April 14, 2005  




Tetuzi Akiyama
The National
Josephine Foster
Apothecary Hymns
The Zincs
Jacob Kirkegaard
South San Gabriel


Morgen (reissue)
A Silver Mt. Zion
New Thing! (Soul Jazz compilation)
Benjamin Biolay

Bloc Party (available on vinyl)
A Hawk and a Hacksaw
The Blue Van

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

Ulrich Schnauss

Enter to win the ultimate in spring fashions from DOMINO RECORDS! Winner will receive a pair of breezy ULRICH SCHNAUSS tickets to tonight's show at the Bowery Ballroom with M83, a stacked, hot pink copy of SEMPER SATAGO (the first label compilation from Domino Records, US), and two baby rib crop top surprise full-length albums from Domino artists featured on SEMPER SATAGO. Enter right away by e-mailing contest@othermusic.com. Please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. Winner will be notified by 1:00 p.m. Thursday, April 14.

Thursday, April 14 @ Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey NY, NY

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

Ariel Pink


This Friday, Ariel Pink will be performing at Tonic for the release party of his new record, Worn Copy. Joining LA's warped pop recluse will be NYC's Excepter who are also celebrating the release of their new CD, Throne, and Soft Circle (featuring Hisham from Black Dice). Other Music is giving away two pairs of tickets to this special night. To enter, send an e-mail to tickets@othermusic.com. Please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. Winners will be notified by 5:00 p.m. Thursday, April 14.

Friday, April 15 @ Tonic
107 Norfolk Street NY, NY

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


Next week, German electro-dub pioneers Rhythm & Sound will be making two rare NYC appearances at Cielo. On both nights, they will be joined by special guests from Wackies as well as Francois K. We're giving away a pair of tickets to each of these exclusive nights. You can enter by e-mailing giveaway@othermusic.com. Please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. Winners will be notified by 4:00 p.m. Friday, April 15.

Monday, April 18 & Tuesday, April 19 @ Cielo
18 Little West 12th Street NY, NY

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


Join us at APT on Tuesday, April 26, when we welcome Stones Throw's very own Peanut Butter Wolf and Koushik. The producer/DJ extraordinaires will be spinning a diverse, eclectic mix of music. This will definitely be a night that both beat heads and crate diggers won't want to miss.

Tuesday, April 26 @ APT
419 West 13th Street NY, NY

$6 - 9 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
Open Boru Vodka Bar from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.







$15.99 LP


Beauty & the Beat

"Funky Voltron"
"Fumbling Over Words That Rhyme"

Just when I thought rap music and hip-hop were taking a fatal whirl further into a downward spiral of mediocrity and mainstream absurdity, Boston's Edan came through with a gorgeous shot at deliverance...and totally succeeded. His sophomore full-length showcases a matured sound tempered with ill songwriting and unique-as-f**k production boasting a robust vocal presence. This is nerdy soundclash finally channeled in a relevant direction, straight up. Bold and daring (post)modern musicscapes executed brilliantly, tying vintage and new school--a multitude of hyper-contextual vectors and a blustering mixed-bag of cultured regalia layered into a delicious cake. It's ready to eat too, flavored with off-kilter boom-bap-don't-stop, obscuro '70s funk breaks, bends and echoes, clever (reversed) samples, crafty narrative stabs that are intense and vigorous enough to wake up Queensbridge, not to mention doped up psychedelic perversions, production-wise. I'd possibly cite Edan parallel with super-wonders El-P and Madlib, but this kid is on some fresh sh*t, carving out an entirely newfangled niche of his own. And we're definitely listening. [MT]







Route 13 to the Gates of Hell

"Promised Thing Blues"
"Money, Love Rock"

Tetuzi Akiyama's latest release is actually a new record as well as a reissue. The first half of Route 13 to the Gates Of Hell is a live recording from 2004, featuring sparse, meandering and abstract acoustic guitar journeys in the vein of the music that Mr. Akiyama contributed to Locust Music's seminal Wooden Guitar compilation. The liner notes describe the performance as the soundtrack to an imaginary film, the plot of which is described by the lovely painting that adorns the gatefold sleeve and a short story printed on the back: a lone motorcyclist rides across a desert wasteland, "searching for hell in order to escape from being a human."

