July 27 , 2005  




Gary Higgins
Dwight Trible
The Concretes
The Bunny Lee Rocksteady Years


Link Wray
Niney the Observer
Kalk Seeds (Karaoke Kalk Compilation)
Death Cab for Cutie (DVD)

JUL/AUG Sun 31 Mon 1 Tues 2 Wed 3 Thurs 4 Fri 5 Sat 6

Dead Meadow

Other Music is giving away tickets to upcoming DEAD MEADOW and SCOUT NIBLETT shows at the Knitting Factory. We've got two pairs to offer for each night, so we'll be picking four winners total. To enter to win a pair for Dead Meadow, send an e-mail to contest@othermusic.com, and for Scout Niblett, e-mail tickets@othermusic.com. The winners will be notified by 4:00 P.M., on Monday, August 1st. Leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached.

w/ The Child's Ballads, Willowz and Good Stereo DJs

w/ Grizzly Bear, Mike Wexler and La Laque


AUG Sun 7 Mon 8 Tues 9 Wed 10 Thurs 11 Fri 12 Sat 13
AUG Sun 14 Mon 15 Tues 16 Wed 17 Thurs 18 Fri 19 Sat 20
AUG Sun 21 Mon 22 Tues 23 Wed 24 Thurs 25 Fri 26 Sat 27



Monday, August 8 @ 8:00 P.M.
Monday, August 15 @ 8:00 P.M.

Monday, August 22 @ 8:00 P.M. (Record release party and in-store performance)

15 East 4th Street NYC
Free Admission/Limited Capacity







Red Hash
(Drag City)

"Thicker Than a Smokey"
"It Didn't Take Too Long"

Gary Higgins' story has all the makings of a true outsider legend. Busted for marijuana possession in the early 1970s, Higgins and friends spend 40 hours in the studio, adamant to churn out an album before he has to serve time. The album is heard by few outside of the circle of dearly beloveds, and disappears into the pit of obscurity. Years later, a few dedicated collector types discover the record, tagging it with buzzwords such as "impossibly rare", "loner", "folk" and "classic", and record fairs and mailorder lists are set ablaze. Add a little help from the Internet, and an original copy of Red Hash easily fetches $150.

The pattern is not uncommon (minus the jail sentence and the circumstances of the recording) among outsider folk singer tales, but where the Gary Higgins story radically differs is in the quality of the album. While 90% of all folk-psych "classics" are mediocre at best, Red Hash is one of the best in the genre. Maintaining a dreamy, melancholic atmosphere throughout, Higgins' soft, but slightly raspy, vocal delivery is complemented by an array of instruments, including electric and acoustic guitars, percussion, flute, cello, piano, and mandolin. I don't see how this couldn't appeal to most fans of '60s/'70s folk and psychedelic music, especially if you've been enjoying the recent Bill Fay reissues, or genre-defining albums such as David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name or Linda Perhacs' Parallelograms.

Thanks to Drag City, and perhaps most of all to Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance who apparently first presented the album to the label (and also covered one of Higgins' songs on his School of the Flower album), for making this gem readily available. Note: This issue of Red Hash features two bonus tracks, a mid-'70s session cut and a home recording from the '80s. [AK]







Be With
(Stones Throw)

"Battle Rhymes for Battle Times"
"One in a Day"

The buzz around this beatsmith from Vermont has been growing steadily over the past six months or so, and after tons of "next big thing" style talk amongst the tastemakers, we finally get to hear what all the hubbub was about. This album is a collection of previous released 12"s, leading up to his debut full-length which is coming out on Stones Throw this fall.

Koushik specializes in making that hazy, hip-hop-based downbeat sh*t that you could easily compare to contemporaries such as Four Tet (who released Koushik's first single on his Text label,) RJD2, and DJ Shadow. What sets Koushik apart from the others is a beautiful '60s psych-pop element that tends to pervade throughout. It shows itself in the spacious panned strings, acoustic guitars, and harpsichords that fall in and out of each other; and the beats have a harder regimented classic true school hip-hop sound, that Fourtet and Prefuse tend to stray away from. But what I truly love about this record is Koushik's voice. His singing is soft and mixed way down in the center of the track, sounding like the voice choirs you'd hear on one of those old Percy Faith or 101 Guitars from the late-'60s. If you're a fan of any of the aforementioned artists, you need this record. [DH]







"Jrone (Three)"

