October 26, 2006  




Sunn 0))) & Boris (Limited Double-CD)
Karen Dalton (Just In!)
Jan Jelinek
Skygreen Leopards
Zadik Zecharia
Johann Johannsson
Roky Erickson
New York Noise 3 (Various)
Kode9 & the Spaceape
The Walkmen
A.R. & Machines
Wierd Compilation (Various)
David Rosenboom
Michael Cashmore
Ian Matthews
A Raga for Peter Walker (Various)


Miho Hatori
A Hawk and a Hacksaw
Tony Conrad
Dilip Roy
Bright Eyes
John Phillips
The Fire Escape

Starless & Bible Black
Frida Hyvonen
R. Keenan Lawler
Sven Libaek


OCT Sun 22 Mon 23 Tues 24 Wed 25 Thurs 26 Fri 27 Sat 28

Win a pair of tickets to one of Joanna Newsom's upcoming Webster Hall shows at tonight's Other Music Listening Party.

Tonight's Other Music listening party is a double-header, as we'll give you a chance to hear both White Magic's upcoming new album Dat Rosa Mel Apibus and Joanna Newsom's highly-anticipated Ys from start to finish. (Both albums are slated for release on November 14.) Afterwards, Other Music DJs will take over the decks for the rest of the night, and there'll be lots of give-aways including two pairs of Joanna Newsom tickets for one of her upcoming shows at Webster Hall on November 13, courtesy of our friends at Drag City, and Brooklyn Industries swag, not to mention drink specials all night long!

THURSDAY, October 26 10 P.M. - Until?
K&M BAR: 225 N. 8th Street (Corner of Roebling) Williamsburg, Brooklyn

$1 BUDWEISER BEER from 10 to 10:30 P.M. then $2 for the rest of the night
$3 VODKA DRINKS from 10 P.M. to 1 A.M.

OCT Sun 22 Mon 23 Tues 24 Wed 25 Thurs 26 Fri 27 Sat 28


Our favorite oddball-genius recluse, Gary Wilson returns to NYC this Saturday to perform at Lit Lounge! You can enter to win a pair of tickets by e-mailing us at tickets@othermusic.com. Make sure to leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. The winner will be notified by noon on Friday, October 27.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28th (7:30 & 11:30 P.M.)
LIT LOUNGE: 93 2nd Avenue NYC

OCT/NOV Sun 29 Mon 30 Tues 31 Wed 01 Thurs 02 Fri 03 Sat 04

Tapes 'n Tapes



TAPES 'N TAPES (special acoustic show)
Wednesday, November 1 @ 1:00 P.M.

Friday, November 3 @ Noon

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

OCT/NOV Sun 29 Mon 30 Tues 31 Wed 01 Thurs 02 Fri 03 Sat 04


Other Music has 7 pairs of passes to give away to a special CMJ screening on November 4 of My Morning Jacket's upcoming DVD, Okonokos, The Concert (DVD comes out on October 31). To enter, send an e-mail to contest@othermusic.com, and please leave a daytime number where you can be reached. The 7 winners (one pair each) will be notified by noon on Monday, October 30.








(Southern Lord)


It's hard to lay comment on the divergent careers of Sunn 0))) or their now-labelmates Boris without sounding like a snob, but aside from a few moments, there's something sorely missing from the vernacular of both bands which has put me off of their output for some time. Until now, when a collaboration between the two (along with contributions from Soundgarden's Kim Thayil, Earth's Dylan Carlson, Thrones' Joe Preston, Jesse Sykes, and many others) proves to supersede any of their recent works by a longshot. Altar is not a split album, but rather a full-on collaboration which finds both the primordial drone of Sunn 0))) and the dramatic heaviosity of Boris working with one another to create something truly thick and malevolent when it needs to be, and incredibly moody and pastoral in other sections. Altar shows all involved parties breaking form to follow new paths seldom seen in their respective bodies of work, reinforcing their craft with a style both new and complementary to the music they've made in the past. It seems like everyone's of the belief that these groups continue to top themselves with each release, but believe the hype here: this might be the fullest, richest, and most worthwhile material of either Sunn 0)))'s or Boris's careers thus far, just miles beyond what was presented on Black One or Pink. This deluxe edition is a limited pressing of 5,000 and includes a bonus disc featuring a massive 30-minute track, entitled "Her Lips Were Wet with Venom." (Only one per customer due to limited quantity). [DM]








In My Own Time
(Light in the Attic)

"Katie Cruel"
"In My Own Dream"