The second half of the record, though, is the most exciting part. This CD includes most--but unfortunately not all--of 2003's mind boggling and now out of print Don't Forget To Boogie LP. It was one of my favorite records that year, a blistering minimal rock masterpiece. He takes short and fast blues rock riffs and repeats them ad infinitum on a blissfully overdriven electric guitar, with no accompaniment whatsoever. In the wrong hands the concept could have been disastrous but when executed by Tetuzi Akiyama the results are nothing less than brilliant. It sounds something like an unlikely collaboration between Steve Reich and Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top. It's the best material that Tetuzi Akiyama has ever done and this is the first time that any of it has been available on CD. [RH]







(Beggars Banquet)

"Secret Making"
"Friend of Mine"

The National have been an underdog favorite of mine for a while. A New York City band that can't be pinned to any scene, releasing lovely, moody, dramatic, yet soft-spoken pop on the small Brassland label, unobtrusively moving up local bills from opening slots to headlining sold-out shows. From what I'm told, their dark, sexy swoon has also won them quite a few fans in England and Europe where they have been headlining tours and playing the festivals for a while now. Not surprising, as their Tindersticks/Nick Cave orchestrated swirls and stylish good looks hold a drama and mystery that seem perfect for dreamy European nights.

So it came as no huge surprise that the National's newest record is being released worldwide on mega-indie Beggars Banquet, and the group have stepped up to the plate with their finest album to date. No huge leaps stylistically, but for this band that would be a mistake--their movement comes in increments and the group refines its sharp sense of dynamic and mood, taking advantage of their bigger recording budget. Shimmering guitars, elegant drumming, gently stroked piano and organ and Matt Berninger's melancholy baritone might nearly woo you to sleep...but underneath lurks a real rock band and they can surprise you with waves of distortion and anguished screams. The National have come into their own and Alligator is testament to a great band that keeps getting better. [JM]







Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead You

"Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead You"
"Good News"

Hot on the heels of her last record, Born Heller's Josephine Foster has chosen to go solo on Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead You. While last autumn's All the Leaves Are Gone had a psych-rock feel--thanks to her backing band the Supposed--with her newest full-length she delivers an inspired album of stripped-down folk music. She accompanies herself with a creative array of instruments; my favorites include the cittarina, ukulele, sitar, kazoo, black cat, and "a box of wire ties." But the most evident strength in Foster's songs is her voice--classically trained, her light and sometimes eerie vibrato wanders up to the highest falsetto, wavering audaciously between several notes. Just as talented in the lyric department, Foster's songwriting inspires visions of itinerant walks through numinous woods. Equally simple, beautiful, and distinctive, Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead You is the perfect soundtrack for quiet early-summer mornings. [CP]







$9.99 12-inch

(Thrill Jockey)

"The End"

With ADULT.'s new EP, we find the reluctant darlings of the nouveau-electro scene stepping further away from that sound. Gone are the cold, monotone spoken-word vocal stylings of before, now replaced by a cabaret-style wail that's not unlike what you'd encounter in a Glass Candy or Malaria record. The music has evolved into a more organic and aggressive synth-punk sound, with a more experimental bent (think Les Georges Leningrad and the aforementioned artists). For those who might be slightly disappointed by the lack of dancefloor beats, fear not! As a bonus, they've tacked on a dirty-bassy mix of "Don't Talk" for good measure. From Detroit with love, where the flowers in spring bloom from the cracks in the pavement. [DH]







Trowel & Era

"Abandoned Factories"
"The Marigold"

Apothecary Hymns is the pseudonym of the Court & Spark's Alex Stimmel, who makes his full-length solo debut on this Locust Music release. Whereas Stimmel's other band has more of an alt-country feel, this project is filled with a '60s vibe that will probably be very appealing to fans of southern California psych revivalists like Beachwood Sparks and Greg Weeks' band Espers. I've seen a lot of other reviews that have compared Stimmel to Syd Barrett, but I'm hearing more of a Meddle-era Pink Floyd sound going on, and other moments are a little bit reminiscent of early Brian Eno. Toward the end he goes into more of a garage rock thing with fuzzy guitars and Rhodes organ. Overall it's a nice record, ably written, produced and arranged, and not quite as druggy as the band name might lead you to expect. [RH]







(Thrill Jockey)

"Moment is Now!"
"New Thought"

Fronted by British ex-pat Jim Elkington (formerly of Sophia and Elevate), the Zincs' sophomore album is a breath of fresh air in today's music climate, where so many bands seem to fixate on a narrow scope of the past, be it an '80s revival or acid folk. That's not to say the Zincs are particularly forward looking--Elkington's deep voice brings to mind Leonard Cohen or, a little more recently, Smog's Bill Callahan--but the Chicago based ensemble's primary MO is crafting timeless, sparkling pop songs. Dimmer, moves through a variety of styles and moods, from the acoustic folk of "New Thought" and "The Meagre Prick" to the propulsive "Moment is Now!" which has a chorus that sounds like the Tindersticks' Stuart Staples singing with Stereolab. Elkington's somber baritone isn't humorless, he often delivers wry observations like "Life, life is long/what doesn't kill me only makes my life longer." The backing band includes current and former members of the Fruit Bats, Bobby Conn, Ancient Greeks, Butchershop Quartet and Euophone, as well as guest musicians Susan Volez (Giant Sand) and Fred Longberg Holm. [GH]









Sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard is probably best known outside of his native Denmark for Soaked, his collaborative live disc with British turntable artist Philip Jeck, released on Touch a couple of years back. Eldfjall, however, documents a strictly scientific approach; Kirkegaard made a series of geothermal recordings of vibrations in Iceland around the areas of Krisuvik, Geysir and Myvatn. These recordings were captured with vibration sensor microphones called accelerometers--microphones that are literally stuck into the ground around geysers in order to map "the sonic aspects of volcanic activity at the surface of the earth."

As you can imagine, there is quite a lot of low end rumbling and noisy liquid activity. But what makes this fascinating CD transcend mere documentation is the extreme care and precision that went into its creation. The recording quality is superb and the editing is distinctly calculated. Kirkegaard demonstrates quite a range with a relatively narrow palette. While pitch-wise, most of the recordings stay in the lower end of the frequency spectrum, he manages to create a fairly dynamic listening experience by juxtaposing sparse, almost drone-like recordings with more frenzied and flowing masses of sound. Initially this CD made me think of Japanese sound artist Toshiya Tsunoda, but where Tsunoda tends to focus on intimate and small spaces, Kirkegaard is more interested in denser sonic matter. For fans of artists such as Tsunoda, Chris Watson and Joe Banks' Disinformation project. Well worth checking out. [KH]







The Carlton Chronicles: Not Until the Operation's Through

"The Dark of Garage"

I never thought I'd be reviewing, let alone enjoying, a concept record about a week or so in a cat's life, but the latest offering from Will Johnson is just that. I've been following the Texas songwriter and his bands for a couple of years now, always impressed not only with his prolific output, but also the consistent quality of his material. He's best known for his driving, Americana-influenced indie rock band Centro-matic, though his much more subdued solo album Vultures Await won many critics over last year. Johnson's third release under his other guise, South San Gabriel, is a sort of combination of his aforementioned projects; The Carlton Chronicles utilizes all of the members of Centro-Matic, however, the songs themselves are spacey and sparse. Not unlike Wilco's recent albums, there's more experimentation with all sorts of odd sounds--backwards clanks of a cymbal, atmospheric synthesizers and drum machines can be heard throughout, but these elements are used sparingly and are certainly unobtrusive. More prevalent are traditional instruments including pedal steel, banjo, mandolin and a haunting Wurlitzer. And like Vultures Await, musical restraint prevails.

I've been listening to The Carlton Chronicles for a few weeks now, as always taken by Johnson's endless supply of melodies--his breathy, warbled twang is distinctive as ever. But it wasn't until I dove into this review and began reading the liner notes that I realized that these sincere songs of hope, pain and wanderlust were in fact all a part of a story told from the perspective of a feline named Carlton. I doubt many songwriters would be able to pull this off but Johnson does so almost flawlessly; his narrative effectively humanizes the animal's perspective. Believe me, this isn't a songwriter's sudden whim to make a children's record. In fact, Johnson's penned some of his most emotionally poignant songs to date. Recommended to cat lovers and cat haters alike. [GH]







(World Psychedelia)

"She's the Nitetime"

This album has been affirmed a "classic" by so many fans, musicians and psychedelic connoisseurs alike. But really, I do think "classic" is a bit of a stretch, considering how many just-as-blistering psych rock albums there are out there. Still, this 1969 debut from Long Island, New York is a totally compelling, fervent milestone in the psychedelic chronicles. Steve Morgen was (or still is?) an exceptional guitarist and like the ideal searing-sonic trip, Morgen and his band offer nothing short of heavy doses of blazing axe-riffs. Yes, most of these songs are on fire, propelled with tight drums, drenched in fuzz, engaging feedback, and spun out of control with crazed apocalyptic lyrics, so listen with caution. In perfect legendary accordance, this numinous band vanished after their debut… or did they? Regardless, we're lucky to now have a tangible reissue of some of the sickest psych songs ever recorded, a must-own for collectors and psych/hard rock fans alike. [MT]







Horses in the Sky

"God Bless Our Dead Marines"
"Teddy Roosevelt's Guns"

Godspeed You! Black Emperor spin-off, A Silver Mt. Zion's fourth album marks a significant change in the band's sprawling sound. Their signature elements are all present as Efrim's strained wail delivers dark laments about human suffering, war and sin over dramatic orchestrated textures, slow-unfolding three-chord progressions and the haunting backing of a choir. But with the addition of the Tra-La-La Band comes a variety of sonics never heard before from this ensemble. During "God Bless Our Dead Marines," Efrim repeats a refrain of "They put angels in the electric chair, electric chair electric chair" over ominous string plucks that quickly build into a fervent gypsy symphony, complete with hand percussion accents, clapping and the syncopated tones of a mandolin.

