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  February 4, 2009  
       
   

 

 

     
 
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  BEIRUT
March of the Zapotec and Realpeople -Holland
(Ba Da Bing!)

Beirut is back with a double-EP offering. The first disc, March of the Zapotec, finds Zach Condon traveling to a small village in Mexico and recording six new songs with a local 19-piece funeral band(!?), while disc-2 sees Condon resurrecting his (pre-Beirut) Realpeople moniker, creating bedroom recordings of five electro-leaning pop tracks. Both the CD and LP are double-disc sets, and will be shipped to reach your door by the February 17 release date.
 
         
   
       
   
         
 
FEATURED NEW RELEASES
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele
Phosphorescent
I Woke Up One Morning in May (Various)
Spiritual Singers
Geeneus
Diplo
Fly Girls (Soul Jazz Compilation)
Zero Boys
The Shadow Ring
Actress
Leno
Caroline Peyton
 

Ran Blake
The Underground Failure
The Bachs

ALSO AVAILABLE

Mike Bones
Waxpoetics (Issue #33)

VINYL PRESSING
Congregacion

BACK IN STOCK
Obsession (Various Artists)

All of this week's new arrivals.

 
         
   
   
   
       
   
 
 


  BUDDHA MACHINE T-SHIRT GIVE AWAY
FM3's compact looping machine has been immensely popular at here at OM and many music boutiques around the world, so much so that late last year the company introduced a 2.0 version with nine new loops and three new colors. Now is a better time than ever for those of you who haven't picked yours up yet or are planning on getting one to give as a gift, (or for those of you who are Buddha Machine completists, looking to add a few new colors to your collection). For the next two weeks, if you come into the shop and purchase one of these soothing sound boxes, we'll enter your name for a Buddha Machine t-shirt give away. Just make sure to leave your size choice with the register clerk. You can choose: Womens' Medium Baby T, Men's Small Long Sleeve, Men's Large Long Sleeve, or Men's XL. (Offer available for in-store purchases only.)

 
   
   
 
 
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  WIN TICKETS TO RAZOR LIGHT
Next week, Razorlight return to New York City in support of their latest album, Slipway Fires. Other Music is giving away one pair of tickets to catch these Anglo-Swedish rockers during their one-night stand at Irving Plaza. To enter, email tickets@othermusic.com. We'll notify the winner on Friday, February 6th.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10
IRVING PLAZA: 17 Irving Place NYC $19.50/$21.50 Tickets available at: www.livenation.com
 
   
   
 
 
FEB Sun 08 Mon 09 Tues 10 Wed 11 Thurs 12 Fri 13 Sat 14



  OTHER MUSIC LISTENING PARTY FOR ASOBI SEKSU
Next Thursday, February 12th, Other Music will be celebrating the release of Hush, the forthcoming album from NYC dream poppers Asobi Seksu (out February 17 on Polyvinyl), with a listening party at Stanton Public. The night will kick off at 9PM when we play the record in its entirety, and then Other Music DJs Gerald and Mikey IQ will take over the decks for the rest of the evening. And of course, it wouldn't be a listening party without giveaways and drink specials. We hope you can join us!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12
STANTON PUBLIC: 17 Stanton Street (btwn Bowery & Chrystie) Lower East Side
No Cover / 21+ with ID
 
   
   
 
 
FEB Sun 15 Mon 16 Tues 17 Wed 18 Thurs 19 Fri 20 Sat 21



 

OTHER MUSIC IN-STORE PERFORMANCE
THESE ARE POWERS: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16 @ 8:00PM
We are thrilled to be hosting a record release party and in-store performance from These Are Powers, celebrating their awesome new Dead Oceans' album, All Aboard Future. It's a free performance, plus this will be the first chance to pick up the band's new CD and LP. We hope you can make it!

OTHER MUSIC: 15 East 4th Street NYC
Free Admission / Limited Capacity

 
   
   
   
   
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

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  THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
(Slumberland)

"Young Adult Friction"
"Contender"

Hard to believe, but just a few years ago the Slumberland label was all but dead in the water. In the past year, though, they've rebounded admirably, releasing great records by a handful of bands whose entire existence are obviously indebted to a whole other generation of Slumberland indie popsters. Now, the label has seen fit to issue the debut long-player of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, an excellent quartet that are at the center of more and more conversations with each passing day, thanks to some great singles and a killer EP from a couple of years back.

