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   October 29, 2008  
       
   
 
 
  OTHER MUSIC SHIPPING RATE CHANGES
After reevaluating our shipping costs, we have decided to make the transition to USPS for our domestic customers. As for our international customers, we will still be shipping via USPS. The changes in shopping cart system on the website are forthcoming. For the time being, please note that the shipping charges notated in the shopping cart are invalid for both domestic and international customers. Instead, you will be charged a new and, in most cases, lower, shipping price solely based on the weight of your package. For example, 1 CD, which weighs approximately, 4 ounces, will now cost $2.00 to ship domestically and approximately $4.10 internationally. A general reference guide to package weight is available here. You can estimate your shipping cost by using the USPS Postage Calculator. For our domestic customers, in the majority of cases, USPS will be just as quick as UPS on top of being noticeably cheaper. If you prefer UPS, simply email orders@othermusic.com and we will accommodate you.

 
   
       
   
         
 
FEATURED NEW RELEASES
Arthur Russell
Deerhunter
Crystal Stilts
Koen Holtkamp
Mountains
DNA (Vinyl Pressing!)
Brown Wing Overdrive
caUSE co-MOTION!
Bloc Party
Carl Craig & Mauritz von Oswald
Bim Marx
School of Seven Bells
Aidan Baker & Tim Hecker
Sprigs of Time (Various)
Chris Brokaw
Juaneco Y Su Combo
M83
Mikkel Metal
Colette Xpress Mix
 
Larkin Grimm
Sounds of She (Various)
SCSI-9

BACK IN PRINT

Radio Phon Penh
Radio Thailand
Radio Algeria
Streets of Lhasa
KMD
MF Doom

ALSO AVAILABLE
Ryan Adams
Squarepusher
It's a Musical
Amp Fiddler w/ Sly & Robbie
Vic Chesnutt & Elf Power

All of this week's new arrivals.

 
         
   
   
   
   
   
       
   
 
 
OCT/NOV Sun 26 Mon 27 Tues 28 Wed 29 Thurs 30 Fri 31 Sat 01



  WIN PASSES TO SEE MONKS - TRANSATLANTIC FEEDBACK AT ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES
Anthology's excellent fall line-up includes a film that we're sure many of our customers will not want to miss, Dietmar Post & Lucía Palacios' documentary on this infamous group of American GIs, who created some of the darkest, nihilistic rumblings of the time in Cold War Germany. We've got a pair of passes up for grabs to the 7PM showing on opening night, October 31 and the 7PM showing the next day, November 1. To enter, send an email to tickets@othermusic.com, and please list the day that you'd like to register for. We'll notify the two winners on Friday morning, October 31.

MONKS - TRANSATLANTIC FEEDBACK
SHOWING OCT 31 - NOV 6
ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES: 32 Second Avenue NYC


 
   
   
 
 
OCT/NOV Sun 26 Mon 27 Tues 28 Wed 29 Thurs 30 Fri 31 Sat 01



  B-52s + HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR + JAMES MURPHY TICKETS
Dance this mess around! Other Music has 20 Pairs of tickets to this Saturday's show with the B-52s, Hercules & Love Affair, and James Murphy and Pat Mahoney's Special Disco Version at the Hammerstein Ballroom! We'll give 15 of the pairs away at the shop to anyone who makes a purchase, until they're gone. Just ask the register clerk for a pair of tickets when you check out. We're also going to raffle five pair to our email list; to enter, email contest@othermusic.com. The five winners will be notified on Friday morning and will need to be able to come by the shop during store hours to pick up their tickets in person.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1
HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM: 311 West 34th Street NYC


 
   
   
 
 
NOV Sun 02 Mon 03 Tues 04 Wed 05 Thurs 06 Fri 07 Sat 08



  WIN TICKETS TO TIMES NEW VIKING
File under must see show of the month: lo-fi, Ohio art-punkers Times New Viking are in New York City on November 8th, along with two other of our favorites, Deerhunter and Vivian Girls. Other Music has two pairs of tickets to offer. You can enter to win by emailing, giveaway@othermusic.com. We'll notify the two winners on Monday, November 3rd.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8
BOWERY BALLROOM: 6 Delancey Street NYC



 
   
   
   
   
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

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  ARTHUR RUSSELL
Love Is Overtaking Me
(Audika)

"What It's Like"
"Big Moon"

Audika Records (finally!) releases one of the most important pieces in the puzzle that is the creative engima of Arthur Russell with Love Is Overtaking Me, a beautiful collection of folk, pop and country tunes recorded from 1973-1990, all compiled from the personal archives of Arthur and his partner Tom Lee. While many know of Arthur's dance experiments and his modern composition pieces, few know of this side of the man -- he took part in and formed many different pop groups during his lifetime, all of which would seemingly evaporate before things really got rolling, and he was constantly writing and recording tunes influenced by his Midwest roots and his time in California during the early 1970s. Songs from a few of those groups are included here, along with many solo songs often featuring just Arthur and an acoustic guitar, and sometimes his unique cello playing. The bulk of the collection's earliest pieces were recorded by famed producer John Hammond in CBS Studios throughout the mid '70s, with much of the rest laid down at Blank Tapes in the '80s, where Arthur recorded many of his most famous dance tunes, as well as the album by the Necessaries, a fantastic powerpop band which included Arthur, Ernie Brooks, and Red Crayola drummer Jesse Chamberlain, and was fronted by Ed Tomney. (If you ever see either version of that record, do the right thing!) There are a few tunes recorded at the Kitchen in the '70s, as well as a handful recorded elsewhere.

