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  February 11, 2009  



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$16.99 LPx2


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.
Alva Noto
Antonio Bribiesca
Atom TM
Byard Lancaster

Incredible String Band
Lily Allen
Dan Auerbach

All of this week's new arrivals.


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 one more week, 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.)

FEB Sun 08 Mon 09 Tues 10 Wed 11 Thurs 12 Fri 13 Sat 14


This Thursday, February 12th, Other Music's monthly listening party will be a double header, celebrating the release of M. Ward's upcoming album Hold Time (out Tuesday, February 17 on Merge) and Hush, from NYC dream poppers Asobi Seksu (also out next Tuesday, on Polyvinyl). The night kicks off at 9PM when we'll play both albums back to back (starting with M. Ward) and then Other Music DJs will take over the decks for the rest of the evening. And of course, it wouldn't be a listening party without Merge and Polyvinyl giveaways and bar specials from 9 to 11PM that include $2PBRs, $3 Bud Light & Yuenglings and $3 well drinks. See you there!

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


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

FEB Sun 22 Mon 23 Tues 24 Wed 25 Thurs 26 Fri 27 Sat 28

Other Music is giving away two pairs of passes to the Film Society of Lincoln Center's February 25th screening of the cult classic, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains. Directed by veteran record producer Lou Adler, this 1981 movie anticipated the Riot Grrrl movement by a decade, chronicling the rise and fall of an all-female punk band, with then teen actresses Diane Lane and Laura Dern in starring roles and members of the Sex Pistols and the Clash making cameo appearances. Following the screening, Dan Selzer (Acute) and Aileen Brophy (Corita) will be DJing a post-punk afterparty. To enter, just send an email to contest@othermusic.com. The first place winner receives two passes to the movie and afterparty PLUS the DVD. The second place winner receives two passes to the movie and afterparty. We'll notify the two winners on Monday, Feburary 16th.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25 @ 8:30PM WALTER READE THEATRE: West 65th Street (between Broadway & Amsterdam Aves on the upper level) NYC







$9.99 MP3


Xerrox Vol. 2

Carsten Nicolai is a busy man -- while co-running the impeccable Raster-Noton label, he also finds time to forge a steady flow of his own releases, and with each one he has successfully defined another shard of the electronic music genre. Not content with drawing a line through the Mille Plateaux-patented glitch genre and defining a whole era in piano/electronic crossovers with the Xerrox series of releases, he has sought to redefine ambient music. On Xerrox Vol. 2, I can safely say he's done it too, with a keen ear for cinematic harmony underpinning Nicolai's well-honed sense of electrical experimentation.

The idea for this series was to take "themes" and re-work them, "Xerrox" them, if you will, until just a shadow of the original remains. This time around, Nicolai has taken his source material from a number of trusted collaborators -- Ryuichi Sakamoto pops up to lend a hand, as does Sunn O)))'s Steven O'Malley. This comes from Nicolai's desire to create the music from "New World" sources and gives the record a haunting resonance with drones echoing through a thick fog of static and distortion. Xerrox Vol. 2 is almost like listening to a Gas record on a shortwave frequency, or hearing Deaf Center's Pale Ravine from a great distance. There are hints at discernible changes and nudges toward structure, but we are left with a mass of quite arrestingly beautiful noise.

It's hard to believe that a producer who cut his teeth making music which prided itself on cold digitalism could end up sounding so warming and emotional. Xerrox Vol. 2 is at times unashamedly pretty and is as far from the glacial minimalism of Prototypes as you can get. It even seems more connected and linked with its source material than the hugely successful Vrioon, which always felt to me like Nicolai was holding back slightly. In fact I would even say that by allowing himself to explore this un-academic, almost whimsical sense of harmony, he has created his finest full-length to date. If that doesn't make this a recommendation I don't know what does -- incredible work. [JT]

Preview Alva Noto tracks on Other Music Digital.






La Guitarra Que Llora
(Sony Mexico)

"La Rondalla"
"Heraclio Bernal/La Cama de Piedra/Hasta Luego"

