May 18, 2006  




Ricardo Villalobos
Scott Walker
Lee Perry Presents: African Roots
John Clarke
Belle & Sebastian (Late Night Tales)
The Raconteurs
Radio 4
Serge Gainsbourg (DVD)
Jonathan Kane
Derek Bailey, Amy Denio & Dennis Palmer
J Spaceman
Roger Rodier
The Year Of


Thievery Corporation
Hisato Higuchi
Sao Paulo Underground
Grizzly Bear


Eliane Radigue
Hacienda Classics


MAY Sun 14 Mon 15 Tues 16 Wed 17 Thurs 18 Fri 19 Sat 20


New York space rockers Psychic Ills will be performing at the Knitting Factory this Saturday, along with Telepathe, Electroputas, and Vizusa (ex-Excepter). We've got two pairs of tickets to give away to this show, so enter right away by e-mailing The winners will be chosen on Friday, May 19th. Please leave a daytime number where you can be reached.

KNITTING FACTORY: 74 Leonard Street, NYC
Saturday, May 20th - $10 ADV / $12 DOS (Tickets available at the Knitting Factory and at

MAY Sun 21 Mon 22 Tues 23 Wed 24 Thurs 25 Fri 26 Sat 27


Known for his releases on Berlin's Bpitch label, Modeselektor will be breaking in the turntables with a set of his trademark neo-industrial chunk-funk (think Bpitch-style techno with a Kraftwerkian krunk thrown in for good measure). Opening DJ sets by the Novay's Kevin McHugh and Other Music's Scott Mou. Open Boru Vodka from 9 to 10 P.M.

Win a pair of tickets by e-mailing: Leave a daytime number where you can be reached. Winner will be chosen on Friday, May 19th.

APT: 419 W. 13th Street. NYC
Tuesday, May 23rd - Tickets $9 (available at Other Music)

Thursday, June 1st @ APT - $9 Tickets (available at Other Music)

MAY Sun 21 Mon 22 Tues 23 Wed 24 Thurs 25 Fri 26 Sat 27


One of our favorites, Berlin-based electronic artist Jan Jelinek will be making two appearances in NYC next week. His first stop will be at Other Music on Wednesday, to play a solo set.

May 24th @ 8:00 P.M.

OTHER MUSIC: 15 East 4th Street NYC
Free Admission/Limited Capacity



Feat: Andrew Pekler and Hanno
At next Friday's installment of the Bunker at Tonic, Jan Jelinek will be joined by multi-instrumentalist Andrew Pekler and drummer Hanno Leichtmann. Performing as a trio, they will aim to create a dynamic balance between group improvisation and an adequate representation of his Kosmischer Pitch album. Other Music is giving away one pair of tickets to this special night. To enter, e-mail: The winner will be chosen on Tuesday, May 23rd. Please leave a daytime number where you can be reached.

TONIC: 107 Norfolk Street NYC
Friday, May 26th - $15 (Tickets available at Tonic Box Office)

JUN Sun 04 Mon 05 Tues 06 Wed 07 Thurs 08 Fri 09 Sat 10


Following Rev-Ola's recent reissue of his 1969 Baroque-pop masterpiece The Nightmare Of J. B. Stanislas, singer-songwriter Nick Garrie will be making a rare New York City appearance, performing in-store at Other Music.

June 5th @ 8:00 P.M.

OTHER MUSIC: 15 East 4th Street NYC
Free Admission/Limited Capacity

JUN Sun 11 Mon 12 Tues 13 Wed 14 Thurs 15 Fri 16 Sat 17


Sonic Youth's new album, Rather Ripped, hits store shelves on Tuesday, June 13th. That same night, these underground icons will be celebrating its release with a live performance at CBGB! As you can imagine, the show has been long sold out, but Other Music has five pairs of tickets to give away. You can enter by e-mailing The five winners will be chosen on Thursday, June 1st. Please leave a daytime number where you can be reached.

CBGB: 315 Bowery, NYC
Tuesday, June 13th - Sold Out







To Find Me Gone

"I Know No Pardon"

Folk music has always been about big characters, luminous, otherworldly personalities, eccentrics--freaks who f**k around in forests with their folk--rebellious, idealistic, and so compelling too. And sometimes, if you were lucky, there'd even be a photographer there to capture the whole scene for an album cover. From Shirley Collins to the Incredible String Band or Jackson C. Frank or Fairport Convention or Bert Jansch, each of these artists made music so intriguing it was only challenged by their own personal mythologies. So surely, when the Folk Revival 2: Acoustic Boogaloo rolled into town back in '03, it wouldn't have had the impact that it did if people like Devendra and Joanna Newsom, or the boys in Animal Collective, weren't so goddamned larger than life. In this light, one could forgive me for only picking up Vetiver's brilliant under-the-radar self-titled '04 debut because the sticker said Devendra was on it. And you know I wouldn't be writing in this update if I wasn't at least somewhat a completist.

