March 29, 2005  




Coralie Clement
The Cars Are the Stars
Unicorn (reissue)
Fennesz/Sachiko M/Yoshihide/Rehberg
The Bravery


Down Santic Way (various)
Reggae Goodies 1 & 2 (various)

The Blood Farmers

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



T O N I G H T:

Join us tonight, 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

Tonight, you can also catch STEVE SPACEK with DJ Language in the upstairs lounge. No cover on either floor!







Bye Bye Beaute


I suppose there are not too many shops in America where being Benjamin Biolay's sister is an even bigger deal than being Jessica Simpson's (last weekend's huge NY Times Magazine piece on Biolay notwithstanding). But for us, Biolay's seal of approval--and in this case, production and songwriting duties--means a lot. Clement is positioned to be our newest La Decadanse star, and this, her second full-length, is a must for fans of the genre. The American label is trying to position her as the next Stereolab, and although the bubbling, electro-analog production does share something with the drone-pop titans, Clement will more likely bring to mind classic '60s pop chanteuse's like Brigitte Bardot and France Gall, with a touch of Kahimi Karie thrown in for good measure. Lovely, restrained pop production, hushed and beautiful French vocals, and subtly infectious melodies make this album an obvious hot summer classic, arriving a bit early to ease your way through the last of the winter chill. [JM]








"Paper Windmill"
"Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass"

My friend Rob was telling me recently about how he'd spent three days bedridden with the flu and that the only music he could stand listening to during that time was the new Mountains LP. He said he'd been playing it over and over again, and for various reasons I immediately began to think about Thomas Mann's novel The Magic Mountain, and its main character Hans Castrop, who visits a Swiss sanatorium planning to rest for three weeks but who ultimately prolongs his stay for seven years, during which time he goes for a spell where he plays the phonograph obsessively. Castrop begins to philosophize about the relative nature of time as he succumbs to the slow rhythms of sanatorium life, and I do believe that the debut long player by Mountains would have suited his musings in that remote alpine retreat perfectly.

Mountains is a collaboration between Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp, the label heads behind Apestaartje records and whom you may know from their previous work as Anderegg and Aero respectively. (Koen you may also recognize from time spent on our sales floor.) I'm pleased to announce that their new work eclipses all of their previous efforts, as it is always gratifying to a listener when artists, as they say, take it to the next level. Through their combined efforts they've succeeded in creating the greatest electronic album I've heard since Fennesz's Endless Summer. Like that particular album, this one reaches beyond the boundaries of its genre. Too many so-called experimental records are simply content to wallow in a self-inflicted ghetto-isation, never bothering to attempt to bridge the gap between what can be listenable and still artistically forward-thinking and compelling. So what we have here is a rare feat indeed, four slowly unfolding tracks that are artfully and meticulously constructed and which use computers and layers of field recordings as well as various and sundry live instruments to provide a palpable humanness.

The pace of these recordings allows for an immeasurable grandeur that places it at the forefront of a new new age music, one with impeccable taste and sensitivity devoid of corny Aquarian sentiments and perfectly suited for our time. New age like John Fahey was new age in his time perhaps. Mentioning Fahey is apropos here as his influence can be felt noticeably on the second track which, after some initial celestial ringing tones, moves onto a much more earthy realm with lovely fingerpicked guitar playing that becomes near virtuosic by the end of the song. In this instance, and like in most great art, Mountains makes a nod at the past as it confronts the future. [MK]







(Chez Moi)

"I Run, I Swim"
"Tout Me Parle"

Last week in his Tarwater review, Scott spoke of the ever-growing list of electronic artists embracing an almost indie rock approach to their songwriting. The "indie-tronica" tag definitely applies to French newcomers the Cars Are the Stars as well. While this is my first encounter with the seven-piece collective, they do have a previous album out in France under the name of Playdoh--a moniker that they had to change for obvious legal reasons. Fragments is their first full-length released on the brand new imprint Chez Moi, a label dedicated to exposing French artists to the States.

The prevalence of electronics versus traditional rock instrumentation really depends on the track. Completely devoid of guitars, the crisp, melodic ambience and downtempo beats of "Tout Me Parle" is reminiscent of Boards of Canada or early-M83, while the spaced-out dubby textures of the instrumental "Mouvement" wouldn't sound out of place on a Pole record. But then you have a track like "True." Propelled by an urgent bass and dissonant guitars, the song has a Sonic Youth quality, especially in the Thurston/Kim-styled interplay between Sébastien Reggiany's subdued, half-spoken vocals (sung in English) and Marielle Martin's.

