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   November 20, 2008  
       
   

 

 

     
    We hope we can make your holiday shopping just a little bit easier this year with Other Music gift certificates. They are perfect for that music lover in your life and can be redeemed for purchases made both in the store and off our CD/LP website. You can buy a gift certificate in the shop, or purchase one on-line by going to: www.othermusic.com/giftcertificates.html

We also offer gift certificates for the MP3 download site, in $25, $50 and $100 increments. You can buy them in person at the store or email our shipping department at giftcertificates@othermusic.com


 
         
   
       
   
         
 
FEATURED NEW RELEASES
Fennesz (Just In!)
Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid
Buddha Machine 2
Arthur Russell (DVD)
Woods Family Creeps
Belle and Sebastian
The Cake
Jonas Reinhardt
Fripp & Eno
Nodzzz
The Nerves
Little Willie John
Pom Pom
Elaste Volume 2
Ocean
Spacemen 3
 

J.T. IV
Brethren of the Free Spirit
Treacle Toffee World (Various)
Sunday Sunshine (Various)
Wackies Sampler 3
Bullwackies All Stars
Max Ochs
COH
Gary Wilson

AVAILABLE ON VINYL
Deerhunter
A Sunny Day in Glasgow

ALSO AVAILABLE
Trentemoller


All of this week's new arrivals.

 
         
   
   
   
   
   
       
   
 
 
NOV Sun 23 Mon 24 Tues 25 Wed 26 Thurs 27 Fri 28 Sat 29



  BISHOP ALLEN TICKET GIVE AWAY
Bishop Allen will be performing two shows this weekend at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, a homecoming of sorts for the Brooklyn band who've been touring across the States for a better part of the past month. We're willing to bet that they'll be previewing a lot new material off of their forthcoming album, set for release on Dead Oceans early next year. Regardless of the set list, the group's live shows are always energetic, soaring, and not to be missed. Send an email to enter@othermusic.com, to put your name in the hat for a pair of tickets to Sunday's show. We'll be picking two winners this Friday morning.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23
MUSIC HALL OF WILLIAMSBURG: 66 North Sixth Street Williamsburg, Brooklyn



 
   
   
 
 
NOV Sun 23 Mon 24 Tues 25 Wed 26 Thurs 27 Fri 28 Sat 29



  WIN TICKETS TO THE U.S. PREMIERE OF LES IDOLES
On Tuesday, November 25, the Film Society of Lincoln Center is hosting the one night only screening of Les Idoles, a French ye-ye 60s psych musical starring Gallic lefty posterboy Pierre Clementi and actress Bulle Ogier. Never ever before seen in the U.S! Following the showing, there'll be a ye-ye after party with French psychedelic '60s pop spun by DJs J Tripp, Melody Nelson, and the Film Society's own Gabriele Caroti. Music provided by Viva Radio. Other Music has two pairs of tickets to give away. To enter, email contest@othermusic.com. We'll be notifying the two winners on Friday, November 21st.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25 @ 7:30PM
WALTER READE THEATRE: West 65th Street, between Broadway & Amsterdam Aves on the upper level



 
   
   
 
 
DEC Sun 30 Mon 01 Tues 02 Wed 03 Thurs 04 Fri 05 Sat 06



  WIN TICKETS TO KASSIN + 2
Kassin + 2, which incidentally counts Moreno Veloso (son of Caetano Veloso) as one of its members, are playing in the States for the first time since 2005, in support of their new Luaka Bop release, Futurismo. The album is the final chapter of a trilogy from the trio of Veloso, Alexandre Kassin and Domenico Lancelott (the previous installments, Music Typewriter and Sincerely Hot, were credited to Moreno + 2 and Domenico + 2, respectively) and a fresh, modern take on Brazilian music, effortlessly fusing elements of garage rock and electronica with samba and bossa sounds. Other Music has two pairs of tickets up for grabs for their December 2nd show at Nu Blu. To enter, email tickets@othermusic.com. We'll be picking the two winners on Monday, November 24th.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2
NU BLU: 62 Avenue C NYC



 
   
   
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

$15.99
CD

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  FENNESZ
Black Sea
(Touch)

"Glide"
"Saffron Revolution"

Well my word, the new Fennesz album is finally upon us and after months of speculation and precious few promo copies, I have finally had the chance to sit back and take it all in. I must admit, the first time I heard it I wasn't sure what to think -- sitting in the Other Music HQ listening through computer speakers didn't do the album a world of justice. Could it have been that Christian Fennesz, the savior of electronic music, had failed in making an ample follow-up to his breakthrough album Venice? Thankfully no, Black Sea is a subtle, quiet and measured record, every bit the follow-up we needed, and with absolutely none of the fanfare you might expect from an artist with such a dedicated fan base. It is a record which demands your absolute attention, be it from sitting in front of a good pair of speakers or soaking it in through headphones. When I finally gave the album the attention it had been craving, it was not long before I was convinced that Fennesz had again crafted a record worthy of his good name, a record which manages to be markedly different from its predecessor but carries the same emotional and harmonic weight that made him so popular in the first place.

We drift calmly through the album's first few tracks -- soft, measured field recordings blended with restrained string-work. This is not the epic guitar manipulation we heard on the artist's previous works, rather Fennesz has taken a far more orchestral route, and the opening pieces lead us slowly and very softly into the album's centerpiece, the crushingly beautiful "Glide." Possibly the most gorgeous track to fall from the Austrian's battered laptop, this takes the noise aesthetic he has honed so well and pits it against the most gorgeous cascading strings, using the guitar merely to punctuate slightly the lilting harmonies. As "Glide" comes to a calming close we are treated to "Vacuum," Christian Fennesz's answer to Brian Eno's seminal "An Ending (Ascent)" -- all hauntingly beautiful synthesized pads pointing mournfully to somewhere special, the kind of track you can fall back on when the rest of the world fails you. Then it all slips into place. Black Sea is more than just a title, the music becomes the sea; rising and falling, drifting slowly and crashing down violently. It bubbles and oozes, allowing distant melodies to soak through layers of froth and surf. As the eerily melodic droplets of sound herald the conclusion of "Glass Ceiling," we are brought into the album's devastating finale with "Saffron Revolution." Building from a mere tickle of strings we are pushed headfirst into the kind of harmonic electronic assault Fennesz is best known for: all density and blissful noise. Maybe this is the kind of sound My Bloody Valentine would have made if Kevin Shields had fallen in love with Max/MSP rather than his collection of pedals. It's clich├ęd to reference, the shoegaze genre, but that's really the only time that pure harmony and thick, dense noise have been combined to such a crushing degree. To put it simply, Black Sea is Fennesz's most mature, most delicate album to date, and possibly his most beautiful. It might not have the instant sugar-rush of Venice but this is a record that rewards the patient listener, and I have a feeling the rewards will keep coming for months to come. A genuine contender for album of the year. [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$14.99
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$19.99 LP

