March 17, 2005  




Congreso (reissue)
Brendon Anderegg
Yellow Pills: Prefill (various)
Daft Punk
Angels of Light
Classical M (reissue)
Kaiser Chiefs
Soul Gospel (Soul Jazz compilation)
Minimize to Maximize (various)
Art Ensemble of Chicago (reissue)
Archie Shepp (reissue)
Alan Shorter (reissue)


Alton & Hortense Ellis (compilation)
AFX (Analord 05)
Giuseppe Ielasi
Kings of Funk (compiled by Keb Darge & RZA)
The Evens
Haitian Vodou
Soundtrack of Our Lives

Markus Guentner

MAR Sun 20 Mon 21 Tues 22 Wed 23 Thurs 24 Fri 25 Sat 26



Celebrating the release of his new album

Tuesday, March 22
8:00 p.m.

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

MAR Sun 27 Mon 28 Tues 29 Wed 30 Thurs 31 Fri 01 Sat 02



Join us Tuesday, March 29 in the downstairs bar at APT for a great night of electronic music with techno producer extraordinaire, John Tejada, plus Other Music DJs Scott Mou and Philip Alexander.

Open Boru Vodka Bar from 9 to 10 p.m.
NO COVER - 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.

APT: 419 West 13th Street New York, NY







El Congreso
(Record Runner)

"Vamos Andando, Mi Amigo"
"Has Visto Caer Una Lagrima"

This enormously popular staff favorite has easily been the album I've most frequently listened to this year. We've had the hardest time getting this record in stock to present to customers but we've finally got just enough to go around, for a little bit at least. Congreso formed in Chile in 1968, and when they recorded their debut album El Congreso in 1971 they were still teenagers. The C.I.A- backed right-wing coup that overthrew the socialist government of Salvador Allende and installed a military dictatorship in 1973 halted their career for a few years, but they've gone on to make over 17 albums.

The music Congreso created in the early-'70s was a continuation of the Nueva Cancion (New Song) movement in 1960s Chile that had been spearheaded by Violeta Parra and popularized by Victor Jara--he was sort of a Bob Dylan figure that was murdered in the first days of the coup due to his left-wing sympathies. Nueva Cancion was a protest music that looked to the culture of the Mapuche Indians and the indigenous inhabitants of the Andes for inspiration. I generally find the music of Parra and Jara to be a little dry, but the music that Congreso and similar groups like Los Blops made in their wake is positively thrilling. While still looking towards the Andes for ideas and instruments, rock and roll's international influence was becoming increasingly prevalent by the early-'70s and the gorgeous Beatle-esque melodies that Congreso wrote perfectly complimented their indigenous folk music influences.

El Congreso was a pretty stripped down affair, recorded with only two tracks, but I've rarely heard such a finely balanced album. They have the perfect combination of acoustic and electric guitars, flute, and percussion; and like in the greatest Andean folk music I've heard, they have a subtle sense of forward rhythm that makes these songs incredibly addictive. The power of this album really creeps up on you. Chile is a country noted for its poetic heritage and even if you don't know Spanish, Congreso's haunting lyricism and ghostly emotive choruses shouldn't fail to acutely move you. [MK]








Falling Air

"Street Lights"
"Rode, Riding To"

Aptly titled "The Open," the first track of Brendon Anderegg's new full-length is a deceptive beginning to a record that I was told would be his venture into singer-songwriter territory. Anderegg, as you may or may not know, has released a few albums of warm, experimental compositions that utilize field recordings, minimal electronics and acoustic instruments. So with seven minutes of gurgling tones and manipulated drones, Falling Air's opening track could easily have fit on one of his previous releases, but it is certainly not indicative of the music that follows. The Brooklyn-based musician has indeed created his first album of proper songs--something I wouldn't have necessarily expected to come from him but when listened to, makes total sense.

Like his electro-acoustic compositions, on Falling Air Anderegg and his contributing musicians utilize a wide array of instruments (banjo, guitar, organ, Rhodes, accordion, horns, glockenspiel, drums, hand percussion, electronics, etc.) yet remain brilliantly restrained as the tracks weave through a beautifully textured, somber journey. There are moments that are reminiscent of Gastr Del Sol's more focused, song-oriented material. Folk music is another touchstone but subtle flourishes of programmed percussion and an underlying sense of spacey, avant-experimentalism steer the music clear of any revivalism.