Most striking upon early listens is Arthur's singing voice -- usually a muffled riddle of onomatopoeia, here he mostly sings in clear, ringing tones. His lyrical muse is very much the same -- fragile, deeply emotional tunes tying both heartfelt themes of love & loss with playful use of catchphrases, haiku-like simplicity, and a directness often difficult to express in song. While the jumps in the timeline throughout may not give the collection as cohesive a feel as something like Calling Out of Context, this CD is overflowing with riches, and is a beautiful treat to be able to curl up with on these chilly autumn days and nights. Tom Lee provides touching liner notes and photos for a package that easily proves to be one of the year's best. Play it with someone you love, or sit and think of the love you've lost -- just give it lots of time and lots of care. Arthur would've wanted it that way. [IQ]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  DEERHUNTER
Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.
(Kranky)

"Little Kids"
"Never Stops"

I can't remember who said "If you're really an artist, you're in a constant state of becoming." I think it was Bob Dylan. While it would be amazing(ly lame) to start a Deerhunter review with a Dylan quote, it might make sense if he was the one who said it. Bob Dylan never had a two-year period where he was making the same kind of sound. Many of the brightest-burning recording artists of our time are in a state of endless shifting, making records that elicit polarized responses and challenge their audiences not to get too comfortable with what they already understand. Dylan, the Stooges, Velvet Underground, Nirvana, Radiohead, Sonic Youth. Always on to the next sound, starting over with each new record. Microcastle/Weird Era Cont. sees Deerhunter in this state of re-configuration, shedding the ambient overtones and shoegaze-haze that defined the groundbreaking Cryptograms LP and charging forward with a straight-ahead rock record. A direct and comparatively clean (for what we're used to from DH) production leaves little for the songs to hide behind. Free of delay pedals and washed-out field recordings, the Microcastle half of this lofty double-record stands on its own as a collection of solid, no-nonsense songs. It makes sense that when the band was in Brooklyn recording this record last April, the first song they played at a not-so-secret Market Hotel show was a Pylon cover. "Nothing Ever Happened" and "Never Stops" have the same bare-bones no-frills rhythmic tendencies as those mid-'80s, art-via-party rock bands, but the whole album is steeped in a more mature take on the '90s dream-pop worship that the group has made its name on. "These Hands" has one foot in MBV tremolo guitar and the other in the type of dreamy pop songwriting that made Ride a perfect band at times. The majestic "Little Kids" ends in a cluster of building reverb and mountainous sounds almost dense enough to make you forget its homicidal/pyromaniacal lyrics. In fact, the vocals, though a little higher in the mix, 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.

The theme of reconfiguration follows through on an album's worth of bonus material called Weird Era Cont. The album proper is great, but for my money, the bonus disc is where it's at, culling together some home-recorded Bradford jams, studio recordings made after the Microcastle sessions and some recordings dating back to 2002, from around the time of the band's seldom-mentioned and problematicly titled debut album Turn It Up Faggot. Consistent and straightforward it is not, but rather than a hodge-podge of demos or throwaway scraps, we're treated to an album of truly reaching sound experiments and solid if more relaxed rock jams. The vibe is less official and in that, more connected to the ideas and performances than the rigid, serious by comparison sound of the other disc. There's the mashed-together arrangement of epic hate-punk riffs and dreamy breakdowns on "Operation," "Vox Humana"'s spoken word creep out over what sounds like Evol-era Sonic Youth trying to cover the Twin Peaks theme, tape manipulation pieces and meandering loops that fade in and out of being songs. This bunch of tracks works great as a record, in the same way Faust records worked, making very little sense from minute to minute but amazing as a whole. Also, the cryptic nature of the band just makes me want to think there's a master plan in here somewhere, that maybe Weird Era Cont. is the intended missing link between Cryptograms and Microcastle, or maybe just another bright moment for a band in a constant state of becoming. [FT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  CRYSTAL STILTS
Alight of Night
(Slumberland)

"Graveyard Orbit"
"Departure"

The subtle message embedded within the obligatory 'Flying-Spector-Division' reviews written -- sometimes lovingly, sometimes critically -- of the Crystal Stilts' sound is that the sum of their parts does in a manner transcend automatic time branding. They might've handily fit in during any of the past four decades as auspiciously as they do within a current crop of poppy garage rock groups, all the while producing coherent and genuine music. Building upon the sound established on their self-titled EP debut, there are indeed many moments on Crystal Stilts' first full-length, Alight the Night, that have a credible relation to the aforementioned signifiers: Phil Spector's '60s girl-group pop, Joy Division's '70s post-punk, Flying Nun's '80s jangle-pop.

Despite the pastiche of resemblances, Crystal Stilts don't seem plagued by an identity crisis. Rather, the result of these cross-sections makes for a multidimensional experience, in taking an uncanny approach to accessible forms. Like the Jesus and Mary Chain, to which they also are oft compared, Crystal Stilts over-saturate candy-coated pop with heavily reverberated and distorted guitars. They further de-familiarize these simplistic pop modes through a gloominess that pierces through this sea of reverb, most directly through Brad Hargett's highly-affected vocal style, which sometimes resembles the dementia of a worn out VHS tape. On songs like "Departure" and "the SinKing," his delivery comes eerily close to Ian Curtis, and along with the one-note "guitar solos," the bass-led hooks, and the boom-bap boom-boom-bap beat, mentions of Joy Division are not groundless.

There are elements much more lighthearted at play than Manchester gloom though. The carefree attitude of the most potent garage rock permeates Alight, and though there is enough reverb on this album to encapsulate hundreds of manic late nights, there is enough of a beat to make it fun, delivered courtesy of ex-Vivian Girls drummer/cofounder Frankie Rose. It is these dualities that make Crystal Stilts exciting: the rhythms are bright and clear, but the sparse synths are dark and subtle; the bass drives while the vocals lag; guitar chords shimmer and surf/rockabilly melodies are plucked with clean and deliberate ease, while Hargett shrouds their sound with his moody drawl. While so many bands are bent over tangled arrays of effects pedals, the Stilts are getting so much out of the basics, subverting familiar mediums and enjoying a timely insurgence of great garage and psych-pop bands bringing the DIY back to rock. [JW]
 
         
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  KOEN HOLTKAMP
Field Rituals
(Type)

"Sky Flowers"
"Half Light"

Other Music regulars may already be familiar with Koen Holtkamp from seeing him around the shop. It's more likely, however, that they know him from his work as head of the Apestaartje label, half of the exquisite duo Mountains (who also have a brand new and very limited LP available this week, reviewed below), and an accomplished solo artist in his own right, who just recently wrapped A Room Forever's three LP boxed set with a pretty stellar set of field recordings and improvisations.