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$9.99 MP3

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$20.00 CD & Wordless Music Series Ticket

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$25.00 LP & Wordless Music Series Ticket

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  KIERAN HEBDEN & STEVE REID
NYC
(Domino)

"1st & 1st"
"Departure"

This is the fourth full-length album from electronics noodler Kieran "Four Tet" Hebden and legendary drummer Steve Reid (who has played with everyone from Martha Reeves and James Brown to Fela Kuti, Sun Ra, and Miles Davis) in just about two years, which speaks to the ease and joy that this duo have found in their collaborations. More so than on any of the previous albums, the interplay between the musicians seems utterly intuitive, with Reid's fluid, incredibly soulful drumming effortlessly sparring with Hebden's complex, layered soundscapes of shifting textures. The result is a fearlessly updated take on '70s improvised soul-jazz, veering from total sound collage to raw, funky grooves and then deconstructing again, with a gritty, urban feel that befits the album and song titles. Recorded over a couple of days in New York City's once gruff (but rapidly gentrifying) Hell's Kitchen, NYC successfully captures some of the magic and mayhem that is this mad city; relentless, overwhelming, rich with sound and motion and full of surprise at every turn, but also full of the most personal, intimate interactions. [JM]

CD & LP are available as a special combo purchase which includes 1 ticket to Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid's performance at the Wordless Music Series on December 12th, 2008, at Le Poisson Rouge.
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$24.99
Burgundy

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$24.99 Brown

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$24.99 Grey

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$24.99 Original Version

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  BUDDHA MACHINE 2
Choose: Burgundy, Brown or Grey or Orginal Version
(FM3)

Chinese electronic duo FM3 took the music world by surprise in 2005 when they released the Buddha Machine, a small variation on a Buddhist sound device which, in its original form, plays loops of Buddhist chants as a meditation aid to monks. FM3 took this device, reconfigured it with nine ambient sound loops of their own creation (mostly derived from electronic drones), and put them in a number of snazzy colors. The Machine runs on two AA batteries, and even has a headphone jack for private listening (or outputting to an amplifier). Musicians and consumers went nuts, bought up the initial run within weeks, and the duo went on to sell upwards of 50,000 Buddha Machines thus far -- not bad at all!

Well, they're back with version 2.0 -- nine new loops, three new colors, and perhaps the best part: a pitch-shift dial so that you can bend the loops' sound like a whammy bar on a guitar, or change the speed to suit your mood, tempo, whatever. After spending some time with this new one (and having bought two of the first Machine back in 2005), I'm really happy to say that the new one is a vast improvement over its predecessor; the loops themselves have more variety, and are derived from sonics of a more percussive nature, from pianos to gamelan-esque tones to Asian strings -- I think I even hear some voices deep in the mix of one of the loops. The pitch-shift dial has a wide range and is surprisingly effective with the style of these new loops, and the new Machine comes in either stone grey, chocolate brown, or a deep burgundy color.

If you bought the first Machine, this one is a no-brainer -- it's a solid improvement and is stronger as an actual musical instrument. If you're new to the Machine, I'd definitely start with this new one; it's a more satisfying listen and is more fun to play with. Put away your iPod for a bit and plug this in instead -- heaven knows we all need a bit of respite. [IQ]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$23.99
DVD

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  ARTHUR RUSSELL
Wild Combination
(Plexifilm)

With the ongoing series of reissues and collections that have come out on the Audika and Soul Jazz labels over the past few years, Arthur Russell has grown from an under-appreciated chameleon of 1980's New York to a respected artist finally reaching an audience. Russell's music has been collected, reissued, and unearthed to the unsuspecting but welcoming ears of the modern day masses, but his untimely death in 1992 from AIDS tragically didn't allow the artist to see his work become fully appreciated worldwide. One such listener turned enthusiast, filmmaker Matt Wolf crafted his self-proclaimed obsession into something for the big screen. The film, Wild Combination, is more of a portrait versus a proper "documentary", made by one artist for another. Over the course of seventy-minutes, Wolf visually paints a touching timeline of Russell's journey from the cornfields of Iowa to the all-absorbing streets of New York City. Along the way, Russell's life intersects with a legendary group of artists in the avant-garde, classical, dance music and punk underground as well, including Allen Ginsberg, Philip Glass, and the Modern Lovers' Ernie Brooks (among many others), who are all featured in the documentary.

Throughout Wild Combination, his contemporaries, as well as newcomers, tell anecdotes about Russell, their dialogue interlocked with scenes from the many places in Iowa and NYC that he would frequent, mixing copious and wonderful archival footage with newer interviews and artful abstractions and recreations. Wolf's film gives many details and tries to get inside the musical mind of Russell's. A great tribute, or ode if you will, to someone whose importance is becoming clearer and more valid as the years roll on, Wild Combination is a great visual journey with lots of insight that I won't soil in detailing. This is for those diehard fans that have been drawn into the vast array of music that Russell experimented with and is also perfect for those who are unfamiliar but still curious of Russell's compelling story. The DVD includes bonus footage of live performances and various oddities. Recommended. [DG]
 
         
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

     
 

$17.99
LP

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  WOODS FAMILY CREEPS
Woods Family Creeps
(Time-Lag)

You asked for it! The second pressing of Woods Family Creeps has arrived in the shop and folks are burning through our new shipment just as fast as they snatched up this record's first edition of 300. Two-and-a-half years ago, members of one of the Brooklyn d.i.y. underground's most rambunctious indie outfits, Meneguar, rotated instruments and began to perform deeply haunting, noisy, melancholy folk under the alias of Woods. With the addition of cassette tape sound artist G. Lucas Crane (Vanishing Voice, G. Lucas Crane vs. Nonhorse), what was initially a side project quickly transformed into an everyday buzzword amongst a young and obsessed following.