Shame on me. Interestingly enough, that little record has stood the test of time better than just about every other one from its contemporaries. Vetiver is essentially Andy Cabic's baby, and the man is nothing if not a master of understatement. Vetiver songs like "Oh Papa," and "Angel's Share" and "Farther On" all drift by on a breeze of finger-picked acoustic guitar notes and hushed vocals. If you blinked, you'd miss 'em. In so many ways, he is the anti-Devendra. It's no wonder the two are such good friends. Everybody needs a sideman. So of course, Cabic is an essential member of Devendra's band, barely breaking a sweat, perpetually behind his six-string Martin, fully dressed, while a half-naked Devendra attempts channeling the revolution that got televised, but f**k it anyway…

When Vetiver dropped a spellbinding little EP last year titled, Between, I got the first hint that Cabic might be due for his close-up. However, it's on Vetiver's exquisite new record, To Find Me Gone, where he really steps into his own. Gone is a luscious paean to string instruments and broken hearts, to the road, and to time too. It's a record that mesmerizes in its ability to capture that moment when you realize someone you once loved, an ex, a friend, someone you knew so well, has now become something of a stranger. The road will do that to a person, so it's no wonder that Cabic himself describes this album as a "road" record. And like most great road records, Cabic brings all his newfound influences into the pot. Where Vetiver's guitar and string arrangements often felt tense and baroque, Gone feels free to wonder. Liberated. Tracks like "You May Be Blue" and "Idle Ties" are all sweaty full-band grooves, heavy on Rhodes keys and grainy pedal steel, webs of acoustic and electric guitar tones, cellos, violins, and even some ukuleles too. No '70s influence is left unturned--the Velvet's infectious minimalism, the earthiness of the Band, the poignancy and playfulness of a Harry Nilsson. It's all there.

And then there's a new version of "Been So Long"--the wistful, sexy standout off the Between EP. Re-recording this song's simple acoustic arrangement could've been tantamount to Lucas f**king with the original Star Wars. And yet, here, "Been So Long," recast as a slow-burning, raga-ballad, is as nostalgic and revelatory as ever. Cabic's got people like Currituck Co's Kevin Barker and Otto Hauser behind him (and yes Devendra too!), as he wisely sidesteps going the whole stripped-down Nick Drake/Vashti thing that's getting more than a bit tired. He's making a road record, so why not stretch his wings? Plus, with all these newfound colors, he knows he doesn't need to hide behind eccentricity to sell it. Beautiful grooves are an end onto themselves. And yes, it's still folk music. One of 2006's Best. [HG]







(Frisbee Tracks)

"Que Belle Epoque 2006"

Finally! After two stunning full-lengths (Alcachofa and The Au Harem d'Archimede) and a new EP (Achso) that defies categorization, German-by-way-of-Chile producer Ricardo Villalobos has some of his earliest singles collected onto a single disc. These showcase the man pre-"ketamine house" in fine form already, working the rigorous and straight-up house form to its fullest through the mid-'90s. Not that he doesn't have weird and small sounds accruing between the cracks: orchestral fanfares continually seep out on his "Belle Epoque 2006," while the bonus track (a sprawling and decisive dismantling of Senor Coconut) evokes Perez Prado and the Afro-Cuban tradition before getting down to the dancefloor for 15-odd minutes. These epochal sides set the foundation for his career and subsequent experimentations. For those of you into house yet still wondering what the fuss is all about (or maybe you just say nope to dope), this'll get you into the man. [AB]







$16.99 LP


The Drift

"Cossacks Are"

The arc of Scott Walker's career has followed the reverse path that I consider typical as an artist continues to grow and create through the years, at first crafting lovely, accessible pop music and gradually moving farther and farther afield of the mainstream. Walker first came to prominence in the early-'60s with several massive radio hits with his group the Walker Brothers, including the timeless "No Regrets;" but by the end of the decade he had tired of the pre-packaged youth market the group was mining and turned to a solo career that has spanned nearly 40 years. His subsequent solo records, beginning with four thrilling self-titled albums in quick succession in the late-'60s (Scott, Scott 2, Scott 3 and Scott 4), were surely anomalies in the hippie era, with lush orchestrations backing Walker's dramatic croon more redolent of past generations of pop stars like Sinatra or Jacques Brel, from whom Walker clearly took a cue on his intense and stark lyric imagery of the seamy underbelly of society, sung albeit in an embraceable, theatric baritone.

