September 28, 2006  

In the newest installment of Other Music's eBay auctions, you can bid on scarce records by Current 93, Andy Giorbino, Mimir, David Jackman, and rare Japanese pressings of albums by the New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, XTC, Kate Bush, and more. Click here for the full listing.





Marconi Notaro
Jan & Lorraine
Cassy (Panorama Bar Mix 01)
Wolf Eyes
Romica Puceanu
Dona Dumitru Siminica
Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton
Eccentric Soul: Mighty Mike Lenaburg
Rusty Santos
Ilous & Decuyper
My Morning Jacket
Jeffrey & Jack Lewis
Collectors Series Pt. 1 & 2


Al Green
Christine Carter
Lupe Fiasco
Pat Kilroy
Dr. Who Dat


SEPT Sun 24 Mon 25 Tues 26 Wed 27 Thurs 28 Fri 29 Sat 30


Join us tonight (Thursday, September 28th) for our monthly Other Music listening party at the K&M Bar. This month, we're featuring the Decemberists' upcoming album, The Crane Wife (release date is set for October 6th), which we'll be playing from 10 to 11:00 P.M. During that hour, K&M will be serving free 16oz Budweiser beers. Afterwards, Other Music DJs Amanda and Gerald will take over the decks until close and there will also be giveaways courtesy of Capitol Records and our good friends at Brooklyn Industries. Don't miss it!

THURSDAY, September 28th
K&M BAR: 225 N. 8th Street (Corner of Roebling) Williamsburg, Brooklyn
*No Cover*

SEPT Sun 24 Mon 25 Tues 26 Wed 27 Thurs 28 Fri 29 Sat 30


This Friday, Sun City Girls' Sir Richard Bishop headlines a Locust Music showcase at Brooklyn's Glassland Gallery, in support of his latest solo LP, Elektronika Demonika. The guitar virtuoso will share the bill with a slew of other great artists, including True Primess, Apothecary Hymns, and the duo of No-Neck Blues Band's Jason Meagher and D. Charles Speer. Other Music is giving away six pairs of tickets! To enter, e-mail, and please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. The six winners will be notified on Friday morning, September 29th.

GLASSLAND GALLERY: 289 Kent Ave Williamsburg, Brooklyn

OCT Sun 01 Mon 02 Tues 03 Wed 04 Thurs 05 Fri 06 Sat 07


Next Tuesday, Amy Millan (lead vocalist of Stars and also a member of Broken Social Scene) comes to Joe's Pub in support of her solo debut, Honey from the Tombs. Unlike the romantic indie pop of Stars or Broken Social Scene's soaring rock sounds, the sparkling-voiced singer's beautiful album is a more intimate, at times rootsy affair. Other Music is giving away tickets to this special night (one pair for her 7 P.M. performance and another to her 9:30 P.M. show). You can enter to win one of these pairs by e-mailing:, and please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. The two winners will be notified on Friday, September 29th.

JOE'S PUB : 425 Lafayette Street NYC

OCT Sun 01 Mon 02 Tues 03 Wed 04 Thurs 05 Fri 06 Sat 07


As we've been enjoying the recent Jumblequeen reissue, Other Music is pleased to be giving away two pairs of tickets to a birthday celebration concert for Bridget St. John, at her long-time NYC haunt, Kenny's Castaways. "Celebration of Sixty Years on This Earth," with Bridget St. John and friends, takes place Wednesday, Oct 4th. You can enter to win a pair by e-mailing Please leave a daytime number where you can be reached. The two winners will be chosen on Monday, October 2nd.

KENNY'S CASTAWAYS : 157 Bleeker Street NYC

$20 Advance Tickets for this benefit show are also available at the shop, with proceeds going towards the purchase of 30 half- and three-quarter-size guitars for the music program at elementary school P.S. 11 in Manhattan.