Woods Family Creeps is the group's most captivating and skillfully explorative release to date. The record boasts healthy doses of their signature sparse, three-chord acoustic dark folk, guided by Jeremy Earl's hypnotizing near-falsetto, and lo-fi Kraut-psych meditations which cement them firmly amongst Brooklyn's Eastern-influenced experimental elite, bunking down with Blues Control, Psychic Ills, and tourmates Religious Knives. Unlike these bands, Woods' heavy jams don't sprawl as much as slow burn, and tracks like "Family" sound downright deadly with piano buried deep, and thin, anxious acoustic guitar picking set to a driving, disconnected beat of loose, untuned drums. Woods contain their own fire, and allow the mind-expansion to break driving, kinda masculine acoustic folk with unstoppable harmonies, and songs like "Twisted Tongue" speak to their energetic, almost danceable live set. (In truth, the meat of the record is really the brand new collection of songs, just like the ones we first fell in love with.) Really think about buying this one for the ones you love this holiday season, from your Tom Waits-obsessed 13-year-old nephew to your totally cute, Vetiver-loving college girlfriend, to your reclusive aunt who Zen's out to Lichens, JOMF, and Brightblack. Woods are one of Brooklyn's best-kept secrets, but with such a strong vision for indie folk and psychedelic music, we promise folks won't be able to hold their tongues for long! [KS]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$13.99
CD

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$17.99 Deluxe CDx2

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$22.99 LPx2

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  BELLE AND SEBASTIAN
BBC Sessions
(Matador)

"(My Girl's Got) Miraculous Technique"
"Sleep the Clock Around"

Where would the world be without Belle and Sebastian? No, seriously. Without hyperbole, it's safe to say that B&S have the most unique position in history as quite possibly the last band that rose from absolute anonymous obscurity to conquer the universe with perfect pop songs. Okay, there was a little hyperbole in there, but think about it... Kids in the middle-90s in sleepy Glasgow get together and make an album for a school project. Stuart Murdoch's handful of narratives about high school awkwardness, riding buses and charmingly damaged characters gives birth to a genre-defining sound and offers a perspective so unique and relatable it never lost momentum. Few bands get to stay active long enough to witness their own influence on the musical landscape, and if they do it's even less often they're still relevant by that point, but indie-pop heroes Belle and Sebastian have remained nearly ubiquitous through the last decade, growing from a clumsy collective to a polished, mature entity. That said, there's still nothing quite like the accidental perfection of those early songs. BBC Sessions capitalizes on that fresh energy with a cross-section of classics from the band's 1997-2001 radio performances, all in the era before Isobel Campbell left the band. Notably jumpier versions of "Like Dylan in the Movies" and "I Could Be Dreaming" sparkle with a decidedly "live" feeling and the audible excitement of a band so stoked to be playing on John Peel's radio show. Though this collection doesn't include every song for every radio appearance ever, super-fan types will be happy to hear four completely previously unreleased tunes, the last the band recorded with Isobel. [FT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$15.99
CD

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  THE CAKE
More of Cake Please
(Rev-Ola)

"Baby That's Me"
"Extroverted Introvert"

Proving further that the best things come from Brooklyn (ha!!), we get this extraordinary reissue of '60s girl group the Cake, who recorded two fantastic LPs worth of tunes stuffed to the gills with the requisite Phil Spectorisms, soul covers, and genre experiments now commonplace in pop, but still somewhat fresh in the burgeoning psychedelic 1960s. This CD collects both LPs, giving you your cake and letting you eat it over and over again. Opener "Baby That's Me" is easily one of my favorite songs ever. Not even Phil himself so perfectly crystallized the Spector sound with the right amounts of melancholy, harmony, and emotional longing that makes for one of the most heartbreaking yet uplifting tunes, and whose mood carries out in variations throughout the rest of the CD. Upon my first time hearing the first Cake LP, I couldn't get to the end simply because I kept playing the first three songs over and over, purely hypnotized and deeply touched. This is special, special music, and the vibes past those first three tracks branch out a bit further, touching upon chamber pop with distinct classical touches ("Medieval Love," "Rainbow Wood," "Sadie"), R&B swagger ("I Know," a cover of "Stand By Me," "What'd I Say"), and even fantastic, rollicking Calypso replete with steel pan band and strings ("Extroverted Introvert," one of my personal faves). The girls ended up befriending the likes of Jimi Hendrix, the Animals, Dr. John (two of the girls would go on to sing with the Night Tripper on his early tours) and Soft Machine, whose then frontman Kevin Ayers wrote the song "Eleanor's Cake (Which Ate Her)" about one of its members. I can't say much more without feeling like I'm spoiling something special -- if you've any interest in '60s girl group sounds, the Canterbury scene's more pop-oriented efforts, or just solid girl-fronted bands, you NEED this. Trust me. The booklet is packed with anecdotes and a history of the group by the group, and the music... well, you know how I feel. Highest recommendation!! [IQ]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$13.99
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$9.99 MP3

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  JONAS REINHARDT
Jonas Reinhardt
(Kranky)

"Lyre of David"
"Upright Fortune"

These days it's hard to avoid tripping over a record purporting to be some kind of Krautrock or other. From the haunting industrial ambience of Cluster to the proto-techno wizardry of Kraftwerk, there is a fetishization of the scene, and the sounds have captured the mind of many a young producer. Californian gear-hound Jonas Reinhardt is the latest artist to throw forth his attempt at recapturing the magic of the early '70s, and in my opinion he could be the most successful yet. Using his keen ear for production to recreate the sounds of Klaus Schulze, Ash Ra Tempel, Kraftwerk, and oddly enough, Jean-Michelle Jarre, he has ended up with an album that works as some kind of summation of the sprawling scene. Most interestingly for me, Reinhardt has nailed that element of the music that eludes so many artists -- the beats. And with an arsenal of vintage drum machines he creates the kind of cyclic rhythmical throb that made us all fall in love with Harmonia all those years ago. This is real electronic music, free of the modern tricks of laptop-heavy subgenres, and as such it delivers a purity rarely chanced upon in these cynical times. In fact, if someone handed me the record and told me that it was a long lost collaboration between Klaus Schulze and Manuel Gottsching I would probably believe them -- every piece of Reinhardt's sound seems to inhabit the right space.