Field Rituals is another excellent addition to his body of work, a debut for the Type label that sees him refine the singular blend of field recordings, drones, and beatific guitars that have become an integral part of his solo work and every Mountains release. "Sky Flowers" begins with the sound of children playing, and gradually evolves into warm drones and washes of delicate guitar that evidences Koen's subtle mastery of his sounds. Later pieces like "Bear Bell" stretch metallic tones into shimmering waves, punctuating them ever so slightly with forlorn notes. Best of all, though, may be "Night Swimmer," in which Other Music's Scott Mou checks in on vocals, draping chants across Koen's sparse guitar and vivid nighttime recordings. Solid end-to-end, Field Rituals is another great recording that only refines Koen Holtkamp's wonderful approach to making music. [MC]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  MOUNTAINS
Mountains
(Catsup Plate)

Catsup Plate, the label behind groundbreaking early releases from Black Dice and Animal Collective, have graced us with a new, vinyl-only gem. After two CD full-lengths on Apestaartje, solo releases on Type and A Room Forever, and a forthcoming release on Thrill Jockey, the new four-song Mountains EP is here -- limited to 500 copies and housed in beautiful two-color silk screened covers designed by Seen's Rob Carmichael. Some Other Music regulars might even be "featured" on the cover as a "petition" of sorts was circulating through the shop inviting all to inscribe the word Mountains for possible use in the artwork. This self-titled release features the duo going full-strength "improv" on side A; the undulating, warm and placid "Whale Years" is an improvisation recorded in a Georgia hotel during a 2005 tour, while "Nest" is a finger-picked guitar and field recording improvisation produced in the studio at home in Brooklyn. The third and fourth tracks on the flip side have to be the most beautifully aggressive Mountains tracks ever recorded to date. The celestial Kraut-throb of "Millions of Time" ranks as one of my all-time favorite jams from the duo; it's most definitely a waltz in the clouds. EP closer, "Hive," does indeed come across like a colony of bees that fester and boil until they suddenly attack with relentless, burning intensity, and while it's very much an uncommonly aggro track for Mountains, it is still unmistakably theirs. Rabid fans will delight in the fact that these last two tracks are re-mastered versions of essential Mountains songs that most never saw, much less heard. They were originally only available on an ultra-scarce 3-inch tour-only CD-R that was limited to 50 copies. Excellent stuff from a duo on the rise!! [SM]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  DNA
DNA on DNA
(No More)

No More Records issues on 2LP the quintessential document by one of the quintessential NYC rock bands -- the one and only DNA. There's been plenty written in the past about this truly unique trio, and Glenn O'Brien also does a formidable job in the liner notes here, so I'll save the history lesson and give you what is slightly more than fact -- there never has been and never will be another band like DNA. Plain, simple, and true. Arto Lindsay, Ikue Mori, Robin Crutchfield, and later Tim Wright took rock music and refracted it through a shattered mirror, creating a new beast that oozed sexuality, rhythm, desire, and pleasure while crying out in anger, frustration, and ecstasy. No band from the No Wave movement was as simultaneously avant-garde and danceable, and no other band really screwed with what rock instrumentation was truly capable of without trickery in the way this band managed. This 2LP set compiles damn-near every recorded scrap the group laid onto tape and released during their existence -- namely one seven-inch on Lust/Unlust, four songs on the now ubiquitous No New York compilation, one AMAZING 12" originally released on Kip Hanrahan's American Clave label (one of my favorite records of all time, BTW), four live instrumental tracks from Les Disques Du Crepuscule's Fruit of the Original Sin compilation, and a live CD of the group's final show at CBGB's, released only in Japan by John Zorn in the mid 1990s on Avant Records, his precursor to the Tzadik label. Added to this set are a handful of live and studio outtakes never recorded or released elsewhere from both versions of the group -- the late-'70s edition featuring vocalist/guitarist Lindsay, drummer Mori, and keyboardist/vocalist Crutchfield, as well as the '80s edition which replaced Cruchfield (who went on to form coldwave pioneers Dark Day) with former Pere Ubu bassist Wright.

Also included (FINALLY!!) are the final two encores from that last CBGB gig, long thought to be missing and not included on the original Avant CD; perhaps not such a big deal until you realize that one of them is a cover of "Whole Lotta Love." Yes, THAT "Whole Lotta Love." (The only things not included are the two studio recordings found in the Downtown 81 film and soundtrack due to rights issues, but you still get the original versions of both of those songs plus live takes on each.) The set is literally stuffed to the gills with music, photos, liner notes, and gig flyers, and testimonials showing how truly beloved and inspirational the band was not only during its lifetime but long in retrospect as well. The quote often attributed to the Velvet Underground was that not many people heard them at the time, yet those who did all went on to create important bodies of artistic work themselves. Much of the same can be said for DNA, and with this collection finally available on both CD and vinyl, it's nice to know that future generations will be able to learn from these masters. This set is the definition of a Highest Recommendation -- DO NOT MISS IT! [IQ]
 
         
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  BROWN WING OVERDRIVE
ESP Organism
(Tzadik)

"Perils of Flight"
"ESP Organism"