Throughout, the tracks are connected by a melancholic mood. Dusty and cinematic, "Street Lights" is set to a propulsive, looped beat that sounds like the hooves of a slow moving horse while "Off to the Side" and "What Were You Going For" are both driven by Anderegg's finger-picked guitar augmenting the foreboding vocal harmonies. All in all, Falling Air is pretty indescribable, and an album worth revisiting many times over. [GH]







Yellow Pills: Prefill

"Somebody Else's Girl" Randy Winburn
"Rave" The Colors

Last year's phenomenal Eccentric Soul compilations from the fledgling Numero Group turned me on to soul music in a serious way. So when I heard that their next compilation would be dedicated to a genre that I thought I already knew a thing or two about--power pop--I couldn't have been more elated. The formidable task of putting this release together was entrusted to Jordan Oaks, publisher and editor of the Yellow Pills 'zine in the early-'90s and compiler of the related Yellow Pills CD series later in the decade.

Yellow Pills: Prefill
focuses almost exclusively on a specific era in which this particular genre wasn't exactly en vogue. All but two of the songs on this pair of discs were recorded during the New Wave explosion of the late-'70s and early-'80s. Except for the inevitable influence of punk and a hint of Cars-style keyboard melody here and there, the music sounds like it could easily have been recorded at least a decade earlier. While all the other kids were copping their ideas from Robert Smith and Siouxsie, these feathery-haired dudes were studying Big Star, Todd Rundgren, the Raspberries, Badfinger, the Flamin' Groovies, et al.

The 33 nuggets included here were taken from hopelessly obscure and long-out-of print 45s, LPs, cassettes, and compilations, which means you're probably not going to find music from the Colors, the Shoes, Luxury, LMNOP, Jack Stack A Track, or the Treble Boys anywhere else without spending a hell of a lot of time and/or money. Mr. Oaks' encyclopedic knowledge of power pop minutiae makes for an unbeatable listening experience as well as excellent and extensive liner note reading. Yellow Pills: Prefill is a godsend, easily one of the greatest compilations to ever grace this store's 'Then' section. [RH]







Human After All

"The Brain Washer"

I kept hearing how Daft Punk's new album Human After All is the newer, leaner, meaner version of Homework. That's about half right. It's almost a marriage of Homework and Discovery in the sense that it's full of seriously stripped down grooves that share some of the disco obsessed flourishes of the former with the pop savvy of the latter. The main difference is that the pop savvy is woven in so tightly that you might think the album is missing something. That is, until you start tapping your foot, bobbing your head, and ultimately head for the dancefloor. The feel is actually very similar to the stellar live LP Daft Punk released a few years ago, full of live, in-the-moment-for-the-crowd sounding grooves.

"Human After All" and "Prime of Your Life" are nice introductory electronic pop songs that bring us back into Daft Punk's robots-in-suits world. Track three, "Robot Rock," is aimed directly at the dancefloor updating looped vocoder disco with rock guitar riff accents. "Steam Machine" has a low, mean groove. I can't decide whether "Make Love" is a makeout song or a romantic porno soundtrack, maybe it's both.

The real jam is "The Brainwasher." I hope I get to hear this one out a lot. Its Black Sabbath "Iron Man" intro falls headlong into a spiraling riff/machine beat combination that could play on a lot longer than its short four minutes and two seconds. "Television" has a killer, medium-slow disco stomp. The speeding-on-the-information-highway-through-metropolis theme gets revisited on "Technologic," but this time instead of arena-disco, it's backed by a Casio-funk beat, accented again by nice synth riffs. Simultaneously for the fans and the dancefloor. Nice job. [SM]







(Young God)

"I'll Be on the Water"

Brooklyn-based quartet Akron/Family are the first band to have an album released on Michael Gira's Young God label in the wake of Devendra Banhart's massive success. On the surface, these four bearded fellows in knit caps look like they probably have a lot in common with the current wave of psychedelic folk revivalists, but they're actually quite different. Sure, there are some flutes and jew's harps in the mix, and their mellowest songs utilize loads of acoustic guitar, but their influences are a bit more all-over-the-map than you might guess.