There are so many highlights on the album it's hard to list all of them, but I'm going to give it a try. Growing up with the sounds of Jean-Michelle Jarre's Equinoxe and Oxygene, there was a warm sense of nostalgia in the air upon hearing "How to Adjust People," and then digging further into the liner notes I noticed that his studio was named Equinox, which surely can't be a total coincidence. The slightly swinging beats and lilting synthesizer lead take me into another time, and sit somewhere in evocative ether as they fade away. As the record progresses we tumble into more radiophonic territory with "Blue Cutaway," reminding me of the still unavailable soundtrack to the BBC's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the final pieces conjuring memories of Delia Derbyshire at her most playful. While not the most original record that has emerged from the label in 2008, Jonas Reinhardt has, for me, forged Kranky's finest this year, and one that is not likely to be far from the CD player for some time to come. A huge recommendation. [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$16.99
CDx2

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  FRIPP & ENO
No Pussyfooting
(DGM Records)

"The Heavenly Music Corporation"
"Swastika Girls"

Opal and DGM Records reissue the classic No Pussyfooting album by Robert Fripp & Brian Eno in a deluxe, re-mastered edition featuring an additional CD's worth of bonus material, setting up a new generation of rock experimentalists to discover the magic of this pair's groundbreaking collaboration. It's a pretty safe to say that the methods used by Fripp and Eno on this album have spawned a modern culture of effects technology that can directly be traced back to what goes on in the grooves of this album. Fripp's longstanding signature "Frippertronics" were more or less invented here, in which he performs with his guitar hooked up to two reel-to-reel tape recorders, recording and overdubbing densely layered soundscapes upon which he then solos overtop, as Eno plays the synth and uses his trademark "treatments" to further alter Fripp's contributions to their sonic landscape. It's perhaps tough to imagine how groundbreaking this was to the rock world in a time when everyone you know has a looping guitar pedal that they use in their "psychedelic" ambient project or whatever, but this was heavy at the time, and it's just as heavy today.

The bonus material here provides further insight into the album's two sidelong pieces. "Swastika Girls" and "The Heavenly Music Corporation" are provided not only in their original forms but also in both half-speed (a way guitarists used to learn all of Fripp's godlike trickery at a more manageable pace) and reversed renditions, in acknowledgement of John Peel accidentally first airing "Heavenly" on BBC radio via a reel-to-reel tape fed into the machine backwards! The big surprise is that the album still sounds great, with "Heavenly"'s half-speed take sounding like a precursor to the glacial drones of the Earth/Sunn/Grails school of rock epics. This is essential listening to Eno fans, and despite its heavily experimental description, proves to be immensely listenable and enrapturing -- perfect music for slow, autumnal days and nights, and easier to comprehend now that the world has caught up with them. Beautiful!! [IQ]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$11.99
LP

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  NODZZZ
Nodzzz
(What's Your Rupture?)

"Is She There "
"In the City "

San Francisco trio Nodzzz are, if not anything else, straight to the point. At 16 minutes and 10 songs, they have crafted a not-so-full-length album for Brooklyn's own What's Your Rupture? label that you can spend hours with; the songs are just right: basic, catchy and without any pretension. A more distilled version of Tyvek -- all the fun, but without some of the fuzz -- Nodzzz churn out rickety, unadulterated pop tunes that are infused with a lotta energy and a fresh garage edge. Think Jonathan Richman funneled through a punk aesthetic a la Television Personalities when you hear the band tackle both leisurely-paced songs ("In the City") with the same bright, clean and effortless ease that characterize the jauntier tracks like opener "Is She There." If you need a more current frame of reference, they're in step with, if not a step ahead of, bands like Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Cause Co-Motion. Summed up, A-side ender "Controlled Karaoke" exemplifies everything right about Nodzzz: they're silly, they're sharp, they're nerdy, they're noisy, they're heavy-handed at times and, of course, they're also first-rate. Pressed up as vinyl only, guys, in a luxurious and old-fashioned tip-on sleeve to boot! But if you don't have a turntable, you're in luck; Nodzzz is also available for download on Other Music's Digital site. [PG]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$17.99
CD

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$17.99 LP

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  THE NERVES
One Way Ticket
(Alive)

"Working too Hard"
"Why Am I Lonely"

One Way Ticket compiling the band's highly influential, self-titled EP from 1976, along with a slew of demos and unreleased live recordings. And it's on yellow vinyl, for those of you reaching for the LP version. Formed in 1975, the short-lived trio of guitarist Jack Lee, bassist Peter Case (who would go on an form the Plimsouls) and drummer Paul Collins were founders of the Los Angeles pop scene, and their aforementioned EP would originally be distributed by Bomp! Records. The Nerves may have shared the stage with punk rock legends like the Ramones but their place in rock 'n' roll history was cemented when New York new wave giants Blondie covered their song "Hanging on the Telephone" on 1978's Parallel Lines. I don't think I need to tell you how that turned out! One Way Ticket features that track along with the rest of the four-song EP, but where it's really at for me is the live material. In fact, both the live and demo version of "Letter to G" have been set to repeat on my stereo for days now. The tinny drums are almost something you'd hear on a Joy Division album although I'm sure neither band knew of each other at this point in time. Songs like "Stand Back and Take a Look" and "Come Back and Stay" are real power pop classics -- simple and catchy, broken pop songs. So those of you who have caught the power pop bug and who've picked up that newly reissued Urinals Negative Capability comp, as well as all of you Black Lips fans, I'm looking at you. This is E-S-S-E-N-T-I-A-L! You know what to do... [KP]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$18.99
CD

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  LITTLE WILLIE JOHN
Nineteen Sixty Six
(Kent)