Emerging from Tzadik's Lunatic Fringe series, it's fairly obvious that you won't be looking to Brown Wing Overdrive for a pop fix. Sure there are moments here that might be confused with pop music, if piped through a cellphone speaker at fifty paces at least, but Brown Wing Overdrive are very much the definition of Lunatic Fringe. A trio from avant-capital NYC (featuring Other's very own Mikey IQ among their number), the band pick up where the Boredoms left off, fusing a bizarre improvisational lunacy with an informed electro-acoustic prowess the current noise set would do well to pick up on. It would be too easy merely to lump ESP Organism in with all other "improvised music," leaving it to be discovered by only the heavily weathered musical explorer, but I feel there are elements on offer here that should widen the appeal somewhat. That's not to say it's easy listening; the trio are uncompromisingly surreal at the best of times with fractured oscillator tones jumping hurriedly over cassette jump-cuts and Mikey's estranged howls, but neither is this as staid as so much stuffy modern improv. Maybe it's down to the fact that the trio threw these recordings down live without falling back on overdubs, retaining an energy and adding humanity to even the most synthetic sound. The synthesized tones almost breathe, cough and splutter through the tracks and the noisier elements are impossible to place as anything even remotely to do with digital circuitry. It's refreshing to hear a record this dynamic that has the intellectual process of its Tzadik peers but with a snotty punk-rock snigger bringing to mind the finest aspects of DIY. Check the beat-driven shuffle of "Cryptic Syntax" (possibly the album's most accessible moment) and hear as it falls without warning into the human vs. machine wail-off of the title track. This is not music to be taken seriously, this is a record to be turned up loud and to be listened to in all its glistening, white-out glory. I want to call it post-industrial, post-electronic, post-improvisational, I want to compare it to Whitehouse, to Zorn, to Pierre Schaeffer, to Raymond Scott and to Smegma, but the best thing I can do is to urge you to hear it for yourself. [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  CAUSE CO-MOTION!
It's Time
(Slumberland)

"Baby Don't Do It"
"This Time Next Year"

Brooklyn's caUSE co-MOTION! have been kicking around for a few years now, bequeathing a handful of singles that showcase the twitchy, nervous, and undeniably propulsive pop they've honed in their frantic live shows. Collecting tracks from four 7"s and one split with former Swell Map Jowe Head, It's Time: Singles & EPs 2005 - 08 rockets by in just over twenty minutes, launching fourteen sweet bursts of trebly, jangling guitars and urgent, rollicking percussion in the process. Though the hooks here are as sweet as pie, the energy with which they're delivered is ferocious, as the band nicks bits and pieces of garage, classic Brit-noise like the Television Personalities, and even a bit from nerdy Americans like the Embarrassment for obvious inspiration, all drenched in reverb and dosed up with a snotty punk sneer. Tracks like "Which Way Is Up?" and "When Will It Finally End?" bound by in a heartbeat, with jittery pulses that urge buzzing melodies along to their inevitable climax. With a set that's bound to appeal to rock purists, pop savants, and punk aficionados alike, It's Time thankfully rescues the songs of caUSE co-MOTION! from their tiny vinyl pressings to present them to a whole new audience. [MC]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  BLOC PARTY
Intimacy
(Atlantic)

"Better Than Heaven"
"Ares"

No longer the new kids on the block, Bloc Party's third full-length finds the group growing more expansive as they establish some standards of their own. Intimacy is closely related to last year's A Weekend in the City and at times goes further into the new romantic meets big beat deep end. Introspective and angst-filled in true Britpop style, vocalist Kele Okereke's lyrics take us deeper into the (sub)urban scene established on Weekend, bringing the listener into something very intimate and personal: the breaking of the human heart. Never fear though, BP haven't gone completely limp-wristed on us, they actually seem to have tightened up. Pushing and shaping their once unabashed, youthfully cathartic yet energetic voice of their debut into a now-maturing and empowered mold, they seem to keep getting better and confident with each release. Dance rock doesn't have to be dull, ignorant, immature or disposable as many may think, and working with one-time Howie B. sidekick Jacknife Lee and mainstay Paul Epworth (Fischerspooner, the Streets, the Rapture), Bloc Party continue to flirt with the digital beats and effected guitar formula with nice results. The song "Mercury" -- about one's own journey into self-discovery -- is a great topic of motivation sung (or should I say shouted?) atop the banging beats, horn stabs, and stuttering sampled vocals, not unlike the kind of thing the Klaxons might have thought of, minus the Day-Glo. Or take the tinkering bells, bass throb, and synth swells of "Signs;" this is a thinking and feeling man's dance-rock. It's tight where it needs to be, electronic enough to be called "indie rock fusion," with hands-in-the air vibes throughout (the kind that TV on the Radio were capable of), as well as, at times, being simultaneously soft-hearted, fierce, and catchy. It really does seem to be the seaosn for the danceable "break-up album," and that sounds good to me! And I guess to prove they really are into dancing, as a bonus they've included remixes by XXXChange and CSS, whose intro feels slightly like Soft Cell's "Tainted Love." There's even a shout out to Williamsburg, but don't hold that against them, cause the B.L.O.C. is H.O.T.! [DG]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  CARL CRAIG & MAURITZ VON OSWALD
Recomposed
(Deutsche Grammofon)

"Movement I"
"Movement V"

The prospect of a new full-length collaboration between Carl Craig and Moritz von Oswald (Basic Channel's "Maurizio") conjures up a whole lot of anticipation and high expectations, not to mention various assumptions as to what the record will sound like. It helps to sweeten the pot when we find out that the two were allowed to rework the music of Ravel and Mussorgsky in the Deutsche Grammophon archives. The elements of both composers are woven into a Terry Riley-esque pulse of brass and plucked violin strings that ever so slowly phases into techno and then back out again almost in a classical take on Jan Jelinek's Loop Finding Jazz records. The skill and sophistication of both producers is evident in how naturally and smoothly this transition takes place; each movement is explored to the fullest, but it's never too aggressive. Part of the joy of the record is hearing what the producers "do" and "don't do," and how far they take it -- so those into being surprised might want to stop reading here. The marching beat of "Bolero" is melded with brass pulses to create the atmosphere of "In C" (Movement I and II) and it's not until Movement III that the album climbs partially into the techno zone, but never fully leaving its source elements behind. Movement IV is probably the most distinctly "techno" sounding track (percussion sounds are delayed and echoed to simulate bongos), but things phase back into Interlude and eventually into the beautifully liquidated sound of Movement V. Then finally, further distancing this record from a club-like atmosphere, it touches down on the mid-tempo Movement VI. Again, a beautifully done collaboration that is distinguished as much by what it does as by what it doesn't do. Essential. [SM]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS
Alpinisms
(Ghostly International)

