This week, we’ve got two exclusive album downloads for you: the latest from Ulrich Schnauss (exclusive Other Music digital pre-release; CD out July 10) and a new band from North Carolina that we’re excited about, Bowerbirds. You can read about these albums below, but we’d also like to tell you about some upcoming Other Music events.
Wednesday, July 11: Interpol Listening Party
Other Music and Capitol Records are hosting a listening party for Interpol’s Our Love to Admire next Wednesday, July 11th, at Sweet and Vicious Bar! Members of Interpol will be DJing as well as special guest DJs Call the Doctor and Gerald Hammill.
Sweet & Vicious Bar: 5 Spring Street (btw. Elizabeth and Bowery) NYC
Free Admission 9PM-2AM / Drink Specials All Night Long
Wednesday, July 18: Other Music Digital Presents The Field
This is one night that we’re especially excited about! Other Music is throwing a party at Studio B to celebrate the launch of our new mp3 download store with The Field (Kompakt) headlining. We’ll be announcing a few other special guests in the coming weeks, in the meantime, mark your calendars!
Studio B: 259 Banker Street Greenpoint, Brooklyn
$10 adv tix available at Other Music / $12 day of show
This Week's Featured Downloads
Domino Recording Co.
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There’s no need for this Berlin producer to front with cartoonish, show-offy effects and slapshot beats; his unimposing electro-compositions are as quietly perfect as an unfettered expanse of emerald summer grass. Silent since 2004’s triumphantly glassine A Strangely Isolated Place, Ulrich Schnauss picks up where he left off, laying down carefully hewn blocks of hallucinogenic orchestral flips and gauzy atmospherics. “A Song About Hope” is the soundtrack you want for the day you abruptly quit your job, call up your craziest friend, have a Leaving Las Vegas-style bender, and feel more free than you possibly ever have in your life. The track is a skittering exercise in full-on ambient hypnosis at its best, a complete-nutrition meal in one glorious five-minute-55-second drop. You’ll want to keep it at the very top of your iTunes library; maybe renaming the artist “Alrich Schnauss” would be a good plan.
Elsewhere, Schnauss controls his carefully bubbling cauldron of trilling, ticking, and pinging, until it all comes to a glossy cacophony that feels as good as a sunset in the city. The key is how timeless (yet, strangely, futuristic) it all sounds, splitting its axis between nostalgia and no tomorrow. The paper-thin, haunting vocals and heavenly heartbeat of “Shine” stir up memories of Eno, Slowdive (a moniker that seems to forever be hitched to Schnauss, and that’s all right) and even their later incarnation, Mojave 3. Judith Beck’s aptly sedating utterances are as purposeful as a boa, capable of wrapping around and holding captive any glorious noise (or in this case, event-horizon pitch) Schnauss throws in her path. “Medusa,” which appeared in condensed version on the Quicksand Memory EP, skips its way through a gravelly wall of fuzzed-out guitar samples and creepy choruses -- call it nu-gazing. It all ends with a whisper, just as it should.
Hymns for a Dark Horse
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With finger-picked acoustic guitar, herky-jerky accordion, click-clack percussion and a noble bass drum hit, soaring violins and aching vocal melody, North Carolina trio Bowerbirds deliver their lovely and haunting back-to-nature message to the computer and cell phone nation. It’s not that they are proselytizing, but in Phil Moore’s aching tenor (and the lovely harmonies of Beth Tacular), you hear genuine fear for the future and real passion for more honest, simpler times. The album has an infectious homespun sound to it -- the feel of a group of friends holed up in a cabin late at night singing from the heart, and the result is sweet, sad and embracing. Bowerbirds clearly can find some fellow travelers in the world of Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, and Sufjan Stevens. But while freak-folk is already in danger of becoming another catchall for musical mediocrity as the bearded masses pile on, this group is already garnering much well-deserved attention for their excellent songwriting and a deep, thoughtful album that is as thoroughly enjoyable as it is thought-provoking.