These early solo efforts were huge hits in England, although they only reached cult status here in the States, and throughout the '70s and '80s he continued to record, with often wonderful, but mixed results, until eventually slipping off the radar completely. After more than 10 years of silence, Walker returned with a bang (or a low rumble perhaps) with the bold and nearly revolutionary 1995 album Tilt. Walker crooned desperate tales over largely ambient electronic soundscapes that bubbled ominously, perfectly complimenting his songwriting and creating a singular sound that was received with open arms by the avant-garde music community, while still clearly relating to his earlier, less "challenging" work.

Well, you thought that was a difficult listen? Eleven years later, Scott Walker has again dropped an atom bomb on us with The Drift, a stunning new epic that pushes him further out on the ledge of both musical adventure and lyrical despair, with a brilliant, theatrical, intense and comically pretentious album that is sure to be one of the most brutal and rewarding listens we will have this year. The production is reminiscent of a month spent in the Alaskan tundra, cold wind and shades of white nearly blinding, alternating between wide empty spaces and pounding claustrophobia. Swirls of electronics, vibrating strings, pounding percussion…the music surges and then disappears with a seeming randomness that only slowly reveals its logic. Add the chilling sound effects, weird whispers, gurgling screams, a prolonged and disturbing percussive segment that sounds frighteningly like fists on flesh, and you have a chilling background to Walker's disarmingly warm, eloquent and musical singing.

And sing he does, as THAT VOICE is always the center of any Walker production. As his accompaniment becomes colder and colder, the warmth and depth of Walker's singing is even more arresting, and it is hard to ignore the lyrical content in these harsh climes; in fact, the 34-page booklet that comes with the release is full of lyrics, as well as explanations of these dense and dark tales. Walker is inspired by such earthly horrors as Mussolini's brutal public execution, and Clara Petacci's decision to die alongside him. Or a desperate swallow stuck in the attic smashing against the wall in vain hopes of freedom. Or Elvis Presley, deep in the throes of drug addiction and despair, speaking to his stillborn twin Jesse. And yet, miraculously, Walker fills these harsh tales with humanity and life. This record is not for everyone, and surely not for every time, but it is a remarkable and pure artistic statement that is full of beauty and pain on a level few of us would ever allow ourselves to explore, and coming as it does from such a storied and accomplished songwriter, with little to prove, it is all the more fascinating. It is possible to draw a line connecting all Walker's work, from "No Regrets" to "Clara", and the constancies may in some ways outweigh the innovations, but as this true artist continues to challenge himself, and the listener, with his sonic and lyrical explorations, despite the pain that The Drift wallows in it is hard not to be inspired by the joy of the creative process. [JM]







(Drag City)

"Dead Queen"
"Widow's Weed"

Summer is setting in, but the chill created by the sophomore album by Philadelphia's Espers could keep the entire city bundled up, the skies gray, the air and waters icy. This is the stunning knockout follow-up to their debut and all-covers Weed Tree EP; a sinuous, hex-inducted, buzzing hive of folk-rock, informed of worldly dread, fear, tension, and sorrow. The space usually incurred by frosty, martial folk hymns is filled completely with various levels of feedback and drone, as created by twitchy analog synths, organ, bass, and drums. II is mixed like a rock album; with content grimmer than most black metal releases; with musicianship, arrangements and sonic detail above and beyond all of their peers; and with a truly haunted vibe that will both stick with you long after the record ends, and which will hold up to many repeat listens. Not your typical psych-folk album, but then again, Espers isn't trying to blend in with the pack. One of the most exciting and inventive releases of the year thus far; II raises the bar for the genre by bridging a strong connection with past masters (Pentagle comes to mind) to a modern sound, without losing any of which made the originators special, or overloading hallowed grounds with technology and tactless innovation. Highly, highly recommended. [DM]







African Roots Featuring Seke Molenga & Kalo Kawongold

"Bad Food"
"African Roots"

As the music history in the digital era gets revisited and oft-times rewritten, small moments can assume greater stature. In its day, the Congos' Heart of the Congos was just another weird and mystical album loosed from the hull of Lee Perry's Black Ark Studio; it would take 20 years for it to ascend to its rightful place as one of the greatest reggae albums ever released. Perry originally delivered the album to Island, where it was systematically rejected, and had big plans for the vocal duo that came to fruition beyond the first album.