Their self-titled album actually sounds a little tiny bit like the most recent albums by Radiohead, albeit quite a bit more sparse and with a less extravagant budget. Another comparison that immediately comes to mind is Ugly Casanova, the mostly-acoustic one-off collaboration between Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock and his friends from Califone and the Black Heart Procession. The guitar solo on "Suchness" is totally Spiritualized circa Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, and when the strings and chimes come in on "Shoes," the influence of the Flaming Lips' beloved Soft Bulletin album is very much apparent.

At their finest moments, the band will explode into fun full-band singalongs a la the Incredible String Band, accompanied by off-kilter rock guitar stylings similar to those of Captain Beefheart sideman Zoot Horn Rollo. Sound good to you? Well, it is. Introverted, slightly experimental pop with interesting songwriting and well-executed production ideas. [RH]







Sing Other People
(Young God)

"Michael's White Hands"
"To Live Through Someone"

Michael Gira continues down an emotionally pointillist path here, yet this time around he appears to have swerved onto the somewhat wider, and zeitgeist-bricked, new folk freeway. This has probably to do with his helping to usher in the career of one of its leading lights, Devendra Banhart, and as well in his electing to bring the amiably cosmic, comparatively fresh-faced Akron/Family in as his backing band for this particular release.

Whereas he at least presently directs the general thematic emphases in the music towards an archetypal Western/Southwestern nature, and far more avidly than someone like Banhart does (or Joanna Newsom, or Animal Collective), he is also more reliant upon a clear and classic stentorian vocal manner in keeping with all of this. His ongoing distillation could prove to be a beneficial example to the now-popular movement he has otherwise helped to foster anyway. [DHo]






Bad Guys
(Lion Productions)

"Love, Love Is There"
"Such a Lovely Voice"

It seems like I've reviewed too many groups over the last few years who made exceptional music that never had the chance to make it to market. Classical M may be the best of them. This idiosyncratic French pop band were together between 1967 to 1970. And while there are 24 extraordinary songs on this compilation, only about four were ever released. Granted, they had a few major obstacles preventing success, probably the first of which was that they sang a good deal in English in a country known for its fidelity to its native language. Second, they frequently had ambitious arrangements and were willing to explore both electronic and jammingly percussive ethnic possibilities in their songs. What worked for Can in Germany apparently wouldn't work for Classical M in France. But that may be a facile analogy as the majority of the songs to be found here are just simply wonderfully catchy pop tunes, some even of the French dancehall variety. Although, they'll then turn around and give us a song like "Such A Lovely Voice," which expresses more wounded desperation than had probably been heard since the Animal's "House of the Rising Sun."

Main songwriter Guy Maruani's lyrics have the direct simplicity of poet Jacques Prevert's classic "Paroles," with a charming naiveté that seems to belie their actual sophistication (not to mention that the liner notes he contributes are hilarious). The label quote on the back of this reissue to get you fork over your cash makes the claim that Classical M are the "most intriguing French band of all time." For what its worth, hyperbole be damned, I'd probably have to agree. [MK]







(B Unique/Universal)

"Everyday I Love You Less and Less"
"You Can Have It All"

Yes, the British invasion continues, but holy sh*t, the Kaiser Chiefs have delivered an album that's gonna give Franz Ferdinand, as well as Bloc Party, the Futureheads, et al., a run for the money. Faithful NME readers have been waiting with baited breath for this full-length from the Leeds quintet, and for once, the hyperbole of the British press is right on. You might have already heard their Jam-inspired "I Predict a Riot" on college radio or even seen the video. Yeah, that song is pretty catchy but that's not even the best track. The pulsing synthesizer and hyper-spazz vocals in "Everyday I Love You Less and Less" sounds like Devo covering a Blur song, while the disco-pub "Oh My God" erupts into a fist-in-the-air, anthem of a chorus.

Singer Ricky Wilson sounds, well, pretty goddamned English, throwing in lots of football chants of oh-oh-ohs, and na-na-nas. There's even a track called "Na Na Na Na Naa," guaranteed to get your nanny pogoing. Filled with crunchy guitars, buzzing synths and lots of rich vocal harmonies, the band also squeeze in a variety of styles, slowing it down a bit on "You Can Have It All," or vamping it up on the vaudevillian "Time Honoured Tradition." Seriously, Employment could very likely go down as this decade's Parklife, it's even got Stephen Street's name in the production credits. Britpop doesn't get any better, or more fun, than this. [GH]







Soul Gospel
(Soul Jazz)

"Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" Clarence Smith
"Pastures of Plenty" Odetta