"No Sub Reino Dos Metazoarios"
(Time Lag)

"Made in PB"

For those of you out there that were devastated by the one-two punch of last year's out-of-nowhere acid-folk reissues of Lula Cortes y Ze Ramalho's Paebiru and Satwa, two records documenting a small scene in Brazil in the early-'70s, prepare to get flattened once more. Time-Lag continues its dig with another album from that era, featuring Cortes backing up his friend, the poet Marconi Notaro. That this music even exists in the 21st century is astounding. As Lula's notes put it, the early-'70s in Brazil were "dark years, years made of lead." This is protest music of the highest order, subversive yet wrapped in a haze of acidic psychedelia. Marconi and friends make a few pop moves here, but the real treats lie in the studio improvisations. Songs like "Oh, Greedy Life" and "Ode to Satwa" evoke these two other albums and create their own psychic space amid the dense foliage. Fans of the previous Cortes-related discs will definitely want to check in, while newcomers can anticipate another green world of Brazilian music, far from Tropicalia yet as sonically rewarding. [AB]







Gypsy People

"Gypsy People"
"Life's Parade"

What a joy that Fallout has reissued this rare and sought-after recording. Let's watch as it blows the recent folk psych reissues out of the THEN section here at OM. What I love about this record is that, though it is a psych-folk album, Jan and Lorraine are in no way defined by that label. The opener "Break Out the Wine" has a decidedly defiant tone, and there are some very experimental and whacked-out moments on the tracks following. Gypsy People is a far-out rock record littered with unstoppable harmonies throughout, and the production is as impeccable as the playing, and you will recognize some big names in British folk (including members of Pentangle and Magic Carpet) lending cavernous bass and percussion. Though the duo is reportedly Canadian, the album was recorded in London. There are so many influences here and each track has a deep singularity and strength of its own. Just look at the image of the girls on the cover; it's clearly a psych record but the picture hints that they have something more up their sleeves. You know how on a lot of these albums the songs are so gentle and lulling that they can blur into one another? Well, these gals were taking risks. Groovy anthems, mystical chantings, psychedelic funk rhythms carrying hippie sentiments via truly angelic voices, this stuff is gold. Even Jan's child takes the lead vocal on a song about apple trees. All of this awaits you. Jan and Lorraine invite you to open up your mind, don't sleep. [NL]








Panorama Bar 01
(Ostgutton / Kompakt)

"Sides of Space" D5
"Well Done" Shed

I still remember David from Dial (Carsten Jost) telling me that I would love the Panorama Bar. I'll never forget the way he said it: "PanoRAAama BAAaaar." Then a few months later this mix floats in. I gotta say, I love the ladies, but I'm about sick of seeing half-naked girls on the cover of DJ mix CDs. It's usually a sign of "ULTRA" (get it?) cheesiness. But in this case, the girl on the cover is actually the DJ on the mix, not a dumb blonde with a bikini and headphones on. And goddamn, does she have flow! Point is: Now I know I gotta check this club out! I don't need to over-describe this one, trust me. There are lots of good, solid mixes out there but this is one that just kicks ass: It's deeeeeep as FUK, ill as HELL and literally oooozes with soul despite being an honest to goodness MINIMAL house mix. I don't mean hands-in-the-air soul either; this is deep, dark, mind and body penetratin' shit. Skeletal soul!! (If you don't like blackness in your minimal jams, stop reading.) This is what the Berlin-Detroit connection should sound like NOW. (I'm sure some local Berlin DJs are jealous, because you can't fake this kind of feel.) This one is full of personality and is obviously full of handpicked favorites. No filler, every track is here for a reason. Classics like Dan Bell's "Bleep" and Baby Ford's "Sugarspoon" share space with Rick Wade, Dwayne Jensen, Villalobos, Vainio, M. Kaden, Redshape, nsi, Monojunk, etc. Cassy's own tracks/rmx's are sick too. There's a deep section near the middle that just turns itself inside out oh-so-gradually and beautifully. It's almost October and this is definitely first on the list for my favorite mix of the year. When this CD ends I always imagine a bleary-eyed crowd erupting in cheers and applause. Good to the fuggin' last drop. Totally gets me re-psyched on minimal jams again. Killer. [SM]







Human Animal
(Sub Pop)

"A Million Years"
"Human Animal"

Anthony Braxton's favorite band is back. Where Wolf Eyes' Sub Pop debut Burned Mind was pretty much an all out aggressive assault, Human Animal adds some nuance and evokes a wider range of moods. The record's a slower burn, more textural and patient, with hypnotic electronics, death rattle percussion, spoken word vocals ("Rationed Rot" evokes Throbbing Gristle) and John Olson's saxophone screech. Headphone music, even. It's a slow hike through a dark tunnel...but what's that light over there? It's the fist-in-your-face attack of the second half of Human Animal; the title track and "The Driller" in particular, are maximal noise workouts that shriek and burn, with a twin bass assault that reduces your brain to rubble. And thanks to the slower build up of Human Animal, this climax becomes even more crushing. If you buy the CD version you also get a totally maniacal crust noise cover of Discharge-styled hardcore band No Fucker's "Noise Not Music." Again, Wolf Eyes richly reward brave ears. [AK]