"Face to Face in High Places"
"Iamundernodisguise"

School of Seven Bells is the relatively new band formed by ex-Secret Machines guitarist Benjamin Curtis and Claudia and Alejandra Deheza of the now defunct NY band, On! Air! Library!, and their debut album, Alpinisms, couldn't have come along at a better time. The basis of their sound stems from late-'80s and early-'90s shoegaze guitar rock, with also a heavy influence from the Artificial Intelligence-era Warp roster. School of Seven Bells take all of these influences and wrap them up nicely in a beautiful package of lulling, reverb-drenched pop tunes -- think of past artists like Seefeel, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Curve (in their prime, of course), as well as a current band like Chairlift. The dual vocal delivery of the Deheza sisters on a song like "Face to Face in High Places" is truly stunning; the track is filled with guitars that are distorted just right, crunchy beats, and a melody that is just itching for a club remix (and in this case...this is a good thing). Overall, School of Seven Bells have created a beautiful pop album, with everything in just the right place. And while Alpinisms is nothing new, it is a record that I seem to be returning to time and time again. It's the perfcet album to keep you warm on these impending cold winter nights. [JS]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  BIM MARX
Bim Marx
(No Label)

"Harlem (TP Love) / Can't Leave You"
"Stud Boy Chocolate/Peppers"

Other Music jam encyclopedia Duane Harriott and Jorge Velez (a/k/a Professor Genius) have been friends for a looong time. They can talk music for a looong time. They've been working on these killer edits for a looong time. Duane knows how to move a crowd. Jorge has been making synth disco. These two together cannot possibly do wrong and with this Bim Marx album, they don't! The Bim Marx stuff is a collection of DJ tools and edits, tastefully combining everything from soul, gospel, Brazillian, disco, acid house and even glam(!). In the hands of a college sophomore with a bong and pro-tools, that would be disastrous. With these guys you get total teaser tracks that recombine stuff and explode when necessary. You get the samples with a personal touch -- like J-Dilla, you get the feeling that they are actually INTO the music they're sampling as opposed to random sound pilfering. You get the footstompin' hand clappin', castin' out demons stuff, a la Kenny Dixon and Theo Parrish, but instead of being designed for the wee hours when everybody's wasted and barely standing, this stuff has an undeniable primetime vibe. You also get the "Credit to the Edit" vibe of effective tracks that respect where the song is coming from, but edited to make it do something sweet for the dance floor. Despite having cut-up elements here and there, this stuff tends to stomp, bounce and groove in a true to form disco/soul way. Another thing that sets this apart is the very American psychedelic vibe running through it, as if some sunny, California '60s psych bands joined forces with '60s and '70s soul and disco groups to have a sample-delic love in. There are no boring, cheeky flavor-of-the-month ironic moments offered here. Glam tracks like a cover of "Wild Thing" are looped and sampled for its butt rumbling kick, while Abba vibes and the house-party hootin' and hollerin' appear to strip the dance floor of all pretense. I'd like to namecheck more samples for you, but honestly, I couldn't tell you what half of this stuff is from, it just works! To top it all off, the album starts off right and just gets better and better as it plays out, with movie sampled segues in between tracks drawing you deeper into its headspace. Fully good. I'm proud to know these guys. [SM]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  AIDAN BAKER & TIM HECKER
Fantasma Parastasie
(Alien8)

"Phantom on a Pedestal IV"
"Gallery of the Invisible Woman XI"

Most collaborations these days, especially those residing in the experimental world, exist simply thanks to modern technology. Gone is the time when artists would be required to sit in the same studio to actually work together; these days, with the help of a trusty Internet connection, artists separated by thousands of miles can produce collaborative work with ease, never thinking twice about the tired old method. There is, though, something to be said for old-fashioned human contact and Canadian musical titans Aidan Baker and Tim Hecker decided that, thanks to their location, it might be a good idea to try collaborating in the same room. When working in this manner the intensive screen-burned labor of most experimental musicians flies out of the window and our protagonists actually have to try and "vibe" off each other, something that shouts loud and clear from Fantasma Parastasie. At no point does the album sound exactly like a Tim Hecker album or exactly like an Aidan Baker record, rather it is resoundingly the two musicians together, Baker's electric guitar providing an apt source for Hecker's electronic processes. It's not the first time Hecker has dipped his toe into fretted waters, but where Mirages smudged chunky metal samples beyond all recognition, Fantasma Parastasie sees him making sure Baker's guitar is never far away, adding a surprising lightness to the compositions. The record is probably the most low key addition to either musician's catalogue, never hitting the interference-laden assault Hecker made his trademark or resorting to the doomy drone of Baker's Nadja project, but these deep and thoughtful compositions do just enough to stand on their own two feet. Before listening to Fantasma Parastasie, I must say I expected a different record, but the resulting collection of melancholic, shimmering and blissful reflections is hardly a disappointment, more a suggestion that this is only the beginning of a very fruitful relationship. Recommended. [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Sprigs of Time - 78s from the EMI Archive
(Honest Jon's)

"I Ain't Got Nobody" Cliff Edwards
"Umbok" Ochieng Wa Odinga

After the much loved and timelessly essential Give Me Love and Living Is Hard, Sprigs of Time is welcomed with much excitement. Honest Jon's has been digging through over a hundred-and-fifty-thousand 78 records in EMI's Hayes vault, and this collection functions as a sampling of the widely various highlights left untouched for decades, covering indispensable gems from 1903 to 1957. Unlike the last two comps that focused on music from Iraq and West Africa circa 1920s, Sprigs of Time reveals Great Britain's global reach, an eclectic sampling of the world's mainstays, oddities, and exclusive rarities -- all music truly worth saving. 78s of Cuban and Lebanese rumba, British pop, West African string bands, royal Japanese court music and Middle Eastern doduk complement and contrast against each other naturally. Add to this player piano organ rolls from Georgia, Balinese gamelan gong groups and Bengalese street performers, and the album refocuses a balance between the margins. Despite the disparity, Sprigs of Time leaves your mind spinning in the best sort of ways. These songs are artifacts attesting to pre-globalized musical traditions, but they are compiled with vital attention to pacing and process. The packaging is as pristine as we've come to expect and admire, and the LP is a monument, with exquisite fold out liner notes and pictures. I can't say enough about this compilation and this series. [BCa]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  CHRIS BROKAW
Canaris
(Capitan)