I'm sitting here trying to figure out what I have to say about Karen Dalton that Lenny Kaye, Nick Cave, and Devendra Banhart don't say better in the liner notes to In My Own Time. The consensus amongst these three gentlemen, all known for their highly refined sense of taste, is that Karen Dalton is pretty much one of the greatest singers. As in, EVER. But of course, if you already own the only other record she ever recorded, her debut It's So Hard to Know Who's Going to Love You the Best, you're surely already well aware of that fact. I remember when I first fell in love with It's So Hard…, and just feeling nearly heartbroken that there was such little music to grab onto by Dalton. I asked around about what else was out there and was told that she had recorded a second record a couple of years after her first, but that apart from the song "Katie Cruel," not much else on it approached the brilliance of her debut. I tracked a copy down on LP, and after a cursory listen decided the folks I was talking to were probably right. "Katie Cruel" is indeed a devastating song that maintains all of the pathos present on her debut, and it's no surprise that we've heard two covers of Dalton's arrangement in the last month alone (White Magic, Bert Jansch). But I think the official line about In My Own Time not being as solid as her debut has been changing. Nick Cave says it's actually better than It's So Hard…, and over the last couple of years I've found myself returning to it again and again, as it just seems to get richer with each listen. For one, it's the only studio album she ever cut, recorded at Bearsville studios in Woodstock where the Band spent a lot of their time. The vibe they patented shows up here in spades, with Dalton even doing a brilliant version of Band member Richard Manuel's song "In a Station." I could probably go on and on, but I think you really just want to know whether or not it's worth it, if you need it in your life. I think you do. [MK]








Dead Sea

"Wet Bones"
"Savage Ritual"

The Dead Sea is Xela's third full-length and the first for his label, Type. Upon picking up the album, the first thing you notice is the intricately drawn album art that's both beautiful and disturbing: a depiction of two people drowning. It's quite a macabre statement and certainly symbolic of what lies ahead for the listener. The Dead Sea is an extremely dark record that takes more of an influence from Morricone and Goblin than his previous releases. Xela's last two albums had a minimalist bedroom electronic/post-rock feel akin to B. Fleischmann or Four Tet, but The Dead Sea wipes the slate clean. Filled with strings, marimbas, eerie organs, acoustic guitars, oscillating tones, field recordings and minimal percussion, the CD remains gorgeous and ugly at the same time. Even though this album is dark and chilling, there are also moments where it's uplifting. I don't know if this makes total sense, but all I can say is that it is pretty damn great and could very well be the Type label's finest moment. The Dead Sea is a record that tells you a story without any words, and one that sends shivers down your spine. Really, what more can one ask for? Truly stunning. [JS]









"A Concert for Television"
"Happening Tone"

From what I was hearing through the IDM grapevine, I was primed for a Pt. II to Jan Jelinek's last album, Kosmischer Pitch. There is definitely a shared focus on organic sound and natural environments, however, the welcome difference on Tierbeobachtungen is a noticeably looser feel. This looseness almost brought thoughts of the Jan Jelinek/Computer Soup collaboration, but without the jazz elements and way less synthetic than even that album.

Immediately, "A Concert for Television," breaks away and grows into a beautiful, organic mess. Static-like running water, digital gong pings, and washes of glistening synth overwhelm you like the first morning hike after a long stint in the city. To me, the second track really solidifies my hunch that Jelinek is checking out the Mountains albums and joining the fight to create excellent nature jams with his laptop. It's easy to assume that the two artists are just coincidentally sharing influences, but the parallels are nonetheless interesting to point out: the covers to Kosmischer Pitch and the first Mountains album both sport deep-in-the-woods photo-scenes. Tierbeobachtungen sports a close up, blurred animal-centric image of mountain(!) goats, while Mountains' Sewn has a close-up, blurred photo of a bird from a tapestry. Even if I'm totally off base, what's wrong with a little harmless record-nerd conspiracy theory?

Anyway, the point is, aside from hi-definition finger-picked guitar, Tierbeobachtungen really utilizes a similar open-loose, natural/acoustic, loops-on-the-fly structure that reminds me of the strongest elements of Mountains, particularly in a live setting. All the elements basically come in, just faster instead of gradual, and create this pleasantly churning soup of sound. Fans of Kosmischer Pitch will love this one for the same reasons, plus much more for the simple fact that Jelinek is really letting "Nature Take Its Course." Excellent. [SM]








Disciples of California

"Places West of Shawnapee"
"Sally Orchid"

Skygreen Leopards' Jehovah Surrender EP was one of my favorite records of last year, with its dozy pop songs blanketed by warm fuzz guitar and distorted bass. It sounded like it was dipped in honey. Disciples of California sounds totally different, as it's a largely stripped down, acoustic album, but with a full rhythm section (the Skygreen Leopards Skyband). However, the key to the Skygreen Leopards' sound is in its unpretentious simplicity and the ability to break a song down to its very basics, which remains intact here. There's a seemingly effortless beauty and joyous, jammy feel to Disciples of California that sets them apart from the "freak-folk" pack. Filled with a heavy West Coast vibe throughout, the chiming, Byrds-ian guitars, harmonies, sprinklings of sunshine psych and back-porch folk, and the overall lazy, hazy vibe makes for a great, ragged pop record. And those don't come a dime a dozen these days. Loving it. [AK]








Kurdish Melodies on Zorna

"Baha Pachri"
"Groom and Bride Entrance"