There are also tracks that combine the best of both worlds: The cinematic refrain in "I Run, I Swim" is reminiscent of a Blonde Redhead arrangement, only sprinkle on top some laptop textures. But it's important to emphasize that TCATS' moody, lucid atmosphere is consistent throughout, and Fragments flows perfectly, regardless of instrumentation or arrangement. [GH]







Uphill All the Way
(Get Back)

"115 Bar Joy"
"Country Road"

Unicorn's first album originally came out in 1971 on a subdivision of Transatlantic, the label that released the vast majority of the Pentangle's recordings. I doubt there was ever another English band that did late-'60s southern California folk-rock this authentically. They were obviously quite smitten by the incredible vocal harmonies of Crosby, Stills and Nash, whose influence is apparent on literally every track. Uphill All The Way begins with a stunning interpretation of Jimmy Webb's classic song "P.F. Sloan" before moving through five wonderful originals by guitarist Ken Baker and rousing covers of Neil Young, John Stewart, Gerry Rafferty, Joe Cocker, and James Taylor. To my ears the record sounds just as good as any of the ubiquitous classics by CSN (and sometimes Y) and the Byrds--delightfully mellow and incessantly catchy, full of emotion and love of music. It's a real gem of an album. I'm looking forward to spending some quality time walking around in the spring sunshine with this playing on my headphones. [RH]








"Hell Yes"

It has been more than 10 years and nearly that many albums since the post-modern hipster troubadour Beck Hansen burst onto the scene with his (novelty?) hit, "Loser." This breakthrough track was an awkward indie-rocker's hip-hop nightmare that his own ambition soon buried by various new appropriations of folk, electro, soul, Brazilian groove, French pop, and a virtual grab-bag of interesting and fashionable retro styles. Guero, his newest full-length, is a bit of a return to form for Beck, as it includes a healthy dose of lazy, unfunky rapping of his stream of consciousness lyrics, and also features production and writing credits from the Dust Brothers, who worked on 1996's Odelay, and others.

In many ways, the new record hearkens back to ALL of Beck's previous work, as the rich and varied tracks bring back many of his classic moods, with percussive, Latin-flavored grooves, orchestrated soul, folk-funk and more. With performances from a bunch of Beck regulars, guest spots from Jack White and Money Mark, and active songwriting participation from the Dust Brothers (who drop a slew of key samples from the likes of Slave, the Ohio Players, Love Unlimited, the Temptations, Black Sabbath and more), Beck has stacked the cards in his favor. Not many risks here to convert the non-believers, but he has created a lush new album that is bound to please the fans. [JM]









This disc has been in stock for a little while already, but for one reason or another it's stayed pretty well below the radar. Erstwhile has graciously documented an improvised collaboration between four modern masters of experimental electronic music at the 2004 AMPLIFY festival, recorded at the WDR studios in Cologne. Christian Fennesz and Peter Rehberg (a.k.a. Pita) both utilize their laptops while Otomo Yoshihide demonstrates his unique approach to turntablism and Sachiko M does her sinewave and contact mic routine. The performance is a bit slow going at first, but after a few minutes the high-end and low-end sounds are interacting brilliantly. Who needs mid-range, anyway? At 24-minutes the package is short and sweet, but where else are you going to hear these four great artists play together? [RH]







The Bravery

"An Honest Mistake"
"Give In"

The Bravery's rise from local NYC act to "it" band has been meteoric to say the least. Formed in early-2003, the group didn't even play their first gig until November of that year. In the short time since they've become the darlings of the NME, completed a few sold out tours of the UK, and are now topping bands-to-watch lists in American music mags. Their eponymous debut will no doubt reel in fans who've worn out their Killers CD and are jonesin' for another catchy dance-punk fix. Like the Las Vegas act, the Bravery have an affinity for crafting retrofitted, high-energy pop songs that will lodge themselves in your head for days.

In the interviews that I've read, singer/guitarist Sam Endicott prefers to site Fugazi as an influence, almost denying any intimate knowledge of '80s Anglo icons like New Order. Still, his songs are chock full of vintage synthesizers buzzing about propulsive bass melodies that could have come popping from John Taylor's custom Steinberger. Don't expect a full-blown new romantic revival however; the Bravery's music has a meatier bounce than Duran Duran's punk-meets-Chic funk, with lots of rockin' guitar leads and not a single Nagel reference in the lyrics or album artwork. Meanwhile, Endicott's overdriven croon is at first reminiscent of Strokes singer Julian Casablancas, but listen closer and you'll detect a throaty warble that's part Ric Ocasek and part Robert Smith.