What can we say about another great Soul Jazz compilation? In many ways, this dynamic reissue label has become the K-Tel for thoughtful record buyers, collecting essential, often quite popular artists and tracks into themed comps and marketing them to young music hipsters who likely missed Odetta and the rest the first time around, and need to be convinced before they start snapping up full-lengths from these old-timers. Well, I didn't exactly miss her, I just ran from the room whenever my mom would put her on the hi-fi, so perhaps I am the proof in the pudding of the Soul Jazz formula, as the winds of time and creative re-packaging have made me an instant fan (how could I have ever resisted the purity and sorrow of her haunting take on Woody Guthrie's migrant worker poem "Pastures of Plenty?").

Anyway, Soul Jazz is back at it with 18 tracks of 'soul gospel,' basically the meeting point of soul, pop and black spiritual music. In the long run, you might be better served picking up a few of these artist albums, many available on domestic major-labels at "super-saver" prices, but in the meantime almost any music fan should have hours of joy with this collection, featuring great, honest tracks from the likes of Irma Thomas, Bobby Bland, Aretha Franklin, Staple Singers, Della Reese, Sweet Inspirations, and many more. [JM]







Minimize to Maximize

"The Black Room" Magda
"East to West" Marc Houle

Nice, new, sick compilation from Richie Hawtin's Minus imprint featuring all new artists, some with 12-inches already out on the label. There's some much-needed new blood here. Minimize to Maximize is full of deep, pumping throb-funk, with the dry minimal production of Perlon (Pantytec but less dry) mixed with the funk of Playhouse (think Villalobos, not Melchior Productions). It's nice to hear a bit more of that basic subterranean house throb that's been all but lost in most of the recent sterile techno-house releases of late. Also, the tracks develop nicely and generously with sudden shifts and builds that don't rely on played-out, traditional transitions. Standout tracks: Magda's homage to New 21, "Black Room," Marc Houle's "East to West," and "Heartthrob's "Hot Sugar Candy Apple Taffy." Shouts to NY expats Magda and Troy for doing us proud! [SM]








Certain Blacks
(Free America/Universal)

"Certain Blacks 'Do What They Wanna'"
"One for the Jarman"

The America label was a short-lived French effort that, for all intents and purposes, picked up where the BYG Actuel series left off. Musically speaking, anyway…

Certain Blacks begins with the assertion that said company, among other things, "do what they wanna" and "dig their freedom." Both claims seem to be in evidence almost immediately here as, once they finish the aforementioned vocal refrain, the group dives head first into unbridled free improvisation without looking back--stutter-step theme that only vaguely resembles Gershwin's "Summertime" not withstanding. Before scaring you too much, though, I want to make sure and say that, even when the Art Ensemble goes completely apeshit, it's nothing like the pummeling assault of, say, Brötzmann's Machine Gun. Instead, and even at their most fevered moments, this is a music of celebration. Any and all inhibitions are cast aside in favor of complete elation and unimpeded expression, both of self and of community--no matter how you define the latter.

Fans of the jazz avant-garde should already know what to expect here but, for the uninitiated, one might even make comparisons to the more improvised side of the Animal Collective, as the members of the group wander from instrument to instrument, chanting and yelping whenever the feeling hits. This is especially evident on the title track wherein the listener sometimes gets the feeling that he's listening to a handful of school kids that were granted free reign to the music room for recess. Of the other two numbers, "One for Jarman" is particularly enjoyable, with harmonica player Chicago Beau providing the stabilizing anchor throughout. (For the record, I haven't made a jazz mixtape that didn't have "One for Jarman" on it in probably ten years.) [BB]







Black Gipsy
(Free America/Universal)

"Black Gipsy"

Dirge music par excellance. Archie Shepp's 1969 juggernaut title track "Black Gipsy" hands over just the exact amount of controlled chaos. The free blues that these illustrious gentlemen laid down as expatriates in Paris on 11/9/69 have long been one of my favorite moments in Shepp's wide discography. Originally released as a co-billing with one slightly mysterious Chicago Beauchamp, a spoken vocalist/poet who, with righteous indignation, imparts lines like "If I stole your heart, would that make me a thief? IF SO LET IT BE!" and "If I picked a man's pocket, and bought you flowers, would you accept the gift? HUH?!!" His delivery is truly more awesome than I could hope to render here. The near unstoppable riff they trade on is leavened by the gorgeous lyricism with which Leroy Jenkins' viola opens and closes the 25-minute piece; "Black Gipsy" may be his finest recorded moment.