I'm not sure where I picked up this LP originally, but I think it was a thrift store find that I probably purchased because the guy on the cover was playing an acoustic guitar and wearing interesting pants. Anyways, it sat around my house for ages until I finally listened to it and discovered that it happened to be some of the most devastatingly soulful guitar music I'd ever been privy to. I believe Antonioi Bribiesca is, or at least was, a pretty famous Mexican guitarist, but there doesn't seem to be much biographical material about him on the web, apart from the fact that he performed the music for a number of Mexican films in the 40s and 50s. It's easy to be impressed by the dazzling virtuosity of folks like John Fahey or Jack Rose, but what I love about this record is how slow it is; every single note is just perfectly placed and allowed to breathe. The name of the album translates as "the weeping guitar," and that's a very apt description of his playing, with Bribiesca using an incredibly expressive vibrato technique to squeeze tears cascading out of his instrument. It's not quite classical guitar, nor is it exactly folk. When I first heard it I thought this is exactly the sound Dylan was striving for on the Pat Garrett soundtrack, or that same dusty, desert blown and sun-blanched moodiness Bjorn Olsson has been trying to capture over several albums -- the perfect distillation of a Morricone spaghetti western soundtrack without any of the baroque adornments. I've played this record for just about every houseguest I've had over in the last year or so and every single one has said something to the effect that they need it in their lives instantly. This CD is a budget import from Mexico, but the sound is absolutely superb, and at less than ten bucks it is an insane bargain. We're not sure how easy it'll be to restock so act fast; you won't be disappointed. [MK]






Volume 5
$9.99 MP3


Volume 6
$9.99 MP3


Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6: Dil Cosby Suite & Dil Withers Suite
(Stones Throw)

This month marks the three-year anniversary of the tragic passing of James "J Dilla" Yancey, the brilliant hip-hop producer who died on the eve of the release of his now classic instrumental album, Donuts. For all of his colleagues, fans and friends, it was all the more tragic because Donuts was a creative peak for Dilla and leaves one wondering what other masterpieces could have been in store down the line. For Madlib this must be especially hard. They were definitely kindred spirits and their amazing collaborative album as Jaylib still sounds as forward thinking as it did four-and-a-half years ago. These two installments of the Beat Konducta series (originally released separately on vinyl but collected together here on one CD) finds Madlib paying tribute to the innovative sounds that his late friend created throughout his life. Both volumes are dense beat collages where snippets of Dilla's vocals float in and out of the murky boom-bap. For Beat Konducta releases, they're both extremely focused and, like Donuts, are sequenced for a seamless start-to-finish listen. On Volume 5: Dil Cosby Suite, Madlib mostly revisits the mellow, funky, soul-jazz sound of Dilla's 90's production work for Slum Village, Tribe, and Pharcyde. Tracks such as "Floating Soul (Peace)," "Get Dollaz" and "Shades of Pete (Super)" have that sunny, contact high warmth of all of that era's production. During cuts like "The Get Over" and "King Chop (Top Line)," we hear Madlib flex his MPC muscle, chopping up Gary Wilson and Buzzcocks(!) samples in tribute to the king of the MPC. Beat Konducta Vol 6: Dil Withers Suite is the spacier of the two. While it still has the same head-snap drums of Cosby, it's less of an obvious "tribute," and sounds more like a Jaylib record, only without Dilla's rhymes. The spacey, Mooged-out thump of "Blast" and "Detroit Playaz (Gator Walk)"'s muted stutter-step snare cracks are perfectly suited for Dilla's jagged flow. These are probably my favorite Beat Konducta releases so far and it's good to hear Madlib deliver a grimy one, ever so slowly inchin' into the ranks as one of the best who ever did it. [DH]

Preview tracks from Madlib's Beat Konducta Volume 5 and Volume 6 on Other Music Digital.







"Wellen Und Felder II"
"Mittlere Composition No. II"

Uwe Schmidt is one of those producers with whom it's worth taking a step back from, just to look in awe at his esteemed catalogue. Over a handful of years, the German producer has released countless albums under countless monikers -- Atom Heart, Dropshadow Disease, Dos Tracks, Midisport, Senor Coconut, LB, Erik Satin -- each showing yet another facet to his astounding talent. He makes electronic music, but this is electronic music with a whimsy and a cracked sense of musical form unlike anything you've heard before. There are links and comparisons to be made, but those links are eroded by Schmidt's genuinely unique palette of sounds, and there really aren't too many artists you could say that about.

