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   August 13, 2008  
She Keeps Bees
Milk 'n' Cookies
Teenage Jesus & the Jerks
Stone Harbour
The Toms

Reuben Wilson
Xiu Xiu / High Places (Split 7")
Gene Shaw Quintet
Clipse Presents Re-Up Gang
More Dirty Laundry (Various Artists)
Allez Allez

All of this week's new arrivals.

AUG Sun 17 Mon 18 Tues 19 Wed 20 Thurs 21 Fri 22 Sat 23

You'll definitely want to make a trip out to the Yard this weekend, when the Sunday Best crew welcomes Nicky Siano! A purported mentor of Larry Levan, Siano has been DJing for over 35 years, was one of the two original Studio 54 DJs, and was the man behind the Gallery, one of New York's pioneering members-only clubs. And, to boot, resident DJs Justin Carter, Eamon Harkin and Doug Singer will be playing alongside this music legend. Other Music has a pair of tickets to give away to this Sunday's party, just send an email to enter@othermusic.com, and put Nicky Siano in the subject line. We'll notify the winner on Friday.

We've also got one pair of tickets to each of the remaining Bests after this one: Joakim on August 24, and Metro Area who's closing it out on August 31, Labor Day Sunday. To enter for either of those, just drop us a line at the same email address above, and list the day you'd like to register for in the subject line.

SUNDAY AUGUST 17, 24 & 31
THE YARD: 388-400 Carroll Street Brooklyn
3PM-9PM / $8 / All Ages

AUG Sun 17 Mon 18 Tues 19 Wed 20 Thurs 21 Fri 22 Sat 23

Royal Bangs

Austin indie poppers Oh No! Oh My! will be performing at the Mercury Lounge this Sunday with Knoxville up-and-comers Royal Bangs, a band who's been getting a lot of love in the blogs and who were also recently signed to Black Keys member Patrick Carney's Audio Eagle label. We've got two pairs of tickets to give away, just send an email to contest@othermusic.com with "Oh No! Oh My! and Royal Bangs" in the subject line. We'll be picking the two winners on Friday, so get enterin'!

MERCURY LOUNGE: 217 East Houston Street NYC

OCT Sun 28 Mon 29 Tues 20 Wed 01 Thurs 02 Fri 03 Sat 4

Longtime store favorites Stereolab are back with a new album, Chemical Chords (out next Tuesday, August 19th on 4AD), and will be playing a string of dates at NYC's Irving Plaza on October 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Other Music has a pair of tickets to see the Groop's October 3rd show, and you can enter to win by emailing tickets@othermusic.com. We'll be notifying the winner on Monday, August 18th. Good luck!

IRVING PLAZA: 17 Irving Place NYC









She Keeps Bees has been steadily gaining steam since Jessica Larrabee self-released her chilling solo album Minisink Hotel back in 2006. Two short years later, everyone seems to know the name. No doubt it was the raw power of Larrabee's heartbreakingly open, bluesy debut that inspired the word-of-mouth frenzy, but it would not surprise us if her soulful, arresting live performances with drummer Andy LaPlant and tantalizing, hand-collaged limited vinyl EPs continue to be what keeps 'em coming back to the hive for more. So we were thrilled when store sweethearts She Keeps Bees walked up to our counter to deliver Nests, their sophomore full-length. Whereas Minisink Hotel almost played like a best-of singles compilation, effortlessly rivaling the earnestness of early Chan Marshall and undercutting the dark intensity of Dry-era PJ Harvey, their latest picks up where She Keeps Bees last left off on their most recent EP, with the blistering, aching rocker "Pile Up." Nests is packed with similarly straightforward, rocking electric guitar -- and there is a triple-header on this album that's a shoo-in for one of the new music highlights of the year. "Release" is just that, a cathartic, adrenaline-charged, bluesy tambourine-smacker that reminds ya less of Nina Simone than '60s rock 'n' roll legends like Janis Joplin. "Gimme" follows right on its heels, a soul-grunge jam in which Larrabee's improvised wail confidently pushes itself to sound its strongest yet. Completing the triplet is "Get Gone," a loose, intimidating kiss-off with echoes of Cat Power. To sweeten the pot, Nests features a couple rootsy acappella folk songs, for those known to clap along to their stereos. This 26-minute full-length is a must have follow-up in the handmade She Keeps Bees oeuvre! [KS]