Romica Puceanu


Dona Dumitru Siminica


Sounds from a Bygone Age Vol. 2

"Sa te ajunga dorul meu"
"Pleaca-o nevestica-n lume"

Sounds from a Bygone Age Vol. 3

"De trei ani nu dau pe acasa"
"Mosule te-as intreba"

Utterly beguiling sounds from the Asphalt-Tango label, whose new series, Sounds from a Bygone Age, is swiftly doing for Roma (Gypsy) music what the acclaimed Ethiopiques series did for Ethiopian pop. That is, releasing heretofore unheralded masterpieces that have only ever barely registered as a blip on Western consciousness, with superb packaging, liner notes, and sound quality.

Both Romica Puceanu and Dona Dumitru Siminica were born in Bucharest, Romania in 1926 to Roma families. Romania witnessed one upheaval after another throughout the twentieth century; they entered World War II on the side of Nazi Germany and engaged in the strident persecution and annihilation of Jews and Roma before allying themselves with the Red Army. After the war, they were essentially an annex of the USSR until becoming a non-Soviet aligned Communist dictatorship under the despotic rule of Romanian nationalist Nicolae Ceausescu.

Needless to say, it was nearly impossible for a Roma artist to receive proper recognition in a state that categorically refused to even acknowledge the existence of its Roma minority, despite its having an enormous and prolonged impact on the cultural fabric of Romania. The word Gypsy was banned from the lexicon while the people themselves where shunted to the ghetto. However, for a brief period from the mid-'60s to the early-'70s, the country went through a (very) relatively liberal phase, and it was during this time that Roma records began to be released in earnest -- they just couldn't have the word Gypsy written anywhere on them. Puceanu and Siminica are generally recognized as being amongst the most popular and talented of all the urban Roma.

At the tender age of fourteen, Puceanu was discovered by her cousins, the legendary Gore Brothers, and they immediately began arranging gigs for her on the wedding performance circuit. Although illiterate, she was a singer possessed of an uncommonly poetic depth. She excelled at the ballad, with her stunning and ethereal voice so ably and beautifully embodying the soul and tribulations of her people that it is no wonder she's been dubbed the Billie Holiday of the East. Dona Dumitru Siminica was just as adept at the slow and mournful Roma ballads as Puceanu. He sang songs of irresolute and unrequited love at cafes and restaurants, where he was apparently much-adored by countless female fans. His airy falsetto is mesmerizing, bizarre even, in the way it simply floats mellifluously over an accompaniment of cymbalom, violin, accordion, and bass. If Romania hadn't been so culturally, geographically, and politically isolated they'd have both been huge stars; as music this gripping rarely goes for so long without being noticed.

There's been a burgeoning interest in Gypsy music of late, what with the success of the faux Balkan-pop of Beirut and the tireless efforts and proselytizing of Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz. Puceanu and Siminica represent but one small strain in a vast and complicated musical heritage, but for those looking for a lovingly compiled introduction into the world of the Roma, these two titles would be hard to beat. [MK]







Knives Don't Have Your Back
(Last Gang)

Our Hell"
"Mostly Waving"

How many times have you picked up someone's first solo outing and found it not too much different from their bands' records? I guess I expected this would be the case with Emily Haines' solo effort until I read Robert Wyatt's glowing endorsement on the back cover. Over the course of a few albums, her fulltime band Metric has become Canada's calling card for spunky, modern new wave. But on Knives Don't Have Your Back, the singer's sensitive side is on full display, the quiet melodies framed by her minor key piano playing. Accompanied by the Soft Skeletons, a studio band featuring members of Metric and Broken Social Scene (who she frequently moonlights with), as well as Stars' Amy Millan and Scott Minor from Sparklehorse, Haines' songs easily connect the dots between Cat Power's Chan Marshall and Leslie Feist. The haunting, beguiling atmosphere is an interesting contrast to her vivid lyrics, which are more direct than the music would suggest. The brooding, velvety touch of Elysian Fields instantly comes to my mind, only Haines' sensuality is far more lucid. [GH]







Eccentric Soul: Mighty Mike Lenaburg

"Loaded to the Gills" Michael Liggins & the Super Souls
"I've Got to Have You" Sheila Jack

