September 28 , 2005  




Wolf Parade
Vladislav Delay
Yura Yura Teikoku
Dark Holler (Smithsonian Folkways)
Alexander Tucker
Sublime Frequencies (3 New Releases)


Bertrand Burgalat
Neil Young
Venetian Snares
Shirley Collins & Davy Graham
Senor Coconut (Various Artists)
Skugge & Stavostrand
Sonic Youth (Goo Deluxe 4-LP Set)

OCT Sun 16 Mon 17 Tues 18 Wed 19 Thurs 20 Fri 21 Sat 22



Sunday, October 16 @ 7:30 P.M.

15 East 4th Street NYC
(212) 477.8150
Free Admission/Limited Capacity







Prepared Piano
(Karaoke Kalk)


When people are talking about how difficult John Cage's music is, how it's better read about than actually heard, or too conceptual, etc., that's the point when I try to direct them to the pieces he wrote for prepared piano. By inserting various screws, nuts, bolts, and slivers of wood or rubber in between the strings he unwittingly (or wittingly) ended up making what sounds like little gamelan orchestras. They're arguably the most lovely and accessible works in his entire corpus, and I certainly think that it is in that same spirit that Volker Bertelmann (aka Hauschka) releases his second album for Karaoke Kalk. Entitled The Prepared Piano naturally enough, the 12 miniatures presented here charmingly explore Cage's most celebrated modus operandi. These pieces are definitely within the realm of minimalism, however, they never wear out their welcome. They're not willfully abstract, for there aren't any giant crescendos or banging away at the keys. They have a real direct simplicity that is utterly accessible and charming, and which is honestly not too far off at times from the music Vince Guaraldi wrote for Charlie Brown. I think a wide variety of people will find something to explore in here; I know I always enjoy music that is inventive without being pedantic and so too apparently did all the customers who immediately connected with Hauschka's Prepared Piano when we played it in the store. Let me just say that there were a lot of them. [MK]







$11.99 LP

Apologies to the Queen Mary
(Sub Pop)

"We Built Another World"
"Shine a Light"

What more can one say about the highly anticipated debut album from Wolf Parade? Apologies to the Queen Mary has been highly praised in just about every magazine, from GQ to Rolling Stone, and it seems that all over the internet people are abuzz about this band. Yes, the album was produced by Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock, who also signed Wolf Parade to Sub Pop, and took them along with his band on their last tour. Yes, they are from Canada and are good friends with Arcade Fire, whose members played on the self-titled Wolf Parade EP released on Sub Pop. And yes, Arcade Fire just took the band along with them on tour too. But let me tell you that this is the last time that you will see this band warming the stage for anyone. This record will be very big and rightfully so. It has been a long time since an album has been this consistently good from start to finish.

There are some people who may take sides between the
two primary singer/songwriters. Spencer Krug's songs seem to be slightly more off-kilter, while Dan Boeckner's are more straight ahead. In my opinion they perfectly complement each other, like Grant Hart and Bob Mould of Husker Du, and it is one of the reasons that make this band so special. And like Husker Du, the songwriters alternate tracks on the album. In my opinion, there have been a few really great rock records this year but Apologies to the Queen Mary takes the cake. In the few months that are left of 2005, I cannot see a rock album being this good (Broken Social Scene's forthcoming album comes close). I know that you have probably already heard this within the last couple of days but…Wolf Parade have just made the best rock record of the year. All hail the new kings. [JS]








The Four Quarters

"The First Quarter"
"The Fourth Quarter"

Vladislav Delay is back on his hometown label Huume with The Four Quarters. Walking in on the record midway through, I mistakenly blew it off as "just another Entain. It's an easy mistake to make since the middle section is also built of slightly murky, atmospheric Euro-dub, but I realized my mistake soon after, when I had a chance to hear the album from the beginning. The difference is that this record has quite a bit more melody to it, that's very well placed and arranged. Remember the parts in Entain that shift ever so slightly into hip-hop territory, almost like a shadow of hip-hop? That quality is revisited here and is what ultimately changed my mind. Also, the album is full of soft, moody and gently cascading lounge with a hint of soul: ambient Luomo? Slower Uusitalo? Seriously, check track two, "The Second Quarter." All four of the 15-minute-long tracks are chock full of living, breathing-style arrangements. Another classic. [SM]









There's a quote on the back of this CD's paper insert from Ghost guitarist Michio Kurihara gushing, "From Japan springs forth the greatest band in the world, Yura Yura Teikoku." Sixteen years in existence, YYT are hailed as kings of the modern psychedelic underground in Japan. At the same time, they are also so popular that they've got songs featured in karaoke booths and they've played the main stage of the Fuji Festival, appearing alongside Western superstars like Franz Ferdinand and Chemical Brothers(?!). So these days, while everyone from Nagisa Ni Te to Cornelius may have domestic pressings available to American audiences, there's no logical reason why Yura Yura Teikoku records would be so hard to come by here in the States.