While the Pains of Being Pure at Heart have shown a lot of promise since jump, few could have anticipated an album as pitch-perfect as their self-titled debut, a blustery ten-song ride of manic jangle and endless reverb that doesn't seek to resuscitate the ghosts of indie pop's past as much as it grabs the torch light of those bygone groups and sprints into the distance with it. Pulling in strands of things like Black Tambourine, the Pastels, and a little bit of My Bloody Valentine, songs like "Come Saturday" and "Young Adult Fiction" whip by on an endearing combination of buzzsaw guitars and whispy melodies, driving hooks so far into your brain that they're liable to be stuck there for days. Elsewhere, the group dials back the intensity a bit for songs like the shimmering, crunchy balladry of "Stay Alive" and the sly swing of the gorgeous "A Teenager in Love." While the sounds here are undoubtedly ones you've heard before, it's the songs that will keep you coming back, as these four spend the whole of their debut reminding us all just how great this kind of stuff can sound when done right. [MC]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  DENT MAY & HIS MAGNIFICENT UKULELE
Good Feeling Music
(Paw Tracks)

"Oh Paris!"
"I'm an Alcoholic"

I'm going to be honest in saying that much of the current smarter-than-thou indie-pop landscape tends to leave me cold. So imagine my surprise when I first heard this record by newest Paw Tracks signee Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele, an album filled with smart, snappy songs and bubbling exotica touches in the arrangements, all delivered in a carefree style and sung in a laconic voice. May's ukulele and unique singing voice take center stage in the arrangements, but the sound is fleshed out with percussion, bass, and subtle flourishes of brass, strings, and pedal steel here and there; the songs are catchy as hell and quietly accomplished. Imagine Stephin Merritt stoned out in Waikiki with Jonathan Richman and Van Dyke Parks circa Discover America, and you're close to approximating the vibe here; much like Messrs Parks, Richman, and Merritt, May's record definitely has a love it or hate it element to its sound, but personally, I love it -- "Meet Me in the Garden" is quickly becoming one of my favorite songs of the year. If you're a fan of any of the artists I've mentioned thus far, or dig the likes of Jens Lekman and Beirut, I think you'll find much to love here. I'm giving the "In" section some love once again! Huzzah! Thanks, Dent. [IQ]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  PHOSPHORESCENT
To Willie
(Dead Oceans)

"Reasons to Quit"
"Walkin'"

Athens/Brooklyn bard Matthew Houk has been unobtrusively crafting some of the more heartfelt, genuinely moving country-tinged songs under the Phosphorescent name for several years now, and his dark, understated records and searing live shows are true originals, while fitting nicely in a tradition that includes current classics like Will Oldham and Sam Beam, and classic classics like Kris Kristofferson and Neil Young. Houk writes of dead ends and heartbreak with a knowing shrug and sense of pathos that puts him in a rarefied league of songsmiths, and he's also always had a way with other people's songs. So in many ways it's no surprise to hear him dissect the back pages of Willie Nelson's catalog on Phosphorescent's excellent new album, To Willie.

Nelson is a tough nut to crack in the fractured world of what's cool and what's corny in the country lexicon. We can all agree that Hank, Johnny and the Louvin's are hot, and I'm pretty sure that Kenny Chesney is not (yet he produced Willie's last record, so there you go), but where does Willie fall? He's had a couple of his biggest hits duetting with Waylon Jennings and Julio Iglesias, and that pretty much says it all, Outlaw Country or Adult Contemporary? Houk couldn't care less about any such questions, and he clearly reveres this legendary American songwriter who penned many of the best-known songs of the past half-century, but also had huge hits with other people's music (the title To Willie... from Phosphorescent is a nod to Nelson's 1977 Lefty Frizzell tribute album To Lefty... from Willie). And while several of the tracks he interprets on To Willie were in fact hits in their original versions, Houk visits lesser-known songs from Nelson's long career. He approaches these dark songs of struggle, addiction and pain with raw passion and makes them his own without enforcing his own agenda, sometimes sounding more like Willie in his prime than Willie has in years.