Numero Group is turning into the hardest working label in the business. Yet another terrific Eccentric Soul release, Mighty Mike Lenaburg is burning up our store's CD player. This stuff is just blistering. I keep waiting for them to run out of juice over there but instead, label heads Rob Sevier and Ken Shipley are raising future expectations with the latest installment in this series. So, this white kid growing up outside of L.A., cutting his teeth on local R&B, is forced to move to Phoenix in 1960. By 1964, he was discovering and managing doo wop and soul groups, opening Out of Sight Records, cutting singles and basically squeezing out every possible drop from the Phoenix scene. Throughout the '60s, he produced amazing singles by Mike Liggins (who you may recall from those Now Again releases; included here is the ultra-psyched-out "Loaded Back") and his various projects, most of which appear on this CD. There are soooo many great songs including: Ronnie Whitehead's spectacular James Brown ripper "Cold Feet," We the People's mesmerizing "Function Underground," and a double-shot of off-the-hook soul tracks from the Soulsations! I know we are always touting the brilliance of this series, but this one is a don't-miss, FOR REAL. I will let you discover the rest of the jams on your own, but look out for the comp's closer and Lenaburg's earliest accomplishment, the locally infamous track by the Newlyweds, "The Quarrel." [NL]







Eternity Spans

"Safe to Say"
"Bullet Proof"

Manalarum frontman Rusty Santos' new full-length, Eternity Spans, may be the album that will project his name beyond the indie rock underground. While some of his songs might bear the influence of Rusty's peers (Animal Collective on "Demon" and "Bulletproof," and Ariel Pink on "We Got It So Good"), his newest record is peppered with welcome doses of wildness and abandon, most notably in collaboration with Jesse Lee on drums and synth-bass, as well as the range of song styles. (Rusty works very closely with Animal Collective's Paw Tracks label, acting as a sort of Martin Hannett-type, recording and producing much of the label's output.) Where early albums like Outside Vs. In had a very home-recorded, soft, Shrimper cassette vibe, Eternity Spans matches Animal Collective's childscree/sprawl with the occasional baroque seriousness of mid-period Smog and the boom-crash of non-Lou Sebadoh -- check "Nervous Ills" as well as the "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"-like melody in the chorus of the title track.

Strangely enough, like classic indie rock bands, Rusty Santos explores the world of mounting pressures -- romantic and economic -- and their effect on exposed nerve endings. The disappointment of separated lovers, the pressures of living in a constantly changing New York, the relationship between the two, and ultimately, the will to understand and survive it all are recurring themes. But instead of navel-gazing, Santos points his telescope outward with a twisted sense of wonder that colors in the black, white and grey landscape with scratchy hues and the fun chaos of finger painting with your fists. (Incidentally, the cover art is printed in gold lottery ticket/scratch-off ink which is bound to disappear eventually -- an interesting, quirky comment on the fleeting nature of things.) The soft atmospherics of tracks like "Solo Pact," "1929," and the beautifully expansive Kraut-like "Comet" and "Doesn't Mean a Thing" mark an unforeseen new direction for Santos. These songs serve as rests between the more chaotic tracks on the album but can easily be heard as previews of what's to come. A wide-ranging yet focused, intense group of songs. Check them out live if you can; they really tear into these songs without a care in the world! [SM]







Ilous & Decuyper
(Lion Productions)


Bernard Ilous and Patrice Decuyper were two Frenchmen with a penchant for the harmony drenched acoustic-pop sounds of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Beatles, and even Milton Nascimento. Good taste doesn't always necessarily mean good music, but Ilous & Decuyper, the duo's lone 1971 cult classic album, is a strong exception. I & D is a gorgeously hazy, pastoral Parisian psych-pop trip packed to the gills with wandering acoustic guitar lines and overdubs of mad, dreamy vocal harmonies. As is stated in the liner notes, "their album has come to represent a segment of the French music scene that preferred sensuous music to frequent chord changes" -- and that's about right. Even if one of the jams is not so subtly titled, "You Will Die Tomorrow," this is music for hippies to make babies to if I've ever heard it. Sure they cover "Eleanor Rigby," and make it sound like "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," but the original material here really steals the show -- it's pretty without being cloying, and jammy without ever overstaying its welcome. It's also a really nice surprise from the French psych-rock reissue canon. File under: to be sampled by Andy Votel before the year is out. [HG]







"One Big Holiday"
"At Dawn"