Reading the conflicting story that accompanies African Roots, the appearance of Zimbabwean musicians Seke Molenga and Kalo Kawongold down at Lee Perry's mythical studio came in one of two ways. In one, they were stranded on the isle by their shifty manager and left to fend for themselves. In another, said manager simply left with the Congos instead, leaving both the Africans and Perry in a lurch. Whatever the story, what happened next is yet another amazing chapter in the history of Lee Perry and another astounding musical work.

It's no secret that Rastafarianism and roots-consciousness had many Jamaicans pining for the African motherland, yet iconography aside, there was scant cross-fertilization, or so it was previously assumed in the historical record. African Roots upends that theory to devastating effect, as these two players interact with Scratch and his crew in that heady era of 1977, language barrier be damned. This really is a fascinating document of what happens when (culturally) two sevens clash, in that African soukous, tribal chants, and Jamaican reggae intermingle and find common ground as the tapes roll.

Cut right after Heart, there are slight sonic similarities, but this is a singular album in Perry's oeuvre. Both Molenga and Kawongold chant in their native tongue and blow horns, giving a heavy brass presence scarcely heard elsewhere, even getting into free jazz territory at certain peaks. Imagine soukous' golden slink plunked down some cavernous and gritty echo and you're halfway there. A truly devastating document that's sure to fill both your need for heavy African music and roots reggae come summertime. [AB]








Rootsy Reggae

"John Brown"

The newest reissue from Wackies showcases the talents of John Clarke (not to be confused with Johnny Clarke). The abridged version of the story goes something like this: In 1979, Clarke recorded Visions of John Clarke with Bullwackies, then after a bidding war with Studio One and Makossa, the album was re-released with new edits, instrumentation, and mixes under the name Rootsy Reggae. Across the 22 tracks collected here, Clarke is in top form, his smooth vocal style gliding over some choice rhythms. It's not in the fast-paced rockers style that was flooding the markets, but more in the conscious, social, and soulful slower side of things. Since this disc includes both albums, some songs are featured twice but often times appear quite different in their arrangements (e.g. whole horn sections present in one version might be absent in the other), and Wackies' trademark bubbly dub is in full effect here, adding some nice psychedelic moments throughout. Fans of Johnny Clarke, Wayne Jarrett, Johnny Osbourne and Love Joys (who sing a lil' back up vocals) should pick this one up for sure. [DG]








Late Night Tales - Various Artists

"Gratuitous Theft in the Rain" Rehash
"Get Thy Bearings" Donovan

Incredibly diverse mix of tunes gathered by Belle & Sebastian, who, perhaps contrary to popular belief, are no strangers to the dancefloor. The majority of the set was compiled by Chris Geddes, the band's pianoman, who's quite the accomplished DJ, and manages to maintain a sort of red thread between the many styles on this mix. Proven by the myriad of pointless hodge-podge DJ mixes out there, it's an intuition possessed by few and one you can't buy for money. So, what's on here? Demis Roussos, for one. Not sold yet? How about Lootpack into Demis Roussos into Stereolab into the Peddlers? Thought so. It's also got the totally amazing Moodymann remix of Carl Craig's "People Make the World Go Round", Big Star, some soul dancers, Brazilian flavors (including B&S's own cover of Trio Esperanca's "Casaco Marron"), Polish jazz, and this totally unknown dancefloor bomb called "Fly Like an Eagle" by some guy named Steve Miller. I can't remember if the Late Night Tales series is meant for chilling out post-club or for rocking the party (or neither), but it works really well both ways. [AK]









"Paskaa Musaa"

Like a throw of a 20-sided die, it's hard to know exactly which side of Finland's Vladislav Delay to expect with each new release. The ever-mutating dubscapes of The Four Quarters was a slept-on treat from last year, as was the infinitely fissured whispers of his project with partner AGF, but it was a mite hard to get behind his project as The Dolls. While not overly familiar with his Uusitalo banner, this new album is really something and it sent me scrambling to track down his first album under this moniker.