Anyway, along comes this live recording taken from a 2003 performance in Tokyo. Just as crunchy and raw sounding as those super-limited live Les Rallizes Denudes LPs we were carrying a few years back, YYT are indeed as bombastic and scorching, with fuzzed-out guitar solos and droning freak-outs (check out the didgeridoo sounding guitar feedback on the opening track), and there's also a healthy dose of garage rock. But Yura Yura Teikoku seem to be pretty open-minded about mixing their psychedelics, infusing musical elements that their communal-minded hippy brethren might be afraid to touch. The fluid melodic bass-line and reverberated guitar in the 11-plus-minute-long "Nai!!" has more in common with Galaxie 500 than Acid Mothers Temple. "Unchain Your Heart" sounds a lot like the guitar riff from Kiss' "Detroit Rock City," only a hell of a lot noisier, while "Penetration" seems to be some sinister, acid-damaged take on '70s power pop which--after an abrupt hit of a cassette player's record button and a few seconds of crickets chirping--ends in a furious windstorm of power-chords and feedback. And with no lack of '60s-styled sunshine pop melodies throughout the album, you can also tell that they've seriously studied their Millennium and Moon songbooks.

As expected, this release is very limited, with only 700 CDs being pressed, and a must have for Japanese psych-fans. New Yorkers, take note: Yura Yura Teikoku will be making two appearances next month, October 11 at Northsix in Brooklyn, and the 14th at Tonic. See you there! [GH]






Dark Holler: Old Love Songs & Ballads
(Smithsonian Folkways)

"The Sailor Being Tired" Dillard Chandler
"Pretty Face Miss in Her Garden" Dellie Norton

Dark Holler. I've always loved those two words together, and the multiplicity of meanings that could be so derived. A holler (hollow) in Appalachia is a valley between mountains where homesteaders built their cabins beneath the surrounding dense foliage. But when listening to the soul searing a capella ballads of Dillard Chandler and company on this brand new Folkways release, you can't help but think of another kind of dark holler altogether.

Filmmaker and musician John Cohen spent a good portion of the '60s rescuing fading folk ways for posterity via field recordings, photography, and film. He seems to be a little less clinical in his approach compared to someone like John or Alan Lomax. He was really trying to make a complete portrait of the individual he was working with and the way in which they lived, and he wasn't solely concerned with how each particular ballad simply fit into a continuum. I'm in no way trying to knock either Lomax, I just appreciate the intimacy of Cohen's presentation.

More than half of this disc features the extraordinary ballad singer Dillard Chandler, whom Cohen recorded in 1963 in Madison County, North Carolina. The other half is comprised of impeccable performances by an assortment of individuals whom happened to mostly be Chandler's cousins. I enjoy Dellie Norton in particular, who sings love ballads with a voice that could be 500 years old. Chandler was an illiterate odd-jobber who tended to ramble in search of work. He knew hundreds of songs, and as John Cohen says it, "unaccompanied singing was his entire music." However, the feeling you get from these recordings is not just his entire music, but his entire soul. Chandler didn't reap any of the benefits of the folk boom; apparently he was too shy and diffident. But I don't see how he could have anyway; this music is just too intense and raw for most sensibilities, too ancient. The old songs, he claimed, made him "think back instead of moving forward into this fast ways of living." And they do, as his songs practically make time stand still.