Milk 'n' Cookies
(Radio Heartbeat)

"Not Enough Girls in the World"
"Good Friends"

Milk 'n' Cookies, a forgotten Long Island band featured on the Glitterbest junk shop glam compilation, now receive the Radio Heartbeat (Hubble Bubble, Speedies) deluxe vinyl reissue treatment. Their eponymous Island Records debut, recorded in 1974 but shelved for two years, was an under-appreciated bargain bin staple at the time of its release and has since become a sought-after cult favorite. The band straddled the line between glam and early New York punk rock but never fully fit in with either scene. They should have been a successful teenybopper group, but stardom evaded them in part because of their staunch refusal to be associated with the Bay City Rollers.

Frontman Justin Strauss's ultra-fey vocals weren't androgynous like Bowie's or Jobriath's, but instead had a non-threatening but still kinda creepy quality along the lines of KISS' quasi-feminine womanizer, Paul Stanley. The band's insanely catchy anthems were pure high school locker room posturing, girl-crazed odes to underage lust with titles like "Rabbits Make Love," "Not Enough (Girls in the World)," and "Little, Lost and Innocent," in which Strauss playfully laments, "She's so young, and oh, would it be wrong?" It may sound dirty in writing, but it's actually about as innocuous as Joey Ramone cooing "hey little girl, I wanna be your boyfriend," and just as much fun. Milk 'n' Cookies were superb purveyors of pop bombast with pounding drums, pinwheel guitar leads, and more than enough adolescent libido to keep you going well past the end of the summer. Comes in a deluxe gatefold with printed inner sleeves and bonus tracks! [RH]






Cold Fact
(Light in the Attic)

"This Is Not a Song, It's an Outburst, or the Establishment Blues"

Light in the Attic reissues a long-time Other Music favorite, and this time around, Rodriguez' Cold Fact is mastered from the original tapes and comes with a deluxe 36-page booklet. This is what we wrote about the album back in 2006:

Here is yet another story of an artist oblivious to his cult status. Rodriguez was working on a building site in his native Detroit when he, some 25 years after Cold Fact was released, found out he was a star in South Africa. His music was spread via pirate radio (as he was too controversial for other mediums) and word of mouth, and the poignant protest songs struck a chord with South African youth. Despite his status there, Rodriguez remains unknown in the US and Europe.

Released in 1970 on the Sussex label (primarily known for its Bill Withers releases), Cold Fact is an amazingly accomplished protest record. Aided by session greats such as Dennis Coffey and Mike Theodore, the often straightforward folk/pop songs are sprinkled with eerie electronics and string arrangements. Sixto Rodriguez's lyrics are bleak, as he tackles inner city disillusion, drug addiction, and political discontent, but his humor and intelligence prevents the record from becoming heavy-handed. Worth it for the opening salvo of the swirling, tripped-out "Sugar Man" and the fuzz-heavy "Only Good For Conversation" alone, Cold Fact delivers 10 more gems where Rodriguez proves to be José Feliciano, Bob Dylan and Love's Arthur Lee, all in one.

Up until 10 years ago it was widely believed Rodriguez was dead; one of the more imaginative legends told the story of how he killed himself on stage. It turned out to be false, as he was tracked down by a few avid fans in the mid-'90s, and subsequently toured South Africa, where he's now mentioned alongside Dylan and Neil Young. About time we give him some respect here too. [AK]






Beirut Slump / Shut Up and Bleed

"See Pretty"