"Exemptive"
"Watching the Clouds"

Despite a handful of flawless releases, Chris Brokaw has never truly broken through as a solo artist. But his guitar and compositions have been heard by many, as he's been a songwriting and performing collaborator of Evan Dando, Thurston Moore, Steve Wynn, Clint Conley, Doug McCombs and so many more, in addition to drumming with Codeine and the New Year and leading Come (on guitar) with Thalia Zadek. Brokaw is a natural on both the electric and the acoustic, which is the focus of this great new CD, an instrumental exploration of the acoustic guitar, half straight-up and half processed through an elaborate pedal and amp setup. Brokaw is an understated guitar genius, never flashy and always tasteful, but his approach is much more open-minded than that of "American Primitive" heroes like James Blackshaw. Brokaw comes from a rock background, not a blues or folk one, and he brings a muscular approach to his playing, and embraces undertone and feedback even, along with a chugging strum and deft finger-picked melodies. As a statement of purpose you could not do much better than delivering an acoustic version of a 13-minute track from French black metallers Vlad Tepes, but in Brokaw's deft hands "Drink the Poetry of Celtic Disciple" is simply a breathtaking journey. Another great album from a master of the six-string. [JM]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  JUANECO Y SU COMBO
Masters of Chicha Vol. 1
(Barbes)

"Me Robaron Mi Runamula"
"Dale Juaneco"

Last year we fell in love with Chicha music all over again via the Barbes Records compilation The Roots Of Chicha: Psychedelic Cumbias from Peru. Thankfully, the label has decided to re-release some full-lengths from the artists featured on the comp so we can all bask in the psychedelic renaissance of Peruvian traditional music. Juaneco y Su Combo took off on a creative gyre in the late sixties when Juan Wong Jr. assumed control of his father's traditional band. Wong ditched the accordion for a Farfisa organ and brought in Noé Fachin, whose guitar added a Brazilian and African funk to the mix. This combination propelled the band to enchanting and wholly mesmerizing heights. Fachin started writing new songs for the group, and they produced classic albums together until a tragic plane crash took Fachin's life. Juaneco y Su Combo is still together today with Wong Jr's son at the helm, functioning as a collective steeped in tradition.

This group's amalgamation of psychedelic rock, Congolese guitar, Peruvian folk, garage swagger, and the prolific South American rock world makes this album particularly enjoyable. As you listen, the allusions to Dr. Nico Kasanda, Os Mutantes, and Love are natural, tightly revolving around the roots of Peruvian folk. Their sound is a sunny and festive affair, embracing modernity with the claws of tradition. This reissue is long overdue, and hopefully will be followed by full-lengths from Los Diablos Rojos and Los Mirlos because we can't get enough of this stuff. [BCa]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  M83
Digital Shades Vol. 1
(Mute)

"Waves, Waves, Waves"
"Sister Part II"

Last winter, M83's Saturdays=Youth made some waves with its mega-dose of nostalgia and almost cinematic portrait of teenage feelings via sonic homages to '80's pop culture. Due in some part to the exposure that record gathered, Digital Shades Vol. 1, an earlier album previously only available digitally, makes its way into the physical world. It's always interesting to go backwards into a band's history, especially after they blow up a little later into the game. The nostalgia and melodramatic yearning that touched Before the Dawn Heals Us and oozed out of Saturdays is hiding in the corners of Digital Shades, which concentrates on repetition of ambient synth passages, piano lines and occasional understated vocal melodies. In comparison to the maxed-out pop exercises which followed, the ambient core of Digital Shades could come off as disconnected or a little new agey, but listening close, all the elements that make the later records so good are present here as well. The soft-yet-ominous funeral procession of "Dancing Mountains" makes huge textural pictures with minimal composition. "Sister [Part 2]" summons up the same cinematic nostalgia of any later pop material without hitting us over the head with an over-the-top arrangement. Looming, wandering synths and the touch of delay on vocals repeating "stay away from me" churn through melancholy, hope, loss and all the brilliantly melodramatic sentimentality that defines later M83 songwriting, and sounds perfectly understated here. [FT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  MIKKEL METAL
Peaks and Troughs
(Echocord)

"Jeman"
"Stephan"

The Danish label Echocord has become something of a seal of quality in recent years with solid releases from Brendan Moeller and Anders Ilar sitting beside quality joints from acclaimed Deepchord duo Quantec and Rob Modell. Peaks and Troughs, the third full-length from label lynchpin Mikkel Metal, is their finest to date -- an album of impeccable breeding and quality and a blend of dub not dub and techno not techno. Don't know what the heck I'm on about? Well that's fair enough, but it's neither one nor the other, it's not dubby enough to be straight dub and not techno enough to be straight techno, but neither is it a straightforward dub-techno hybrid. Drafting in Rhythm and Sound cohort Tikiman for vocal duties on the opening track "Jeman," Metal gets the album off to a cracking start -- but where Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald concerned themselves with reductionist dub, Metal allows himself to emerge with a sound way more confidently electronic. Almost like the fantastic early Arovane DiN 12"s crossed with the more stripped-down work of electro-dub stepper Geiom, this is tight, intricately produced electronic music with the reverberating pads and crisp programming you'd expect from a '90s Warp release reframed into delicate, throbbing minimalism. The resulting twelve tracks are hauntingly effective, working just as well as listening music as the sort of thing you'd want to break loose at a hip basement party -- and we know how hard it is to find worthwhile electronic listening music these days. Sure some might criticize Metal for his reliance on the Basic Channel mode of production, but surely that's like criticizing all the indie rock bands who use Brian Wilson records as the basis for their productions, which would rule out some of the best bands of our era. Very good stuff indeed. [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  COLETTE
Xxpress Mix
(Colette)