Whoa, now this is music that demands your attention. I have friends who seem to spend most of their waking hours trying to figure out where to find the next batch of ethnic music appropriately intense enough to satisfy their addiction to novel sounds. I'm certainly one to talk, however, as I first came across Zadik Zecharia whilst scouring an on-line Japanese retailer that happened to be offering a CD-R bootleg of Zecharia's work. The soundclips they provided were soooo good and utterly bizarre, but I'll be damned if I couldn't figure out how the hell to order the thing with my highly limited Japanese. Thankfully, the good folks over at Bo'Weavil in the UK have managed to legally license some of Zadik Zecharia's astoundingly dense Zorna playing for wider consumption. Zecharia was born in Kurdistan but immigrated to Israel in the '50s. According to the liner notes, he devoted his entire life to playing the Zorna, a long, trumpet-like instrument that is perfectly suited for the intricate Kurdish melodies heard at parties and weddings, accompanied by the barest rhythmic backing. It's hard to know what to compare it to as it has the high, reedy tone you'd associated with a bagpipe, but with a relentless intensity that also brings to mind Moroccan trance music. This is one of those CDs that just seems to get more mysterious as you listen to it; it's just so foreign and impossible to figure out that you end up sitting there with a WTF expression on your face for the duration of each song. [MK]








IBM 1401: A User's Manual

"IBM 1401"
"The Sun's Gone Dim and the Sky's Turned Black"

One of our favorite Icelandic composers returns! After releasing two pristine, immaculate albums for British label Touch, Johann Johannsson has gone onto the big leagues with his debut for 4AD. Whereas his debut Englaborn focused on minute bagatelles and movements while Vidulegu forsetar went for the glacial and grandiose, IBM 1401 nestles somewhere in between the two, being both epic and approachable. Drones still abound, fleshed out by orchestration and the Pinocchio-like aspirations of the computer in question. Human in sound yet mindful of the chill of technology (and vice versa), this is another striking modern composition from Johannsson. [AB]








The Evil One (Plus One)
(Sympathy for the Record Industry)

"Two Headed Dog"

At long last, Roky Erickson's essential solo debut masterpiece is readily available on CD. Erickson's catalog is endlessly confusing, with numerous live and studio versions of his core 15 or 20 classic songs going in and out of print on a myriad of oddball fan club, bootleg, and limited official releases. But without a doubt, the tracks included here, recorded in the late-'70s by Stu Cook (onetime bass player in Creedence Clearwater Revival), are the Erickson tracks that you need. Upon emerging from years of obscurity, battling the law and his own demons after the 13th Floor Elevators were shattered by drugs and drug busts and the rest, Erickson began the most fertile period of his songwriting career in the mid-'70s. After releasing a handful of shockingly intense and haunting tracks on various singles and EPs, Erickson's Aliens band solidified and he began work on a full-length at studios in Texas and California with Cook at the helm. The songs are legendary -- fierce, incendiary psychedelic punk that is so twisted and yet so true that it's impossible to look away. Roky wrote of demons, zombies, and aliens with such raw emotion and pure conviction that the fear and desperation is palpable; this is no horror-movie corn-syrup blood or smoke and mirrors, this is raw terror and true bloodbaths lived in song.

In 1980, CBS U.K. released a 10 song self-titled album and a year later San Francisco's 415 records tacked on four more from the classic lineup for the original Evil One release, included here in its entirety. But even if you already own the vinyl or various import/bootleg versions of these records, Sympathy has upped the ante with a bonus disc of an appearance Roky made in August of 1979 on KSJO Radio's "Modern Humans Show." While Erickson does not perform live in the studio, he brought along piles of unreleased tapes to play, and between fascinating chit-chat with the DJs about his songwriting and musical escapades (those of you who have spent years trying to decipher Erickson's obtuse poetry will find his explanations fascinating and hilarious) and fielding fan phone calls, they spin 10 songs, most of which eventually turned up on The Evil One, but all alternate studio versions of excellent quality which make most of the live and alternate collections available out there pale in comparison.

Several of the original Evil One album tracks appeared on the excellent Shout Factory double-CD career retrospective but short of those few, none of this stuff has been legally available for years, and I think there is little doubt that this is essential listening if you love rock and roll, punk, garage, psychedelia, bloody hammers, zombies or the rest. Perhaps Erickson is the ultimate burnout, drug casualty, stone-cold freak and more, but he was also one of the best rock and roll singers ever, and a brilliant and original songwriter. This release has instantly become the one you need to own in his catalog. Don't sleep on this, and if you do, leave the lights on…[JM]









New York Noise 3
(Soul Jazz)

"Holland Tunnel Dive" impLOG
"Temptation" Martin Rev

The third installment in the series, and with a different angle. Compiled by Stuart Argabright of Ike Yard (whose entire discography was reissued by Acute not too long ago, and if you missed it, pick it up now!), this volume focuses on electronic post-punk mutations and a darker electro sound. And by doing so, it's probably the best in the series. impLOG's "Holland Tunnel Dive" is the surefire winner here, complete with perfectly repetitive Suicide-esque thrift store drum machine pattern, an abrasive drill sample, a saxophone solo, and a voice that contemplates taking a dive into the seedy NY night. One of the best songs ever, I wonder? Fortunately, it doesn't slow down much from there; two great tracks each by Ike Yard and electro-goth laureate Robin Crutchfield's Dark Day, a lesser known track by Argabright's Dominatrix project, "Temptation" from Martin Rev's gentler, kinder self-titled solo album, and Judy Nylon's dub take on "Jailhouse Rock." All this stuff left an indelible mark on post-punk and electronic music as we know it today, and still sounds remarkably original and, especially in the case of impLOG, totally unhinged. Essential. [AK]








