June 2, 2005  




Four Tet
Ed Askew
Andy Votel (Songs in the Key of Death)
Terrestrial Tones
Maximo Park
Fern Jones


Bill Fay (2 Reissues)
Ethiopiques 19
A Certain Ratio
Giles, Giles & Fripp
The Melvins
Wild Paarty Vol. 1 (Various Artists)

Eduardo Bort

MAY/JUN Sun 29 Mon 30 Tues 31 Wed 1 Thurs 2 Fri 3 Sat 4


This Friday, Electrelane plays the Bowery Ballroom in NYC with White Magic and Mike Wexler opening. Other Music is giving away two pairs of tickets! Enter right away by e-mailing contest@othermusic.com and please leave a daytime number where you can be reached. Winner will be notified by noon on Friday, June 3.

June 3@ Bowery Ballroom: 6 Delancey NYC
Advance tickets available at Other Music - $15

MAY/JUN Sun 29 Mon 30 Tues 31 Wed 1 Thurs 2 Fri 3 Sat 4

John Beltran

World renowned producer and DJ John Beltran will be hitting the decks at APT this Friday with special guest DJ Duane Harriott (Other Music / Negroclash). We are giving away a pair of tickets and you can enter to win by emailing giveaway@othermusic.com. Leave a daytime number where you can be reached. Winner will be notified by noon on Friday, June 3.

June 3@ APT: 419 W. 13th St. NYC
Advance tickets available at Other Music - $7

JUN Sun 5 Mon 6 Tues 7 Wed 8 Thurs 9 Fri 10 Sat 11
  Sun 12 Mon 13 Tues 14 Wed 15 Thurs 16 Fri 17 Sat 18

Kevin Ayers


Monday, June 6 @ 8:00 P.M.
Monday, June 13 @ 8:00 P.M.

15 East 4th Street NY, NY
Free Admission/Limited Capacity

JUN Sun 5 Mon 6 Tues 7 Wed 8 Thurs 9 Fri 10 Sat 11

Juana Molina

Argentinean singer/songwriter Juana Molina makes a special return performance at Joe's Pub and Other Music is giving away a pair of tickets. To enter, e-mail tickets@othermusic.com. Please leave a daytime number where you can be reached. The winner will be notified by 2:00 P.M. on Monday, June 6.

June 9 @ Joe's Pub: 425 Lafayette NYC







$16.99 LP


The Golden Morning Breaks

"The Happy Sea"
"Summer Water"

While last year's Everyone Alive Wants Answers was an extremely pleasant exercise in looped and layered ambience, the latest from Parisian sound sculptor/musician Cécile Schott (aka Colleen) delves even further into developing her own personalized aesthetic. The instrumentation favors a similarly acoustic sound to that of her previous effort (guitar, glass glockenspiel, cello, etc.) but as opposed to the sample-heavy compositions on her debut, The Golden Morning Breaks illustrates a new phase for Colleen, which focuses as much on performance as it does on sound.

The album opens slowly with a haunting guitar and cello refrain that foreshadows the cyclical melodies to come. The overall structure is deceptively simple with each track escalating just a little further than the previous. While Colleen samples and manipulates her own acoustic sounds freely, it's done in such a loosely fluid style that the listener becomes engaged with the music rather than the technology.

The Golden Morning Breaks is a beautifully constructed album of musical vignettes that become richer with each new visit. This is one of the very few new electronic releases that I have found myself coming back to over and over again. Well worth the entrance fee. [KH]







Everything Ecstatic

"Smile Around the Face"
"Sun Drums and Soil"

It's been two years since former Fridge member Kieran Hebden unleashed his breakthrough Four Tet album, Rounds, a record that would cement his status as the undisputed leader of the media-dubbed "folktronica" movement. It's not that Rounds was radically different than the earlier two Four Tet records, it was just that it was the perfect culmination of his organic and synthetic formula. Soon after, I can imagine Hebden staring at a crossroad, trying to decide whether to make a Rounds II or taking a different path entirely.