If anything, Uusitalo is a happy medium between his ambitious house tracks made as Luomo and the totally abstract drifts he used to do circa Entain. There may be a snowy landscape gracing the cover of this one, but inside the cuts are warm and melting, with beats interacting with the dubby subtleties and sliding all over the place, taking on new configurations around every turn. I really want to plunk a drummer friend of mine down and see if he can figure out just what sorts of meters Vlad is toying with this time around, especially on opener "Paskaa Musaa" (which apparently translates as "sh**ty music"), as it seems that every measure contains some little rhythmic trick that throws you for a loop. While it's propulsive and sleek for the most part and blended so as to seem effortless on Delay's part, any of these could really knot you up on a dancefloor. [AB]







$19.99 LP



Broken Boy Soldiers

"Steady, As She Goes"
"Broken Boy Soldier"

Dream team collaborations often sound far better on paper than they do in your ears. For instance, on paper, this new Paul Simon/Brian Eno joint should've been basically the best recorded sound in the history of mankind, however, in my ears it's safe to say it fell, um, short. And don't even get me started on Freddy Vs. Jason. A boy gets tired of having his expectations f**ked with, and for once with the supergroup side project (?) of White Stripes' axe-shredder Jack White, power-pop posterboy Brendan Benson, and the rhythm section of the Greenhornes, the Raconteurs, meet, if not exceed the big "e" word. The group's debut, Broken Boy Soldiers, was apparently born out of the excitement White and Benson felt after recording the album's first single, "Steady, as She Goes." It's definitely that kind of a song. "Steady, as She Goes" would've fit perfectly on early-'90s K-Rock alongside cult-alt. radio classics like Tripping Daisy's "I Got a Girl," Dinosaur Jr's "Feel the Pain," and maybe an Everclear joint too--which is a good thing…duh. It's all instantly sing-a-longable nonsense lyrics, a bass-riff two degrees removed from MTV promo music in the late-'80s, and, hell, it even has a music video directed by Jim Jarmusch. Not bad. To say that Soldiers never really reaches the high set by its first single and opening track wouldn't exactly deem the record a total loss. The psychedelic junkie blues of "Blue Veins" is definitely Rza-sample worthy, and its mercurial vamp is far more affecting than most anything off of the White Stripes' last attempt, Get Behind Me Satan. Furthermore, "Hands" is just a great jukebox pop song, which as can be expected is equal parts Zeppelin (thanks to White's penchant for windmill power chords and endless riffage) and Badfinger (thanks to Benson's ear for a killer melody). Two great tastes, that taste great together. [HG]








Enemies Like This

"Enemies Like This"
"This Is Not a Test"

Radio 4 first came to notice as one of the earliest groups to seize the flag of post-punk that has since become de rigueur amongst hot indie bands, with a pounding rhythmic delivery that gave clear nod to their inspirations like Gang of Four and Public Image Ltd. Their 2004 full-length Stealing of a Nation added slick dance production into the mix, but Enemies Like This strips the band back to their more primal roots. With heavy drums and angular guitars, the record is still dancefloor friendly but decidedly less electronic. The production does incorporate several influences beyond 1981, with nods to alternative radio staples from Echo and the Bunnymen to more recent hit makers, but the core is still Radio 4's dubby bass and muscular percussion, and Anthony Roman's vaguely British shout. [JM]








D'Autres Nouvelle Des Etoiles
(Universal France)

I can say, without a doubt, that this 2-DVD Serge Gainsbourg box set is the best music purchase that I've made all year. My first exposure to the Gallic icon goes back to almost a decade ago, when I first picked up the Comic Strip compilation; and I've been a big fan ever since, reading biographies, trolling the web for interviews and video clips, and, of course, collecting his albums. But Gainsbourg was such a mythically scandalous, multi-faceted figure in French pop culture that, unless you speak the language, it's truly impossible to grasp the full dimension(s) of his character just by reading secondhand accounts and translations of his lyrics where his unique wordplay and metaphors are all but lost. This DVD has shed a whole new light on Gainsbourg (not to mention French music in general) for me, and everyone else I know who has watched it.

Starting with some early black and white performances from 1958, there are over four-and-a-half hours of music videos, sub-titled interviews, movie trailers, and random footage that give the viewer a detailed glimpse of the man. It's probably as close as you can get to experiencing the Gainsbourg phenomena without having lived in France during this time. It's also interesting to note the transformation that takes place before your eyes: his awkwardly shy demeanor in the early footage never really disappears, but rather, it becomes an integral part of his persona. In the campy clips for staple songs like "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Comic Strip," Gainsbourg all at once looks comfortable yet out of his element standing next to Brigitte Bardot, who, even clad in a spandex super-hero costume (in the latter video), is undeniably sexy. Fast forward a decade, during the live performance footage of "J'suis Snob," the slightly disheveled Gainsbourg slouches behind a table as he sings, reading the lyrics off a piece of paper; it's quite a juxtaposition against the beautifully backlit string section and the full band performing behind him.