Paper Tigers

"Really Don't Mind"
"Good to Be With"

Sasu Ripatti is so prolific and has so many pseudonyms that I am sure that it is hard for even him to keep track. But one thing for sure, the moniker of his that we all know and love is Luomo. In 2000, Ripatti took the electronic world by storm when he dropped his Vladislav Delay guise for Luomo, and released the highly acclaimed and all out stunning Vocalcity. The album combined the underground with the mainstream, and the minimal with the maximal. It was a perfect, non-traditional house record that had something for everybody, sounding equally as good in the home or the car as it did in the clubs. Six years later, Vocalcity still holds up and is one of those records that we now consider timeless. And though its 2003 follow-up, The Present Lover, had a little more pop appeal and was also quite good, it was tough to live up to the brilliance of its predecessor. So fast forward to 2006, and Luomo is back with a new album, Paper Tigers, and it's one that will satisfy the people that love his house side, as well as his pop side. The record reunites him with longtime vocal partner Johanna Iivanainen on all but one of the nine cuts, and it will definitely please all Luomo fans with brilliant tracks like "Really Don't Mind," "Good to Be With," and "Let You Know." It's been too long since we last heard any new Luomo tracks and I have to say it is great to have him back. Now get off the computer and let's go to the club! [JS]







Memories of the Future

"Nine Samurai"

As a devout follower of the entire spectrum of Jamaican music, from mento to dancehall to dubstep and beyond, I am constantly amazed by all the permutations and manipulations that reggae has gone through. It's a language that has easily adapted into all areas of the forever-changing landscape of current electronic musical sub-genres. Kode9 and the Spaceape (producer and vocalist respectively) have crafted another piece of this long lineage. Building on Linton Kwesi Johnson's "dub poetry," Spaceape's lyrics deal with social justice and human rights but unlike Johnson's melodic phrasing, Spaceape's words are spoken in a flat gravity that imparts a spooky sense of paranoia and tension. The spacing and tone only enhance this mood -- think Vincent Price meets Tikiman. Underneath this, Kode9 builds a sparse, darkly cinematic digital backdrop often relying on pulses of rhythm rather than an actual drum beat. Molten electronics are liberally smeared over the surface while the occasional hand drum offers a break in the technology. Reference points include Stereotyp, Rhythm & Sound and the aforementioned Tikiman (Paul St. Hillaire), as well as various horror film soundtracks. [GA]







Pussy Cats
(Record Collection)

"Many Rivers to Cross"
"Don't Forget Me"

While this IS in fact the second Walkmen full-length to drop this year, it's not exactly a proper new album; fans of pop music and alcohol may (vaguely) remember Harry Nilsson's '74 collaboration with John Lennon, recorded in L.A. during the famed "lost weekend," of the same title. The title is not all that's the same here, as the Walkmen have delivered a song-for-song covers album (of an album full of covers, no less). As the band finished work on their excellent 2006 release A Hundred Miles Off, they received word that they were being evicted from the Harlem recording studio that had been their home for many years. As a sort of farewell to an era, the band invited a bunch of friends down (including Ian Svenonius and a pile of others), poured a few beers, and let the tapes roll.

The original Pussy Cats, officially a Nilsson album produced by Lennon, was a who's who of who was wasted and talented in L.A. in the early-'70s, and it was the sound of a party; perhaps tired and a bit melancholy at times, but delightfully loose and carefree, and that's the spirit with which the Walkmen approach their tribute. They tackle Nilsson and Lennon originals, but also Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross", and reach back even further with classics like "Rock Around the Clock," "Save the Last Dance for Me" and "Loop De Loop," always with a spontaneity and playful joy that clearly was liberating for the band, which makes for a great, carefree listen as well. It's startlingly refreshing to hear indie rockers enjoying classic pop songs with the abandon of a bar band, and the Walkmen and company have the chops and the taste to make this album more than just a vanity project, and their fans will not be able to help but wonder what lies ahead for the band.

Included in the set is a well-done but absurd DVD mocumentary that plays it fast and loose with the facts, telling the tale of the making of both the original '74 album and this remake, with completely fabricated background info on all involved. [JM]








Die Grune Reise/Erholung
(Melting Pot)

"Beautiful Babylon"