Not to freak any update readers out, but we're not the biggest Dave Matthews fans in the world. The obvious being stated, we were all about Dave signing up those Kentucky headhunters, My Morning Jacket. Sure, their major label debut was a tad too polished, but Z revealed just how many pistons the band can hit on at their peak. Studio craft aside, where the group really expands and becomes incandescent is on stage, so it's about time that a double live album hits us squarely between the eye and ear holes. Twenty-one tunes cranked out at the venerable Fillmore West, MMJ pushes the borders of the aluminum so that favorites like "Dondante," "Off the Record," "It Beats 4 U," and "Run Thru" bloom nicely, containing each of the band's strengths: church-swells, shroomy swirls, searing guitar ledas, Jim James's soaring howl and falsetto, the band's rubbery rhythm section (part Allman Brothers, part Studio One, part Led Zep stomp), all of it wrapped up in the fuzziest blanket of reverb to be had. [AB]







City & Eastern Songs
(Rough Trade)

"Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror"
"Anxiety Attack"

New York City anti-folk hero Jeff Lewis doesn't sing his songs so much as mutter them in a barely there croak. He's not a singer per se -- more like the everyman surrogate for what one might be. It's not only the fact that the dude writes comics on the side that makes me lovingly call Lewis the "Harvey Pekar of the music scene." Just like Pekar, Jeff's music is frequently irritable, stunningly witty, and often brilliant. Lewis is a master of transforming the mundane everyday details of existence into compelling, universal narrative fodder. He's demonstrated this gift to great effect on older Lewis classics like "The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane," "The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song," and "Don't Let the Record Label Take You Out to Lunch" (off of Lewis' two previous records, 02's The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane and Other Favorites, and 03's It's the Ones Who've Cracked That the Light Shines Through). But Lewis has never been really able to step out of the giant, scrappy, too lo-fi "we don't need to tune our guitars and fuck using a producer, what would our friends think!?" shadow cast by his anti-folk brethren. Until now.

City & Eastern Songs not only features Lewis' most consistent batch of material to date, but thankfully weirdo-genius producer extraordinaire Kramer has created significantly more of a sonic palette for Lewis' ramblings than just muddy tape hiss. Moreover, Peter Stamfel of the legendary Holy Modal Rounders stops by to play some fiddle and banjo, and if I'm not mistaken Jeff's own father even plays some clarinet too. It's great to hear. Years ago, when Snoop Dogg signed to No Limit (go with me here), Spin proclaimed Snoop a Lamborghini amongst Jettas; and that's essentially how I see Lewis slumming it in the claustrophobic anti-folk wastelands. C & E Songs is just too honest, and erudite, and musically mature a record to be slighted by any genre tags. No songwriter today could pen a more compelling, all-encompassing account of not being able to fall asleep from an anxiety attack ("Anxiety Attack") as Jeff, or show as keen an eye for detail ("My gal's got a headache, her ankle is hurting too, the boots she bought gave her a rash and her wisdom tooth is coming in and it's damp out and she's having cramps and she's so mad at me cuz I didn't shave" from "Don't Be Upset"). Thank god these brilliant songs went to tape with smart arrangements to match. It makes for one of best leftfield albums of the year. And yes, it even features that one, long-ass, and totally awesome number about spotting Will Oldham on the L Train. Only Jeff Lewis. [HG]





The Modernist


Kaos & Sal P.


Collectors Series Pt. 1: Popular Songs
(Faith Recordings)

"Microho" Mikkel Metal
"New Day" Round 2

Collectors Series Pt. 2: Danse, Gravité Zéro
(Faith Recordings)

"I Need Somebody to Love Tonight" Sylvester
"Like Some Dream" Daniel Wang

Along with the Cassy mix, these are the surprise gems of the recent electronic releases from the past month. Along with the Cassy mix, these are the surprise gems of the recent batch of electronic releases. File these under "Mix CDs that these guys wanted to do" as opposed to "were assigned to do." There doesn't appear to be any pressure to showcase any particular label or style, or impress any particular person. These are hand-picked selections that seem to come straight from the heart.