From the opening track of Everything Ecstatic, it's clear that he chose the latter. A quick snippet of a jazzy drum break is interrupted by a low, ominous pulse. What follows is an intense, percussive workout, as layers of drum samples and clanging cymbals are manipulated and interrupted by the whirring bass rumble. As the album continues, it's clear that Hebden has put away his guitar, and most other instruments for that matter. No less percussive, the second track, "Smile Around the Face," is a lot brighter, with an otherworldly melody--which sounds like a sample of a church choir after breathing in a tank full of helium--floating amidst a psychedelic drumline. The steady underlying motorik rhythm is the only thing keeping this track from floating away.

Everything Ecstatic is expansive in many regards. Heavy on the Krautrock meets free jazz drumming, and peppered with ringing samples of gamelan gongs, most of the songs are all at once melodic and abstract. Take "And Then Patterns," where airy keyboards sit atop a funky hip-hop beat--the song could be a perfect meeting of DJ Shadow and Boards of Canada, however, there aren't any real distinct melodies, it's much more atmospheric. More aggressive than any other Four Tet release, there's a much larger pool of influences that Hebden is pulling from. Early-Detroit techno, acid as well as much older styles like blues and soul are almost unrecognizably woven into his exhilarating laptop excursions. But unlike Caribou's latest album, where many tracks sound like direct tributes to artists like Silver Apples and Neu!, Four Tet blurs the past into something fresh. Everything Ecstatic is a record that endures repeated listens and with which you'll discover something new every time. [GH]







$15.99 LP


A River Ain't Too Much to Love
(Drag City)

"The Well"
"Rock Bottom Riser"

Bill Callahan's work has come a long way since his early releases, notably Julius Caesar in which the songs were simple yet completely original with vague spouts of emotion to relate to while still keeping distant. It appears that as Callahan grows older he lets his guard down, becoming more human with each year and each season of his life. Although his style has changed from the early years, it still allures the listener. Callahan can create a story within a song like none other, and this is definitely the case in A River Ain't Too Much to Love.

Callahan's song writing style has also matured, exposing a different narrative voice, one that resembles the elderly storyteller who has experienced all and can explain all beautifully and smartly. Callahan's lyrics resonate with a sense of wisdom behind the metaphors, repetition and other signature Smog maneuvers. He sings of different bodies of water and other landmarks in wilderness, his images travel from rivers to wells to dams to pines, each time to learn a new lesson.

This is especially prominent in "The Well," where Callahan describes every detail of a revelation, which occurs after encountering a well and screaming inside it--even doing vocal reenactments of his whooping and hollering down inside it. Needless to say, it's an endearing yet puzzling moment in a career based on songs that, though beautiful, always feel a bit detached.

There are some gorgeous instrumental arrangements as well. "I Feel Like the Mother of the World" and "Let Me See the Colts" maintain the soft yet encompassing lull of the guitar that is trademark of Red Apple Falls and Supper. Really, all these songs resemble gentle yet weary lullabies, reflective yet unusual. They're far away from "Star Wars Today" but hit new territory just as easy to appreciate. [AC]







$19.99 LP

(G Stone / K7)


Inspired by the birth of three new sons between the two, Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Huber's latest release as Tosca, J.A.C. (Joshua, Arthur, Conrad), is a nice departure from the sampler driven sound saturating the market. Tosca are now a proper band and it's that live instrumentation that brings this release to life. J.A.C. is overall smooth, that's undeniable, but it goes further than your typical down-tempo album. Its swing from jazz to dub is subtle yet effective, and the host of featured guests, including Earl Zinger and the Walkabouts' Chris Eckman, help give J.A.C. more soul and feeling, creating a perfect blend somewhere between Thievery Corporation and Swayzak. [JD]







"Ed Askew"