Achim Reichel is right up there with Manuel Gottsching (Ash Ra) and Gunter Schickert as the premier Krautrock guitar player, who has undeservedly been toiling in relative obscurity, especially compared to Gottsching. Spanning the sublime and totally outrageous, Die Grune Reise, his debut, is a form of pretty bizarre post-psychedelia, with amazing layered (by the use of tape recorders, a/k/a the "Machines" in A.R. & Machines) and echo-ey guitar playing and hippie-inspired vocal ramblings and chants, that predates Gottsching's Inventions for Electric Guitar by three years. And there's a track that sounds like a Krautrock version of AC/DC. Yeah, it's that awesome. Erholung is Reichel's last album originally released on Brain in 1976, and he ups the ante even more here. It's a blistering live set that doubles the sublime factor, as he runs through four euphoria-inducing jams; the first, "Gute Reise," sounds like African highlife interpreted by a German space traveler. One of the last Kraut reissues you'll ever need, that will buddy up nicely to E2-E4. Yep, that good. [AK]





LPx3 + 7"


Wierd Compilation

"Surround" Tobias Bernstrup
"Porcelain" Sleep Museum

Wierd (sic) was an underground, coldwave/minimal synth "Cabaret Voltaire" of sorts that occurred every Tuesday night in the most perfect setting possible: a small, darkly lit old-fashioned Brooklyn bar where smoking was still allowed, filled with anywhere from ten to a hundred familiar faces, all dedicated in various levels to obscure, dark, romantic, REAL minimal/analog/synthwave. For most, the rarer the better. I almost hate to talk about it because, honestly, it was one of those secret spots that you could count on to be good, seemingly existing only for the people involved to enjoy. You could always come in and it felt like no other so-called "party" running in a city so hyper-aware of the trends. As well as various hardcore/darksoul DJs spinning their rarest, most beloved LPs and seven-inches, Wierd featured live shows, SO 36-style, in its stage-less space. Most of the performers were made up of regular attendees, DJs, and international supporters, some of them slinking on and across the bar in various stages of undress. Perhaps it's a good thing that the Wierd party has been rendered "temporarily out of print," on account of venue ownership changes and increasing police hassle. It burned bright and ended well before its spirit could be watered down or invaded by unwelcome "tourists." (Apparently, Wierd will resurface one day at an unknown location sometime in the future. There is also an underground, active chapter of this party in Berlin.)

Spread across three LPs and a seven-inch, all packaged in a beautifully printed gatefold sleeve containing a huge, color yearbook of sorts, this insane Wierd compilation of 32 unreleased studio tracks runs the gamut of minimal synthwave purism. Here you'll find the soaring Comsat Angels meets Sisters of Mercy coldwave of Blacklist; the analog dirge of A Vague Disquiet; the cold, dark, minimal Depeche Mode of Column; as well as the obsessively pure, icy analogue synthwave of Martial Canterel, Three to Forgotten and Epee Dubois. Many of these names might mean nothing to you, but some of you synthwave vampires might recognize these artists from extreme-cult, insanely limited, European-only vinyl pressings that eeked out over the last few years.

Fanuelle offers a beautifully wrought, surprisingly tender moment with "Here Is a Life," while Xeno and Oaklander come across like a minimal techno Liaisons Dangereuses with a cold bouncing beat, synth snare crash and floating Italian(?) female vox. The dark, martial mope of Epee Dubois' "Tracking Shot" also hits right on the mark, possessing the timeless dirge of slow Joy Division/Death in June. To me, the star of this compilation is Sean McBride for his masterful, full analogue contributions to Martial Canterel (solo), Epee Dubois (with Cheyney Thompson), Three to Forgotten (with Liz Wendelbo and Cheyney T.) and Xeno and Oaklander (Sean M. and Liz W.). McBride's general sound hits me like the darkest, unknown OMD B-side meets the coldness of a non-pop/non-new romantic/non-new wave John Foxx…which is one of the best things around!

It might go without saying but fans of the recent Lost Tapes compilation will find this immaculate collection absolutely essential -- Veronica Vasicka of Minimal Wave moonlights with Minus recording artist Marc Houle on this compilation as 2VM -- not only for the sound, but also for the beautifully obsessive, no-holds-barred packaging. The tradition celebrated in Minimal Wave re-releases is celebrated in modern times for the devoted. As expected, this is ultra-limited to 1,000 vinyl copies with no CD release planned at this point, and they've already sold half of the pressing at the recent opening party in Berlin (an NYC opening is coming soon in November!). Earns the highest possible rank in Wierd-speak: "Very Rare." [SM]

Because of weight, this item will require additional shipping charges for all mail orders. Fortunately, we are offering this album at a special price, $39.99, which is much less than the regular 35 euro price tag!








Brainwave Music

"Portable Gold and Philosophers' Stones"
"Chilean Drought"

You can just about tell by the cover of this rare David Rosenboom record that the results are going to be exemplary: a diagram of the human nervous system next to an enormous bank of old electronic components, it's the type of thing to give Keith Fullerton Whitman night sweats. Okay, we'll also admit to having a soft spot for records that feature electrodes hooked up to peoples' heads (see Alvin Lucier; Pierre Henry's skull-f**king Cortical Art III; some recent Carlos Giffoni) and Rosenboom's "Portable Gold and Philosophers' Stones" is a dreamy, serene bit of sinewave work. This disc also features some really percussive, droney piano work evocative of folks like Cecil Taylor, Charlemagne Palestine, and Keith Tippets, while a recent tack-on, "Four Lines," is a squiggly delight of cello and computer processing. A fine introduction to this man's profound work. [AB]