Hopefully this album will bring a few new fans into the Phosphorescent fold, because while the scale may be different, as with Willie Nelson himself, Mathew Houk is a rare and special American original whose music, whether performing his own songs or inhabiting those of his heroes, runs deeper by far than most anything you will hear these days. [JM]

FREE PHOSPHORESCENT CONCERT TICKET WITH PURCHASE
With the purchase of the CD or LP, we are happy to offer a limited number of free tickets to see Phosphorescent perform
To Willie in its entirety, February 28th at Brooklyn's Bell House. One ticket per album purchase, while supplies last.
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
I Woke Up One Morning in May
(Mississippi)

Another exquisite compilation from the good people at Mississippi Records, who've earned quite a reputation lately by lovingly making rare, old recordings available again on vinyl. I Woke Up One Morning in May marks a return to the country-blues and gospel sounds that got so many of us hooked on the label in the first place. Despite this being their fifth compilation in this genre, the theme remains tireless; nothing here sounds forced or unessential, every handpicked cut further cementing the elegiac yet transcendental heritage of American traditional music. I Woke Up includes well-known favorites like Blind Blake and Memphis Minnie, but also dredges up some powerful numbers overlooked in the country-blues canon. Among these highlights are Cryin' Sam Collins performing "Lonesome Road," a cut missing from his Yazoo compilation, and Little Hat Jones with "Bye Bye Baby Blues," an unforgettable song with mesmerizing guitar work reminiscent of Blind Lemon Jefferson. (Jones' entire discography totals ten tracks recorded for Okeh in 1929-30, so good luck finding him on vinyl anywhere but here.) Also, two Lottie Kimbrough tracks jump off of the record with vitality similar to the rich ring in Ma Rainey's vocals. Mastered in mono, you'd be hard pressed to find better sounding vinyl of these prewar recordings. As always, Mississippi releases are limited, so grab this while you can. [BCa]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  SPIRITUAL SINGERS
Ntsamina
(Mississippi)

By the time we fully wrap our heads around this forgotten (or never-known) album from the Spiritual Singers -- yet another jaw-dropping Mississippi Records release -- it may be time to elect Michelle Obama to the White House. This is seriously one of the most delightful yet inscrutable slabs to cross the counter in quite some time. There's little info to be had about this early-'80s Congolese gospel record, but nothing could prepare you for the music itself. In a way, it's all so wrong: drumming right off a Shaggs' session, a 13-year-old girl's off-key yelping, naif Afropop guitar lines, songs about the Bible, a hi-hat recorded one township over, halting funk rhythms, ham-fisted church organ fills, doo-wop/ R&B harmonies that never quite align. And yet...it somehow works. Praise Jesus! [AB]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  GEENEUS
Volumes: One
(Rinse)

"In to the Future"
"Piece of Heaven (Geeneus Remix)" Martino ft. Sasha

I'm going to come right out and say that this has quickly become one of my favorite dance/club/etc. releases in a very long time. Geeneus, the DJ/producer who founded London's infamous underground/pirate radio station Rinse FM -- which became THE place to hear the newest sounds in grime and dubstep -- has now shifted Rinse's focus to a style called "funky" or "funky house." In spite of the half-baked name, the sound is kickass with many of dubstep's best producers making house tracks. Here, the reggaefied skank is replaced by a solid, undeniable 4/4 kick, but it still retains the techy synthesized moods and the robust low end. One of the things that, for me, makes this stuff so great is the added tropical vibe, as if dubstep saw inspiration in the reggae music of Kingston and Ladbroke Grove, funky draws from soca and calypso from Trinidad, mambo from Latin America, and the jack-your-body sounds of Chicago heavyweights like Larry "Mr. Fingers" Heard and Frankie Knuckles. Much like the excellent Zomby CD on Werk, this record kicks and kills me because it successfully manages to move forward while also retaining a heavily nostalgic throwback vibe to what could be considered house music's "golden age." The instrumentals are as wicked as the aforementioned Frankie Knuckles and Mr. Fingers, while the vocal cuts drip with deep, honeyed soul. Best of all, you get two CDs for the price of one. The first disc features Geeneus's own productions in the style as well as a few outstanding remixes, including his A+ take on Benga & Coki's ubiquitous anthem "Night," in which he transforms it into a house stomper far superior than the already great original. Disc 2 is a mix by Geeneus of assorted funky tracks that is relentlessly energetic, heavily tropical, and 100% fun. I've been playing the hell out of this lately, and when Scott heard the mix, he flipped out with delight; we literally danced across the sales floor for sixty-plus minutes until it was over. I seriously cannot recommend this set enough; as I mentioned from the start, this is one of my favorite dance releases in possibly years, and could very well end up becoming a foundation release somewhere down the line. I'll leave you with the words of one Mr. Sam Cooke: "Don't fight it -- feel it!" [IQ]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  DIPLO
Decent Work for Decent Pay Vol. 1
(Big Dada)