We also get to observe the legendary chemistry between Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. During the lip-synced performance of their duet "69 Année Érotique," as Birkin lies across the dusty top of a grand piano peering into his eyes, the ever-so-reserved Gainsbourg occasionally smiles back in between drags of his Gitane, and you're left with the impression that he was as much her muse as she was his. Of course, Birkin receives a considerable amount of face time in this DVD set, including her co-starring role in what will probably be the biggest draw for many: Jean-Christophe Averty's film for Histoire de Melody Nelson. A surreal, track-by-track video accompaniment of the album, it's both of the time and ahead of its time, with kitschy, psychedelic chroma-key effects, not to mention Birkin wearing some particularly revealing outfits, as Gainsbourg plays the stoic, smitten elder. There are plenty of other "scandalous" moments, including archival footage of the couple demonstrating their infamous grope-fest slow dance, better known as "la decadanse"; Gainsbourg provoking the freggae National Anthem controversy even further by offering the winning bid in the auction of the original Rouget de Lisle manuscript of "La Marseillaise"; and the infamous 1984 video for "Lemon Incest," a duet with daughter Charlotte, which to this day still invokes a "what the f**k?!" Noticeably absent, however, is the notorious French interview where Gainsbourg announces on live television, in plain English for Whitney Houston (who is seated next to him) to hear, his less than pure intentions for the singer. But amidst all this rare footage, it's hardly missed.

There's so much more I could write about, needless to say it's almost impossible to get through these DVDs in just one sitting (though I know someone who did). There's no shortage of stunning concert segments, behind-the-scene studio clips, never-before-seen footage, and lots of performance cameos from the likes of Jacques Dutronc, Catherine Deneuve, Eddy Mitchell, France Gall and Anna Karina. This is as essential as it gets for any Serge Gainsbourg fan. [GH]

Please note: this DVD is formatted for European PAL (All Zones), but it is compatible with multi-region players.







I Looked at the Sun
(Table of Elements)

"I Looked at the Sun"

Just so we can get it out of the way, Jonathan Kane co-founded seminal NY art terrorists Swans with Michael Gira in the early-'80s. Cool. Since then, Kane's been involved in various projects with such luminaries as La Monte Young, Gary Lucas, and Rhys Chatham (as the sole drummer of Chatham's 100 guitar orchestra), but it wasn't until last year that Kane put out his first proper solo record, February. Improving on that album's formula, he takes his minimal blues all the way on I Looked at the Sun, the two-song, 19-minute follow up. Kane, a drummer by trade, has added guitar and bass to his résumé as a solo artist, creating a repetitive, swirling mass of sound (with the help of David Daniell on extra guitar) which invokes moods comparable to those created by Henry Flynt, Velvet Underground, and bluesmen of the Delta. "BQE" sets the tone with a lonesome desert plain swagger, magnified by the addition of Danielle's pedal steel, and motorik groove, but it's the 13-plus minutes of "I Looked at the Sun," a Mississippi Fred McDowell reinterpretation ("cover" seems inappropriate here,) that truly brings it all home. Initially, it bothered me that I couldn't pin down what it reminded me of, or that it reminded me of too many things at once: sunbaked blues, a rock 'n' roll version of Neu!, Son House jamming with Spacemen 3. After more than 20 listens, I realize that it sounds like all of the above, and therefore like neither. The massive walls of guitar and seemingly looped leads induce a trance mostly only achieved by Steve Reich and the aforementioned La Monte Young, yet Kane's workouts feel like proper "songs." I'm gonna go and listen to it a 27th time. Mandatory. [AK]








The Gospel Record
(Shaking Ray)

"Heaven Will Surely Be Worth It All"

When I got this record last week I was a bit confused...Derek Bailey made a gospel record?! Joined by Amy Denio and Dennis Palmer on voice, synthesizer and sampler, these are, however, not the kind of spirituals that your grandma listens to. Seven tracks clocking in at just over a mere 14 minutes, it features covers of songs by Albert E. Brumley, W. Oliver Cooper and Minzo C. Jones, Dorsey C. Yarbrough, Vep Ellis, and Terry Pillow. Opening with "Let the Little Sunbeam In," Denio's overdubbed vocals would sound perfectly at home on an old dusty 78; only here she's accompanied by jagged shards of guitar fragments and angular glitches of electronics. "Heaven Will Surely Be Worth It All" is anchored by a flat drum beat underneath Bailey's distorted guitar and smears of synthesizer, while Denio's vocals float on top, as if this was the most natural platform for her delivery. The effect is stark, startling and very, very strange. When I played this next to Josephine Foster's A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, it made perfect sense. Yes, the CD is short, but after repeated listens I began to think that if it were much longer, well, it wouldn't be as effective. [GA]