"Hello Baby"
"Walking Machine"

No matter if you feel positively or negatively about this group's evolution into the sleazy, icy poster girls/boy band for the neo-white-line-fueled 21st century rave, Revl9n have an uncanny knack for creating rock music that murders the most jaded hipster dancefloors by defining the present. Now! Wave music, if you will. Most of the old school OM update readers will remember Revl9n from their highly sought after, self-released "Someone Like You" EP, with its dirty guitar, sexually-charged female vocals and stomping electro beat. The Stockholm band created a NYC club anthem that fit in perfectly with the burgeoning Brooklyn post-post punk scene of 2002, as well as the deliciously tacky crash-and-burn decadence of electroclash. It quickly became a dancefloor smash in both scenes, and sold remarkably well for a self-released album by a group that no one knew a damn thing about. Hell, OM sold 200 copies of their limited 10-inch in less than six months! Amidst all of the "next big thing" hype and well-received live performances in New York, Revl9n opted to wait until all the hoopla died down, and quietly released two follow-up singles, "Walking Machine" and "United," two years later. Most fans were a bit taken aback by the hard electro-pop direction their sound took, but once again it made sense on the dancefloor, and now some two years later, after electroclash and the post-punk revival, their debut full-length is released. Remarkably, they still sound fresh and relevant.

Amidst the hype surrounding the new school of rock-rave (Simian, MSTRKRFT, Justice), the two aforementioned singles, which are included on the album, and the reworking of "Someone Like You" sound like they were made last week, demonstrating the band's equally impressive knack for staying just oh-so slightly ahead of this fickle curve. The rest of the album is an aggressive yet catchy, electro-pop tour de force that combines all of the trashy, irreverence that made Human League and Heaven 17 so much fun. Tracks like the bizarre cut-up come on "Hello Baby" sounds like "Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight" covered by Vanity 6 and Gina X, while "Dead Town" could be "Can't Get You Out of My Head"'s meaner, crazier twin sister. Kudos to Revl9n for not settling for sounding like a throwback. Instead we hear a band that's admittedly a "work in progress" taking its time filtering through all of their influences and creating a truly singular style that touches upon all of the music and art that they love.

All fans of the Knife and the aforementioned artists take note. This is the album that you'll be playing when you're applying that dark eyeliner, that certain shade of lipstick, and those black boots, preparing to walk the night this weekend and many more after! [DH]








Sleep England

"Sleep England"

Exceedingly lovely solo electric guitar debut from Michael Cashmore, previously known to the world for his work under the moniker Nature and Organization, and for his steady day gig with Current 93 over the last fifteen years, during which time he scored most of that outfit's musical accompaniment. As you could imagine, this is about as far from the Fahey school of solo guitar as a solo guitar record can get, the only thing Cashmore seems to have in common with the current crop of six- and twelve-string revivalists is a dedication to the pursuit of beauty. Cashmore's playing more closely resembles that of Harold Budd's approach to solo piano, that is, it's generally ambient with an ever-present sense of implied stillness. It's remarkably engaging despite the lack of any dramatic tension; songs simply meander from point A to point B, exquisitely shifting tones and timbres along the way. [MK]








Journeys from Gospel Oak

"Mobile Blues"

Among other no doubt important life lessons, what years of being a music nerd has taught me is that there's a great divide between the records that music critics love to spill too many positive adjectives over, and the records that one ends up playing the most in their daily lives. It's funny how a writer can twist and turn an album into fitting some sort of grand seminal artistic statement, and then rarely ever feel the need to listen to that album again. In this light, there are many other places in Ian Matthews' long and storied catalogue one could hit up before Journeys from Gospel Oak, but I haven't listened to, and dorked out on any of those records nearly as much. I can already see the whites of the eyes of all the folksters out there in Other Music Update Land turning red cause of this fact -- Ian Matthews was part of Fairport Convention for the "genre-defining" classic, What We Did on Our Holidays, his album with Plainsong, In Search Of Amelia Earhart, is yet another classic of the period which was even lucky enough to get recently reissued with a quote on the front sticker from, who else, Devendra. Hell, even Matthews' later solo outings, '73's Valley Hi and '74's Somedays You Eat the Bear and Somedays the Bear Eats You, are considered cornerstones of easy-goin' California-fried country folk pop, which is saying a lot since they were made by an Irishman. And yet in spite of such an accomplished resume, however slight or unassuming Journeys from Gospel Oak may seem, it has aged far better than anything else Matthews has made before or since.

Only fitting to its legacy, Journeys almost never came out at all. In fact, back in '71, with two solo joints behind him, Matthews was getting pretty burnt out on going it alone. To add insult to injury, he wanted to start another band (Plainsong), and was saving all his new original material for that project, all the while, he still owed Vertigo a third solo record before his contract was up. Begrudgingly, he pulled together a cast of his musician friends, and somewhat spitefully cut a record of mostly covers -- a record that Vertigo promptly, ironically sold off leaving Journeys to lay dormant until Mooncrest put it out in '74, three years after its completion.