First up is the Modernist's Popular Songs. We kinda slept on this one as it just seemed like a compilation of previously released tracks. Since it was called Collectors Series, I wrongly assumed it was an un-mixed DJ Kicks/Back to Mine-style compilation for the minimal house latecomers. Funny enough, it wasn't until we checked out and loved the Kaos and Sal P. mix that came out a month later, that we went running back to hear the Modernist volume! (Sorry Jorg…) The Modernist's selection is a heartfelt, on-point grab bag mix of minimal pop house gems -- a buncha stuff that predated Kompakt's recent Pop sub-label, but could easily be on it. This is music that can unite the inner indie-rocker/minimal house snob/overpriced drink buyer inside us all. Opening with the flawless "1-2-3 No Gravity" by Closer Musik, the track blends into Mikkel Metal's "Microho" before the beat even kicks in. So many minimal pop vocal classics are expertly woven into this mix that it's hard to imagine what's missing. Even overexposed tracks like Telepopmusik's "Breathe" and Dntel's "(This is) The Dream of Evan and Chan" (Sprptchr mix, though) find a welcome home and new life here! The love-inspiring "Alltag," a/k/a "All the World Loves Lovers" by Autosundmadchen, is present along with Richard Davis, Autobianchi, Ada, and the most soulful Rhythm & Sound release ever, "New Day" by Round Two. The track list does little justice to this mix, since it's full of nice interludes and creative blends that shift and continue the lush pop-house feel throughout. The un-credited Oxtongue a cappella blend between Erlend Oye and R. Davis is dope, as well as the beautifully placed finale of Scritti Politti's "Boom Boom Bap." Perfect! A+!

Second, and with a completely different vibe, is Kaos and Sal Principato's (Liquid Liquid) Danse, Gravité Zéro. This mix is seriously OWNING slo-mo, post-punk synth disco. Again, it opens with a classic, a dub version of Sylvester's impeccable "I Need Someone to Love Tonight," and mixes into Logic System's "Unit." Included are: Yello's Blade Runner disco jam "Lost Again," Zazu's "Captain Starlight," Ola Jagun's "Odo Oya," Bomber's "Don't Stop the Music," Map of Africa's "Blackskin Blue-Eyed Boys," Danny Wang's still-ill jam "Like Some Dream (I Can't Stop Dreaming)," TG's "Hot on the Heels of Love" (of course) and Resident's "Diskomo." Velodrome's killer "Capataz" comes off like an Afro-punk Nitzer Ebb/Closer Musik. Sick! The always-effective blend of old and new is worked effortlessly and seamlessly. Personal fave status is apparent. Both of these are must-haves and hopefully mark a new direction for mix CD releases in the future! [SM]







She's a Dancing Machine


This new mix by Magda crams in over 70 tracks by such house, micro-house, and minimal luminaries as Villalobos, Metro Area, Marc Houle, Louderbach, Troy Pierce, Larry Heard, and Pantytec. Magda's going through a serious funky tech-house thing on this mix -- that title is no joke -- and peppers the proceedings with elastic peaks and ruminant valleys, tumbling out of the frame with a polyhedral, Katamari-esque front half, followed by a quarter of vertical, hard-hitting 4/4 machine drum action, and a closing section that's funkier than the first and more avant than the others. Grinding, clicking, dripping, and bouncing, She's a Dancing Machine offers up 78 unimpeded minutes of rampant technoid fantasy, the kind that plays at the club R2D2 dances at. [DM]








The Belle Album
(HI / Capitol)

"(No No) You'll Never Hurt Me Again"
"Chariots of Fire"

The precarious balancing act of keeping the spiritual and sensual sides of one's soul in check has been mankind's greatest dilemma; and maybe the greatest gift that American blues, gospel, country and their bastard children rock 'n' roll, soul, hip-hop, house, ad infinitum have given to the world are stories and great singular voices that encapsulates this daily human struggle. Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley and Al Green are all artists whose work famously toes the line between the spiritual and sensual. Their bouts with trying to keep each side of themselves in check have been well-documented, and each artist has their album that deals directly with this issue. Al Green's Belle Album is his.