Another chapter of the Excepter disease has hit the shelves. This time, it's not quite a disease, and in a different way than Self Destruction, the recent Fusetron release. Throne is a seamless, smooth yet bump-filled ride. Track one, "Jrone (Three)," is like slipping into warm water--meandering floating sounds in Hi/Load-Fi ebbing ever forward. Despite being a conglomeration of early and recent recordings, the songs exude more control/less chaos than before, but with ample doses of looseness. The wavelike loop, vocals and windchimes give the effect of water OR a desert, both at night. "Jrone (Three)" segues smoothly into the second track, "Jrone (Two)," which starts to get a little more disturbed, until finally, a metal snare comes in and acts as a lifeline to drive/steady the listener as waves of ever-distorting bass roll around, trading airspace with the churning masses of knotted synthesized metal sounds, bubbles of synth and droning Gyutu monk chants. You're in pretty deep water by now. Seething vocals and rolling echoing hi-hat is the sun glinting off the top of the ocean as viewed from below the surface by a deep sea diver. The submarine is going down but we don't mind. The fourth and final track, "(The Ass)," is the soft landing of urban birds and distant aeroplanes--sounds like it was all just a dream. Home safe. Did I mention that Throne is one of the best releases from these guys, and most resembles the point where they get their groove on live? [SM]








After numerous limited edition, CD-R, and vinyl-only releases, there's finally a widely available Fursaxa CD. I remember seeing her live about three years ago and being completely mesmerized, but feeling like she channeled the spirit of Nico a bit too heavily-- not that that could ever really be a bad thing. I either underestimated her performance or she's really developed her sound since then, because Lepidoptera is a pretty great and surprisingly diverse album, sad and beautiful, super-psychedelic, and as trance-inducing as anything I can think of. I say that in the best way possible, not to suggest that the record is meandering or slow. It just takes you someplace else, especially when her voice is floating over the chord organ. Fursaxa's vocals, echoing and multi-tracked, sound like they might be centuries old. She sounds completely out of this world, out of this time. As far as contemporary influences go, the echoing flute and bells on "Purple Fantasy" immediately reminded me of the quieter moments on the last Ghost album. A couple of the songs that are heavier on the acoustic guitar strumming evoke Animal Collective, especially "Neon Lights" with its unintelligible monosyllabic repetitions. Fursaxa also shares a spirit with Espers and Marissa Nadler, though she doesn't sound exactly like either of them, and I have a feeling that anyone who is into the more atmospheric side of Six Organs of Admittance would be absolutely crazy about this. Mystical and haunting, with plenty of beautiful drone to go around. [RH]







$17.99 LP


Love Is the Answer
(Ninja Tune)

"The Tenth Jewel"

"From spaceways to your heart…" Dwight Trible and the Life Force Trio's Love Is the Answer brings much love, inspiration, and jazzy vibes to the Ninja Tune roster. Graced by a who's who of producers, MCs, and musicians, the album features Madlib, Sa-Ra, J-Dilla, Daedelus, Ammoncontact, Derf Reklaw, Adam Rudolph, Georgia (Platinum Pied Pipers) and GB, along with many others. Formerly a vocalist for Pharoah Sanders, Trible's spirited voice echoes Terry Callier, Leon Thomas, and even a less grandiose Antony, as he sings with ease atop these hip-hop, soul and jazz productions. Executive produced by Carlos Nino (Ammoncontact/Build an Ark), Love Is the Answer is warm and welcoming like the California sun. If you're a fan of the jazz-soul-hip-hop fusion coming out of Cali, this is the perfect blend. Also includes a full bonus disc of instrumentals for those not down with the vocals. Either way, a great warm and positive listening experience. [DG]








"Lady December"

Although not a proper album, this collection of b-sides and unreleased tracks by the shambling Swedish pop group the Concretes holds up better than most meticulously assembled full-lengths I've heard of late, and should be a wonderful summer treat for anyone who has been loving their self-titled full-length from last year. The Concretes m.o. is simple enough: catchy, sexy and haunting mid-tempo pop, incorporating equal parts Mazzy Star dreaminess, awkward Velvet Underground grooviness and vintage American rootsiness in a decidedly original confection. Singer Victoria Bergman's voice drips with heartache and joy, and the band seems to approach their duties with remarkably little ego to contend with--two-finger organ melody, a lazily plucked mandolin, or simple hypnotic string arrangement. They manage to always give the impression (false, I'm certain) that there is no master plan, just a laidback group of friends singing and strumming. These types of collections rarely stand up on their own, and often reek of record label rip-off (honestly, the band has only one proper album but two singles collections--their Up Records compilation Boy You Better Run Now from 2000 is tough to impossible to find these days). But have no fear, friends, layourbattleaxedown and enjoy this one, it's a keeper. [JM]






The Bunny Lee Rocksteady Years
(Moll Selekta)

