August 31 , 2005  




Jack Rose
Evie Sands
Hobart Smith
Cluster & Eno
Shelagh McDonald


Death Cab for Cutie
Peter Tosh
Michigan & Smiley

Caetano Veloso

AUG/SEP Sun 28 Mon 29 Tues 30 Wed 31 Thurs 1 Fri 2 Sat 3


This Thursday, Kevin "Micromini" McHugh presents "The Novay," with very special guest Luciano (Cadenze/Peacefrog/Berlin/Chile). Definitely not a night to be missed, and even more of a reason to check out APT's new Funktion One soundsystem. Other Music is giving away one pair of tickets! To enter to win, e-mail and leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. Winner will be notified by 2:00 P.M., Thursday, September 1st.

Open Boru vodka bar from 9-10PM.
$10 adv tkts available @ Other Music
APT: 419 W13th St (9th & Washington) NYC

AUG/SEP Sun 28 Mon 29 Tues 30 Wed 31 Thurs 1 Fri 2 Sat 3


Following last year's trek across America supporting Franz Ferdinand, Glasgow's Sons & Daughters return to NYC, this time headlining their own tour in support of their new album, The Repulsion Box. You can enter to win a pair of tickets to see the Scottish rockers' show this Friday at the Mercury Lounge by e-mailing The winner will be notified by 2:00 P.M., Thursday, September 1st.

MERCURY LOUNGE: 217 E. Houston St. NYC

SEP Sun 4 Mon 5 Tues 6 Wed 7 Thurs 8 Fri 9 Sat 10


Norwegian electronic/noise duo Fe-Mail, featuring Maja Ratkje and Hild Sofie Tafjord from the anarchistic improv quartet SPUNK, come to New York City's Tonic this Sunday. Also performing that night with be Zeena Parkins and Ikue Mori. We have one pair of tickets to give away to this special night of boundary-pushing improv and experimental music. To enter, e-mail Leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. The winner will be notified by 1:00 P.M., on Friday, September 2nd.

TONIC: 107 Norfolk St. NYC

SEP Sun 4 Mon 5 Tues 6 Wed 7 Thurs 8 Fri 9 Sat 10


The brainchild of French musician/producers Marc Collins and Olivier Libaux, who are joined by six chanteuses, Nouvelle Vague's beautiful bossa nova and jazz-styled reworkings of classic new wave and punk songs are undeniably (and unexpectedly) infectious. Other Music is giving away two pairs of tickets to their upcoming show at Joe's Pub on Saturday, September 10. You can enter to win a pair by e-mailing The two winners will be notified by 2:00 P.M.,Wednesday, September 7.

JOE'S PUB: 425 Lafayette St. NYC

Nouvelle Vague will also be performing at Joe's Pub on Tuesday, September 13, and the following night, September 14, at the Canal Room.







Yhä Hämärää

"Valo Tihkuu Kaiken Läpi"
"Ilmaa Virtaa'"

The first time I heard this playing in the store I assumed that this was some Japanese band inspired by the so-called New Weird America scene. New Weird Nippon…? Far from. Paavoharju hail from Finland and frolic in the same forest as Kemialliset Ystävät, Islaja and Lau Nau. Yhä Hämärää was recorded between 2001 and 2005, and is filled with many of the similar wispy, psychedelic-hued tones that swirl in their Finnish friends' music, but their debut album also exists on a dreamier plane.

The second track, "Valo Tihkuu Kaiken Läpi," is what made me think Paavoharju were of Asian origin. It's the kind of song which you could hear in your dreams; the lilting, operatic vocal reminds me of the Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser; the voice seems to float out of a tiny AM radio speaker, singing an exotic age-old melody borne from the Far East. The simple strum of an acoustic guitar is the only thing that anchors this song to earth, as fragile skitters and light bedroom electronics are filtered through a lysergic funnel, transporting you to some lovely etherworld.