"Paper Planes (Diplo Remix)"
"Young Folks (Diplo Youngest Folks Remix)"

Love him or hate him, Diplo's a talented guy -- a producer and remixer with a wide-reaching ear and a good sense of humor. You can't fault someone for making club-minded tracks that are always fun and usually bangin'. He's touched upon hip-hop, various international dance modes, rock, Baltimore breaks, and even a little bit of house bounce in his productions, often throwing it all together like a pot of homemade mashed potatoes, lumps, skins and all. Decent Work for Decent Pay compiles a number of his remixes and productions over the past few years, and while it's obviously a bit scattershot (as remix records tend to be), it does flow with surprisingly more consistency than one would expect. There are highlights aplenty here, and personal faves include the B-more gutter highlife of Spank Rock's "Put That Pussy on Me," the Art of Noise-ish mix of Hot Chip's "Shake a Fist," and the rave samba workout of Claude VonStroke's "The Whistlerz." Best of all, though, are the featured productions by Diplo, including, yes, MIA's now inescapable "Paper Planes" -- here in remixed form where her vocals are all but erased and replaced by raps by Bun B and Rick Boy, making for a MUCH more satisfying track, IMO -- as well as the near-industrial clatter of "200," the baile dub of "Way More Brazil," and the goofy "Smash a Kangaroo." As an added bonus, the CD comes with "Newsflash," off of his debut album Florida, and bonus mp3 files featuring assorted versions and instrumentals on the "Diplo Rhythm" (on which "Newsflash" is based). Solid jams all around, if you dug his Top Ranking mixtape with Santogold, you'd be wise to check this. Bring on Volume Two! [IQ]

Please note: Track selection on Download Version is an abridged selection.
 
         
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Fly Girls
(Soul Jazz)

"Simon Says" Sequence
"To the Beat Y'all" Lady B

This is a lovingly curated and long overdue compilation, chronicling the contributions that female MCs made to the formation, upliftment and continued sustainment of hip-hop music and culture. That said, this collection is somewhat frustrating for a connoisseur like myself. That's not to imply that there aren't some AMAZING tracks on here, there are. For starters, you get JJ Fad's Ice Cube-produced Roxane Shante dis, "You're Goin Down." It's a great example of the early West Coast hardcore sound, but it would've been nice to also have included "Wack Itt," Shante's hilarious parody of Fad's "Supersonic," since that was what inspired the dis. Shante is represented though, with the early-'80s, proto-industrial machine-gun boom-bap of "Bite This." Kudos for including "I Got da Feelin" from the underrated Sweet Tee, who shared the same producer as Salt-N-Pepa. (Sweet Tee's and Jazzy Joyce's first single, "It's My Beat" -- not included -- is a bona fide hip-hop classic that people should also familiarize themselves with.) MC Lyte's "Cha Cha Cha," Tonya Winley's "Vicious Rap" and Marley Marl's first production, "Sucka DJs" by Dimples D, are all flawless, landmark releases. Mad props as well for paying homage to pioneers Nikki Giovanni, Sarah Webster Rubio and Camille Yarborough (whose "Take Your Praise" selection was sampled by Fatboy Slim), their early '70s black poetry LPs were the foundation on which hip-hop was laid.

The collection also includes choice cuts from a few of London's little known crews. The She Rockers featured a teenaged Betty Boo (of "Doin the Do" fame) and their "Give It a Rest" single -- included here -- is one of my fave hip-hop tunes of all time. Cookie Crew was another great female crew from London but "Success," which is featured on Fly Girls, isn't the best example of their work. It's puzzling because the same album that "Success" is on has amazing tunes with early production work from Black Sheep, Main Source, Prince Paul and DJ Premier...seek those tracks out if you can.