"Red Woman - Letter to England"
"Fancy That"

At the end of 2003, De Stijl's vinyl-only reissue of Ed Askew's previously un-issued second album Little Eyes ended up on four staff members' year end top 10 lists. After a long wait, his 1969 debut, Ask The Unicorn, is finally available on CD (though here, for whatever reason, the reissue is self-titled). Our review of the second record touted it as even better than the first, but I have to disagree. The two are so sonically alike, so thematically linked, and so consistent from song to song that they function best as a pair. Mr. Askew's music bore a strong resemblance to that of his fellow ESP-Disk artist Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine. He played the tipple--a ten-string lute-ukelele hybrid--and had a quivering, idiosyncratic voice. He was an utterly unique and magical psychedelic folk minstrel, and this album is truly a masterpiece. It's very simple and direct, intensely personal and poetic; to call it a work of genius would be no exaggeration. Includes three previously unreleased bonus tracks. [RH]







"Misplaced Feather"

Type Records brings us yet another great debut, this time from Sanso-xtro (aka Melissa Agate). Though Sentimentalist was created from digitally manipulated instruments like guitar, ukulele, kalimba, drums and synths, the end result is an album that is much more than just another venture in modern laptop electronics. The influences of traditional Middle Eastern and African music are equally apparent. During "zlumberR30; talkinmysleep," Fahey-esque guitar and ukuleles are interspersed with light African percussion and short, sharp digital sounds. If only it was longer than two-minutes-and-thirty seconds, then I'd be in heaven. Track four, "And Then Return to Zero," is a gorgeous minimal kalimba piece with wobbly, Mouse on Mars-type synths and digital washes of sound. A Fahey-esque guitar line is also heard in "Unsentimental;" the song's drums, tape manipulations and deep synth tones are reminiscent of Supersilent's finest moments. Sentimentalist is a beautiful album that, like most of the output on the Type label, cannot be pigeonholed into any specific genre, the only downfall being that the record is just under 32-minutes long. This is a must have album for fans of Type Records and Rune Grammophon releases, as well as like minded artists such as Goldmund, Ryan Teague, Tape and Mountains. [JS]







Songs in the Key of Death
(Fat City)


This is the man who presented us with the Vertigo Mixed CD and Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word compilation, in addition to the spectacular reissues from Jean-Claude Vannier and Le Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki on his Finders Keepers label. All of those forays are pretty obvious indicators of this dude's sharp-edged tastes and his knack for obscuro crate wonders. I personally champion Votel as a kind of connoisseur-ace-charlatan, a self-warranted geek-purveyor in the realms of weird and adventurous psych, acid rock and funky-rock, and as someone who unbiasedly enjoys music and just simply gets it--with an edged, radically indulgent meditation on diverse sequencing and multivalent methodology in referential weaving in order to create a culture-genre-f**k of deliciously ill tunes. Groovy and danceable, too. Did I mention that Votel also excels at deck shredding?? His blends and mixes are absolutely seamless, a continuous head-swimming jam of beats and bassisms, with the b-boy in mind. And undoubtedly, Votel concocts and constructs from a hip-hop context and mentality, even down to the endearing spoken word snippets that occasionally lace the sonic swirl. Prepare to experience a heady-yet-FUN hallucinogenic party of sounds from the Eastern Bloc, to Kraut grooves, fervid-hairy-funk-rock, cosmic soul, bubbly pop, percolating Indian funk, wildly acidic axe licks, pervy Turkish-psych, soundtracky vibes, jazzy grooves, to any other valid genre that you can fabricate on your own--because it all makes sense here. [MT]







Push Comes to Shove
(Stones Throw)

"Get Back"