"If I Loved You"
"Never Let Me Go"

The history of early rhythm and blues is littered with tragic tales of unfulfilled promise, but the story of Little Willie John has to be one of the saddest. One of the most gifted male vocalists of the '50s, he is considered by many to be the first great soul vocalist. His full-bodied, gutsy phrasing is a shoo-in for early Marvin Gaye, Joe Cocker and Philippe Wynne of the Spinners. Hits such as "I Need Your Love So Bad" were direct influences on Gaye, James Brown (who recorded a tribute album to him), Otis Redding and countless others, while Peggy Lee's famous cover of John's "Fever" is now a standard. In 1964, John was poised to break big until his infamous temper got the best of him. The then 27-year-old singer found himself incarcerated with a life sentence for fatally stabbing a man who was flirting with his girlfriend at a club. These David Axelrod produced tracks are the last recordings John ever made. Apparently he was out on appeal for a couple of weeks, so Axelrod organized three long sessions with an a-list of Los Angeles musicians like Carol Kaye, Earl Palmer and Les Blue, in the hopes of reintroducing the world to this influential singer.

John delivered the goods like his life depended on it. Axelrod's large, jazz-influenced brass arrangements are a mile away from the spacey cosmic jazz of his solo records, but they are perfectly suited for the ballads and Northern style steppers that John was known for. Highlights include his classy rendition of "You Are My Sunshine," the self-penned "Crying Over You," and "Country Girl." Though these sessions produced some killer material, they would sit in the vaults for 40 years due to legal issues concerning John's contract with his former label. On top of that, John's appeal was denied and he returned to the penitentiary where he died from pneumonia in 1968, at the young age of 31. If you are a passing fan of any of the aforementioned vocalists and are not familiar with Willie John's work, I urge you to start here and then go back and dig up his classic, mid-to-late-'50s material, and familiarize yourself with one of the best unsung vocalists of that era. [DH]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$19.99
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  POM POM
Pom Pom
(Pom Pom)

Track 1
Track 6

Since 2001, these mysterious twelve-inch releases wrapped completely in black have been showing up in the shop, almost unnoticed. For some reason, I barely ever heard them on the dance floor and they never popped up on a hit mix CD. I just held these twelve-inches close to my chest like secret weapons. There is consistently no info on the vinyl ever, aside from the "Pom Pom" and the release number scratched into the end groove. Barcodes began appearing on the labels by release 14 or so, and then those disappeared by around number 18, and the twelve-inches are now back to the mysterious black sleeve, black vinyl, black label design aesthetic. That's it. There's no way to tell whether this is a solo project or a collective and it's as close to a "techno Jandek" as I can imagine.

The tracks range from deep, inner space explorations to huge monolithic stompers with the sound being a mixture of cold, relentless Pan(a)Sonic, cosmic acid Sleeparchive and funky machine-industrial Green Velvet/Reinhard Voigt meets Esplendor Geometrico. There's always a raw, analog-sounding, dangerous, dirty warehouse vibe running through the Pom Pom releases -- singular, functional, very intentionally underground and always with an undercurrent that seems to say, "We don't care if you like this or not."

As much as I love theses past releases, I was nervous that the CD wouldn't play out well. It ends up they managed to nail it. The album starts out icy and mysterious, leading the listener deeper and deeper into the Pom Pom mindset. When the slammer tracks come, you're fully ready for them. With their "anti-image," who woulda thought that their first CD would be so tastefully put together? It's almost puzzling that this disc actually has an "alluring" quality while still maintaining its defiant stance. I only recognized one of the tracks from a previous twelve-inch, and I'm pretty sure most of the rest are brand new releases. (This theory is supported by the fact that the vinyl that shares the name "Pom Pom 32" has some of the same tracks on it.) Anyway, as much as I'd like to keep this stuff all to myself, I'm going to say, "fully recommended!" [SM]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Elaste Volume 2: Space Disco
(Compost)

"Rebel on the Run" Selection
"The Speed of Sound" Alan Hawkshaw

Yet another stellar Elaste edition of "unclassic" Euro-disco. Fourteen tracks of earnest, sleazy Euro-boogie, dub, proto-techno, Afro-beat and Italo that's about as leftfield as it gets. Noted collector, Viennese DJ Tom Wieland, compiled this one and unlike the slo-mo stylings of Volume 1, this one features upbeat, after hours, cosmic dust-sprinkled jams that tend to be on the Moogier, techier side of things. Highlights are many, but my personal faves include the Paradise Garage classic "Que Tal America" by Two Man Sound, the AMAZING digi-jazz/funk of Stroer's "Don't Stay for Breakfast" and the Moroder-esque arpeggiations of "Feeling Love" by Leb Harmony. Pretty sleazy stuff and amazingly sequenced, this would be the soundtrack to a perfect night of dancing. Fans of DJ Harvey's live sets, Rub-n-Tug and Daniele Baldelli should definitely give this a whirl. [DH]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  OCEAN
Pantheon of the Lesser
(Important)

"The Beacon"
"Of the Lesser"

One of the finest bands to emerge from the somewhat tired drone-metal scene, Portland's Ocean now weigh in with their second record, Pantheon of the Lesser, and it is every bit the beast that made their debut the biggest selling record on Important. Ocean were always heavy, always droney and always crushingly epic, but keeping things interesting with their newest an ambitious two tracks was going to be a difficult task. It's something many prog rockers and avant-gardists have failed at, but the band somehow manage to hold it together without trickling into the realms of boredom. I'm not saying their sound is particularly varied, but their compositions use length wisely and the group sculpts into the time, carving out very defined movements. The key comparison here is still Sabbath, but where Sunn O))) have moved ever further into the realm of synthesized bass drones, Ocean have kept the "metal band" aesthetic over all else, and sound tighter here than ever before. Waves of distorted guitar crash over half-tempo drums and give way to vocalist Candy's nicotine-damaged growl and the all-important plodding wall of bass. They even enlist the help of a female vocalist; Bloody Panda's Yoshiko Ohara appears on "The Beacon" as a counterpoint to Candy's curdled wails, moaning and cooing before erupting into screams in the track's final act. "Here Where Nothing Grows" had elements of post-rock about it, and in many ways this has carried into Pantheon with an almost Godspeed-like sense of restraint in places, especially during "Of the Lesser," which erupts mid-way through into near-blissful melody. An ambitious and satisfying record which easily lives up to the promise of its predecessor, Pantheon of the Lesser is a jewel in the drone metal crown -- just make sure you've got an hour blocked out to listen; you won't want to be disturbed. [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  SPACEMEN 3
Playing with Fire
(Space Age)