This record documents a crossroads for the good reverend Al. It was about three years after the famous "hot grits" incident. For those not familiar: Al became a born again Christian soon after his live-in girlfriend threw hot grits on him while showering, her last act before committing suicide in the adjoining bedroom. By this time, he has split from his longtime producer/collaborator Willie Mitchell, becomes an ordained minister and is finding his newfound lifestyle increasingly at odds with the secular music that has made him one of the biggest soul singers of that decade. With The Belle Album, Green decides to self-produce and co-write with a new band for the first time in his career. For Al Green fans not familiar with this record, the first thing you'll notice is a change in texture. Gone are the signature slow organ fills, and in their place is an acoustic guitar played by Green, and a piano replacing the string swells. Lyrically, he pens some of the most personal lyrics of his career, documenting his spiritual struggles. On the title track, "Belle," he writes of telling a lover of his spiritual change of heart: "Belle, the Lord and I've been friends for a very long time…it's you that I want but it's him that I need." The hushed, sensual homage to his southern roots, "Georgia Boy," is one of the finest moments of his recorded career. Green's spontaneous whoops, handclaps and hollers are probably the closest thing to a classic Willie Mitchell groove that this record has, and with the added bonus of a stellar, subtle acoustic slide guitar from Green.

The Belle Album was met with universal critical acclaim upon its release and was probably the last great Al Green album, before his near 20-year retirement from secular music. Over the years it has gained a reputation as one of the most underrated classic albums from the '70s. There's definitely a timelessness to this recording that will touch anybody that's willing to listen. Highest recommendation! [DH]







Love and Other Planets

"Something's Going to Come"

Adem should be a superstar. Huge. Every girl worth her weight in Laguna Beach DVDs should be singing along to Adem's non-threatening brand of all-too-common folksy, mid-tempo, balladry, while harboring mothering fantasies of saving the handsome British guy with the sweetest voice around from a lifetime of imagined solitude. So sure, he's accessible but, as Adem demonstrated on his brilliant debut, Homesongs, there is really nobody, and I mean nobody, that does the whole hushed, organic, "it's 2 A.M., do you know where your singer-songwriter is?" shtick better than him. Adem is where the earnestness and melodrama of Coldplay's Chris Martin, and the artsiness of Devendra break bread. His celestial-tinged new record, Love and Other Planets, follows in this vein. "Launch Yourself" builds out of an army of handclaps until hitting its hooky, motivational, folk-pop stride, while "Something's Going to Come" is as tense and uplifting as a balladry gets -- come to think of it, it's the type of stuff that Zach Braff should've scored his new movie too. Hey Zach, Adem will change your life. [HG]









"Moving Intercepted"
"Words Are Not My Own"

Electrice finds Charalambides' Christina Carter possessed on four haunted, hallucinogen-poisoned ruminations in E -- just guitar, vocals, and effects -- as a ghost in a house of her own making, offering cryptic clues as to the circumstances that put her there in her trademarked translucent, warbling soprano. Simple in execution yet dense in its delicately layered approach, Electrice sounds as if it could have come out of the New Zealand psych/drone stables of yore (Roy Montgomery, et al.), which is about the highest compliment one could pay this type of music. Drawn out, deliberate, and arresting, Electrice is a perfect compliment to evenings cooling off into autumn's slow death. [DM]







Hundred Million Love Years

"We Were Born Here"
"Soul of Heart"

Kaito has yet another Bingo-ball-scramble named album to lay on us this week: Hundred Million Love Years. It's like he's taking all his old titles, puttin' em in the wicker ball, giving it a spin and…"Bingo!" Out comes the Emperor Tomato Bachelor Pad-like title. Naturally, the record title is reflected in the sound -- all aspects of Kaito's previous albums are present, the most noticeable difference being the even more blissfully soothing ambient quality. I probably can't even take credit for doing this review since it inspired a barrage of quotables from Duane, who closed his eyes and threw his hands up in mock rave breakdown while inviting all within earshot to "lay down and dance" (!), and something about the album being "totally Mixmaster Morris..." and my favorite, "These are some B.P.M.'s for my R.E.M's!" All jokes aside, he's basically dead-on, as the tracks are mainly beat-less with a little less drive than before, but still having that Riley/Reich/Glass pop-trance vibe. It's worth mentioning that though the qualities remain the same, this collection manages to be lighter and slightly more positive than his previous albums. To the casual listener, the slow songs on Hundred Million will definitely evoke memories of PBS science shows like Nova (listen to "Holding a Baby" and "Nobody Could Be Alone"), but the title track, "The Universe" and "Soul of Heart" have that cosmic, searching pulse that either begs to reintroduce a crushing beat (that never comes) or just stretches to infinity. [SM]





$13.99 CD


Head Warlock Double Stare

"Old Ace for Duke of Slade"