From the world of Stones Throw comes another release to keep the underground alive. MED (aka Medaphoar) has already appeared on both Quasimoto CDs as well as releases by Madvillain, Lootpack and the Shades of Blue mix. And guess what? Madlib produced half of MED's debut solo outing. Also on board are J Dilla, Oh No, Just Blaze, and Diamond D. Tight rhymes, quality beats, and a staccato-tongued, rapid fire flow describing urban life are what's in store here. MED finds a balance between the streets and the nightlife, and feels at home jumping from one to another. [DG]






Onboroed/Circus Lives
(Uunited Acoustic)

"Circus Lives"

From the people who brought us the They Keep Me Smiling compilation and the Heavens CD comes the new album from Terrestrial Tones (Dave P. of Animal Collective and Eric C. of Black Dice). All you crybabies whining about the raw, inaccessible sound of their first album, Blasted on Psych-O-path, can quit sniffling and open your ears up to a much friendlier, yet no less deeply internal, album consisting of two long, expansive tracks built from sculpted loops and noise. (Sound opening/softening credits have to go to Rusty Santos, a solo artist in his own right, as well as the co-producer of the Animal Collective's Sung Tongs LP.) Whereas Blasted seemed to incessantly grind on and on, deeper and deeper into the earth, Oboroed has a much more dynamic world of sound that is abrasive and inviting, while everything winds on and on, hanging together by a thin thread. This album also more vividly displays qualities of a Black Dice/Animal Collective collaboration. (You'll hear.) It could be the fact that these are remastered live tracks, one from a recent show at Tonic, which accounts for its newfound level of engagement. This is one of those albums containing sounds that, in themselves, defy you to keep listening, but nonetheless draw you in as the track endlessly builds and expands. Curiosity and constant change will keep you glued to the couch as the song unfolds. [SM]







A Certain Trigger

"Signal and Sign"
"Apply Some Pressure"

The British certainly have their hold on guitar rock right now, but if anyone needed further proof, Newcastle's Maximo Park are the UK's latest flagship. Let's get the prerequisite "influences" out of the way: Gang of Four, the Jam, early-XTC and the Buzzcocks. You've no doubt seen many of these bands predictably name-checked in reviews in this update, as well as all the other publications heralding new groups from Franz Ferdinand to Bloc Party. Yet despite drawing from the same musical well, Maximo Park doesn't sound like any of their UK comrades. It is indeed a strange signing for a label whose staple artists include Aphex Twin, Autechre and Squarepusher, but A Certain Trigger is no less than a solid debut album.

Fronting the quintet is Paul Smith, whose urgent delivery is perfect for the band's choppy rhythms. His intelligent lyrics are often funny, sometimes poignant and filled with romanticism. In "Postcard of a Painting" he sings, "I wrote my feelings down in a rush/I didn't even check the spelling."

Throughout the record, the instrumentalists stop and start at the turn of the dime, with lots of scrappy guitars and counter keyboard melodies. Songs like "Signal and Sign" and the album's first single, "Apply Some Pressure," are herky-jerky rock anthems full of catchy, sing-a-long choruses and unpredictable music detours. But A Certain Trigger isn't all pogo-inducing. Placed near the album's close, the moody "Acrobat" is gently pushed along by a robotic drum machine beat; and with icy synthesizer beds and Smith's mostly spoken vocals, it's all at once melodramatic, bittersweet and wonderfully unexpected. While I don't foresee Maximo Park making the same commercial dent on these shores as Franz Ferdinand, their debut full-length might be reason enough to extend this post-punk revival for just a little while longer. [GH]






The Glory Road

"I Do Believe"
"I Was There When It Happened"

If you're keeping a scorecard here, mark this the fifth release from the wonderful reissue label The Numero Group, the inventive and knowledgeable curators who recently gave us the two Eccentric Soul comps, Yellow Pills power-pop compilation, and Antena's 1981 electro-samba masterpiece. Fern Jones' album marks ANOTHER new direction for the label, this time reaching back to the late-1950s, and the singular, soulful, and surprising rockabilly gospel hybrid that was Fern Jones. Jones was a poor young southern girl and a talented guitarist and singer in love with the pop of Bing Crosby and the Ink Spots, as well as the raw blues and R&B that was featured in the honky-tonks around El Dorado, AK, when at 16 she married a short-order cook named Raymond Jones. Ray soon heard the calling to preach, and Fern and Ray's lives would be forever changed as they heeded the Lord's call.