Also included is an unbelievably beautiful black and white film Cohen made about Dillard Chandler in the mid-'60s. You see Chandler at his nearly barren cabin or at one of the local beer joints and diners, doing odd jobs, or singing his ballads on a relative's front porch. His voice over narration talks about his relationship to women, work, and song. It's a spellbinding masterpiece and I can't recommend it enough. [MK]






Old Fog

"Old Fog"
"Phantom Rings"

Somehow merging the sound of classic British folk with a post-industrial, post-post-rock collage esthetic, Alexander Tucker has happened upon an intimate and intriguing new space to stake his claim on psychedelia. Tucker's intricate acoustic guitar picking forms the bedrock of these slippery pieces, and his Wyatt-esque vocals are lovely and sad, dark yet inviting. But even on the most melodic explorations, Tucker's compositions are more circular than linear, and he embellishes them with waves of sound, from harmonium to piano to banjo to harpsichord to cello, and several more sinister washes of sound. But whether layered with feedback and metallic percussion or subtle acoustic instrumentation, Old Fog blankets your sonic space, as the title would suggest, moving slowly, methodically, through your psyche, hiding and revealing and hiding again, as the songs unfold and relish in sound. [JM]





Choubi Choubi


Radio Pyongyang


Guitars of the Golden Triangle


(Sublime Frequencies)

(Sublime Frequencies)
"Commie Funk?" Unknown


(Sublime Frequencies)
"Lake Thay Mah Shoke" Saing Saing Maw

It's always a thrill to see what countries are next on the Sun City Girls' agenda as they globetrot and loose new titles on their world music imprint, Sublime Frequencies. But nothing is quite so "taken from today's headlines" as this most recent batch. In the most recent issue of LA-based free-thought mag, Arthur, Sublime-curator Alan Bishop put it thusly: "Don't be fooled by the fear patrol out there who say that terror is only a minute away. It's all an illusion…The fear of terror being spread is a tactic employed as a mirage to keep the herd from experiencing phenomena beyond the pasture."

Perhaps that would explain the inclusion of two titles which document the brutally repressed and hidden cultures of both Iraq and North Korea. Choubi Choubi! is the name of an explosive, highly rhythmic musical form in Iraq, and documents the music made during the reign of Saddam Hussein. There's the appearance of folky Ja'afar Hassan, who sings songs that glorify the socialist agenda that the Baathists would embrace on their rise to power. Fans of ragga, rough world beats, and Timbaland productions will no doubt find the choubi rhythms to be phenomenal: all staccato outbursts that mingle the electronic with the hand-drummed on songs by artists like the masked female yelper, Bawin, as well as many more unknown singers of the day.

Radio Pyongyang is equally beguiling as it stares into the eyes of "our enemy," an aural document that compliments things like Guy Delisle's recent graphic novel about North Korea. It resembles Sublime Frequencies' previous, more dream-oriented shortwave radio collages, but has its main component far more grounded. It's shocking at the quality of Kim Jong-il appraising agit-prop in its myriad forms of state-approved splendor. Squiggly synths, stately military opera, choir chants, pop-balladry, and Pyongyang funk parade past in honor of "Fatherly Leader." Every once in awhile, the real Radio Pyongyang emerges out of the squeaky propaganda machinery, and a chilling voice tells us about the greatness of the Kims.

Last but not least, itself a slightly destabilized country in its own right, the second volume exploring the music of Myanmar (Burma) continues the stunning trajectory set out by Princess Nicotine. This time, it focuses on the fretwork of ridiculously obscure musicians like Lashio Thein Aung, Khun Paw Yunn, and Saing Saing Maw, the sound this time featuring more of that crunchy garage style that fans of the Thai Beat A-Go-Go comps will love. Another great batch from the Sublime folks. [AB]








"Alm Realm"

The Metope full-length Kobol is here to boost the reputation of the Areal label. A good match to Ada's Blondie album, Kobol is full of deep, playfully melodic, big room jams that have the groove of Reinhard Voigt and the melodic quality of M. Mayer (offset by the plunky/fun melodies and abstract pop feel that Areal tends to be all about.) Really, I know that sounds like hype, but that's what it sounds like to me. The tracks don't tend to climb and rave out as much as they groove along, building slowly and sometimes dropping deeper to get a bit more interesting. Also, despite some familial similarity, these tracks aren't as song-oriented as Ada's, they're a bit trackier. A nice, and surprisingly consistent, album from start to finish. [SM]








"Another World Gone By"
"Demolition Derby"