There's more of a folk presence throughout songs like the album opener as well as the title track, a spooky lullaby built around little more than Efrim's vocals and a gently picked guitar. "Teddy Roosevelt's Guns" has a distinct Eastern feel with drones of a viola and a chiming guitar repetition that seem inspired by the Velvet Underground's "Black Angel's Death Song." Even amidst a wider array of sonics, Horses in the Sky proves to be A Silver Mt. Zion's most focused release to date with social commentary that, in these times, seems all the more relevant. [GH]







New Thing!
(Soul Jazz)

"Forest Sunrise" Hannibal & Sunrise Orchestra
"Lalune Blanceh" Steve Davis

Did you know that the noise a personal computer makes right when it's accidentally unplugged sounds remarkably like a vibraphone note? For a second, while listening to Paris Smith's "Pentatonia," I thought some remix was snuck into this compilation of experimental 70's jazz. All because of a loose cable. Much like today's purposeful electronic experimentation, artists like Stanley Cowell--on "El Space-O"--found ways of manipulating traditional sounds to make new ones. Amongst the muted trumpet, trombone and sax emissions, pie pans and coins reverberate on the piano strings, subtly distorting their sound. The tune morphs into something sinister and would not be out of place in the tenuous moments of a sci-fi film. And on "Funky AECO," Art Ensemble of Chicago takes a groovin' bassline and zaps layers of percussion, trumpet and saxophone…I swear that's a keyboard in there simulating spaceship sounds, though it is not credited.

The common underlying theme of the songs in this compilation, ironically, is the traditional, though not in an American music sense. Alice Coltrane, Travis Biggs and Rashied Ali among others, are best known for taking traditional musics from Africa and East Asia and incorporating their vastly different rhythms and tones. The reworked, meditative "A Love Supreme" (with narration by Swami Satchidananda), the violin, harp and synthesizers in the down-tempo jam "Tibetan Serenity," and the enticing Japanese flute and sparse drum/percussion talk in "Duo Exchange" are a taste of what's on this two-disc collection. Accompanied by Soul Jazz's signature page-turning liner notes, it's impossible to keep on about this release without taking up the whole update. Suffice it to say, if you liked the sounds of Art Ensemble's Les Stances A Sofie, Alice Coltrane's World Galaxy or Phil Cohran's Artistic Heritage Ensemble, you must own New Thing! Borrowing from Art Ensemble coinage, "Great black music, ancient to future." [LG]







A L´Origine
(Virgin France)

"L'histoire D'un Garcon"

The latest full-length from French singer/songwriter/producer extraordinaire Benjamin Biolay is a bit of a surprise from the retro-pop titan: Modern rock! Brooding electric guitars, ticking hi-hat, snaky bass lines--if not for Biolay's history I'm not sure that we would be dropping this one in our La Decadanse section after all (unless French lyrics gives you an automatic pass to the easy-listening paradise). There is still some lovely string orchestration, but it may be more Verve than Gainsbourg. I tend to fault artists for never growing or changing, so I will give Biolay the benefit of the doubt here, and the record is not a complete departure as it retains much of Biolay's light touch and lovely sense of melody. However, if you are looking for a taste of the good old days, this one won't bring you back much further than '95. [JM]





LPx2 w/Bonus 12"



Silent Alarm
(Dim Mak)

"Positive Tension"

The smash debut full-length from South London's Bloc Party is finally available on vinyl. This pressing of Silent Alarm comes on double-LP and also includes a bonus 12-inch featuring four new remixes.








Darkness at Noon

"The Moon Under Water"

The second full-length from former Neutral Milk Hotel/Bablicon's Jeremy Barnes is a magical, surrealist journey inspired by gypsy melodies, Eastern European folk music, spaghetti westerns, carnival atmosphere and hypnotic piano passages reminiscent of Eric Satie.









The Art of Rolling

"Word from the Bird"

Named after the vehicle used to collect the mentally ill in their native Denmark, the Blue Van serves up an explosive dose of retro-rock that pulls from influences like the Yardbirds, Cream, Small Faces and the Who. Upon first listen you'll seriously think you've just unearthed some undiscovered '60s British invasion gem but unlike many of their peers, they can back up their vintage vibes with great songs and high-voltage performance. Rock 'n' roll doesn't get any more fun than this.




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[LG] Lisa Garrett
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[DH] Duane Harriott
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[KH] Koen Holtkamp
[JM] Josh Madell
[CP] Carrie Pierce
[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

- all of us at Other Music

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