"Honey"
"May the Circle Be Unbroken"


SPACEMEN 3
Forged Prescriptions
(Space Age)

"Walking with Jesus"
"Come Down Easy"

I was out the other night with some friends, and somehow the conversation turned to the topic of drugs. Not sure how we got there, but it became a give-and-take of our chemical experiences; what happened on certain drugs, which ones we'd never done, which ones we'd never do again, etc. I've steered clear of most heavy partying my whole life, so my addition to the conversation was more a perspective of wonder and second-hand associations. I said I didn't think I could ever understand hard drugs because anyone I've known to use them with any regularity can't explain to me what it's like, or why they enjoy the experience. "It's always something like 'Well, you know...' or 'People shouldn't ever be allowed to feel like that' or something vague," I said, "There's never been anyone who can give me a solid articulation of what it's like to use heavy drugs." My friend chimed in "That's what the entire Spacemen 3 catalog is for."

Stated plainly in one of their album titles, the Spacemen's mission was "Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to." The vibes of the deeper circles of altered states definitely emanate from every bar of these songs, but to not look past the obvious is to sell short a band that definitely changed things. After the band's split, Jay Spaceman molded orchestral and pop elements into Spiritualized and Sonic Boom went deeper down the path of hypnotic soundscapes under various monikers, but these re-issues find the two collaborators at the heights of their powers, complementing each other in a way on par with any of the great rock and roll songwriting teams. You may have to dig a little deeper for the songs than you would with a Lennon/McCartney number, but really, the one-note drones of "Things Will Never Be the Same" or the tremolo-feedback desperation of "Come Down Easy" are pop songs of the highest caliber. Deeply wounded, ravenously drug-addled pop songs, but amazing none the less. Capturing the perilous bliss and deep depravity of not just chemical experiences, but a very specific kind of outlook on living, Forged Prescriptions and Playing with Fire are perfect rock and roll records, forging a language of feedback, atmosphere and texture that's never really been countered since. These reissues are loaded with demo versions and previously unreleased tracks, as well as brilliant liner notes from Sonic Boom on Prescriptions. Listening back it's easy to see how this band developed a cult following/lifestyle regime over time. Completely essential. [FT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$19.99
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  J.T. IV
Cosmic Lightning
(Galactic Zoo)

Hooray, another iconic Midwestern outsider (Chicago) who was forced to deal with all his spurned love and hopeless rock and roll fantasy in a snowed-in basement. I was fully ready to track this album down based solely on the killer "Death Trip" single, after being led to it MySpace-style by a friend about six months ago. It's a fully ripping nihilistic song that sounds like the grind of Chrome with a bit of Hawkwind-chug, with a trace of the lovesick/misogyny of early GG Allin complete with a killer solo. A totally great, raw, lost in space basement punk with a snotty/catchy f**k you vibe that would have made it a standout gem on a Killed by Death comp. Of course, this is all wrapped up in the same outsider-stuck-in-a culture-starved atmosphere found in records by Jim Shepard and Tommy Jay, not to mention Gary Wilson (but without the Las Vegas vibe), and even Ariel Pink. (See also "The Monitors" and the awesome "Destructo Rock.") Later, tunes like "Song for Suzanne," "In the Can" and "I Really Love You/You Know That I Love You Don't You?" reveal a tender ballad-y/spaced-out, dumb/poetic Roky Erickson sung by a non-mush mouthed Darby Crash.

Other back story tidbits: He also made films, including the 85 hour The Cure for Insomnia (recognized in the Guinness Book as the longest movie ever released, beating Gone with the Wind and Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz by miles). He had a local hit called "Waiting for the CTA" (Chicago Transit Authority, of course) sung to the tune of the Velvets' "Waiting for My Man" (it's on the record), and a disfiguring car accident inspired him to change his artist name to Frankenstein. Don't let the quirks distract you, however, get this record cause it rules! [SM]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  BRETHREN OF THE FREE SPIRIT
The Wolf Also Shall Dwell with the Lamb
(Important)

"The Wolf Shall Also Dwell with the Lamb"
"I Am a Flower of Sharon and a Rose in the Valley"

Being a fully paid-up member of the James Blackshaw fan club and an avid follower of lute player Jozef Van Wissem, I hardly needed to be convinced to give this collaborative effort a spin. The Wolf Also Shall Dwell with the Lamb is the second record from the string-bashing duo and continues their exploration of 17th century-inspired baroque music, so it instantly piqued my interest on a number of levels. This era of music is rarely approached right now (not being the obvious choice for Brooklyn scenesters) but it only makes Jozef and James' music more poignant and oddly more relevant. The two musicians have an innate understanding of not only their instruments but also each others' playing; the lute and 12-string guitar are hardly discernable from each other as the strings twist and tumble in between the notes. It sounds almost as if we are hearing a court performance from a time long gone -- there is a sense of harmony, of stillness and of a meditative discipline far removed from the busy chatter of 21st century life. Made up of an all too brief four tracks recorded at Locksley Hall in Amsterdam, the record removes itself even from James Blackshaw's recent work. Where he has of late incorporated more complex arrangements and thick, instrumental flourishes, The Wolf is as bare and unfussy as one could possibly imagine, even being recorded in mono to accentuate the simplicity. All too often do albums hide behind the ample production talent of some producer, but here we are treated to something genuinely "as is". I get the feeling that were James and Jozef to come round to my place for an impromptu show (that's a genuine offer guys...), their compositions would sound exactly the same -- and how often can you really say that? Absolutely magical music. [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Treacle Toffee World: Further Adventures into the Pop Psych Sounds from the Apple Era 1967-1969
(RPM)

"Bittersweet Adieu" Iveys
"Listen to the Sky" Sands

This is the third volume of psych-pop gems unearthed from the Apple Music vaults. As I'm sure you're all aware, Apple was the company the Beatles started that encompassed a record label, a film division and music publishing. The publishing branch was by far the most successful of the three, introducing the world to the songwriting talents of Pete Ham, Tom Evans (Badfinger) Gallagher & Lyle ("Breakaway," "What's Love Got to Do with It") and Dave Lambert (Fire/Strawbs), to name a few. Although most of this material had been bootlegged for years, many of the songs never made it past the demo stage for various reasons -- I'll let the excellent liner notes tell that story. But not surprisingly, the Apple staff knew a good tune when they heard one and they built up a pretty impressive catalog; many critics regard these songs as some of the greatest UK pop of that era. In any case, much of this material would pretty much become the melodic blueprint for the second wave of Brit-pop in the early '90s.