Paavoharju's record is every bit as mesmerizing as Fursaxa's most recent album, only the Finnish collective's drones move in many more directions, occasionally tempered by little bits of psych-pop. Individual notes of acoustic instruments, primarily piano and guitar, often echo and resonate until the frequencies turn into an almost unrecognizable wash of tones that mingle with the electronics, and eventually become one. Coupled with the operatic melodies, at times I imagine that I'm hearing Animal Collective and Iceland's Mum together, reinterpreting the music to Madame Butterfly. Yhä Hämärää is pretty indescribable, but nothing less than stunning. One of my favorite records released this year. [GH]






Kensington Blues

"Kensington Blues"
"Sunflower River Blues"

One of the most accomplished contemporary guitar players around, Jack Rose delivers his most diverse set of compositions (all first takes!) on Kensington Blues. The album, his fourth, features a couple of ragtime numbers, eastern-influenced steel guitar excursions, trance-inducing picking, and a John Fahey cover ("Sunflower River Blues"). While the trad and ragtime numbers sound great, Rose is at his best when he takes greater liberties. "Calais to Dover", the album's epic closer, is an intense 12-string journey that achieves a similar hypnotic effect to that of Pelt, the evocative drone ensemble which Rose is a member of, but with entirely different means. The other standout song is "Now That I'm a Full Grown Man", a beautiful steel guitar piece that bridges the gap between East and West, not unlike what Rose was doing on 2002's Opium Musick. There's certainly no shortage of great guitarists out there but one day, when the Great Book of Guitar Playing is revised, Jack Rose will sit comfortably next to Fahey, Robbie Basho, and Sandy Bull and you will nod in agreement. [AK]








Any Way That You Want Me

"Any Way That You Want Me"
"Take Me for a Little While"

Here's a Northern Soul gem, with some folk-rock flourishes and the perfect hint of Southern twang, that you absolutely do not want to miss. Brooklyn-born singer Evie Sands was the first artist to record the classic song "Angel Of The Morning," but her version was overshadowed by Merrilee Rush's when legal problems rendered Evie's single out of print. The song "Any Way That You Want Me" was a bigger success, but the accompanying full-length album was released too long afterwards to make a significant dent in the charts. Even so, copies of the rarely heard 1969 A&M LP eventually ended up in the appreciative hands of artists like Beck and Beth Orton, who've both covered Evie's "It's This I Am," and Belle & Sebastian, who performed with Evie in Scotland a couple of years ago. Upon listening to this reissue, it's instantly clear that Evie Sands is probably the greatest blue-eyed soul singer you've never heard, and definitely on the same level as Candi Staton, P.P. Arnold, and Bettye Swann as far as obscure soul vocalists go.

Most of the songs on Any Way That You Want Me were written by the album's co-producer Chip Taylor (the writer of "Wild Thing" as well as the aforementioned "Angel Of The Morning," and the younger brother of actor Jon Voight), who described Evie as "kind of like Dusty Springfield only with more of a darker, honey coating to her voice." It's a fitting comparison, and apparently Dusty herself once named Evie as her favorite female vocalist. If you're a fan of Dusty in Memphis--and who isn't?--then you're sure to love this. Evie's voice is untouchable, the songs are fantastic, and the production is completely unique. The string arrangements are out of this world, there's tons of beautiful acoustic guitar playing, plus there are touches of harpsichord, pedal steel, and other instruments that you wouldn't expect to hear on this kind of record, and I swear to God the opening song sounds like it must have inspired Bruce Langhorne's soundtrack to The Hired Hand. This album is so wonderful, you must hear it to believe it! [RH]






In Sacred Trust: The 1963 Fleming Brown Tapes
(Smithsonian Folkways)

"Wabash Blues"
"Railroad Bill"

Stellar collection of never before released recordings by famed old-timey musician Hobart Smith. Born in 1897, Smith came from a highly musical family; both his father and mother were banjo players and ballad singers, and his sister was the incomparable Texas Gladden, a singularly unique singer whom Joanna Newsom cites as a key influence. Smith received his first banjo at the age of seven, and by the time he was 14 he'd added the guitar, piano, pump organ, harmonica, and fiddle to his repertoire. But the man was no dilettante, if you could make a note on it, he'd set out to not only play it but master it. He had a prodigious memory with a vast catalog of songs to choose from, songs that he'd learned off of both the white and black members of his community. While he never pursued much in the way of a commercial career during the peak years of his youth, Smith did manage to record a clutch of songs for Alan Lomax and the Library of Congress in 1942, and he also recorded an enormously influential record for the label that Moe Asch ran prior to starting Folkways.

The folk boom of the early-'60s granted Smith (as well as many other members of his generation) an opportunity to more thoroughly document his artistry. By the time he met folklorist and musician Fleming Brown in 1963, Smith was in his late sixties and in failing health. However, you'd never know it judging by these recordings as his virtuosity is simply astounding. Over the course of four or five days, Brown recorded a total of nine hours worth of music and reminiscing. Smith performed a wide range of tunes, from a capella blues to murder ballads, spiritual standards like "Wayfaring Stranger" to a knock out boogie woogie "Indian March" for piano.