But as Ray pulled Fern from the roadhouse, Fern pulled him from the settled church-life, and implored him to take their message to the people on the Pentecostal tent-revival circuit. Their ambitions were modest, touring the south for years in small-time tent revivals, preaching and bringing the Lord's song to gatherings of a few hundred or maybe a few thousand souls. As Ray would rise at dawn to read the scriptures, he would often cross paths with Fern, just off to bed after a long night singing and strumming and laboriously writing original spirituals for her show. Fern recorded and self-released an album of mostly original tracks that the couple sold out of their trunk throughout the south. When Grand Old Opry star and ex-Louisiana governor Jimmie Davis had a hit with her "I Was There When It Happened" (Jones sold him the rights to the song, and in the custom of the time, he claimed half of the songwriting credit), and soon after Johnny Cash included the track on his debut Sun LP, it seemed that Fern's star was on the rise. The couple decided to give up the life of preaching, hoping they could make more of an impact with Fern's powerful songwriting and earthy, emotional and utterly laid-back singing style, and they settled in California to focus on her recording and touring career.

Fern released one sole "professional" album, Sing A Happy Song, on Dot Records in 1959, produced by Mac Wiseman (a veteran of Bill Monroe's band), and featuring the best of the Nashville studio scene, including Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland, Floyd Cramer, Joe Zinkan and Buddy Harman (all fresh from studio sessions with Elvis). The album, included here in its entirety, sounds as fresh and beautiful as a Sunday morning, but retains a raw emotion and love of life that speaks of Saturday nights. Of course this mix of country-gospel-rockabilly-blues, so fresh and honest to our ears today, likely was a shock to both gospel and pop fans at the time, and after several lonely tours on the theater circuit and typical label shenanigans and snafus, Fern Jones quietly retired from professional music. We have the Numero Group to thank for keeping her spirit and soul alive, and this excellent collection, featuring stunning originals as well as several wonderful traditional gospel numbers and soul-gospel treats, all done in the inimitable Fern Jones style, is a treat from start to finish. A welcome coda to a career that touched many lonely souls, but was perhaps too artistically pure to reach the mainstream. [JM]




Bill Fay



Time of the Last Persecution


Bill Fay

"Narrow Way"

Time of the Last Persecution
"I Hear You Calling"

After watching original copies of these two albums from British singer/songwriter Bill Fay fetch triple digit amounts on eBay, it's a relief to have these back in print digitally after a small reappearance on the See for Miles imprint in the mid-'90s. This original pressing and reappraisal of virtually unknown Fay led to Jim O'Rourke playing it for Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, and Wilco fans may recognize "Be Not So Fearful" from live shows.

The UNCUT quote on the front likens Fay to Drake, Davies, and Dylan, (and last year's From the Bottom of a Grandfather Clock could be down right McCartney-esque at moments) but his voice is quite distinct, and reminds us more of Scott Walker circa 3 or 4. The self-titled album from 1970 (note the 'walking on water' cover) finds Fay's British drawl in fine, clarified form, with an orchestral backing not too far removed from Andrew Loog Oldham's orchestrations of the time (not to mention Walker's). Apparently, the album was recorded and arranged in a day, which is a shock, as the swarms of strings, harps, flutes, horns, organ, piano, banjo and whatever else swoop in effortlessly, giving Fay's plaintive songs a grandiose, overwhelming quality. Elsewhere, a more garagey band backs his 1967 single, the powerful "Some Good Advice." Fay's own notes claim this album was about "a search for meaning."