I'm through nit-picking now. I mean it's hard to complain about any collection that has Bahamadia, Missy Elliot, Queen Latifah, as well as the aforementioned, and overall, it's a great listen. If you love this comp and are unfamiliar with a lot of these names, I urge you to seek out additional material from the artists. Most of these fly MCs have amazing back catalogs of tunes. Although many of these records are out-of-print, they're not that hard to find, and they're usually cheap when you do. Recommended. [DH]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  ZERO BOYS
History of
(Secretly Canadian)

"Seen That Movie Before"
"Livin' in the '80s"


ZERO BOYS
Vicious Circle
(Secretly Canadian)

"New Generation"
"Hightime"

Historically, US punk and hardcore had been a mostly coastal thing (NY, CA, the Northwest, and Houston), but along came the Zero Boys from Indiana and blew that tradition out of the water. Their debut 45, Livin' in the 80s is a stone punk n roll classic -- and highly fetishized in KBD/punk collector scum circles -- and is included here in its entirety on the History of. However, the main event for most will be the reissue of the Vicious Circle LP from 1982. Zero Boys blend blazing HC with almost-powerpop (Gasp! Check "Trying Harder") with straightforward punk rippers, infused with hooks and melody and smart social commentary of the non-vegan/straight edge variety. High points include "Civilization's Dying," which ingeniously ties the shootings of John Lennon, Ronald Reagan, and Pope John Paul III together, and the supercharged "Amphetamine Addiction." One of the best punk records of the early 80s, no doubt. History of also includes the lost second album from '83, but for my money it's worth the price for just the aforementioned first 45. I can go on at great length about Livin' in the 80s but let's leave it at: top 10 rock n roll single of all time. Combining NY Dolls swagger with the snottiest vocals this side of Iggy and crunchy glam punk riffs, this is Zero Boys at their most youthful and unstoppable. Get it here or pay $1,000 for an original. In addition to all the great tunes, both releases come with extensive liners and in the case of Vicious Circle, two bonus tracks. [AK]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  THE SHADOW RING
Life Review: 1993-2003
(KYE)

Back in the early 90s there were a million socially challenged dudes dragging instruments home from their local thrift stores and pawnshops to record albums on their 4-tracks. While the music of guys like Lou Barlow, Bill Callahan and Will Oldham got more and more polished and revealing as the years went on, the Shadow Ring moved in the opposite direction. They began with a magical combination of skeletal, nearly medieval, incidental, 'ex-CERPT' -style Fall-meets-Jandek songs that tinkled and crept their way into our psyches by way of intimately tribal, tapped acoustic guitars, kitchen sink percussion, and spoken/story word-scapes that were full of hard consonants and an almost false sounding British accent. By the end of the 90s, the Shadow Ring had gone through many incarnations, ranging from duos to full-on communes (at one point they even counted Harry Pussy front/back woman Adris Hoyos as a member). Later, they became an increasingly Dadaist trio, being evasive while simultaneously revealing stories over drones and other inhuman backing tracks. (Try to imagine a polite, yet still unsettling, Whitehouse recording for an art installation.) Life Review is a very overdue and extremely necessary Shadow Ring retrospective, recommended to all fans of Siltbreeze (past, present and future), Jandek, Henry Flynt, Pink Reason and the Dead C. You know, the kinds of people capable of making something out of almost nothing. I have very little hype to offer on this one, folks. You're either for it or against it, and I hope you have what it takes to be "for it." [SM]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  ACTRESS
Hazyville
(Werk Discs)

"Redit 124"
"Doggin'"