No Wave has the unique position to be a movement in music that's being perpetually re-considered. For as brief and insular of a moment as No Wave in the downtown scene circa the spring of '77 was, the waves of influence and re-capitulation have reached out ever since, spanning the birth of Sonic Youth's career shortly after the fact, the D.I.Y. mentality of riot grrrl both in the States and abroad (Huggy Bear without No Wave? Yeah right.), pretty much any band in Chicago that wasn't doing post-rock in the mid '90s and up to the modern day noise scene. All of it can ostensibly be traced back to a few bands and one of the most lastingly relevant compilation records of all time. While the eventually understood necessity of the No Wave bands isn't a big surprise, what is interesting is that the music itself, from such a scant moment in time, is still in the process of unfolding, continuing to take shape 30 years after it was over. Take into evidence Shut Up and Bleed, an extensive collection of songs from Lydia Lunch's No Wave band Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, as well as the much more obscure splinter band Beirut Slump. The 29-track disc culls together a cross-section of the TJ&J releases, as well as some live recordings, and the complete recordings (eight songs) of Beirut Slump, a close cousin to the Jerks with Lunch on guitar and vocalist Bobby Berkowitz losing it in a series of downtown panic attacks that, though mostly unheard until now, subconsciously served as a blueprint to Royal Trux, Shadow Ring and dozens more. Lydia Lunch's role as the front-woman in TJ&J has always taken the focus off the fact that her guitar style, wildly bratty, bloodcurdlingly unschooled and front-and-center in Beirut Slump, has been an equally influential force. With the recent TJ&J reunion shows and Byron Coley & Thurston Moore's book, it's continually curious to see how this very strange sound keeps mutating and affecting future generations, but it all makes perfect sense when you hear a 17-year-old Lydia Lunch screaming "Little orphans running through the bloody snow!" repeatedly and there's honestly never been a sound more threatening since. [FT]






$9.99 MP3


Does You Inspire You

"Earwig Town"

I first saw Chairlift about a year-and-a-half ago, not long after the trio had picked up from their hometown of Boulder, CO and headed east to start a new life in Brooklyn. I remember being totally drawn into the band's folky, electronic-tinged pop songs and singer Caroline Polachek possessing the pipes of a young, opera-trained Chan Marshall. While Chairlift hadn't quite blossomed, they were about to, and soon after their name started appearing on frequent bills with groups like MGMT, YACHT and Yeasayer. Now comes their first full-length, Does You Inspire You, which certainly is a much more assured and textured affair than their early live shows. On record, the electronic production is a lot more prevalent and, mirroring the band members' art school pedigree, tracks like "Planet Health" and "Evident Utensil" could arguably trace some lineage back to Kate Bush, though Chairlift balances the mysterious with playful, un-pretentious imagery -- the aforementioned "Evident Utensil" is a song about pencils. One of my favorite tracks, "Bruises," is as lilting as any Au Revoir Simone tune (although the guys outnumber the girls 2 to 1 in Chairlift), with its bouncy Casio beat and Polachek's gentle heartbreak yearning of "I tried to do hand stands for you / but every time I fell for you / I'm permanently black and blue.”

While much of Does You Inspire You buzzes with synthesizers, the band doesn't stray too far into Electroland with Patrick Wimberly drumming atop the digital beats, as well as the human accompaniment of strings, bells, vibraphone and pedal steel. Near the record's end, Chairlift throw technology out the window with album highlight "Don't Give a Damn," a beautifully fragile, reverb-tinged Western ballad in which Polachek and guitarist Aaron Pfenning's breathy duet is soon edged out by a ghostly choir of voices. While the CD doesn’t officially come out until late October, Kanine Records dropped off a box for us to sell early, so no need to wait. [GH]






(Lion Productions)

"Rock 'n' Roll Puzzle"
"You'll Be a Star"

Oh man, these two dudes found the holy grail without even realizing it. In the musically barren years of 1974-75, especially if you’re living in Nowheresville, USA, Dave McCarty and Ric Ballas were looking for kicks and dug up some trash from the graveyard of dead equipment and stashed it in a basement…and came up with THIS! Emerges channels Roky Erickson and his demons, and then they’ll launch into some kinda sub-Stooges blues howl, only to set the controls for a melancholy space trip. Where’d they get the keyboard? The term basement psych gets thrown around a lot (guilty as charged) but it was invented for Stone Harbour. Did you see Be Kind, Rewind? Emerges plays like a home recorded version of Apocalypse Now; McCarty and Ballas delve deep into the psychedelic heart of darkness with very limited means, and come up with a unique slice of Americana that is truly one of a kind. Unreleased tracks as well. Wow. You’ll never be the same. [AK]






The Toms
(Black Sheep)

Hot on the heels of the Thank You Friends compilation and the Van Duren CDs, here’s a loooong overdue LP-only reissue of one of the best, and criminally under the radar, powerpop records (which has been fetching triple digits up until now) of all time. Hiding behind the Toms moniker is New Jersey son Tom Marolda, who plays all the instruments on this home-recorded 1979 album (!) and turns out to be some kind of one-man pop hit factory. Imagine a collection of all uptempo Dwight Twilley and Nick Lowe songs -- perfect 60s-inspired Rickenbacker pop with soaring double-tracked harmonies and melodies for miles. Put this up against the Shoes, 20/20 or the Beat, and you’ll quickly realize the Toms is not only their equal, but at times even outshines them. A definite desert island disc for me. [AK]