Guitar Loops

"Guitar Loops"

For the noise connoisseur and the completist out there comes this solo (originally released last June) of very personal and, at times, harrowing guitar work and tape manipulation from J Spaceman (Jason Pierce) of Spiritualized and, of course, Spacemen 3 fame. This 35-minute recording begins with an electronic stutter and from there on develops into the sort of mayhem one would expect from Mr. Spaceman. The recording is so clear at times, I felt as though he was right next to me shaking some shells (pills!) in a bottle. You will recognize this moment as everything else drops out and only the shaking is audible and the muffled thump from the Fender Jag as he does so, then onto the wailing and the screeching. At times entrancing--perhaps the word "succumbing" would be more appropriate--yet also difficult and confrontational. [NL]








Upon Velveatur

"While My Castle's Burning"
"Tu Viendras"

Another fine discovery from the latest batch of Sunbeam reissues, Roger Rodier's 1972 album Upon Velveatur is an exemplary psychedelic folk rarity. The LP originally came out on Columbia in Canada only, and has never been released on CD until now. Rodier's voice is lovely, breezy and gentle like Donovan's on some songs, and at moments specifically reminded me of the soft pop harmonies of Thomas and Richard Frost. Some of the darker tunes find his voice in a slightly lower register and with a much more venomous and biting tone, sharp like Kevin Coyne or Meic Stevens. Aside from the beautiful orchestration, strong acoustic guitar playing and surprisingly varied songwriting, there are plenty of nice touches including subtle analog synth parts and what sounds like a bit of Theremin on one track. If you liked last year's Gary Higgins reissue, this disc will probably be way up your alley. [RH]










Synanthesia existed for a year and a half at the tail end of the '60s, released one impossible-to-find LP, then sank without a trace. Pity, as the ground they trod on this reissue was fairly fresh at the time, and still resonates with lysergic psych-folk abandon. Wispy, faerie-prince style lyrics are framed properly against acoustic guitar, sax, bass flute, vibraphone and percussion, in a dynamic mix of melody and dissonance, breaking some boundaries of form for the genre and adhering closely to others. Inspired and lush, this is one of the finer titles to spring up from the new Sunbeam label and should appeal to most latter-day folk/psych/drug music enthusiasts. [DM]








Slow Days
(Morr Music)

"There's Something About You"

The latest offering from Berlin-based Morr Music, The Year Of is an indie-electronica "supergroup" of sorts, led by B. Fleischmann and featuring Christof Kurzmann, Martin Siewert, Paul Kling and Werner Dafeldecker. Of course, both indie and electronica are often more than those terms imply, and in this case, jazz and country are melded into the music. Free-ish improv saxophone and twangy pedal steel guitar add details and accents, with vibes, clarinet and strings lending even more to the rich production sheen. As you'd expect, there are plenty of electronics present, all shimmering and sparkling in different translucent colors, but it's so well-worked into the texture of the music you almost forget that the digital elements are even there.

"Bees Be" is fueled by splashy drums, vibes, sax, and processed claps and strings; the song actually brings to mind both Tortoise and Can. But as Amanda, Andreas and I listened to this in the store today, even more reference points came about: "There's Something About You" was reminiscent of Yo La Tengo's moodier moments; the slowly-shuffled electronic rhythm mingling with the piano, guitar strums and string swells of "Alone" reminded me of Momus; and during "Stephen Hawking," we couldn't help but think of Lou Reed, who Kurzmann's vocal phrasing closely resembles. I could also hear the orchestrated crooning of the Tindersticks and Richard Hawley, the electronic jazz experimentations of Jan Jelinek, and the meandering southwestern guitar work of Calexico; it's all in there. Slow Days seems to be one of those albums that is so well-balanced that no matter how many seemingly divergent elements are gathered together, nothing seems too obvious or attention grabbing. It all seems to get equalized, on purpose. [GA]









Constructed primarily out of processed guitar sounds, Manual's Bajamar plays like a mesmerizing tribute to an imaginary tropical paradise. Minimal and repetitive but all the better for it, as the subtle shifts induce warm, glowing bliss. For fans of Fennesz, Gas, Aphex Twin's less schizoid works, and maybe even the Cocteau Twins.