That search continued and became more profound for Fay's follow-up, the incredible, acerbic Time of the Last Persecution. Backed by a killer tight-knit group of British rock/jazz players (spearheaded by shredder Ray Russell), Fay's songs have more of a serrated edge here, and the man is quite honestly fed-up, disenchanted, and bleak in his outlook on the world. Lashing out at the hypocrisy, malevolence, and dark forces surrounding him, the music matches his lyrics blow for blow, with biting guitar, moments of unbridled frenzy, and a seething, viscous feel to it all. Not for the faint of heart, this is an emotionally powerful document from a man standing on the edge. [RB]






Mahmoud Ahmed: Alemye
(Buda Musiqe)

"Ney Denun Tesesh"

The latest installment of this invaluable series from the Golden Age of Ethiopian Music (roughly 1969-1975) features Mahmoud Ahmed. This is actually the third time that the Buda Musique series has dedicated an entire volume to him (previously volumes 6 and 7), and for good reason. In Addis Ababa, Ahmed was legendary; considered the most popular singer of the time, his music sounds every bit as hypnotic today as I'm sure it did pumping out of the small discos in "swinging Addis" back in the day. Alemye (My Whole World) is an expansive, majestic collection of music. Tight horns, meandering flute and guitar, weighty basslines and punchy, shuffled drums give the music a tuff, funky feel, while the levitating organ drones counteract the rhythms, leaving you feeling hypnotized. It is said that music from this period was greatly influenced by the big band arrangements of Duke Ellington, however, I also hear older Arabic pop and lots of African percussion. But none of the aforementioned references gives you a clear picture of the music; together it all just works so well.

And then there's Mahmoud himself. He is a singer of seemingly limitless range and passion, his phrasing is always on point and he can change on a dime--from soaring heights of ecstasy to introspective, soul-searching torch songs. During the gorgeous 12-minute "Tezeta," Ahmed delicately croons a slow, heavy ballad of love lost while sparse drums, bass and saxophone interlace. An abundance of space allows Ahmed the space to breathe and carefully craft his tale. This is the blues. African blues.

Other times, like on "Etu Gela," he nimbly dances around the beat, punctuating the rhythm with vocal stabs and long, drawn out swirls of color and detail. It's absolutely entrancing, all with the greatest of ease and impeccable timing. I personally have never heard anything quite like it. For those new to the wonderful world of Ethiopian music, I can't think of many better places to start. And for the seasoned veteran, this is an essential continuation of this great legacy. [GA]






I'd Like to See You Again

"Show Case"

Following in the footsteps of the series of A Certain Ratio reissues on Soul Jazz, LTM (responsible for a slew of recent Factory reissues, as well as making the Field Mice, Josef K, and Antena available to the public again) has reissued I'd Like to See You Again, ACR's third album. Originally released by Factory in October 1982, the record sees Manchester's premier white funk combo dive headfirst into New York club territory. The album appears to be inspired by the band's many visits to the city, as it oozes of Latin and electro, from the bareboned funk of "Touch," via vocoder disco and percussive jams, to the repetitive groove of "Guess Who?"

As a bonus, LTM has tacked on five extra disco biscuits at the end, including both versions (7" and 12") of "Knife Slits Water," perhaps ACR's fiercest dancefloor bomb of all time, and the 1983 single "I Need Someone Tonite." Manchester 1 New York 1. Overtime dancing all night long. [AK]






The Cheerful Insanity of...

"North Meadow"
"She Is Loaded"

In 1967, Michael and Peter Giles were already veterans in Bournemouth's music scene, mostly as backing musicians, when they auditioned Robert Fripp, a guitarist who, at the time, was playing guitar in a hotel orchestra. The two brothers had actually been looking for a seasoned organist who could sing--Fripp could do neither--however, they liked his playing and he was willing to give up his hotel gig and move to London. Giles, Giles and Fripp was born, and after a short-lived residency in a Soho restaurant backing an Italian singer, they inked a deal with Decca subsidiary Deram. Accompanied by horns, strings, two keyboardists and a group of female backing vocalists, the group would go into the studio in late-March of '68, and begin sessions for their lone album.