"My Conversation" The Uniques
"Born to Love You" The Sensations

This century's onslaught of reggae reissues (Soul Jazz, Trojan, Auralux, etc) has created a deceptive marketplace wherein sub-genres such as dub and funk are widely represented, while others as seemingly obvious as rocksteady get left behind like the A/V Club president at the snowball dance. Sure, a sprinkling of tracks appear among the many Tighten Up volumes as well as several Trojan collections, but many of those tunes were either already available elsewhere or simply repackaged in new(?) comps. This is precisely what makes The Bunny Lee Rocksteady Years such a treat. Familiar names to be sure, but unlike so many other collections, the songs themselves should prove to be new territory for all but the most seasoned listeners. There are simply too many highlights here to do them all the justice but I would be remiss if I didn't single out Owen Gray's haunting "Come Back to Me," Dawn Penn's "To Sir with Love," Pat Kelly's cover of James Carr's "Dark End of the Street," and Alton Ellis' reworking of the Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell classic "Build My World Around You." The Owen Gray track in particular embodies one of my favorite traits of the genre: that is to say, muffled and ghostly vocals created by using (a) poor equipment and (b) entirely too much reverb. Best of all, however, is the fact that every damned one of these tracks is a love song. Coupled with last week's Studio One Lovers set, one could have hisself a really beautiful summer if he doesn't watch out. [BB]






Wray's Three Track Shack
(Arcadia Import)

"Fallin' Rain"
"Fire and Brimstone"

Wray's Three-Track Shack chronicles the phenomenal, yet not widely-known, early-1970s output of living rock and roll legend Link Wray. Famous the world over for his ferocious instrumental hits from the 1950s, including "Rumble" and "Rawhide," Wray recorded sporadically throughout the 1960s before reaching his creative pinnacle with a series of albums produced in a makeshift three-track recording studio, located in the chicken coop on his family's farm in Maryland. This two-disc set is made up of Wray's complete chicken coop recordings, which include his eponymous 1971 release, the UK only Beans And Fatback--released in 1973 but recorded simultaneously with the earlier record--and another release from 1971, featuring pianist Bobby Howard singing Wray's songs under the pseudonym Mordicai Jones.

This is some of the most exhilarating and authentic American roots rock that you will ever hear. If you're a fan of the Band, the Sir Douglas Quintet, Neil Young, or any of the Stones' albums from around the same time period, specifically Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile On Main St., then prepare to have your mind completely blown. Wray's hits are great and all, but they don't even compare to anything on these three records. His voice is spellbinding, sometimes managing to sound like Van Morrison, Charlie Feathers, and Captain Beefheart all at once. Howard is aptly described in the liner notes as a "more conventional" singer, but he sounds especially gorgeous and majestic on the single "Walkin' in the Arizona Sun." Every song on Wray's Three-Track Shack is amazing, from scorching boogie rock burners to heartbreaking ballads steeped in country, gospel, and delta blues. Unless you already know and love these records, you're not going to believe how good this is. [RH]







I Gave You
(Drag City)

"My Circle"

A nice little treat for the Superwolf superfans, this new EP is really a single from the well-received Will Oldham/Matt Sweeney collaboration from earlier this year, but packing three exclusive b-sides as well as an "enhanced CD" video for the album track by director Mike Piscitelli (John Frusciante, Iggy Pop, Linkin Park). The musical connection between these two has resulted in one of the aging prince's more compelling records in awhile, and even these non-album cuts are haunting and pure, and well worth a listen. As of press time, I have yet to watch the video…but I probably never will, so if you want a review of that one, why not buy the disc and tell me all about it? [JM]







"Rock On" / "Saturday"
"Sufferation" / "In Style"

An old roommate of Max Romeo's, and an active participant in the bustling studios of Coxsone Dodd, Striker Lee, and Lee 'Scratch' Perry during the late-'60s and early-'70s, Niney the Observer's massive work has always existed slightly off the radar, just out of sight. The excellent Blood and Fire reissue label (in fact named for Niney's breakout 1971 hit) released a killer set of his deejay tracks on their Microphone Attack a few years back, featuring Big Youth and I-Roy riding all over his taut rhythms. Now Auralux, the new reissue label that has stepped up to fill the void left by Blood and Fire, releases Sufferation, a stunning set of showcases.