Has it really been almost five years since Tricatel label head Bertrand Burgalat released his debut album, The Ssssound of Mmmusic? (The answer is yes.) Anyone well acquainted with that record, as well as his production work with French (and Francophile) notables like Air, Katerine, and April March, should already be clicking that "buy" button to the left. Portrait-Robot, like its predecessor, is elegantly produced and chock full of musical twists and turns, as the always-cool Burgalat steers us through his many musical obsessions. And like Serge Gainsbourg, almost any style is fair game. The funky "Demolition Derby," sounds inspired by Histoire de Melody Nelson arranger Jean-Claude Vannier, as an ominous choir of voices rides atop a slinky bass line, crescendoing strings, and stabs of a harpsichord. In contrast, "Spring Isn't Fair" is fairly straightforward; a bittersweet love song readymade for 1970s pop radio; while in "Pablo's Dove," Burgalat wrenches up the emotion level of his normally nonchalant crooning amidst a modern baroque backdrop of pipe organ, piano, and electronic beats. Though you can feel a sense of maturity in the 41-year-old producer's signature collision of retro-chic, avant, and electronica, tracks like the bubblegum pop of "Another World Gone By" and the electro-funk of "Pleased Me" would sound perfectly at home at on Mmmusic.

Once again, Burgalat is joined by a large cast of friends, including old contributors like Toby Dammit, Peter Von Poehl, and Elinor Blake (better known as April March). Also worth noting are the stunning lyrical contributions from Robert Wyatt's wife Alfreda Benge (a/k/a Alfie), who penned the words to four of the album's songs--up until now, she had only written for her husband. Not that any fan needs further proof, but Portrait-Robot certainly reinforces Bertrand Burgalat's status as one of France's most creative music makers. [GH]






Evolution Fight
(City Centre Office)


Florida's Cyne has been around since the late-'90s, and over the years they've released various singles, remixes, and EPs on fine underground labels like Counterflow, Chocolate Industries, and Beta Bodega. For their latest release, Evolution Fight, they cross the pond and work with Berlin's City Centre Offices (actually their second for the label). Don't expect any glitch-hop; though Cyne and the Beta Bodega crew are known for their politically edged marriage of laptops and rhymes, this time the four-member group (two MCs, two producers) fine-tune their sound and message for those seeking something both politically aware AND dancefloor friendly. Each track is accented with soulful piano loops, punchy horn builds, live instrumentation, and, for these days and times, an under-hyped production style. Picture Prefuse 73 and David Axelrod producing Paris!?! If you're tired of brainless verses, endless interludes and skits, and whole albums of nonsense, this is what may aid you. A mix of a timid yet well read Chuck D, inspired Talib Kweli, and Jurassic 5 camaraderie--in other words, a love of classic hip-hop and the political, not criminal, minded. Evolution Fight is one of the tightest, solid, and genuinely enjoyable "underground" hip-hop albums you'll hear this year. Give your brain some food for thought and your feet a break from the Harlem Shake. [DG]







Prairie Wind

"Falling Off the Face of the Earth"
"It's a Dream"

God, I hate to say it but it's been an awfully long time since Neil Young put out a really unequivocally great album. Greendale was just about getting there, but the structural conceit of the piece tended to get in the way of the songs. So I guess we have to go all the way back to Harvest Moon, which must be more than ten years ago now and is the album the current one most reminds me of. But that makes sense in some ways, as Harvest Moon was to be his return to the acoustic based artistry of Harvest. Prairie Wind finds Young playing to his strengths after a near fatal aneurysm last year. You'll no doubt be reading a whole bunch of criticism masked as phony psychology in relation to his near-death experience and these latest songs, so I won't try to go there. But anybody who loves a Neil Young ballad will surely want to get their hands on this one--he's got 'em in both the devastating and tender varieties. Sure, there are a couple of clunkers, but they don't really get in the way of the flow so I'm not going to hold it against him. Anyways, when's the last time you didn't skip over "A Man Needs a Maid" fer chrissakes. (Includes a DVD that features a behind-the-scenes footage of the making of this record.) [MK]







(Planet Mu)


After the surprise classical fusion of Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett, Venetian Snares (a/k/a Aaron Funk) returns to the breakcore, drill-n-bass, cut-up arena with his latest, Meathole, on Planet Mu. From the opener, "Aanguish," you know it's gonna be a bumpy ride. Time-stretched and splintered drums splash across the speakers; rubbery low end pulls you like taffy; vocal samples cut through the assault of sound. Track 2, "Choprite" is just that, elastic and choppy, punching you in the eardrums and the cranium, yet it feels good, just "rite." I avoided Venetian Snares for a long time, afraid of the pounding headache I was sure to develop upon listening, but truth be told, my curiosity has grown since last year's release. What he does, he does damn well!! Think of Venetian Snares as the Jandek of the drill-n-bass scene. (Like Jandek, he has reached similar cult status with fans due to his countless number of releases, and his shroud-of-mystery persona.) Once you hear him, he's hard to forget. I haven't heard cut-ups, distortion, and drums or bass sound this tweaked out and skillfully produced in some time. If you're a stranger to Mr. Funk's brand of F.U.N.K., this may be the chance to hop on board the bangin' bandwagon. Of course fans of Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Mu-ziq, Vex'D, and the like have already heard it. Right? [DG]