Despite having a heart embolism he could still do a not uncomplicated clog dance whilst simultaneously playing guitar. Yes, that recording is on here and it will blow your mind. And then witness a song like "Wabash Cannonball," which surely matches anything Roscoe Holcomb ever recorded in speed and intensity, and which Smith hadn't even played nor thought about in the 10 years prior to the instant he recorded it in Fleming Brown's suburban recreation room. But why hear it from me, the great Bill Monroe himself says right here on the back of this disc that Smith was the best old-time banjo picker he ever heard. Now that's saying something. [MK]






Drawing Restraint 9 - Original Soundtrack
(One Little Indian)

"Ambergris March"

The latest offering from Bjork comes in the form of a soundtrack to husband and filmmaker Matthew Barney's newest production entitled Drawing Restraint 9. The story revolves around two characters (Bjork and Barney) who visit a Japanese whaling ship, and who eventually turn into whales themselves to escape a storm. The music is a blend of organic and electronic textures. Shiny shards of plucked harp (by Zeena Parkins), children's voices, and vocals from William Oldham all appear, and that's just in the first song. Bjork offers her own voice in various mutations and layers à la Medulla; and while that is the closest reference, this soundtrack feels more like a collision of East and West, life and death, earth and water. Drawing Restraint 9 features input from Mark Bell and Leila, and also includes a host of brass, glockenspiel, woodwinds, keyboards, celeste, percussion, chanting, and (now a mainstay for Bjork albums) throat singing.

Mixing instrumentals with vocal performances, this soundtrack is very different from Selma Songs; there are no show tunes and it's much more mysterious, ancient, introspective, and intriguing. Once again, Bjork expands her horizons, sound, and image. I can't wait to actually see the film. [DG]






Cluster & Eno

"Die Bunge"
"Schöne Hände"

Even before this 1977 collaboration took place, it was no secret that Brian Eno was a Cluster fan. You can hear the influence of the German duo in his 1975 ethereal masterpiece, Another Green World--a record in which he pretty much abandoned pop music's standard song structure, exploring a more free, minimalist approach. Eno expounds upon his admiration, explaining in this reissue's liner notes, "Cluster always started out like people would jam today against a sequencer, though we weren't using sequencers then; somebody would become a sort of human sequencer. With Cluster we could stay in the same place and really get into the details of a piece, start to feel it as a start to get this unity between a muscular rhythm and a perceptual thing that's going on, so the playing becomes a state you're in."

Eno first met Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius in 1974, when he had come to see them perform in concert as Harmonia, the super-group that paired the two Cluster members with Neu!'s Michael Rother. The musicians hit it off and a few years later Eno trekked over the English Channel to Conny Plank's countryside studio outside of Cologne to record the first of many album collaborations with Roedelius and Moebius. The resulting record is stunning and fans of both artists will be able to pick out their respective sound signatures--be it Eno's warm ambient cues or Cluster's unique electronics, which is probably the most prevalent element throughout. But dig in and you'll find a lot of personality to each of the nine tracks, and unlike placid "new age" music, a wide range of emotions emanate from these hypnotic instrumentals.

The record opens with "Ho Renomo," a beautifully restrained piece which evokes a feeling of pensive curiosity as a distant piano passage floats above spacey keyboard pulses and a repetitive bassline played by Can's Holger Czukay. The next track, "Schöne Hände," is much more reflective, emphasized by a breathy synthesizer that shivers amidst mysterious, cosmic tones. In contrast, "Die Bunge" shows off Cluster's playful side, as the musicians put a silly, futurist twist on a cowboy theme, while "One" explores meditative Indian music with echoed string scrapes and droning sitars credited to Okko Becker and Asmus Tietchens.

A year later, Cluster and Eno would meet again to create the seminal After the Heat--also originally released on the Sky imprint. They would continue to work together well into the '80s, resulting in LPs like the Eno/Moebius/Roedelius/Plank albums Begegnungen and Begegnungen II, and a 1976 Harmonia release with Michael Rother entitled Tracks and Traces, which wouldn't see proper release until some 20 years later. But this is ground zero for Cluster and Eno's fruitful collaborations and it is, indeed, a beautiful beginning. [GH]







Let No Man Steal Your Thyme

"Dowie Dens of Yarrow (Version 1)"

Well, we all love a good mystery, don't we? Especially when it's somewhat tragic and involves a talented young artist whose intentions we'll just never be able to fully fathom. It's at least part of the reason Nick Drake albums will continue to be repackaged or some filmmaker will eventually decide Gus Van Sant's version of Kurt Cobain's last days didn't definitively answer any questions and will attempt to come up with something better. We don't know if Shelagh McDonald's story involves a premature demise, but at the very least there's a missing persons report in it somewhere.