While he's probably better known as one of the folks behind the great Werk Discs label, Darren J. Cunningham has still found time over the past few years to release tracks under the guise of Actress. Back now with his debut full-length Hazyville, Cunnigham thus presents a disc that goes a ways towards proving that his considerable abilities as a label head are easily outshone by his creative impulses as a dance music producer. Though a little scattered at times, Cunningham uses Hazyville to show off his skills across a number of different sounds, making his appropriations of a variety of styles all his own. Tracks like "Ivy May Gilpin" slowly build to a low-key polyrhythm, while simple chords arpeggiate in the background against drones and tone-bursts. Other tracks like "I Can't Forgive You" approach a distinctly R&B thump, with a low-tech haze smeared across the top that's every bit as intoxicating as the beats themselves. Better still is the title track, which takes Detroit techno into outer space via a fuzzy radio station. Closing out with the minimal, ethereal "Green Gal," one gets the sense that Hazyville is just the tip of the iceberg as far as Cunningham's Actress alter-ego is concerned. Hopefully we'll all get another chance to float away with him sooner rather than later. [MC]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  LENO
Vida E Obra de Johnny McCartney
(Lion Productions)

"Sr. Imposto de Renda"
"Johnny McCartney"

Lion Productions unearths a true Brazilian lost treasure with Vida E Obra de Johnny McCartney, a 1970 album by Jovem Guarda star Leno that was thought to be lost forever in the vaults due to its initial rejection by the Brazilian censors during the country's dictatorship of the 60s and 70s. Miraculously, the tapes were found, restored, and remastered, and now this psych-rock gem can be heard by audiences worldwide. Those of you familiar with the group sounds of Novos Baianos, Raul Seixas, Nelson Angelo, and Mutantes circa Jardim El├ętrico (chronicled on Soul Jazz's Brazil 70 collection) will find much to love here. It's less overtly disorienting than the tropicalia sound, with an even heavier emphasis on fuzzed-out British/American rock influences, filled with solid hummable tunes and tasteful orchestration. The album features guest appearances by the likes of Marcos Valle and Raul Seixas, and comes with a thick booklet stuffed with photos and the story of the LP's tumultuous history and that of its creator. Nice work all around, and man, I swear that the riff in "Por Que Nao?" sounds an awful lot like Foghat's "Take It Easy," despite Leno's song being written nearly five years earlier. Killer stuff. [IQ]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  CAROLINE PEYTON
Mock Up
(Asterisk)


CAROLINE PEYTON
Intuition
(Asterisk)

These are thoroughly fascinating and stellar leftfield folk-rock and jazz-pop reissues from a very talented singer from the '70s. Could Caroline Peyton have been a huge star? I'd have to say yes. But as weird and wacky as that decade could be, most of the material on this pair of albums would've been a hard sell to the mainstream Linda Ronstadt buying public. While Peyton spent almost all of her young life singing, acting and dancing in West Virginia, her story doesn't really begin until the early '70s, when she encountered the influential Indian collective/band, the Screaming Gypsy Bandits, and the surrounding music and arts community of Bloomington, Indiana. Enthralled, she moved there and became a full-time member of the Bandits, as well as a member of the Needmore commune that most of these musicians called home. It was here that she would meet her sometime lover and full-time musical collaborator, Mark Bingham, a talented, idiosyncratic songwriter who had worked as in house producer/writer for Elektra Records.

Recorded in 1971, Mock Up is a hippie jazz/folk record that draws a lot of influence from Joni Mitchell's landmark Ladies of the Canyon and Blue albums, both in its stripped-down acoustic sound, and Peyton's earth mama soprano-styled singing. But that's where the similarities end. Freed from any sort of major label constraints, Bingham's compositions toyed with the standard confessional singer/songwriter forms. The songs end before they start, the lyrics are impressionistic and non-linear, and there are healthy doses of self-indulgent "primal scream" interludes sprinkled throughout. That said, more often than not, these lofty ideas work and the musicianship is extraordinary throughout. Moreover, Peyton's voice is phenomenal. Her clear, classically trained, jazz-inflected soprano singing is pushed to the limits by Bingham's ambitious vocal arrangements, as evident by tracks such as "Pull," "Bill Monroe" and "The Sky in Japan Is Always Close to You." But what really makes these tunes sparkle is the fantastic playing of jazz pianist Mark Gray. As the liner notes point out, Gray was the "instrumental soul" of this record. Traces of Bill Evan's textures, Monk's polyrhythm, as well as a healthy dose of southern rock-n-roll barrel are heard throughout, and it's his accented accompaniment that propels this album along. This release also contains some lovely highlights from the Screaming Gypsy Bandits' sole '72 release In the Eye.