Shame on Vertigo. Given that Matthews was already thinking about and piecing together his album with Plainsong, the guy actually tricked himself into making his own masterpiece, unknowingly. It's because of this lack of pretense, this lack of any overarching theme or direction or ambition, this lack of thought, that just lets the playing on these beautiful classic songs breathe so easy. This is what a country-tinged folk rock record should sound like -- mellow steel strings, mid-tempos, glistening Rhodes keyboards, lush harmonies, an effortless rhythm section, a touch of sadness, and a touch of whatever those guys were smoking in the studio. Matthews' version of "Do Right Woman" is so stone cold brilliant that it managed to breathe new life into a song that's been covered so many damn times I thought I could die happily without ever hearing it again. My bad. His take on Tim Hardin's "Tribute to Hank Williams," and Gene Clark's "Polly" both rival the originals, meanwhile Paul Siebel's "Bride 1945" might just be one of my favorite songs ever written whether it's Siebel's version off of his classic Woodsmoke and Oranges, or Matthews' take here. If any of the names mentioned in the previous sentence mean anything to you, buy this album. Really. Don't listen to the critics, I play it all the time. [HG]

This expanded edition includes outtakes and newly recorded acoustic versions of four songs off the original album.








A Raga for Peter Walker
(Tompkins Square)

"Day at the Fair" Peter Walker
"Spiralling Skeleton Memorial" James Blackshaw

Recently resurfacing after nearly four decades of what some might call reclusiveness, but which he might refer to as "intensive study," guitarist Peter Walker is the center of focus for this collection bearing his name. Walker was a student of Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan in the '60s, and recorded two long-gone albums for Vanguard, Rainy Day Raga and Second Poem. Fascinated by flamenco, and its historical connections to ragas, his most recent works (of which four are featured here) are at once relaxed and pertinent, showcasing a gloriously warm compositional spirit on the guitar, expressive and effortless in his rampaging stringsmanship. Walker's own works bookend this release, filled the rest of the way by contributions by Thurston Moore, James Blackshaw, Greg Davis, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Jack Rose, and Shawn David McMillen, all of which were inspired by Walker's body of work. These pieces range from vertiginous and fluid (Blackshaw) to moody and iron-wrought (Thurston's "Dirt Raga") to down-enveloped tributes (Rose and McMillan's contributions, in particular, capture Walker's adventurous musical nature). Even if the current wave of acoustic folk guitar heroes isn't your bag, you'd do well to check out this album; its inviting, spiritual nature will provide the stepping stone into deeper listening. [DM]








Plexus II

"Plexus II"

Not much background info to offer on this one. The album art looks like a cross between a Rachel's cover and a Southern Lord release, which kind of gives clues to Plexus II's sound: chamber rock elements (cello, violin and electronics) married to Johann Johannsson's laptop manipulation (but in a smaller, constant song-oriented scale), plus an overall dark, melancholic soundtrack vibe. Upon first listen, Andreas here at the shop asked: "Who put on the soundtrack to Schindler's List?" Omigod, the entire album is one track!! Gentle sawing on the cello and regular samples of string swells and bits of piano/wood knocks grow and increase in regularity 'til they create a web of point/counterpoint. Eighteen minutes in, the cello's waves of bass are layered to create an uncharitable, foreboding sea until it finally reaches a beach strewn with churning, broken metal. [SM]











Finally available domestically, Miho Hatori's lovely, playful Japanese Ecdysis album from last year. Fans who have been longing for another taste of Cibo Matto, Smokey & Miho, or Hatori's numerous guest-vocalist spots with groups like Gorillaz, the Beastie Boys, and others will not be disappointed by this one. The album joyfully (and skillfully) brings together all of the Japanese-American's influences in one great package, with a batch of bubbly, percussive, wonderfully orchestrated songs that incorporate elements of bossa nova, hip-hop, J-pop, jazz, and the kitchen sink, but with an effortless finesse, all tied together by Hatori's sweet and expressive vocals. [JM]








The Way the Wind Blows

"Song for Joseph"
The Way the Wind Blows"

On his latest album as A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Jeremy Barnes (known elsewhere for his work with Bablicon, Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, the Circulatory System, and more recently Beirut) collaborates with violinist Heather Trost, for a set of stylized, Gypsyfied chamber etudes. The craftsmanship and exacting nature of these songs, combined with the swirling, incense-laden imagery they evoke, will creep up on you on these upcoming frigid winter nights. [DM]








Joan of Arc
(Table of the Elements)

"Joan of Arc"

Tony Conrad's presence on compact disc continues to expand with the release of Joan of Arc, a solo pump-organ piece that he recorded in 1968 for the highly underrated poet and filmmaker Piero Heliczer, for his film of the same name. It's a subtle and rewarding listen, with a distant, floating ominousness that provides a nice balance to his well known works, which tend to have a rather brittle character. [MK]








(Cloud Forest)

"Nattu Padangal'