Released in September, The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp received little fanfare and sold less than 600 copies of its initial pressing. By November, the group would lose their contract with Decca and plans for a new group were already in the works. Peter Giles took on a job as a computer operator, leaving his brother, Robert Fripp and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald (who had joined the band during that summer, after the album's recording had been completed) to form King Crimson with bassist Greg Lake, in early '69.

The Cheerful Insanity of… is, however, a completely different affair compared to the epic prog rock that would be soon unleashed, in many ways completely opposite. Unlike King Crimson, which more or less avoided psychedelic cues and any sort of humor, Giles, Giles and Fripp's LP is obviously a post-Sgt. Pepper-era release. Within, two surreal stories--Fripp's "The Saga of Rodney Toady" and "Just George" by Mike Giles--are interspersed between these light, pop-psych tunes. But it's a diverse offering, embodying both classical and jazz music; nothing here is really rock or blues-based. Fripp's playing in particular, is spectacular with some pretty amazing guitar work in "North Meadow" and "Suite No. 1." The lyrics and narratives are filled with bizarre, droll humor, not unlike the Bonzo Dog Band or a Monty Python skit.

Obviously, things would become darker and way more sprawling with King Crimson, but The Cheerful Insanity of… is certainly a hint of the greatness to come. The album stands on its own as a solid, strange psych-pop record that fans of early-Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett and early-Moody Blues will want to add to their collection. Tacked on are six bonus tracks, including a couple of single versions and the hilarious "She is Loaded." [GH]

Also worth checking out is the 2002 reissue of Giles, Giles and Fripp's Bronsdesbury Tapes. This CD compiles the band's semi-professional recorded demos including sessions which followed the release of The Cheerful Insanity of…, and featured musicians like Judy Dyble, Sandy Denny and Ian McDonald.






Day Late, Dollar Short
(Southern Lord)

"The Suckling"

Joe Preston is Thrones, the famed lone-rogue-hero equipped with a double-necked guitar/bass, synth, and drum machine--the man with the most accomplished resume within the chronicles of things heavy and epic: with chest-caving contributions in Earth, Sunn O))), and Melvins; once a member of one of my favorite rockers from Olympia, the Need; and most recently complementing heavy's other Overlord, Matt Pike, in High On Fire. After five years, Southern Lord (appropriately) dons us with a new(ish) Thrones album, an 80-minute smorgasbord of out-of-print singles, cassette and compilation tracks from fireside labels Punk In My Vitamins (Unwound) and Kill Rock Stars, amongst unreleased rarities and collaborative cuts--all spanning the years 1994-2001.

What, exactly, does this one-man band do that is so special? Besides wailing subterraneal harmonics to a numbing end... well that, and whatever else he's wanted, which is precisely what has conspicuously set him apart from his doom-noise-punk peers. From eccentric drum machine beats, droney anomaly, to sample f*ckery and weird Bruce Haack robot inflections, Joe Preston is the white knight of all things heavy with equal aptitude on comic fusions, the prodigious embodiment of quizzical ironic bent. Like the barely recognizable Residents and Blue Oyster Cult covers (genius!). Day Late, Dollar Short is gorgeously designed by Stephen O'Malley, and includes engagingly witty-jokey liner notes by Joe, himself. Recommended? I'd say required. [MT]






Mangled Demos from 1983

"Snake Appeal"
"Set Me Straight"

Mike Patton's Ipecac has performed some serious rock 'n' roll archaeology by properly excavating these early Melvins demos. This embryonic incarnation of the band (Head Melvin Buzz Osborne on guitar, Mudhoney's Matt Lukin on bass, and Mike Dillard playing drums) doesn't serve up the traditional Melvins sludgefeast, instead they step on the gas and rock like it's...well, 1983. It's Black Flag, not Black Sabbath. It's Bad Brains and bad weed. Three chords and three cases of brew. Twenty-three tracks in under 45 minutes. The sound is nicely cleaned up compared to the bootleg CD that came out back in the day, and Buzz's liner notes, where he breaks down the early history of the band, are an absolute riot (especially the part where he talks sh*t about former Northwest heavy metal giants Metal Church).