Last week, the Bravery's album took England by storm, debuting on the UK charts in the number five spot. Whether they'll be able to replicate that sort of commercial success on this side of the Atlantic remains to be seen. I for one expect tracks like "An Honest Mistake" and "Give In" to be the New Wave, errr…Next Wave anthems of the summer. Kids, don't forget to pack some eyeliner along with your sunscreen. [GH]







Down Santic Way / Santic Jamaican Productions
(Pressure Sounds)

"Problems #2" Leonard Santic All Stars
"Late Hour" I-Roy

Lately, I've sensed a change of mood in the newer reggae compilations coming into our shop--things seem to be growing deeper. For those of you that have enjoyed the recent Keith Hudson, Burning Spear, and Half Moon reissues, here's another gem from the darker side. A follow-up to An Even Harder Shade of Black, a collection which showcased Chin's earlier and more raw musical output, Pressure Sounds' latest puts a greater focus on the moody energy that surrounded his Santic label. Recorded between 1973 and 1975, Down Santic Way gathers 18 of Leonard Chin's innovative productions. The eerie keyboards and sounds that haunt the rhythms are supplied by the Leonard Santic All Stars, with vocalists and DJs like Augustus Pablo, I-Roy, Gregory Issacs, and Horace Andy. Definitely inspired by soul ballads, but steady rocking at the same time, the era showcased on Down Santic Way would pave the way for the lovers rock sound that Chin developed in the UK a few years later. [DG]







Reggae Goodies 1 & 2

"African Woman" Wayne Jarrett
"John Brown" John Clarke

Speaking of steady rocking, this Reggae Goodies compilation does just that. Wackies has placed two separate LPs worth of dub, roots, and lovers rock onto one CD, and it's guaranteed to drench those dry bones in need of a wet groove. Originally released in 1977, the two volumes of Reggae Goodies were culled from various 7-inches that had been distributed the year before. Wackies label mainstays like Love Joys, Stranger Cole and Wayne Jarrett are featured along with some welcome lesser-knowns including African Jamaicans, Chosen Brothers, and K.C. White. You'll definitely want to spend some time with this CD to get a clearer picture of the magical sounds floating out of the Bronx during the late-'70s. Reggae Goodies is filled with warm vibes, sweet grooves and tasty production. [DG]









Permanent Brain Damage

"Behind the Brown Door"
"Bullet in My Head"

This is vital listening. A seriously underrated, paramount PSYCH-DOOM MASTERPIECE AND IT'S FINALLY IN STOCK! New York's ever so obscure Blood Farmers recorded a demo tape in 1991, and unbeknownst to them, it became an instantaneous landmark. This is the holy grail of all things heavy, and all things bewildering. Japan's Leafhound label (home to sludge masters Church of Misery) did the music world a favor and unearthed the works from mythological anonymity and shed much overdue light on the album, titled Permanent Brain Damage. YES. In addition to the original demo tracks, which are remixed and remastered for our ears' pleasures, there is also a live bonus track from a gig in '96 and a hidden track of ambient experimentalisms, weird sound FX, and demented monologues. If you haven't guessed already, these guys are obsessed with horror flicks and it's (blood) spattered all over the album.

Too unhinged for metal, too maniacal for rock, and waaaay serious on the torrentially Heavy for a simple psych label. The songwriting is extraordinarily ingenious and peculiar, coloring outside of any criterion formulaics. Sabbath influences are all over the disc and Dave Depraved's sinister and brilliant guitar work invokes Saint Vitus' Dave Chandler at times. This disc is totally essential for all fans of acid, hard rock, psych, doom, metal... sh*t... all things heavy! Sleep and Melvins heads will find their fixes here, also. Not to mention '70s horror flick geeks. YEAAAAAAAA! [MT]









(After Hours/P-Vine)

"Greyhound Bus Station"
"What'll We Do?"

The story behind the never-ending recording sessions for Fed is almost legendary. While making this album, Liam Hayes' artistic vision blossomed into a full-on obsession, the same sort which has fueled, as well tormented greats like Brian Wilson and Kevin Shields. Released only as a Japanese import, we now have the last 15 remaining copies of Plush's 2002 masterpiece. [GH]




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[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[MK] Michael Klausman
[JM] Josh Madell
[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

- all of us at Other Music

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