1977's Intuition marked a change in musical direction for Peyton, but the fearless, subversive attitude of Mock Up remained. With Bingham at the production helm, here Peyton tries out a slicker, MOR-style of singing. The first half of the record finds her toying with '70s country pop ("Still with You"), gospel-styled blues rock ("Together") and a bizarre stab at disco ("Party Line"). But besides Peyton sounding in fine voice and "Party Line" boasting clever, subversive lyrics about government phone tapping, the first half of the album has the feel of an unfocused demo tape. Intuition finally finds its footing with "Call of the Wild," an acoustic folk ballad coated with Arp synth and Moog, Peyton's voice floating elegantly on top. This track is truly a wonder to listen to and is one of the finer pop productions of the late '70s that I've heard in a while. From this point on, the record gets more interesting; "Just As We," "Brister" and "Light Years" are fine folky, soul-jazz tunes in the realm of Linda Lewis, Julie Tippetts and Laura Nyro. Peyton sounds in fine form here and these songs have found a receptive audience amongst rare groove DJs over the years, including GiIles Peterson.

This would be the last solo record that Peyton would record for over 20 years, but fortunately, she was able to build a successful career as a backup and background singer. These two albums, however, are unique testaments to an uber-talented vocalist and her truly original and inspired output. [DH]

Preview songs off of Mock Up and Intuition on Other Music Digital.
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  RAN BLAKE
Driftwoods
(Tompkins Square)

"I Loves You, Porgy"
"I'm Going to Tell God"

A gorgeous new solo piano release from 74-year-old national treasure Ran Blake, in which he transforms standards and pop nuggets into vessels of hermetic mystery. He treats these songs as if they were representational sculpture given to him to patiently chip away at with hammer and chisel, leaving abstract forms and shards of flinty melody strewn about the studio. In the span of a minute-and-a-half he crafts Hank Williams' "Lost Highway" into a Morton Feldman-esque exercise in displaced notes, before casually revealing the song's blues genomes in the final thirty seconds. There are countless breathtaking moments just like that here where he subtly conjures a crystal clarity from passages of extreme obliqueness, such as when you can literally see him pulling the clouds back from "You Are My Sunshine." It's a beautiful release, and undoubtedly a late masterpiece for Blake. [MK]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$22.99
CD

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  THE UNDERGROUND FAILURE
The Underground Failure
(Black Light)

"Why Oh Why"
"Ballad of Ulysses"

It doesn't get much more obscure or underground than this. Originally released in 1970 in a limited edition of 150, this Swedish band produced an exciting, one-of-a-kind album that reminds me of all the famed primitive psych, pre-punk of the day. It's got the subversive freak-folk qualities of Holy Modal Rounders, the psych-out buzz and playfulness of the Fugs and Mothers of Invention, not to mention a nice dash of proto-punk reminiscent of VU and the Deviants. But all in all, it's a pretty gentle and uplifting listen. More than anything, Underground Failure remind me of the childlike, psych-folk of early Gong, Robert Wyatt and Syd Barrett. Tracks like "Spanish Sunday Adieu" and "How Unpleasant to Meet Mr. Elliott" are great examples of hazy, acid-drenched outsider folk that point to warmer days ahead. Recommended. [DH]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$13.99
CD

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$15.99 LP

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  THE BACHS
Out of the Bachs
(Gear Fab / Void)

"I See Her"
Tables of Grass Fields"

The Bachs sole LP from 1968 is one of those outsider/private press holy grail-type artifacts that collectors of US psych and garage agonize, salivate, and stay sleepless over, as it was originally only released in a miniscule run of 150 copies, and thus barely left the band's circle of friends in their hometown of Chicago. While the record has gained much of its notoriety because of its scarcity, it would be worth nothing without the tunes. Out of the Bachs, written by the band's leaders, Blake Allison and John Peterman, is an innovative, and often dark and strange, trip that combines psychedelia and downer folk rock to amazing effect. "Tables of Grass Fields" and "Minister to a Mind Deceased" (check out the crazed, brain-melting guitar solo) are blistering and raw garage psych rockers, while the middle third of the album produces one brilliant, twisted (it's almost as if the spirit of Roky Erickson entered the room) folk rocker after another -- like a darker version of the Byrds, sort of. If you've picked up recent reissues by Stone Harbour and Cold Sun, Bachs is bound to become your latest favorite, or if you're a 60s/70s rock fan looking for new kicks, here's a good one to check out. Note: If your stereo set up allows you to choose between the LP and CD versions, I highly recommend picking up the vinyl as it sounds fuller and packs a little more punch. [AK]
 