For this disc, focus is placed on the singers that Niney gave riddims to. A quick scan of names like Horace Andy, Gregory Isaacs, and Dennis Brown should be enough to draw in fans, but the set matches them to their deejayed flipsides. Horace Andy's sweet "Them Never Tell I" slips into a tough cut by the Ranking Rockers, while Isaacs' sub-woofed and subtle "Rock On" gets matched to Cristine's crisp feminine take in the latter half of the riddim. Elsewhere it's Dennis Brown and Dillinger, but everywhere you turn, there is the rugged and supple backing by the Soul Syndicate band, all of it under the nine-fingered hands and guidance of the Observer himself. Yet another crucial reggae reissue. [RB]







Kalk Seeds
(Karaoke Kalk)

"Slow Killer" Donna Regina
"Pumer" Hausmeister

Karaoke Kalk has been sharing some of the best, new, brain-tingling melodic electronica for a while now. Way before Morr Music or Postal Service became a Stereolab fan's wet dream, this German label was releasing gem after gem of high quality electronica with that inimitable dose of pop hidden within it--from the post-Mouse on Mars dub-pop of Kandis and Fumble to the moody, romantic sweetness of Wunder and Donna Regina to the odd, not quite right, what-the-f**k pop of Roman.

Anyway, enough applause, the label has just released a new compilation that doesn't take the easy road. Kalk Seeds is a 17-track collection that, despite appearances by K. Kalk front-liners Hausmeister, Kandis, Donna Regina, and Marz, is mostly made up of recent signings, such as Roman, Le Rok, Kuchen, T. Toyama Trio, Poto & Cabengo, and Takagi Masakatsu. The overall feel is very international, as breezy folktronica/pop (Sora & Wechsel Garland and Haushka) segues in and out of the more electronic moments (Hausmeister, Kandis, Le Rok) that carry the compilation along. It's worth pointing out that despite its lounge-ability, this collection, like most K. Kalk releases, doesn't sound one bit temporary or trendy. The feel is somewhere between the chill of a Colette compilation and a non-dancefloor Kompakt comp. Quite a range here, all followed through nicely, each soft pop moment is countered by a crisper melodic electronic jam, plus multiple variations of the two. Laptops and sampled instruments interspersed everywhere. Sounds good? It is. [SM]







Drive Well, Sleep Carefully

Director Justin Mitchell presents one of the most heartfelt stories of indie rock to date, revealing that not all musicians crawl their way up to fame with outrageous publicity stunts or by compromising their artistic merit to make more accessible music. From listening to each member of Death Cab for Cutie, discussing both touring and non-touring related topics, and watching their performances and interactions with their audience, it becomes evident that sometimes just being nice pays off in the end.

Mitchell's footage of Death Cab for Cutie on the road reveals that not all rock stars party as much as one assumed from the recent rock documentary Dig. The footage of DC4C portrays them as smart goofy guys who like to watch episodes of The Office on the tour bus and play basketball (inevitably missing the basket on each shot) before a gig. Other than showing the occasional offstage antic, the DVD mostly features coverage of their live performances during their 2004 tour from New York to Seattle.

The songs selected for the DVD are almost all from their most recent album, Transatlanticism; you'll actually watch footage of eight out of the record's 11 songs. From The Photo Album, their 2001 release, we get to see just a few, including a version of "Why'd You Want to Live Here" performed in Los Angeles, the city which the song is viciously written about. Only two songs from their earliest albums are included: "Company Calls" from We Have the Facts and Are Voting Yes, and "Bend to Squares" from Something About Airplanes.

Although the DVD starts by claiming not to show the story of indie rock or the music industry, or even that of Chris Walla, Ben Gibbard, Nick Harmer and Jason McGerr, a plot does emerge through the series of live footage. The shows get bigger and the fans become more devoted--or at least it appears that way with shots of teens crowded outside sold out venues. Perhaps what Mitchell meant to explain is that some musicians, even when reaching stardom, are still the same guys they were when playing to empty coffeehouses in Kansas. Even if they make 16-year-olds swoon with introspective lyrics and pelvis-shaking pop beats, all they see is the journey ahead, never understanding why they deserve a thousand fans in the audience singing along to the songs, knowing all the lyrics by heart. [AC]








"A Guiding Principle"
"Outward & Homeward"

Even if you're a Type A overachiever, Richard Youngs has got to make the mightiest seem crestfallen, not maximizing their potential. The prodigious output of the man is not soon abating either. He's releasing another low-key, folky outing, The Naïve Shaman, on Jagjaguwar next month, as well as continuing to hone fine dronescape and bleep with Andrew Paine on his new Mauve Dawn record on the Fusetron imprint. In the meantime, he and Paine decided to make another prog album as Ilk. Canticle totally fulfills the promise of maximisim with loads of electric guitar solos and uh…narration. And Yes, there's a heavy debt to Steve Howe that's paid in full. [RB]




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[RB] Randy Breaux
[BB] Brandon Burke
[AC] Amanda Colbenson
[DG] Daniel Givens
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[DH] Duane Harriott
[AK] Andreas Knutsen
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou

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