Aborted by Birth
(From the Nursery)

If you're lucky to get your hands on one of the six hundred and sixty six pressed copies of this LP, you'll hear the sounds of a new metal band that shows as much potential as early Slayer or Melvins. Orphan's Aborted by Birth is the first release on Bob Nickas' new From the Nursery label, and the tastemakers over at Vice have already declared it the best album of August. Hailing from Brooklyn, this forcefully driving duo alternates between instrumental hard rock and screaming death metal without missing a beat throughout their entire debut full-length. From side 'F' to side 'U' (get it??) of this white vinyl, you'll hear aggression, abandonment, and full throttle bombardment of your eardrums. Orphan obviously isn't for everyone, but if you think you're up to it, you're in for one of the most ferocious records of the summer. [MG]






Got to Get Your Own
(Dusty Groove)

"What the People Gon' Say"
"Tight Money"

Straight up, unabashed psychedelic funk from the Hammond organ man, Reuben Wilson. Got to Get Your Own is blaxploitation funk that is in your face and at times as soulful as the best Motown and as psychedelic as Parliament. This is an example of an album that has been sampled to pieces by hip-hop artists, and whether it comes from the dope anthem of a ballad “Stoned Out of My Mind,” the ultra smooth “In the Booth, In the Back, In the Corner, In the Dark,” or the wah-wah pedal funk of the opening cut “What the People Gon’ Say,” the Cost of Living put it all on the line for every cut of their only album. Two saxophones from Houston Person and Pee Wee Ellis pack an extra punch in every chorus. Sammy Turner and Kenney Williams man the vocals, accompanied by backup singers and spoken voices that provide dialogue that keeps some narratives alive while the bass, guitar, and drums elicit an altogether uproarious feeling out of every track. From the mega groove number “Together” to the hyper funky title track complete with flute and spacey guitar, this is a psychedelic soul album from the mid seventies that will hit you right on the funk bone. [BCa]






Split Single

Photographer David Horvitz has already set off down the ambitious path of lending his work to a series of 7" picture discs from the likes of Lucky Dragons, Parenthetical Girls, Casiotone and about a zillion "coming soons", and those snapshots form a new level of communication with the sounds they grace, just as the series does a lot to let the basement punk scene and the art world counter-inform each other. That's all well and good, but the new High Places/Xiu Xiu split 7" takes that ambition to another level. One thousand copies, each with an individual, unique Polaroid picture taken by Horvitz, some copies on white vinyl, most on black, gone for good when they run out. With a project so massive in concept, it's easy to forget that at the heart of it there are two unreleased songs by two of the better bands making music right now. Xiu Xiu clocks in with "Kitten Revolution," a broken-home marriage of free jazz and brutal poetry, scattered with horn blasts and Jamie Stewart’s more and more iconic phrasing. The beloved High Places give us "Oceanus," another slice of beat-heavy pop perfection from the band making Brooklyn proudest right now. Watery percussion and intermittent careening waves of bass and fragmented melodies give way to homemade gamelan orchestration, birdcalls and the sound of true natural ocean waves. Thrilling to say the least, and that's even before you see what Polaroid you got. Super limited and highly recommended. [FT]






(Dusty Groove)

"AD's Blues"
"The Thing"

Gene Shaw, known as Clarence Shaw when he played trumpet for Mingus, left New York for Chicago where he recorded some outstanding work with his Gene Shaw Quintet -- the lineup includes tenor sax Sherman Morrison, James Taylor on piano, Bernard Martin on drums, and Sidney Robinson on bass. This album is rather definitively hard bop, emphasizing blues structures, and returning a cool jazz era to the less Western end of the jazz continuum. The rhythm section provides a genuinely enjoyable accompaniment, where Taylor’s comping makes the trumpet and saxophone harmonies more full of soul, highlighting melody with contrasts, while returning always to a snappy motif, crisp and direct. Fans of Walkin’ era Miles, Art Blakey, and Coltrane’s Blue Train should absolutely give this record a listen. It offers another vantage point on a style from outside of the Blue Note dogma, and is ultimately a refreshingly bold recording, loud and clear. [BCa]






Presents Re-Up Gang

"Million Dollar Corner"
"Been Thru So Much"