         
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

$14.99
CD

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$14.99 LP

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$9.99 MP3

Buy

  MIKE BONES
A Fool for Everyone
(The Social Registry)

"What I Have Left"
"A Fool for Everyone"

The second full-length from multi-instrumentalist/troubadour Mike Bones (real name Mike Strallow) may be fueled by his mournful melodies, but there's also a warm, wistful sensibility to these nine tunes. Ranging from bluesy confessionals to the impressively anthemic "What I Have Left," this is a mood record in the best possible way. Possibly the most unnerving indie-rock album cover of the decade -- pull up the covers, Bones!
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$9.99
MG

Buy

  WAXPOETICS
Issue #33
(Wax Poetics)

Waxpoetics #33 is now on our shelves. "The Philly Issue" pays homage to the City of Brotherly Love and features Gamble & Huff and Teddy Pendergrass on the cover, plus Questlove, the Stylistics, Odean Pope, Vince Montana, Howard Tate, First Choice, Sonny Hopson, Jneiro Jarel and more!
 
         
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

$24.99
LP

Buy

  CONGREGACION
Viene
(Aroma Vinyl)

"Estrecha a tu hermano"
"Ecliptica"

An undeniably beautiful gem from the early-'70s Chilean underground, Congregacion's album Viene is a rarely heard masterpiece full of delicate atmospherics and dreamy textures. Congregacion (not to be confused with those other OM Chilean favorites Congreso) were a group spearheaded by the apparently mythical figure of Antonio Smith, whose progressive and hopeful lyrics no doubt earned him the enmity of the Chilean military dictatorship; he was forced to flee the country and Viene proved to be Congregacion's only release. I personally think that if things had worked out differently this album would be held in as high regard as comparable masterpieces like Milton Nascimento's Clube de Esquina or Joyce and Nelson Angelo's eponymous work from the same year as the present release. Viene shares with those albums a highly evocative sense of space, using natural sounds and lots of acoustic textures to foreground Smith's soaring melodies. The results are incredibly romantic, and this is one of those perfect albums that works just as well on a Sunday morning as it does late Saturday night. Like another album that Viene reminds me of, Bulent's Benimle Oynar Misin, it has just the perfect balance of gently arranged pop and plaintively sorrowful folk. This is a very highly recommended album that is surely one of the pinnacles of Latin American folk. [MK]
 
         
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

$14.99
CD

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$22.99 LPx2

Buy

  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Obsession
(Bully)

"De Prepente" Quarteto Nova Era
"Obsession '77" Atomic Forest

Academy Records' Mike Davis likely has a sicker collection than any of us, but thankfully he's willing to share: Obsession features 15 outstanding examples of killer world psychedelia, most of which will pass over the recognition of even seasoned diggers (one cut was featured on a Votel mix, and Erkin Koray's name will likely ring some bells with devotees of Turkish psych, but we were in the woods with the rest of this one). Davis focuses on solid, catchy selections rather than skewing in any one direction, which is a good thing as the Anatolian cuts are augmented by superfine funky R&B, Brazilian hustle, flashy jazz-psych fusion, and absolute MONSTER selections by India's Atomic Forest which bookend this set. Obsession would be worth it alone for those two cuts, but there's so much more to offer on here - likely $10,000 worth of vinyl on this collection that you'd probably miss out on otherwise - that fans of crazy breaks and heart-stopping, cross-cultural musical miscegenation will find them merely the tip of this spice-laden chocolaty iceberg. [DM]
 
         
   
   
   
   
 
   
       
   
         
  All of this week's new arrivals.

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THIS WEEK'S CONTRIBUTORS

[AB] Adrian Burkholder
[BCa] Brian Cassidy
[MC] Michael Crumsho
[DH] Duane Harriott
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[MK] Michael Klausman
[AK] Andreas Knutsen
[JM] Josh Madell
[DM] Doug Mosurock
[SM] Scott Mou



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