world, and soon to come were gigantic recording contracts with Ministry of Sound followed by Capitol. Between 2000 and 2003, their debut album, #1, would be released and re-released on almost a half-a-dozen labels, but the bar was raised too high. Their club success didn't transfer quite as well to the general record buying public.

For their second album, Fischerspooner haven't totally reinvented themselves but Odyssey definitely marks an evolution. Citing '70s rock and psychedelic influences, the group's press sheet might lead you to believe that they were looking to reinterpret Pink Floyd's The Wall. That's not the case; they're sticking to their synth-pop guns only here they've expanded their instrumentation and musical palette with songs that may finally supercede their live spectacle. The duo utilized an impressive team of collaborators including pop's top hit song-maker Linda Perry, and producers Tony Hoffer (Air, Beck) and Mirwais. David Byrne contributes lyrics to "Get Confused" and there's also an unlikely pairing with recently deceased author and activist Susan Sontag, who supplied the words for one of the album's high points, the poignant but catchy "We Need a War."

Fischerspooner's new songs have more of a bite. A scrappy guitar buzzes right alongside the analog synths in album opener "Just Let Go" while a live drummer drives tracks like "Everything to Gain" and "A Kick in the Teeth." During "All We Are," you can pick out the '70s inspiration from Spooner's breathy melodies; in fact he's never sounded better. None of the tracks aim for the jugular like "Emerge" did, but as a whole Odyssey goes deeper than #1's icy surface and has more in common with releases by versatile electronic pop icons like the Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode. But what caught us all by surprise is the album's leftfield ending. Fischerspooner leave us with an unexpected highlight, a cover of the Boredoms' epic "O." Cut in half to a mere six-minutes-and-thirty-five seconds, Spooner shrieks and chants "vision, creation, newsun" over a cacophony of cosmic, Krautrockin' sounds and video arcade noises. Do I dare say electro-psych? [GH]







Elevators and Oscillators
(Ghostly International)

"My Radio" Schneider TM Mustang Remake
"Devices and Strategies"

Elevators and Oscillators is a collection of singles/12" tracks and remixes that explore Solvent's electropop side. If you've already heard "My Radio" off of 2002's Disco Nouveau compilation, you know what this one's all about: sweet melodies reminiscent of radio-era OMD or Erasure (but produced in an indie kid's bedroom studio), catchy breaks and beats, and love song lyrics sung in a broken hearted robot voice. While the tracks are mostly poppy and sweet, there are a few rockers like Alter Ego's remix of "Think Like Us" and Legowelt's remix of "My Radio". [SM]







Great Lake Swimmers

"Moving Pictures Silent Films"
"I Will Never See the Sun"

Great Lake Swimmers is in fact the lone Tony Dekker, a Toronto singer-songwriter whose weary voice seems to come from another time. His eponymous debut was released two years ago in Canada but finally makes its way into the States via the Misra label. As far as music, it doesn't get much starker than this. Recorded in an abandoned grain silo, usually it's only Dekker accompanying himself with his soft strummed guitar. His voice is reminiscent of My Morning Jacket's Jim James, only here far more haunting as biblical imagery and death obsession linger throughout the songs. Delicate accents from a piano or a quiet accordion occasionally creep into the mix, but Dekker doesn't need much musical assistance to carry his fragile yet beautiful, reverberating melodies. Songs like album opener "Moving Pictures Silent Films" the spooky "Merge, a Vessel, a Harbour," and "I Will Never See the Sun" haven't left my head for days. While Nick Drake is an obvious reference point, Dekker's songcraft is authentically his own. Fans of Will Oldham as well as Cass McComb's earlier Americana-inspired recordings will hold Great Lake Swimmers in high regard. Definitely an album best listened to late at night. [GH]









Markus Guentner has created an album that bridges the gap between his pop ambient and his deep techno styles. On 1981 his ambient tracks display a matured electro-pastoral atmosphere that is a bit more unique than his former "younger Gas/W. Voigt" style. Instead of skittering melodies, Guentner is using full-pretty chords that ring out and build while embedded in atmosphere. Tracks like "Wanderung" have an almost Cluster-like Krautrock quality that suggests an opening scene near a vast misty lake at dawn. Smack dab in the middle of the album are two dreamy dance tracks that are best described as 'schaffelpop'. The grinding schaffelbeat is muffled a bit and develops gradually so the bass hits and the melody stand out and make it as much a listener's track as a dance track. New stuff that shows off Guentner's range and album-creating abilities. Nice. [SM]







Mutant Disco Volume 3 - Garage Sale

"I'm an Indian, Too" Don Armando
"Dance or Die" Sweet Pea Atkinson & Was (Not Was)

Remember when that guy found a Beatles test pressing at a garage sale? Just goes to prove that gems can be discovered amidst a hodgepodge of items in unlikely places. Luckily, along with the '80s revival comes that era's craving for a mix of different styles in the search for new music. So it's no surprise that the re-releases of 1981's Mutant Disco (this reissue was expanded to 25 tracks) would spawn two great follow-up volumes, the newest being Volume 3, Garage Sale.