"Shadows" Midnight Juggernauts
"We're Through" James Pants

The new Colette compilation is here -- an 18-track collection selected and sequenced by the Parisian fashion/art/music boutique's tastemakers Michel Gaubert and Marie Branellec. Featuring a dizzying array of modern day cosmic/synth-pop disco that exists in that cross-section between Daft Punk and Glass Candy, with some fun break-beat pop tracks in between, this comp includes names you know like Ratatat, Hot Chip, Jorg Burger, Chaz Jankel (remixed by Hercules & Love Affair), Syclops, Tussle, Flying Lotus and James Pants, with some artists you may not recognize like Anna Adamis and Gabor Presser, Metronomy, You!, Midnight Juggernauts and Onra. The mood is pretty psychedelic for such fun disco tracks; there are lots of nods to the vibe found on recent comps like the recent Dirty Space Disco but with a more contemporary feel. As always, this is very limited, and this one maybe even more-so, due to its housing, a FedEx type envelope whose seal must be broken to release the CD inside. [SM]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  LARKIN GRIMM
Parplar
(Young God)

"They Were Wrong"
"All the Pleasures"

Larkin Grimm's previous album, The Last Tree, was a genuine surprise -- it appeared without warning from the Secret Eye label and courted my attention with its careful blend of traditional folk and ambient abstraction. It was an album begging to be heard by more than the select few bespectacled indie buyers and their privileged circle of sycophants, so it comes as no shock that a larger label has snapped her up for this third outing. That the label is Michael Gira's Young God gives even more credibility to her cause. Here is a character who doesn't do things lightly and has also opted to co-produce, assuring that all Larkin's music achieves the fidelity it sometimes required. You see the songs were always a latent force in her music; they might have been shrouded in noise and abstraction at times, but her unique, powerful voice carried genuine old-tyme songs, something which is explored in even more depth on Parplar. There are sure to be those of us who lament the loss of Larkin's more experimental side, but her mischievous edge is still present, just tamed slightly to allow those soul-grabbing songs to power forth. There's an almost old-West theme going on here, and rather than sink into the nu-folk parody of many of her peers, Larkin has made it entirely her own lending a humor and restless charm to her songwriting. Anyone who has managed to catch her in a live situation will already know of her ineffable skill in this area, but here she has finally captured it on record. "Ride That Cyclone" sounds as if Larkin is re-treating the Bonanza score with a feminine charm, while "Dominican Rum" is a captivatingly melancholy hoedown, and these themes pop up again and again throughout the record. Whether tempered with bubbling electronics ("Parplar") or dropped into the Joanna Newsom patented plucked pixie-pop framework ("My Justine"), we never seem too far from the back porch, the mountains ever in the distance and the sound of rushing water in the background. This is music for desolate, untouched lands and Larkin seems totally at home pitching her tent there. [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Sounds of She
(Pet)

"The World Is Love" The Enchanted Forest
"If I Didn't Want to See You Anymore" Morningstarr

From the people who brought us the Soft Sounds for Gentle People psych-pop series of compilations, here's Sounds of She, a great collection of female psych/folk/sunshine pop from the '60s/'70s. The names are mostly unknown even to ardent collectors (Ravelles, Amanda Ambrose, Lynn Castle, Morningstarr, etc.) with a few exceptions (Barbara Keith, Sally Eaton), but there's no lack of quality and solid tunes. Full of gorgeous vocalizing, trippy fuzz guitar, funky bass lines, and far out hippie vibes, Sounds of She is the best comp of its kind since Hippie Goddesses, and whether you're a jazz cat, crate digger, folk aficionado, or psych head, this is bound to satisfy. [AK]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  SCSI-9
Easy as Down
(Kompakt)

"Vesna, Lastic & Elliott"
"Boys Away"

Kompakt are literally throwing them out at the moment and Easy as Down is the latest full-length, this time from Russian techno veterans SCSI-9. They've been around for a while now and have notched up plenty of releases for plenty of labels (including the sorely missed Force Tracks) but it seems that they've settled in now to their new home at Kompakt HQ. The style is Vaseline-on-the-lens, soft-focus minimal techno which eschews the teeth-grinding subtlety of Hawtin for a jazzy, almost "chill-out" vibe. It doesn't always work, the vocal chops in particular are a little cringe-inducing, but when they pare their sound down to Gas-like pads 'n beats it works just fine. There might be more than the odd nod to Kompakt poster-boy The Field ("Tu Eres Mas" in particular) but these guys do have a skill and overriding sound that reminds me of better times for electronic music with tight edits and smart programming. Flawed, but worth a look for the 4/4 followers out there. [JT]
 
         
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

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  RADIO PHNOM PENH
(Sublime Frequencies)

"Synthesizers East of Siam"

Sublime Frequencies' series of "radio" discs have probably become the centerpieces of their ebullient output and this installment, bubbling out from troubled Cambodia, is no different. Thankfully available again after some time out of press, we get a porthole into a world rarely noticed by the West, as usual thrown through all manner of radio static and jump-cut surrealism. A mix of original recordings and "remixes," the listener is dragged kicking and screaming through a largely genre-less collection, hopping haphazardly over folk and rock and ending up with something that to Western ears would likely be regarded as "outsider". The frazzled recording quality only helps add to the music's other-worldly appeal, and as ever coming from a country in political turmoil, the music is charged and energetic from beginning to end. All of these compilations are worth grabbing, and if you buy one, like Pokemon, you'll want to catch them all.
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  RADIO THAILAND
(Sublime Frequencies)

"543 Years Ahead of You"