There ain't a bad song on here, but if I were to pick out a personal highlight it'd be the hazy, wintry feel of "Even the Sun Shines Cold," by teen duo Rawlings and Huckstep. Another favorite, the folky acoustic stomp of "Goodbye Mozart" by Gallagher & Lyle sounds like Cat Stephens sans the preciousness, while Sand's "Listen to the Sky" starts off as a standard Small Faces-styled pop tune before descending into dark, feedback drenched psychedelia. All in all, an astounding listen from start to finish, this CD hasn't left my player all week. The Toffee Treacle World title really does live up to its name, because trying to get these songs unstuck from my brain is like trying to get that sticky, sweet candy unstuck from...well, anything. (Although this is a lot more pleasant.) Contender for comp of the year! [DH]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Sunday Sunshine: The World of SNB
(RPM)

"Feeling High" Mellow Candle
"Got It Badly" Francoise Pascale

The story of SNB records is an oft told, almost mundane tale of a record label set up to fail. In this case, SNB records was a tax shelter for famous British actor David Hemmings and a way for former Yardbirds manager Simon Napier Bell to release music while waiting to get out of a bad contract signed with EMI from two years earlier. But like Tiger Lily, Red Greg and other famous "almost" labels of the past, there was some incredible music released on SNB that never got the attention it deserved. SNB only existed for a year-and-a-half (1968-1969), but in that time they put out some fantastic UK baroque and psych-pop singles that have since become quite collectible. Highlights include the stellar "Feeling High" and "Tea with the Sun" from a young Mellow Candle. This female duo would go on to release Swaddling Songs, one of the most beloved "acid-folk" albums of all time. Would be French chanteuse Francoise Pascale does her best France Gall turn with the dreamy ballad, "Got It Badly," and there's also the charming Afro-pop, Calypso-tinged "Bassa Love" by Flamma Sherman, which sounds a bit ahead of its time. There's not a bad track on this collection and for those who have developed a taste for the bright, UK pop sound of the '60s, this one's for you. [DH]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Wackies Sampler 3
(Wackies)

"Live in the City" Horace Andy
"Prepare Jah Man" Jah Carlos


Wackies brings us another great catalog sampler culled from their excellent series of reggae and dub reissues. Volume 3 features a who's who of Jamaican singers like John Clarke, Horace Andy, Max Romeo and Sugar Minott, along with some names that were a little less recognizable before Wackies began to re-released their music to new listeners, artists like Jezzreel, Itopia and Joy Card (from the Love Joys) and, of course, the Bullwackies All Stars. The heavy and thick production is present throughout the various forms: lovers rock, dub, sweet soul and disco influences (Horace Andy's cover of "Love Hangover" gives new meaning to the phrase slow-motion disco), righteous inspiration, and the sexy groovers of domestic life (John Clarke's "Shack Up with You")... it's all here. If you know these artists and/or the label, you're already familiar with the quality at hand. If you don't, however, these samplers are a great introduction to the "other" reggae reissue label (maybe it's just that Wackies is the only one that doesn't remind me of the K-Tel comps of the '70s). Definitely worth a listen, these are handpicked selections, and it shows. [DG]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  BULLWACKIES ALL STARS
Black World
(Wackies)

"Recording Connection" Jah T
"Skylarking" Adopted

What can we say? A spankin' new Wackies reissue is always a big event around these parts and there's reason to be really excited about this one. The Lloyd Barnes-led Bullwackie instrumental albums are some of the deepest, heaviest roots rhythms you'll ever hear. These dub records aren't as ethereal as Pablo's, or as technical as the Scientist's, and they're certainly not as unhinged as Perry's. But the emotional nature of the playing speaks volumes. The economical reverb-treated guitar solo in "United Rock" tells me more about the blues than any Clapton slowhand solo I've ever heard. Other highlights include their version of the Horace Andy tune "Skylarking," which features heavily treated, cascading drums and plaintive piano fills, and the full vocal version of Joe Auximate's "Trouble Land," from his infamous lost album, which was apparently mistakenly erased years ago. (See what weed can do?). Heck, the whole album is a highlight and if you've been a follower of dub for years or a novice not familiar with this sound, this'll probably be stuck in your player for a while. [DH]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 



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  MAX OCHS
Hooray for Another Day
(Tompkins Square)

"Hooray for Another Day"
"In Christ There Is No East or West"

After teasing us with the Imaginational Anthem compilation which featured the overwhelmingly under-recorded Max Ochs, Tompkins Square gives us more of the rarest of breed's inspired and sincere American primitive guitar music. Ochs, a versatile and virtuosic guitarist -- yes he is Phil's cousin -- recorded for Fahey's Takoma label in the sixties, and has been all but forgotten about on a macroscopic level ever since. His dip from recording since the sixties makes this compilation of old and new tracks timeless and precious. Ochs has been a dedicated social and political activist his entire life, and when he is not working tirelessly against racism, poverty, and homelessness, he has helped music prevail in Annapolis by hosting free concerts at Quiet Waters Park and even managing a venue at 333 Coffeehouse. In a sense, these 45-minutes of music, accompanied by four poems, give both a sound bite and a summary of a life devoted to a tradition of change and transcendence.