Born in Scotland, McDonald moved to England in the late-'60s where she was immediately ensconced in the burgeoning folk and singer-songwriter scene. Her boyfriend at the time was Keith Christmas, a great songwriter in his own right, who recommended McDonald be signed to the production company he was working for. In early 1970, she began recording her first album at Joe Boyd's studio, entitled The Shelagh McDonald Album; it featured beautiful contributions from the likes of Christmas, Keith Tippett, various members of Mighty Baby, as well as string arrangements by Robert Kirby (the gentleman who did the same for Nick Drake). In fact, the McDonald composition on here called "Ophelia's Song," what with those characteristic Kirby strings and woodwinds, sounds exactly like a long lost outtake from Bryter Layter. The record was critically well-received at the time, with lots of press speculation that she was soon to inherit all the plaudits that were usually directed towards Sandy Denny. Nevertheless, Album failed to do well commercially.

This didn't stop her from immediately planning her second album, and the following year she reconvened in the studio with a band that included Danny Thompson from the Pentangle, Richard Thompson and Dave Mattacks from Fairport Convention, and Robert Kirby back in the arranging chair. Stargazer is every bit the equal to her first, a low key suite of songs that cements her status as one of the greatest female singer songwriters of the early-'70s. And then that was it, her final masterpiece was released and less than a year later she either vanished or totally dropped out of the scene, it seems none of her friends nor partners in crafting these works ever heard from her again. Repeated attempts of finding her over the last 30 years have all come to naught. A pity then, that a singer whose albums bear comparison to the best of the likes of Joni Mitchell or Judee Sill and whom Robert Kirby claims had a better voice than Nick Drake, has been relegated to lingering obscurity. Hopefully, having both her albums in print again will do something to rectify that situation, and maybe we'll even find out what she's been doing all these years. [MK]







"Soul Meets Body"
"Crooked Teeth"

It is impossible right now to open any music magazine and not catch a glimpse of Death Cab for Cutie and find some commentary on their latest endeavor Plans, which marks their drastic record label shift from tiny Barsuk (on which they have released their past five full-lengths and several EPs and 7"s) to Atlantic. Justin Mitchell's documentary Drive Well, Sleep Carefully follows the boys through their recent growing pains, revealing that they are still the same earnest, and slightly nerdy, indie rockers despite their rapidly growing popularity (not to mention that of Ben Gibbard's side project the Postal Service), and will not be changed even with their new benefactor.

On Plans, Gibbard still sings his heartfelt bittersweet stories while bassist Nick Harmer, drummer Jason McGerr, and guitarist Chris Walla continue to hold their own as skilled musicians, keeping the appropriate balance of subtle and dramatic moments as each song develops. Yet even though all this remains the same, it is hard not to notice something different in the sound. Perhaps it is the frequent piano filled moments that keep the songs mellow and consistently easy on the ears. There are no "Styrofoam Plates" or "Tiny Vessels" to stir up the amount of intensity. Songs like these displayed how passionate DC4C could be, but now everything remains on the same level, very pretty but motionless.

Although this may not make for the perfect album, it does make for 11 well-executed indie-pop songs. Lessons will be learned, hearts will be mended and broken, and plans will be made forever and ever. Death Cab really hasn't changed, only their record label. [AC]







Talking Revolution: Live at the One Love Peace Concert 1978
(Pressure Sounds)

"Four Hundred Years"
"Fire Fire (Babylon Burning)"

Well right now you have a system, or a shitstem, what a gwaan inna this country here for a long ages of time…

The Peter Tosh featured on this new amazing Pressure Sounds two CD set is perhaps not the Peter Tosh you are familiar with. Sure, it's the same guy who founded the Wailers alongside Bob Marley, the same Peter Tosh who released commercial reggae records on the Rolling Stones' vanity imprint, and penned that "Legalize It" tune that perhaps you thought you needn't hear again past your freshman year of college. No, the Peter Tosh to be found here is the Stepping Razor at his rawest, most strident and fiery best.