Thailand is a country that Westerners, for one reason or another, tend to be pretty fond of. Whether it's massages, green curry, kickboxing or more questionable exploits, it's a place we all know -- but bring up the subject of music and most would go blank. Thanks then to those lovely folks over at Sublime Frequencies who have collected a veritable barrage of radio bootlegs showcasing the best and weirdest music Thailand has to offer, from guitar rock to ceremonial music. Collected over a fifteen-year period this is, as always with the SF collections, a labor of love and just as crucial a listening experience as many classic albums. Sheer variety is the album's trump card, but it never loses coherence with everything woven together with radio broadcasts and static. The perfect travel experience for those who have little interest in leaving the comfort of their own front room -- repressed once more for all to enjoy. Pure perfection.
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  RADIO ALGERIA
(Sublime Frequencies)

"Radio International"

Those of you who had their interest piqued by the fabulous Proto Rai Underground LP on Sublime Frequencies recently will be pleased to know that this back-catalogue gem has finally been repressed. Radio Algeria takes a wider look at the Algerian music scene going through the origins of the Rai sound, through Rai into traditional Islamic folk music and hybrid pop forms. Let's say if the Proto Rai disc whet your appetite this will be another well seasoned taste of an incredibly intriguing musical output from another country which doesn't get nearly enough respect for its musical traditions and output. I guess these countries tend to get lumped in with generic "Islamic music" but the depth of musical experimentation here is pretty astonishing and has certainly got me craving for much more. As usual with the Radio series, essential listening.
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  STREETS OF LHASA
(Sublime Frequencies)

"San xian with vocal"

Recorded by Zhang Jian, one of the masterminds behind the crucial Buddha Machine this is an "actual" journey through the streets of Lhasa in Tibet. We hear snippets of conversation, cuts of music, the sound of transport and nature. This is in a way a masterclass in field recording, but where someone such as Chris Watson focuses on the depth of sound in nature, Jian takes a more cut-and-paste punk rock approach. The record genuinely thrusts you into another place, and unlike other Sublime Frequencies discs this gives you more than merely the music of a certain culture, this is a taste and almost smell of a particular city. There's nothing else like it, well worth investigating further. [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  KMD
Black Bastards
(Metal Face)

"Sweet Premium Wine"
"It Sounded Like a Roc"

DJ Subroc and his brother Zen Love X (now known as MF Doom) rocked everyone's world with their guest shot on 3rd Bass' "Gas Face" single back in 1989. Their debut, Mr Hood, itself a lost classic, followed in 1991. Slated for release in 1994, the duo's infamous Black Bastards never saw the light of day until 2000. Tragically, DJ Subroc died in a car accident after they had finished the album. In a particularly sick move, even for the music business, Elektra dropped the band later that same week. Straddling the line between righteous 5-percenter ideology and witty Native Tongues finesse, KMD dropped hard, jazz-laced funk beats into a thoroughly compelling and soulful album that contained a harsh examination of racial stereotypes from both sides of the fence. [KC]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  MF DOOM
Operation Doomsday
(Metal Face)

"Rhymes Like Dimes (feat. Cucumber Slice)"
"Operation: Greenbacks (feat. Megalon)"

Here it is! The spectacular debut album that introduced the world to the metal-faced hip-hop supervillain has been criminally unavailable for over eight years...until now. Progressive true-school hip-hop of the highest order, right here!
 
         
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

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  RYAN ADAMS
Cardinology
(Lost Highway)

"Fix It"

The latest full-length in Ryan Adams' ever-growing discography takes the middle path through much of his established oeuvre -- a comfortable mix of Neil Young/Paul Westerberg styled rock, heartfelt alt-country and even a little "alternative" in there. The Cardinals have become a taught machine, with pulsing rhythm and wonderful interplay between the lap-steel and guitars, and this is one of Adams' more concise, focused albums with the band.
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  SQUAREPUSHER
Just a Souvenir
(Warp)

"A Real Woman"

Tom Jenkinson's music is always thrilling, but his complex, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach to the odd hybrid of jazz-fusion and acid drum 'n' bass that has defined Squarepusher's recorded output can sometimes come across as more heady than emotional. Wonderfully, he shows a softer side on Just a Souvenir. The album is far more rich with melody, acoustic instrumentation and pure listenability than much of his recent work, and is one of his most appealing albums to date.
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  IT'S A MUSICAL
Music Makes Me Sick
(Morr Music)

"Ball of Joy"

A new collaboration between Ella Blixt (Ella Glockenspiel, Bobby Baby, Bobby & Blumm (with F.S. Blumm)) and Robert Kretzschmar (from the band Lady Boy), The Music Makes Me Sick is, despite the title, a lovely little pop album in the Morr mold -- laidback, bubbly, electronic, acoustic, boy/girl vocals, and packed with melancholy and joy.
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  AMP FIDDLER / SLY AND ROBBIE
Inspiration Information Vol. 1
(Strut Records)

"Drama Inside"

A truly inspired collaboration between Detroit soul man Amp Fiddler and the legendary Jamaican rhythm section of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare (plus Dalton Browne and Stickey Thompson, and others). Fiddler's spaced-out vocals and kinetic energy work great with these pulsing grooves.
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  VIC CHESNUTT, ELF POWER & THE AMORPHOUS STRUMS
Dark Developments
(Orange Twin)

"Teddy Bear"

With the combined powers of Vic Chesnutt's narrative songwriting and Elf Power's knack for churning out deftly orchestrated pop albums comes an Athenian supergroup with all the necessary ingredients. It's a suitable title; the album explores smoky, melancholy ideas, thematically as well as musically, while retaining the inherent sincerity of both individual acts.
 
         
   
   
   
   
 
   
       
   
         
  All of this week's new arrivals.

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THIS WEEK'S CONTRIBUTORS


[BCa] Brian Cassidy
[KC] Kris Chen
[MC] Michael Crumsho
[DG] Daniel Givens
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[AK] Andreas Knutsen
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou
[JS] Jeremy Sponder
[FT] Fred Thomas
[JT] John Twells
[JW] Josiah Wolfson








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