Trust Raster-Noton then to pick up this latest release and add it to their already shocking schedule. Over the last couple of years the German label has re-kindled our love for electronic music and repositioned themselves from purely experimental sound to something a little more accessible. It is fitting then that Liedgut is anything but staid or pretentious; Schmidt begins the record with a cascade of vocoder vocals which should instantly get Kanye fans on board. Eschewing the trend for everything autotuned though, Schmidt takes things back to the more organic Kraftwerk-era, giving a featured guest spot to Florian Schneider for good measure. Through the fractured history of German music, Schmidt reframes his electronic roots, infecting them with the shadows of waltz, techno and his beloved bossa nova. The cacophony is almost indescribable, but amongst the digital hiccups and binary belches there are songs -- melody, harmony and occasionally rhythm. Even the familiar sound of cell phone interference is thrown into the mix creating a throbbing dub wise rhythm before you've even got a handle on what you're listening to. He might not have been away for that long but it's great to have Uwe Schmidt back -- electronic music just isn't as much fun without him around. A fabulously wacky record and a huge recommendation. [JT]






Grosses Wasser


I know it seems that with every domestic reissue that Water does of Germany's Cluster, we gush with praise, but how can we not? Perpetually overshadowed by fellow countrymen (and groundbreakers) Can, Kraftwerk, Amon Düül II, Neu! and Faust, it's hard to properly assess (much less file) the work of Roedelius and Moebius. We have the raw circuitry improv of their earliest efforts with Conrad Schnitzler, the lucid dreaming collaborations with Eno, and the electro-pop efforts with Michael Rother (as Harmonia). But in between all of that are albums such as Sowiesoso and Grosses Wasser. Wasser, from 1979, somehow manages to merge those telltale ambient drifts with dubby grace notes and murmurs of African rhythms. Which is what the first five tracks here do as little bagatelles. It all leads into the massive title track, nearly twenty minutes of bliss that takes in all of the above and goes out just a bit further than we thought possible. Unbelievable. [AB]






Funny Funky Rib Crib
(Kindred Spirits)

"Just Test"
"Us" (7-inch Mix)

Released in France in 1974, Lancaster was in the midst of a five-year stay abroad when he recorded this danceable spiritual jazz record dedicated to a local rib joint he was homesick for in his native Philly. This album boasts an impressive roster of funky ex-pats, including the Lafayette Afro-Rock Band's Francois Nyombo and Steve McCall, the original drummer for the AACM. The sound is a nice fusion of free jazz, funk, gospel and blues -- not unlike Art Ensemble's Les Stances a Sophie or Sun Ra's Space Is the Place. But unlike the aforementioned, Lancaster's compositions have a very apparent James Brown influence pervading throughout. To these ears, the opening and closing tracks ("Just Test," "Us") and two-part centerpiece "Rib Crib I" and "II" are straight-up JB-styled skeletal funk. Another highlight, the mellow, modal mantra of "Work and Pray" features a beautiful vocal performance from Lancaster and some lovely call-and-response trombone work from Joseph Traindl. All in all, it's another great addition to the legacy of Lancaster. Fans of the Steve Reid reissues, funky modal jazz and the like, please take note. [DH]






Admit One

Although it features alt-dub's most in-demand vocalist, Paul St. Hilaire, it would be puerile to label Sideshow's Admit One as simply another dub-techno record. Fin Greenall (a/k/a Fink) has certainly heard the Basic Channel/Rhythm and Sound back catalog, but where most producers are happy to keep it simple and reigned in by a claustrophobic genre, Greenall seems desperate to extend his vision. Initial proof of this, if proof was needed, is the use of honey-voiced songstress Cortney Tidwell on the album's opener "Television;" what could have so easily been an exercise in dub copyism ends up sounding rather more like post-punk. Those of you with a good memory might remember U.K. punk's flirtation with dub reggae, and certainly Greenall seems equally enthralled. It doesn't always work, and without a doubt some of the experimentation errs on the wrong side of taste, but when it does hit, Greenall's modern post-punk hits just the right spot. [JT]






Tricks of the Senses

"Lover Man"
"Long Long Road" (U Live)

Being such a self-avowed rocker I'm not really sure how I even came to like the Incredible String Band in the first place. Their hippie art leanings (mime troupes!?!?!?!) are pretty much the genesis of freak folk, but their amazing run of almost flawless albums trumped any of the social fears I had and I jumped right in. Going chronologically, Tricks of the Senses tackles the years of 1966 to 1972 with previously unheard rehearsal recordings, studio outtakes, a great live session from 1968 on New York's WBAI and live recordings that fill in a lot of holes while remaining cohesive, and neither disc wears out its welcome. Not an entry point, but if you've gone deep already for ISB, this is a welcome addition. [DMa]






It's Not Me It's You

"The Fear"
"Never Gonna Happen"