Folk Roots, New Routes

"Nottamun Town"
"Rif Mountain"

A major catalyst for the British folk revival in the second half of the 1960s, Folk Roots, New Routes (originally released by Decca in 1964) was undoubtedly an influence on later albums by Fairport Convention, the Pentangle, and Steeleye Span, not to mention numerous solo efforts by members of all three of those groups. Shirley Collins had been Alan Lomax's live-in girlfriend in London toward the end of the 1950s and had toured the States with him in 1959, collecting the recordings that would eventually appear on the Southern Folk Heritage Series of LPs. Shirley brought to these sessions an impressive repertoire of traditional songs from both sides of the Atlantic, which Davy Graham accompanied with his exceptionally fluid and expressive acoustic guitar playing. An aficionado of blues, jazz, and Eastern music, Graham had a unique hybrid style that predated that of similar players like Sandy Bull, John Fahey, Bert Jansch, and John Renbourn. The combination of Graham's guitar and Collins' unmistakable voice on great old songs like "Boll Weevil, Holler" is stunning. Also astounding are Graham's three solo guitar pieces, especially the raga influenced "Rif Mountain," and Shirley's two solo numbers. She plays banjo and sings on "The Cherry Tree Carol," a haunting ballad about an unusual miracle performed by a fetal Jesus, and she does an incredible a capella version of "Lord Greggory," a song which is more commonly known as "The Lass Of Loch Royal" and was performed by Doc Watson as "Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet." This is definitely one of Shirley Collins' best albums, a true British folk classic. [RH]







Coconut FM

"Nova Danca" Melo Do James Brown
"Punta" Peter Rap

What with the popularity of the Baile Funk compilations that have surfaced in the past, it was only a matter of time before Atom Heart…err, I mean Senor Coconut, would bless us with a collection of some of his personal faves in the genre. He's been living in South America for about 10 years now, and the first time I ever heard anybody use the term baile funk was in a Wire interview with him eight years ago. He's taken a bit of a different approach by not only highlighting the Brazilian stuff, but also highlighting classic reggaeton from Puerto Rico, aciton from Chile, and Argentinean cumbia tropical music. He actually has a handy little guide in the track listings that tells you what country the music originates from and what style of Latin club music it is. Because it's Senor Coconut, almost all of the tracks are kind of funny and slightly naughty--one reggaeton song's hook consists of one person shouting "Punta Punta" over and over again. The tracks aren't as aggressive as the Diplo and Funk Carioca mixes, but they're still infectious and deep. If you can't get enough of that baile funky stuff, pick this one up. This might be my fave comp of the bunch. [DH]








"Move, Run, Fly"
"Lonely at the K-Mart"

Onitor has been dishing out the consistently soft and deep Traum meets Forcetracks jams. The collaboration of Sweden's Skugge & Stavostrand is a continuation of that tradition. Humla is an album of smooth, bouncy, and smart tracks. Dubby (without the reggae) and Farben-esque without any harsh clicks to distract from the groove. Equally loungey (in a Modernist way) and danceable (in a non-art school Stewart Walker way), Humla is a solid album, perfect to warm up your dancefloor. [SM]







Goo Deluxe Edition Box Set

Fifteen years after its original release, Sonic Youth's breakthrough album Goo receives the deluxe treatment by way of this four-LP box set. Thirty-one songs in all, includes a newly remastered version of the original album, plus remixed and remastered versions of 8-track album demos, outtakes, b-sides and a promotion-only Goo interview. Also comes with a 16-page booklet featuring essays from journalist Byron Coley and Mark Kates, plus never-seen-before photos of the band.




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[AB] Adrian Burkholder
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[DH] Duane Harriott
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[MK] Michael Klausman
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou
[JS] Jeremy Sponder

- all of us at Other Music

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