I dig the title but I'm not really sure how it relates to the record at hand. As trippy as the San Fernando Valley duo's electronica gets, it's far from scary. This ain't the kind of music that fuels a bad trip. If anything, I can feel the California sun shining through the rainbow-hued clouds of warbled synthesizers and undulating piano melodies that sound like they were recorded at the bottom of the ocean. Often, it's far too playful to be haunting, like Mr. Aphex scoring music for an adults-only episode of Teletubbies. Or how about the vocodered "Humping for Dummies," which sounds like Boards of Canada trying put a little downtempoed electro-funk in their trunk? Overall, things seem a bit more fractured than 03's What's Come Inside You, the duo resorting back to shorter tracks where songs aren't necessarily built around traditional "pop" arrangements. File under: Not-quite-so easy-listening for the chill-out room. [GH]







Food & Liquor

"Kick Push"
"The Cool"

Twenty-three-year-old Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor (which is the Chicago equivalent to a NYC bodega) is definitely one of the best mainstream hip-hop debuts I've come across in 2006. I had no idea what he sounded like but I'd been hearing about him for nearly a year now. Now that the record is finally released, I'm all about it. Fiasco was brought to worldwide attention by Kanye West, and executive produced by Jay-Z (who seems to be on a roll following the excellent return of the Roots, and who also guests on the track "Pressure" here). Fiasco's style is a new breed, the next-next school if you will. He represents the now sound of Chicago, where rappers ride skateboards (as the hit "Kick Push" illustrates), design their own clothes, and listen to everything from "the Misfits to OutKast." Fiasco definitely finds other things to rap about besides the usual clubs, designer clothes, drugs and sex, and he does this all with a bright and fresh sound that is anything but underground. Fiasco combines the urban spiritually of Kanye West, the empowering stance of Mos Def, the flawless quirky floss of Pharrell (sorry, Skateboard P), the excellent timing, humor, and self-assured verbal skills of Jay-Z, and the hungry, clever storytelling of a young Nas. Food & Liquor was mostly produced by newcomers Soundtrakk and Fiasco's 1st & 15th crew, who bring a soulfully orchestrated, shiny, rich and lush backdrop, as well as the Neptunes and Kanye West, who get behind the mixing board for a track each.

The album feels old school and fresh as hell at the same time (check "I Gotcha," which sounds like a slight update of Blacksheep's "Flavor of the Month"). One of my favorite tracks is "Daydreamin'", featuring Jill Scott, and much like her work with Common, her authentic, beautifully soulful and jazzy coy enhances the song's wish for a world that goes beyond the sex and violence that we are currently surrounded by. Much like Mos Def's first album, Fiasco's voice is first heard speaking in Arabic, and it's definitely not a coincidence, as both debuts made waves bringing the underground and mainstream together. Being the son of an international gourmet chef and a multi-skilled percussionist helped broaden his scope for sure. Let's just hope that Fiasco doesn't quit rapping to become an actor, his voice is much-needed in today's hip-hop scene. Surprise of the year. [DG]







Light of Day

"Roberta's Blue"
"Light of Day"

Beautiful and trippy singer-songwriter album from 1966 by Pat Kilroy, sometimes dubbed the first acid folk record, with a free-flowing jammy vibe to it. The exotic instrumentation (flute, tablas, glockenspiel, jew's-harp etc) and hippie themes of Light of Day are least three years ahead of its time. Features some killer guitar playing by Stefan Grossman too. Recommended.







Beat Journey

Dr. Who Dat is the second release from new school beat banger Jneiro Jarel. After gaining little attention in the underground hip-hop scene with his vocal debut, Three Piece Puzzle, released under his own name, his follow-up introduces us to his first alias, Dr. Who Dat, and showcases his instrumental compositions. Beat Journey is a wonderfully loose and accomplished album of pysch-hop and instrumental hip-hop. This head-nodding and foot-thumping full-length follows on the heels of established producers like Madlib, Daedelus and the late J-Dilla, yet establishes a new talent with its hearty fusion of Brazilian beats, jazz-inspired improv and urban break beats and, of course, hip-hop's crisp snap. Jarel is also a studied trumpet player and occasionally spices his beat constructions with a little live flavor. Watch out for his upcoming productions on the new Pharcyde album. One of the next leaders of the new school. [DG]




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[AB] Adrian Burkholder
[DG] Daniel Givens
[HG] Hartley Goldstein
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[DH] Duane Harriott
[MK] Michael Klausman
[AK] Andreas Knutsen
[NL] Nicole Lang
[DM] Doug Mosurock
[SM] Scott Mou

- all of us at Other Music

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