The freely swinging second track was penned by the writer Julio Finn, who also provides the only convincing harmonica I've ever heard on a free jazz album. "Epitaph of a Small Winner" (named after a wonderful novel by the proto-modernist Brazilian writer Machado De Assis) is certainly a more joyous affair, loose and celebratory, but with an introspective middle passage that ramps up when Shepp cuts back in with a searing solo and Chicago Beauchamp rejoins the proceedings to exhort his compatriots on home with what he calls, "THE SONG OF THE GHETTO!" The all-star lineup includes Clifford Thornton, Noah Howard, Dave Burrell, Leroy Jenkins, Earl Freeman, Sunny Murray, as well as the aforementioned Finn and Beauchamp. [MK]




$17.99 CD


Tes Esat
(Free America/Universal)

"One Million Squared"

Despite appearances on several of the day's greatest free jazz dates, Alan Shorter only led two sessions during his all too brief career: Orgasm in 1968 and Tes Esat in 1971. Consequently, and perhaps owing to its painfully limited release (in Europe alone), the latter has achieved something approaching Holy Grail status over the years. Tes Esat starts off in a typical enough manner, with quiet meanderings on bass paving the way for a loose and barely held together head, solos to follow, etc. Your standard free jazz record, right? Yes and no. Sure, there are sporadic hints at the lunacy to come in these opening few bars but it isn't until tenor saxophonist Gary Windo's first solo begins in earnest that you realize you're listening to what has to be one of the most definitively "out" jazz performances in recorded music history. Especially considering that this is 1971 we're talking about. Not Mats Gustafsson in 2005. Otherwise, Tes Esat, when considered as an entire document, is a very loose and maybe even sloppy record with fidelity that, even on this reissue, could accurately be described as raw. But these qualities, if nothing else, highlight the fact this is acoustic music recorded in one take by real people breathing and touching things. Such intimacy should never be taken for granted.

This is the first official pressing of Tes Esat in the United States, making it the first chance for those with less than deep pockets to get their hands on one of the most talked-about but seldom heard classics in free improvisation.

Note: Reports indicate that Verve has limited every title in the Free America series to 1,000 copies apiece, so get them while you can. [BB]







(679 Recordings)

"Chewing Gum"

It's hard to believe that the debut album from this 23-year-old Norwegian pop sensation was birthed from tragedy. In 1999, indie rocker Anne Lilia Berge-Strand and her then boyfriend/producer Tore Andreas Korknes (who was releasing music under the name of Erot) collaborated on "Greatest Hit," a dancey electro club single based on a loop from Madonna's "Everybody." Tragically, two years later Tore would die from complications of a heart defect leaving Annie behind to make a record that the two had planned on creating together.

Like most fans, my first exposure to Annie was through last year's "Chewing Gum" single, a track that was stickier than its title. With its playful, carefree chorus and a slinky beat reminiscent of "Genius of Love;" the song could have come from some imaginary pairing of the Tom Tom Club and Kylie Minogue. It's also one of the many surprises to be heard on Anniemal.

Annie's debut borrows cues from a variety of pop music; and with simple, sweet melodies and stylized production, she cleverly makes it her own. Tracks like "Come Together" and the aforementioned "Greatest Hit" are crisp slices of electro-disco while "Always Too Late" bounces about modern R&B production. Annie's vocals sound best when her sugar-voiced melodies take a turn towards the sad. During the Motown-infused "Heartbeat," produced by Röyksopp's Torbjørn Brundtland, she sounds convincingly defenseless. You can't help but wonder if the melancholic closing track, "My Best Friend," was inspired by Tore.

Listen closely and you're also bound to hear Annie throw out a clever tongue twister or two. In the super catchy stomper "Me Plus One," a song about a popstar wannabe, she drops "Mrs. B, Mrs. E, Mrs. A-U-T, Mrs. I, Mrs. F-U-L, I'm gonna reach the top." And I'm curious to see if she can really reach the top in America come May when the album is released domestically. Unpretentiously accessible, I hope Annie pulls the rug out from right underneath the current crop of pop divas. [GH]







Alton & Hortense Ellis

"You Said It Again"
"People Make the World Go Round"

I never really got the chance to thank Patrick Deveny for helping mold my more formative years. Among other things, he was responsible for both my first jazz and first reggae purchases. The former was The Sermon by Jimmy Smith (R.I.P.). The latter was the record you're about to buy. At that time, the very early '90s, I was still unable (or perhaps unwilling) to divorce reggae culture from its painfully unfortunate hippie stigma; and this was the record that sent that wall tumbling down.