1978 in Jamaica was a very tense time, as the country was precipitously close to devolving into total civil war. The country had been in a state of emergency for two years, with rival political gangs engaging in street warfare, entire sections of Kingston's ghettos looking more and more like harrowing war zones, and army firing squads massacring suspected gang members. In 1977, two incarcerated rival political members decided to call a truce and upon their release they started a new peace movement. They also organized a concert that would call for an end to the internecine warfare and celebrate Haile Selassie's visit to Jamaica a decade earlier. They persuaded Bob Marley to return to Jamaica for the first time since the assassination attempt on his life the previous year, to headline what would be called the One Love Peace Concert. It would prove to be one of the most important events of the decade in Jamaica, with more than fifty-thousand people in attendance, including the heads of both rival political parties.

While most of the acts (Big Youth, Inner Circle, Ras Michael, Culture, Marley, etc.) struck conciliatory tones, Peter Tosh was having none of it. He begins his set with the dread filled "Igziabeher," in which he immediately calls for the evil doers and workers of inequality to be cut down. He then explodes into "Four Hundred Years;" the band plays tough double time as Tosh sounds simultaneously weary and ferociously reproachful. He continues to use the stage as his pulpit, frequently launching into rapid yet wholly coherent speeches in which he lambastes the political establishment who were conveniently sitting at his feet. For a man who had been repeatedly brutalized by the state police, it must surely have been a moment too great to pass up. How antithetical the very idea of a peace concert to Tosh's point of view was surely summed up in a few lines of his classic "Equal Rights" performed that day; "…I don't want no peace, till my brothers get equal rights and justice." No doubt an uncomfortable and alarming moment for the leaders of the shitstem in the audience.

Disc two is comprised of acoustic numbers Tosh performed at various locations the following year. Sounding somewhat like a Jamaican Terry Callier, these songs of protest are nevertheless a welcome and soothing respite from the bruising toughness of his One Love Peace set. [MK]







Raised by Wolves
(Cult Hero)

"Raised by Wolves"

With the glut of bands plundering late-70's and early-'80s sounds, I find myself spending less and less time listening to my favorite records from that era. But along comes this new Voxtrot EP, and for a few minutes--or at least the 23:27 run time--I don't feel quite as jaded. You'd never guess that these sweet and tender hooligans hail from the Lone Star state, or that the year is 2005. The jangly guitars and yearning, English sounding vocalist point towards London, Manchester, or Liverpool perhaps…certainly not Austin, TX. Invoking prime-era Rough Trade artists like the Smiths and Television Personalities (and a tiny sprinkling of twee dust, à la Belle & Sebastian), you'd almost expect to find that label's famous logo stamped on the back of this EP sleeve. And while imitation is usually only mere flattery, Voxtrot's bittersweet pop chops more than make up for any redux; this is definitely a record that any Anglophile will love. [GH]






Rub-a-Dub Style

"Rub-a-Dub Style"
"Nice Up the Dance"

One of my favorite recent reggae reissues is by the duo of Anthony "Papa Michigan" Fairclough and Erroll "General Smiley" Bennett, simply known here as Michigan & Smiley. With their 1979 debut Rub-a-Dub Style, we are introduced to the wonderful world of the version and the introduction of tight tag-team vocal stylings. Atop of six stellar rhythms (produced by Coxsone Dodd and engineered by Scientist), they brought new life to tracks which had been originally performed by Alton Ellis, the Heptones, and the Paragons. Each vocal take is accompanied by a matching dub which features new bass lines, drums, and percussion. This was the beginning of dance hall culture; while DJ toasting was not a new idea, tag teaming in a positive way was. If you have ever wondered about the missing link between dancehall's roots and early-hip-hop, here is a perfect example of the birth of that lineage. Uplifting, inspired, and downright righteous, and with every line and every rhyme right on time, they sound as if they can do no wrong. No fillers!!! Want to hold on to the spirit of summer? Pick this one up and play often. [DG]








Caetano Veloso
(Polygram Brazil)

"Lost in the Paradise"

Caetano Veloso made his incendiary second solo LP in 1969, while imprisoned by Brazil's military dictatorship. Rogerio Duprat took the singer-songwriter's primitively recorded basic tracks (which didn't consist of much more than his voice, violõe and a metronome) and added his psychedelic Tropicalia flourishes to many of the songs, with sweeping strings, fuzzed out guitars and a chorus of vocalists. There's a wide range of music here, from rollicking rockers to traditional, bittersweet ballads. Needless to say, this is also one of Veloso's most impassioned albums, and one of the finest records to come from Brazil's Tropicalia era.




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[AC] Amanda Colbenson
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[AK] Andreas Knutsen
[MK] Michael Klausman

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