A collection of 18 remixes by Thievery Corporation, including dubby dance reworkings of Wax Poetic, Astrud Gilberto, Transglobal Underground, Nouvelle Vague, Sarah McLachlan, the Doors, and many more. Versions also contains a brand new TC track that features first lady of reggae, Sister Nancy.








"Girl Sister"

Higuchi's debut EP She is similar in style to the full-length 2004 11 2005 11, and comparable to some of the works by Loren Mazzacane and Derek Bailey. Higuchi, a master of modern guitar, also adds layers of electronics and faint traces of vocals to create gorgeous and deeply personal music.







Sauna: Um, Dos, Treis


A master of drawing from many different and eclectic sources, Rob Mazurek (Chicago Underground, Isotope 217) teams up with Mauricio Takara (Hurtmold) to create Sao Paulo Underground. Sauna: Um, Dos, Treis is a melting pot of rock, jazz, electronics, dub, and traditional Brazilian sounds. A carnival for your mind and feet.







Sorry for the Delay

Sorry For the Delay collects early embryonic home recordings by Grizzly Bear, which at the time was Edward Droste's solo project. The seven songs on the LP are even more intimate and heartfelt than Horn of Plenty, the album that followed. Includes a great version of Yes' "Owner of a Lonely Heart".








(Southern Lord)

"Boris Character"

Pink is the newest album by high-concept/excellent results, stoner-rock masters BORIS. Touted as their ultimate, most realized album to date, Pink shows Boris kickin' out the jams in every way that they know how. Everything from massively floating drone-rock (the opening track is so Melvins Bloody Valentine) to driving, high-octane Blue Cheer riff-rock full of unexpected shifts and of course, monolithic, thundering, seething sloth-metal. As far as definitive Boris albums, we all know how great Absolutego and Akuma No Uta are, as well as their more 'experimental' releases with Keiji Haino and Merzbow. Boris have already proven themselves capable of sounding absolutely classic and new at the same time, while exploring all types of ground within reason. Wearing their influences on their sleeve while taking it altogether somewhere else, how many other bands can sound like a tank, racing up Mt. Everest on one album (Absolutego), then sound like a Japanese Blue Cheer meets Motorhead (Akuma No Uta), and then do a track with Merzbow of nothing but analog hiss and massively humming amps that still rules on another? The thing about Pink is its cohesive variety, unfaltering energy and overall generosity. This one will reward the faithful with heaping doses of rumbling, thick, bad-ass, balls-out ROCK with massive texture (drone/noise sections are embedded WITHIN the songs) while it wins over some newcomers with its absolutely pure, yet new rock spirit. Thanks Boris. [SM]







Elemental II

"Elemental II"

One of our favorite minimalists returns with a more recent work and despite Radigue's back catalog of transcendent studio electronics, this marks the first piece composed to be played live. In this recording, Kasper T. Toeplitz plays electric bass, but we'll be damned if the thunder stick ever sounded so low and deep. For as much as works like Adnos I-III were heavenly, Elemental II is evocative of plate tectonics and the sounds made deep within the Earth's core. As the piece evolves though, the subtle rumble slowly accrues around it a humming field of electricity, all of it slowly glowing like lava. A real melter that also made The Wire's Top 50 for 2005. [AB]








Hacienda Classics

"Voodoo Ray" A Guy Called Gerald
"Belfast" Orbital
"Hashim (The Soul)" Al Naayfish

Peter Hook of New Order provides the definitive documentation of the Hacienda. The story of the legendary Manchester club has been written, and filmed, a million times before but the music contained therein has never been compiled quite like this. Over three discs, Hooky mixes early-house (Mr. Fingers, Joe Smooth, Derrick May) and acid house cornerstones (808 State, A Guy Called Gerald) with Manchester staples (Primal Scream, Happy Mondays, New Order) and electro classics (Shannon, Al Naayfish). Over four hours, the mix builds and drops (thanks to a few perfectly timed chilled-out jams, including Orbital and Future Sound of London) and builds back up again before exploding into a final massive crescendo of Rhythim Is Rhythim and Sterling Void into Candi Staton's "You Got the Love." Oh yeah, Black Box's "Ride on Time" is on here too. What? You scared?

This is essential for anyone interested in the beginnings of house music, club culture, Manchester and good nights out. File under religious. [AK]




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[GA] Geoff Albores
[AB] Adrian Burkholder
[DG] Daniel Givens
[HG] Hartley Goldstein
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[AK] Andreas Knutsen
[NL] Nicole Lang
[JM] Josh Madell
[DM] Doug Mosurock
[SM] Scott Mou

- all of us at Other Music

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