At this garage sale, there are lots of curiosities to be found by both the known and not-so-well-known artists coming from far and wide. With "Techno-Fréqs," Junie Morrison--founding member of Funkadelic--lights up the dance floor with Funkadelic's signature space age vocoders and funny phrases amidst the shoe shuffling, ass-swaying beats. On the more obscure tip (read: underground classic), Snuky Tate struts his stuff above a bounding bassline in the synthesizer and guitar jam, "He's the Groove." Another score is the thumping "Read My Lips" from the Was (Not Was) crew; and it's scarily at home in today's political climate (and unsurprising fodder for today's dancefloor mixes). Lest we not learn from that history, the Larry Levan remix of "Something Wrong in Paradise" appears, adding extra flavor to the Latin number from Kid Creole & the Coconuts.

My favorite though is Cristina's "What's a Girl to Do," remixed (by Don Was)--imagine Joan Jett being fed through a computer, compressed with Yellow Magic Orchestra, then spit out and graffiti-ed by Suicide. And that brings us to the end-- the album closes out with the long version of Suicide's twisted lullaby "Dream Baby Dream." A piece of dance floor history (or future as ZE records looks at it) worth (re)discovering. [LG]








"(Tropical) Heatwave" James White & the Blacks
"The Beat Goes On" Casino Music

A great collection of cover versions recorded by ZE records artists over the years, Undercover has more than its share of strange and amazing early-'80s new wave/disco/funk/rock tracks. If you've picked up other ZE reissues in the past, you might already have Cristina's interpretation of Michel Polnareff's "La Poupee Qui Fait Non" and/or James White & the Blacks' recording of "(Tropical) Heatwave" by Irving Berlin. Kid Creole & the Coconuts' version of Marlene Dietrich's signature song "Lili Marlene" and Alan Vega's take on Gene Vincent's "Be Bop A Lula" aren't impossible to track down either.

Some of the best tracks here are a bit further off the beaten path. Among the highlights of the disc are a somewhat faithful but still great rendition of Brian Eno's "Needles in the Camel's Eye," done by the French group Suicide Romeo, and Coati Mundi's sleazy salsa re-working of the highly suggestive Captain Beefheart favorite "Tropical Hotdog Night." There's also a fantastic version of the reggae classic "My Boy Lollipop" done by disco producer Bob Blank's group Aural Exciters, and Lizzy Mercier Descloux's sultry cover of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On." It's not exactly a revolutionary concept for a compilation, but the tracks all fit together very well and make for a really fun hour of music. [RH]







Juggernaut Rides '89 to'98
(Castle Music)

"These Times"
"Juggernaut Rides"

Did you hear about the time Sonic Youth, Husker Du, Ride and My Bloody Valentine piled into a stretch Eldorado and road-tripped through Arizona's Painted Desert? Well, it didn't really happen but that's what Swervedriver sounds like. And I don't mean post-Goo Sonic Youth, or Loveless-era My Bloody Valentine. I also don't mean in that typical swirling dissonant dreamrock way either.

Swervedriver's rhythm section was amazing, with a great drummer and a bassist whose playing alternated between melodic and throbbing. The two guitarists contrasted each other constantly--be it leads, rhythm, or in their sheets of melodic sound, they could soar with the best of them. Swervedriver had the riffs of "You Made Me Realise"/"Feed Me with Your Kiss" MBV, only thrown into British Dinosaur Jr. song structures (not the jangly or remotely Neil Young influenced) as well as Thurston-styled post-beat poet/rock hesher lyrics. Not Britpop, not shoegaze, and not classic rock.

Swervedriver's sound was totally of the time, but they also managed to confound listeners with their ability to utilize the best qualities of both British shoegaze and classic, touchstone American indie rock, all at the same time. Not the most avant-garde concept, but no one has ever quite managed to do what they did as well as they could. Not then and not now. [SM]











Last year, Jacob Kirkegaard visited various regions of Iceland making geothermal audio recordings of vibrations beneath the surface of the earth. Using a scientific approach to merge art with environmental sound, he was able to capture the hidden musicality running throughout this volcanic activity.









The Works
(Subliminal Sounds)

"Work Everybody"

After melting our minds last year with Tat Det Lugnt," the Subliminal Sounds label is ready to drop another sweet tab of Swedish psych-rock onto our tongues. Led by singer/guitarist Andreas, (who filled in on bass with Dungen during last year's visit to NYC), the five members of the Works play their instruments like virtuosos, while still echoing early-Pink Floyd and a '60s pop sensibility from bands like the Who into their dense, psychedelic world. Guest players include members of Dungen.




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[RB] Randy Breaux
[LG] Lisa Garrett
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[DH] Duane Harriott
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[SM] Scott Mou
[CP] Carrie Pierce
[JS] Jeremy Sponder
[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

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