Amidst a flurry of tabloid press, Web 2.0 references and failed TV shows, the biggest surprise about Lily Allen's debut album Alright, Still was that it was actually quite good. A bumper mixtape of good-time pop songs, love her or hate her, you had to give her credit for doing it right. The fact was only proven further by the throng of copycats who followed in her large footsteps (hello Kate Nash), so it's only right that her "difficult" sophomore effort would be a failure, right? Typically we have been barraged by shy interviews and Allen claiming a "change in direction" (what artist says that their new album is going to be the same?), but what's less than typical is that It's Not Me It's You is every bit the album its predecessor was, and possibly even stronger. It's clear from the wry drug referencing of the opening track, "Everyone's At It," that Allen has learned a lot in the three years since her debut. Being mauled by critics and hack journalists has somehow strengthened her lyrics and charged them with an energy I never thought she had in her. We might not have the fun time London anthems that she made her signature but these are the same happy-go-lucky songs, just wrapped in deeper, darker themes. Deep and dark might not be words you would readily associate with Miss Allen, but delving into drugs, politics and her relationship with her father, and sidestepping the expected "he loves me, he hates me" clichés, which have become the norm, has successfully re-framed her as a mature songwriter. All this and we haven't got to the stunning, quirky electro-pop production from Greg Kurstin. Throwing bluegrass, harpsichord and heaven knows what else into Allen's well weathered sound was a gamble but somehow it pays off leaving very few missteps. What we have is a jump-cut mixtape of sprawling influences as expansive as the lyrical content, and just as she exudes confidence in the words and delivery, the production comes up from behind like a row of Panzers. Great pop albums appear every once in a while, and I'm happy to say that Lily Allen has delivered again -- sure there are gonna be haters, but ignore that and enjoy the ride. It's going to be summer again soon enough... [JT]






Citizen Boris

"Tell Her You Love Her"
"Train Across Ukraine"

Golem have done for Jewish music something similar to what Gogol Bordello have for Gypsy sounds; they both take traditional Eastern European music and bring it into a high-energy, punk rock context that seeks to bridge culture gaps while also bringing the party. Golem's new one is their slickest and features a much higher portion of originals, but most of the tracks speak to old-world immigrant concerns, or, if they are tackling more universal interests like tits and ass, they at least sing in Yiddish, as on the single "Tucheses and Nenes." [JM]






$9.99 MP3


We Are the Levitts
(ESP Disk)

It's nice to see one of my fave ESP discs reissued on CD for the masses. The late '60s and early '70s were filled with popular singing family sensations like the Cowsills, Jackson 5 and the Staple Singers, and the Levitts could be considered Greenwich Village's bohemian answer to those groups. The catalyst for the band was the 13-year-old Sean Levitt, who was discovered playing jazz guitar in Central Park by the ESP label heads. While auditioning, Sean casually mentioned his musical family -- his accomplished jazz drummer father, his mother a singer, and five other siblings who sang as well. The album to come would be a family affair, with respected players like Chick Corea, Larry Provost, and many others along for the ride.

We Are... has the same sort of bright, hazy positivity of Free Design or Sound of Feeling, but there's also a raw, post-bop and modal jazz influence that pervades throughout the Levitts' music (e.g. "The Saints of My City Are Children," "Notes So High"). Throughout the album, mama Stella Levitt's slightly stoned, primitive, jazz-scat singing gives the material an earthier, poppier feel than you might expect from an ESP release. Other album highlights include "Candy," which is a killer piece of '60s art-pop that sounds like bubblegum Velvet Underground or a hippiefied Beat Happening, and "Fun City," an odd, catchy sing-a-long ode to NYC's "smoke-ins and toke-ins" which strangely enough features the young Levitt children singing back-up.

Sean Levitt would go on to become a highly respected jazz guitarist in adulthood and it's pretty cool to hear how focused and talented he was at an early age. Fans of B-Music releases, singing families, outsider pop and all of the aforementioned should find a lot here to brighten up their days. [DH]

Preview songs off of We Are the Levitts on Other Music Digital.






Keep It Hid

"Whispered Words (Pretty Lies)"
"I Want Some More"

A solo album is a chance for band boys to strut their stuff without the usual back and forth that is inherent in group dynamics. But for Dan Auerbach, singer/songwriter/guitarist of scuzzy blues duo the Black Keys, the question must be asked: why? The sound of Auerbach's debut solo effort is remarkably close to that of his main project, and it's just as compelling. Maybe he wanted to step away from the Danger Mouse production of the 'Keys last one, maybe he had too many songs for that group's release schedule, maybe he was just sick and tired of Patrick Carney's constant tap-tap-tapping. Who knows, but fans will not complain. [JM]
  All of this week's new arrivals.

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[AB] Adrian Burkholder
[DH] Duane Harriott
[MK] Michael Klausman
[JM] Josh Madell
[DMa] Dave Martin
[JT] John Twells

- all of us at Other Music

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