How we miss the days of airlines selling records on their flights (also smoking and flying with shampoo, but that's for another conversation), especially when it comes to an album like this one by Dilip Roy, as pressed for Air India flights as an aural souvenir of said country. Dilip Roy, for the astute out there, once worked with Bollywood progenitor Ananda Shankar, though his sound here is far more classical (meaning less psychedelic and weird) though no less silken, moody, and exotic, with Indian instrumentation coupling with synthesizers, organs, and electric guitars. One for the friendly skies. [AB]








Noise Floor: Rarities 1998-2005
(Saddle Creek)

"Trees Get Wheeled Away"
"Devil Town"

This makes for almost as many Bright Eyes B-side compilations in the past few years as there are actual albums from our man. But hell, I guess on paper it makes sense -- the last collection came out before Conor Oberst hit the big time with Lifted and he's done a lot since then, including releasing two albums in a single year. Noise Floor is definitely tailored for the diehards, as there are inexplicably none of the great B-sides from the Digital Ash and I'm Wide Awake sessions (criminal to leave off "Blue" and "Whiskey Well"). That said, highlights like "Motion Sickness," plus two rare cuts from an unreleased seven-inch Conor did with the always remarkable M.Ward, and a quite nice cover of the Daniel Johnston tune "Devil Town" will hopefully tide the fans over until the next Bright Eyes album is released, reportedly in the spring of 2007. [HG]








John, the Wolfking of L.A.

"April Anne"
"Lady Genevieve"

One of the truly great records of the late 1960s, John, the Wolfking of L.A. was the only solo album John Phillips released before his death in 2001. You need not be a fan of his earlier work as the leader of the Mamas and the Papas to appreciate this stuff, it's almost wholly different. A lot of the same L.A. studio musicians who backed up that group are on the album -- along with the pedal steel player from Michael Nesmith's First National Band and a couple of guys who played with Elvis -- but the songs have a mellow Southern California country-rock vibe. Predictably, the record was a critical success but a commercial failure. For some reason, fans just weren't eager to hear John's songs without the Mamas and the Papas' saccharine vocal harmonies.

It's been 35 years since Wolfking was released and it's almost unfathomable that it hasn't become much more well-known. While the LP is still quite easy to find and the song "Holland Tunnel" was featured on the soundtrack to Noah Baumbach's film The Squid and the Whale, the album has been out of print on CD for almost a decade. Now it's finally available again, completely remastered and packaged with a whopping eight bonus tracks. It's clear from these songs that John was one of the greatest American songwriters of his generation, rivaling even Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Wolfking was easily his masterpiece; nothing else he did comes anywhere close to this utterly essential album. [RH]








Psychotic Reaction

"Psychotic Reaction"
"Journey's End"

Here's one for you completists out there: the fabled Fire Escape's Psychotic Reaction, reissued for your listening pleasure at a fifth of what the original LP may go for. Featuring unknown musicians whose identities are hinted at in the liner notes, this session band was put together by Michael Lloyd, the wunderkind VP and producer at MGM who worked on a few '60s psych classics, and that (as the notes say) "colorful" man known as Kim Fowley. It includes some stomping covers of giant garage bands of this period: The Seeds, ? and the Mysterians, Count Five and, uh, Mr. Fowley's own "The Trip" which is truly hilarious. In fact, I got a tongue-in-cheek vibe from this collection more than a few times. Standouts are the title-track and the snarling cover of Music Machine's "Talk Talk," which is given a proto-punk treatment. At less than a half-hour, it's like a portable dance party of hits you want to get down to. [NL]






World Is Gone


Various' dizzying The World Is Gone is such a mish mash of styles, it should be impossible to pull this record off. However, they do. It's a rollercoaster ride through dubstep, grime, trip-hop, and even a few detours into folk and Eastern-sounding psychedelia. Sound detailing as a science, this is compelling from start to finish.





$14.99 CD


Starless and Bible Black

"Everyday and Everynight"

This Manchester group delivers a fine Pentangle/Fairport Convention-influenced folk album, with French chanteuse Helene Gautier crooning bilingual. However, it's not a straight up folk affair, as the band expresses a love for prog, with bombastic arrangements and Moog excursions.







Until Death Comes
(Secretly Canadian)

"I Drive My Friend"

Beautiful singer/songwriter album by Frida Hyvonen, who channels Laura Nyro on her debut album. Until Death Comes is filled with skilled piano playing and clever observations, and her voice sounds mature well beyond her years. Another winner out of Sweden. We're getting used to it by now.







Music for the Bluegrass States
(Table of the Elements)

"Wall Climbing Spirit"

Highly-accomplished guitar record by R. Keenan Lawler (who has collaborated with Tony Conrad and Pelt), whose distinct sound can be attributed to his metal-bodied resonator guitar. While these tunes are blues- and bluegrass-based, Lawler's take on the genre is primal and dark, and the outcome is inspired and trancey.







Inner Space: The Lost Film Music of Sven Libaek

"Music for Eels"

A series of film scores by revered (especially in beat-digging circles) Norwegian composer Sven Libaek. Spanning the '60s and '70s, Libaek's music is reminiscent of David Axelrod and Ennio Morricone, and ranges from full-on orchestra work to electronic experimentation.




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[AB] Adrian Burkholder
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