Not only did Fahey record him in the sixties, but Ochs used to pal around with Robbie Basho at the University of Maryland, and when he lived in New York, house guests included Skip James, Son House, and Mississippi John Hurt. This legacy of folk-blues guitarists is upfront and decisive in Ochs' own work, and his plucking is a testament to hours studying Fahey's technique. Ochs refers to Mississippi John Hurt as much of a life mentor as he does a musical one, but when you hear "Oncones," and "Imaginational Anthem," Ochs' roots are unmistakable. His poems are well-crafted, consciously embodying an elegiac, American-pastoral tradition, including an ode to Phil Ochs, and his touch on the guitar is most deserving of the names he is associated with. His "Don't die. Please stay alive." mantra (recurring in interviews) does well in approaching the emotional gravity of his recordings. Few guitarists reach the mature level of understanding and execution that Ochs exudes, and even fewer can convey such a palpable, deep feeling. [BCa]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  COH
Strings
(Raster-Noton)

"Piano Tranquillo"
"Vittorioso Calando"

Split into two discs, Strings explores Raster-Noton staple Ivan Pavlov's love of stringed instruments, namely the piano, the guitar and Turkish instruments the saz and oud. There is hardly a shortage of electronic music which utilizes the distinct chime of the piano at the moment, not least on the Raster-Noton label itself, but it is Pavlov's distinct treatments which separate his productions from those of his peers. The subtle, fragile beauty of Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto's recordings, for instance, is dropped in favor of a very different treatment, and Pavlov takes his strings into danker, darker, more electronic places. Thick and bass-heavy, it is obvious from the outset that Pavlov has an almost industrial bent -- no surprise considering his previous list of collaborators, from Coil to Cosey, and this is some distance from being "beautiful" music. On the second "act" for instance, Pavlov's old Soviet guitar is pushed through thick walls of distortion and the strings themselves becomes lost in the fuzz. I'm almost reminded of the work of Room 40/Bedroom Community artist Ben Frost on "Mezzo Forte Passionato," but Pavlov never quite lets his sound get anything too close to cinematic. The second disc, however, takes things down a notch or two with a more drone-heavy treatment of the saz and oud recordings, as opposed to the beat-heavy mixes on the first disc. Think Stars of the Lid, think Machinefabriek and you'll be in the right area; it's mighty lovely stuff, and more transcendent than the heavier compositions on the first disc for sure. Fans of Raster should definitely take a closer look, as should fans of Trent Reznor. [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  GARY WILSON
Lisa Wants to Talk to You
(Human Ear)

"Lisa Wants to Talk to You"
"Sandy"

Hide your mannequins, flour, duct tape and daughters! The R. Crumb of DIY art-rock is back with another suite of charming odes to his lost Endicott loves. Gary Wilson's, umm, "unique" blend of '70s lounge-fusion, experimental collage and art-prog stylings is definitely an aquired taste, but it's never derivative, always entertaining, and for the converted, extremely inspiring. The murky sounds that Wilson made some 30-odd-years ago were derided by the mainstream as well as the underground as too weird and just plain unlistenable. But all these years later, his unique blend of home-recorded cosmic slop has subversively found its way into the musical vocabulary of Madlib, Ariel Pink, James Pants, Dam-Funk Beck and the Roots' ?uestlove, and a well-regarded documentary was made about this mysterious, talented artist.

Lisa Wants to Talk to You continues down the same trajectory as 2004's Mary Had Brown Hair and Wilson's DIY classic from '77, You Think You Really Know Me. Coming on like a harmless but incredibly creepy version of Freddy Krueger, Wilson spins tales of invading your dreams ("Your Dream Is Not My Scene"), dancing with mannequins ("Dance with Linda Tonight"), and night stalking ("Mary Won't You Dance for Me"). Yup, Gary can make you squirm, but you simply can't front on the man's unique brand of sleazy, analog funk. No computers or sequencers were abused on this recording and aside from a guest turn on piano from Blind Date cohort Vince Rossi on the "All Alone in Endicott" suite, it's one hundred percent Gary. "Steely Dan on crack," "Prince on PCP" and "Zappa meets Tony Bennett" are my personal favorite descriptions of Wilson's music, but the truth is Gary Wilson sounds like Gary Wilson, and no one else sounds like him. In the end, that's the biggest reason I have for recommending this record. You'll never hear anything quite like it. I guarantee that! [DH]
 
         
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

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  DEERHUNTER
Microcastle
(Kranky)

"Little Kids"
"Never Stops"

Now on vinyl! Microcastle finds Deerhunter shedding the ambient overtones and shoegaze-haze that defined the groundbreaking Cryptograms LP and charging forward with a straight-ahead rock record. Free of delay pedals and field recordings, the vocals are still buried just enough to obscure running themes of decay, murder and submission. Clearly, the darkness is still shining through, regardless of how polished or straightforward the songs aim to be. (Vinyl and MP3 editions are Microcastle Only, and do not include the CD version's bonus disc of Weird Era Cont.)

 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW
Scribble Mural Comic Journal
(Mis Ojos Discos /Ruined Potential)

A Sunny Day in Glasgow's Scribble Comic Journal is finally available on vinyl! Spread across TWO 180g LPs, this limited pressing (300 copies) features two additional remixes -- one by Ulrich Schnauss and one by NYC's very own Asobi Seksu -- and is packaged in a beautiful black linen box/envelope with a letter-pressed white linen paper band. The noteworthy vinyl mastering job adds a new dimension to this already multi-dimensional record!
 
         
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

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  TRENTEMOLLER
Live in Concert
(Poker Flat)

"Moan"
"Miss You"

Trentemoller is a subtle producer, no doubt, but this live EP from the massive Danish summer festival puts his music in the most banging of contexts, as he pummels a dancing crowd that must have numbered in the thousands. From tech-house to techno to hyper drum 'n' bass, as tension builds, so do the cheers from the dance-floor.
 
         
   
   
   
   
 
   
       
   
         
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THIS WEEK'S CONTRIBUTORS

[BCa] Brian Cassidy
[DG] Daniel Givens
[PG] Pamela Garavano-Coolbaugh
[DH] Duane Harriott
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou
[KP] Kimberly Powenski
[KS] Karen Soskin
[FT] Fred Thomas
[JT] John Twells








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