Alton and Hortense Ellis is a compilation of singles released by the Studio One and Coxsone labels in and around the late-'60s. As one might expect, rocksteady and lovers rock are the order of the day here, with Alton playing the role of Marvin Gaye and Hortense his Tammy Terrell. (We'll let the fact that the two were brother and sister slide here, despite the fact that they shared duties on the call and response heartbreaker, "Breaking Up is Hard to Do.")

Listeners may already find Alton's smooth vocal delivery familiar but Hortense remains something of a mysterious character. On these early sides especially, she displays an innocence not at all unlike Astrud Gilberto on that first Getz collaboration. One gets the feeling that Hortense is singing these songs not for the popularity or the fame but because someone actually broke her heart and a microphone just happened to be there.

Yes, it's apparent even from the beginning few bars of "Willow Tree," the album's opener and a solo piece by Hortense, that there's something pretty special going on here. By the time you get to the polyrhythmic symphony that is "You Said It Again," you will have completely forgotten why you didn't like reggae. Trust me. This one's a no brainer. [MK]








"Apex (Twig)."
"Coh Track00"

A new double CD release from Russian/Swedish artist COH (aka Ivan Parlov). The first disc contains a live mix of new studio tracks while disc two is a reissue of the first self-released COH album from 1997. As a title, Post-Pop is rather silly, but then again there has always been something a bit mischievous about Parlov's work, particularly his combination of voice and electronics which there are several examples of here. The CD has a similar ruggedness and presence of the recent EPs by Alva Noto; but where Noto's work often sounds like it was created in a laboratory, COH's approach has always been a bit more hands on. And of course pop. Disc two was originally released in 1997, in a handmade edition of seven, and given away to friends. An impressive and varied debut that sits comfortably next to his more recent efforts and shows that his aesthetic was quite well defined from early on. [KH]







Analord 05

The fifth release in AFX's Analord series is a two track 12-inch featuring "Reunion 2" and "Cilonen." More squelchy future-funk with hollow metal bass and hypnotically arpeggiated synths that slowly but surely raise the intensity of the track. These songs are relatively straightforward medium tempo braindance fare, with grime-style drum 'n' bass sounds--without drum 'n' bass breaks--mixed with an (analogue) IDM sound palette. "Cilonen" features what seem like bagpipes droning in the background behind the beat. Both tracks begin with beats separated to seem as though it's a 45 playing at 33RPM. But don't switch it to 45 or you might dance a hole in the ground and/or poke yourself in the eye with a glowstick. [SM]








Track 2
Track 4

When he's not busy running Fringes, one of the finest contemporary experimental labels out there, Italian Giuseppe Ielasi plays guitar and electronics in various groups and improvised contexts. While he may be a new name to many folks out there, his contributions to albums by Dean Roberts and collaborations with fellow Italians Renato Rinaldi and Alessandro Bosetti should give you a good idea as to where he's coming from. This release treads similar water to his previous solo effort, Plans, released on the Sedimental label in 2003.

Where that album concentrated more on electric guitar and glitchy melodies, Gesine focuses more on acoustic elements and long sustained tones. The album revolves predominantly around Ielasi's loosely fragmented guitar playing, accentuated by subtle processing and minimal percussive elements like cymbals and floor tom. His open and loose compositional style can be deceiving at first listen as many of the tracks take a minute or so to really gel, but it's this natural progression that makes Gesine such an intriguingly beautiful experience. Long, hypnotic loops of acoustic guitar playing intertwine themselves and unravel again creating an almost cyclical progression that's both seductive and somnolent. [KH]