It's been a long and winding road for these brothers from Virginia. While most would have thrown in the towel in the wake of being given the major label runaround, Clipse’s Malice and Pusha T have continued to find an outlet for their magnetic rhymes and favorably dense and slang-ridden word play. Following their brilliant second album, Hell Hath No Fury, and their even better series of mix tapes, We Got It For Cheap (now in its third volume), they release the first official full-length by their crew. Clipse Presents Re-Up Gang is in the tradition of the raw street lingo of Mobb Deep, Smif-n-Wessun, and Group Home and is their first release without the talents of mainstay producers the Neptunes. Though that trademark sound may be missed this time around, the now four-member gang (with additional vocals from Ab-Liva and Sandman) branch out looking to find their way with production from Scott Storch on the first single, "Fast Life," with the majority of the record being produced by a crew called the Sleepwalkers. Compared to their mix tape series, which had the Re-Up Gang tag-teaming over original and borrowed tracks, this album is a bit lackluster. Overall they seem more gangsta than before, if that's possible, due to the deep, spooky organ riffs, slow sing-songy group choruses, and their down-yet-not-out themes. It’s not a bad record, but it’s definitely not the drug tales told over futuristic beats that most are expecting; it's darker and gloomier. For those that like their hip-hop with a heavy dose of realness, street imagery, and a strong southern drawl, this may, or may not be one for you. It’s half as good as it should be but I’m still glad to see them getting some deserved label support again. [DG]






More Dirty Laundry: The Soul of Black Country

"Hell Yes I Cheated" Johnny Adams
"Every Day I Have to Cry Some" Arthur Alexander

When the first words out of speakers as this collection begins are an almost painfully bellowed "Hell yes, I cheated, even though it was wrong," the tone is set immediately and we're off and running with volume two of Dirty Laundry, a stunning compilation of overlooked country gems from artists who made their names in soul. While "Black Country" or "Country Soul" don't really seem like genres capable of existing in the context of each other, these slipped-through-the-cracks moments make a lot more sense together than they might have originally. James Brown's "Three Hearts in a Tangle" was lifted from a country album that never saw release, maybe a marketing strategy that didn't pan out. Ike & Tina's slightly psychedelic guitar-riffed "Don't Believe Nothing" sounds more like a crossover experiment while Joe Tex's contributions to the comp sound like Sam Cooke's pill-popping trucker uncle going for it at some roadhouse bar on a Saturday night in Georgia. It's hard to draw the line between what's country-influenced soul (i.e. a Stax-style ballad with pedal steel) and what's soul-influenced country, but there's a fair amount of full-on purist country jams present from Vicki Vann, Arthur Alexander and an unexpectedly solid murder dirge from Andre Williams to round out the disc. The listening experience is wonderful, but only half the story without the fantastic and astonishingly researched liner notes booklet included here. To get a picture of how James Brown must have felt playing at the Grand Ole Opry in the late ‘60s summarizes the vibe of the entire comp, and the songs and stories herein wipe away a few layers of obscurity from a lesser-visited chapter of American music history. [FT]






Best of Allez Allez

"Allez Allez"
"Flesh & Blood"

Eskimo Recordings brings us an Allez Allez Best of disc, a group you may or may not recognize as one of the greatest unsung bands from the ‘80s new wave dance club era -- think somewhere within Blondie and Talking Heads gamut. Hailing from Belgium, Allez Allez fell victim to some deleterious personnel swaps and transitions, which caused them to unfortunately fall by the wayside before achieving the international fame that their potential warranted. Fortunately enough, they did put together some outstanding singles that hold up almost as blueprints to the current trends of electro dance rock that you may have enjoyed on the most recent CSS and Long Blondes records. Interestingly, these club prone tracks also have uncharacteristic depth in the forms of world conscious instrumentation and certain vocal tricks like chorus harmonies. From Fela-inspired explorations like "African Queen" to the Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting-esque "Valley of the Kings," you surely won't grow bored of this unpredictable collection of tunes, not to mention additional solid remixes by the likes of Aeroplane, Lindstrom and Prins Thomas. [MG]
  All of this week's new arrivals.

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[BCa] Brian Cassidy
[DG] Daniel Givens
[MG] Max Gray
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[AK] Andreas Knutsen
[KS] Karen Soskin
[FT] Fred Thomas

- all of us at Other Music

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