Not quite punk rock, not quite hardcore, not quite metal, but quite essential. As a local radio announcer proclaims in a snippet on the album, "We're about to have our sinuses cleared." Indeed. [AK]






Volume 1 / Various Artists
(Cherry Red)

"Quit the Body" The Chicken Granny
"Woodpecker Sound" Jah Woosh

Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound is the kind of eclectic, adventurous collective missing in the current art-noise-dub-punk fusion happening in Brooklyn, and around the world at the moment. Originally released in the mid-'80s, Wild Paarty Sounds Volume 1 is finally reissued on Cherry Red. This collection of singles, overseen by producer Sherwood, includes Jah Woosh, Prince Far I, Sons of Arqa, the Mothmen, New Age Steppers and Judy Nylon. The essence of Britain's fusion of dub and post-punk was dark, imaginative and truly unique. A strong roots influence, great drumming, sharp effects and ethno-rock vibes, as well as political and inspired vocals, insured these artists their place in underground music's history. It sounds just as fresh today. Those who liked the Wild Dub comps, or any number of the more recent post-punk collections and reissues, should add this to their collection. Recommended to fans of Konk, Mark Stewart/Pop Group, Gang of Four, Liquid Liquid, Rip Rig and Panic and Sherwood's own Creation Rebel project. [DG]








Eduardo Bort
(Dro East West)

"Pensamientos (2 Parte)"

It 's an exceptional occasion to stumble upon a musical paragon that transcends vestige into a timeless, still relevant confection. This exclusive acquisition is a fantastic psych-rock gem composed by Spanish guitar genius, Eduardo Bort. Axe shredding was (and still is) Bort's profound métier-- and hard rock/psych guitar-admirers and junkie-aficionados alike should--if not already--name check Bort as a wizard of the highest order. Bort's axe-sorcery is extreme, unbounded riff-work that melts into a blissfully spaced-out, melodic freakout. This guy wails in ballsy, epic proportions, subtly conjuring Hendrix, Gong's Hillage, and perhaps Santana's glory days--but this virtuoso sits on a throne ruling his own terrain. A fine psychedelic opus, buzzed with proggy interludes, sweet mellotron, and beautiful acoustic folk passages. Bort lyrically dream-weaves through the album in Spanish-accentuated English, forging a more endearing listen. Back in stock for a limited time. [MT]








Les Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki
(Finders Keepers)

"Kono Samourai"
"Yama Yama"

Andy Votel's new Finders Keepers label, which brought us the phenomenal Jean-Claude Vannier reissue, unearths yet another obscure French treasure from the early 1970s. Les Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki was conceived as a choreography project by pop composers Jean Kluger and Daniel Vanguard, who set themselves to learning Japanese and assembling a children's choir in order to realize their incredibly unusual vision. The album is very cool and very strange, a funky, percussive, kitschy, and catchy Franco-Oriental Samurai pop orchestra, begging to be sampled by the Wu Tang Clan or used by Quentin Tarantino in a Kill Bill sequel. It feels like the soundtrack to a great, unrealized French New Wave martial arts film. You've literally never heard anything like it. [RH]




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[GA] Geoff Albores
[RB] Randy Breaux
[AC] Amanda Colbenson
[JD] J Dennis
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[KH] Koen Holtkamp
[AK] Andreas Knutsen
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou
[JS] Jeremy Sponder
[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

- all of us at Other Music

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