The Kings of Funk /Compiled by Keb Darge & RZA

"Do Your Thing" Lyn Collins
"(I Can) Deal With That" Dee Edwards

Another quality comp from Keb Darge and BBE, this time Keb invites the RZA to compile a disc of his favorite funk tunes. When the Wu-Tang Clan's debut album came out, you could honestly say that there wasn't any hip-hop that sounded quite like that. The way all those huge string swells and gospel moans would stack up on each other paved the way for the success of Portishead and Kanye West. So it comes as no surprise that the tracks he selected for this comp are slower, moodier numbers, but each one still has that head-nod inducing thump. My faves include Ken Boothe's reggae reworking of Syl Johnson's "Is It Because I'm Black" and the stringy, breakdown thumper of "Honey Cone's "If I Can't Fly." Keb includes recent offerings by Sharon Jones and Quantic, but just in case you mighta thought that he reached the bottom of his crates, he hits us with the siiiiick ""I Can Deal With That" by Dee Edwards. (What the f*ck Keb??? ) Quality, Quality, Quality. [DH]







$10.99 LP


The Evens

"Mt. Pleasant Isn't"
"You Won't Feel a Thing"

After a four-year hiatus, Ian MacKaye (godfather of the DC punk movement and founder of the legendary Dischord record label) returns. After the full on punk rock fury of Minor Threat and the thinking man's hardcore assault of Fugazi, it appears MacKaye is taking the quieter, more restrained road with his most recent project. Complemented by Amy Farina (formerly of the Warmers) on drums and vocals, the Evens follow in the couplecore tradition of bands like Versus and Mates of State. Their eponymous debut is dominated by MacKaye's repetitious, baritone guitar playing and Farina's understated drumming, yet it still packs a similar lyrical punch to that of Fugazi. Old punks don't die; they just turn it down a notch. [AK]







Spirits of Life
(Soul Jazz)

"Nago-Zepol" Ogou
"Yanvalou" Agoue-Dambala

Soul Jazz Records' latest musical investigation takes us to Haiti. Vodou (or Voodoo), a religion that was born in Africa and survived under slavery, is one of the most misunderstood faiths in the west. While the French forcibly tried to suppress Vodou, its music played a vital role in helping Haiti become the first black republic in the world. This is a recording by the Societe Absolument Guinin in Port-au-Prince. It is a collection of devotional chants and heavy African drumming that gives you a glimpse into a world rarely seen by non-believers. Essential for anyone interested in the great expanse of African diasporic music. [GA]







Origin Vol. 1

"Mother One Track Mind"
"Midnight Children"

Ten years later, and the Soundtrack of Our Lives have built a career and a catalog in the most common rock and roll style: release some good music on a local independent label, garner a strong local following (in Sweden that is, their homeland), get signed internationally, and then try to find a way to make your sound work on a bigger stage, still keeping your old fanbase while reaching out to the people. The changes for TSOOL have been incremental, and not always obvious or easy to pinpoint. They have simply refined their psych-rock bombast over the course of several albums, honing the hooks, polishing the vocals and inflating the drum sounds.

Their core is still Nuggets-style pop psychedelia, but the sound has slowly morphed with a more modern approach, and of course mainstream tastes have arched back to meet the band in the 10 or so years since their inception. They still sound like the Seeds, but also bring elements of classic hard rock, '90s alternative and a pop sensibility not unlike that other Swedish rock sensation, the Hives. At times the band can even sound as grand the Who or Aerosmith, but the songwriting maintains a consciously simple-minded approach that is more about the build and the chorus and the attitude than any heavy content…and perhaps this is what rock music is meant to be. No life-changers here, but a couple of earth-shakers, and a couple of organ-heavy groovers, including "Midnight Children" with a nice Jane Birkin duet on the choruses. [JM]











It's no coincidence that Markus Guentner personalized his new album with his birth year. Working in a field of music where cold sounds and lack of human soul is commonplace, the producer stands out carving warm, emotive textures from within the airy ambience. Full review next week.









Exquisite Corpse
(Ninja Tune)

Like the title, hip-hop eccentric Daedelus created an album using a sort of exquisite corpse approach to making music. Inviting a slew of guests that include Mike Ladd, MF Doom, Prefuse 73, CYNE, TTC, Jogger, One AM Radio's Hirshikesh Hirway, and vocalist Laura Darling, each contributor provides Daedelus plenty of disparate material that he molds into a surreal collage of melodies and avant-electronics, all the while lamenting the demise of hip-hop as we know it.




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[GA] Geoff Albores
[BB] Brandon Burke
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[KH] Koen Holtkamp
[DH] Duane Harriott
[DHo] Dan Hougland
[MK] Michael Klausman
[AK] Andreas Knutsen
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou

- all of us at Other Music

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