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Special Announcement: Free Major Lazer In-Store Performance This Monday
Good news, Major Lazer's upcoming in-store performance at Other Music is now FREE for everyone! This Monday, June 15th at 8PM, the super-producer duo of Diplo and Switch will be stopping by Other Music to celebrate the release of their reggae-dancehall explosion, Guns Don't Kill People...Lazers Do, which comes out the following day. (You'll be able to buy it that night, however, and even get them to sign it if you'd like.) The show is limited capacity so arrive early, and of course anyone who pre-ordered the album at Other Music is guaranteed entry. See you on Monday!
Monday, June 15th at 8PM
Other Music: 15 East 4th Street NYC
Free Admission / Limited Capacity
This Week's Free Song Download
Prepare Your Coffin
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Tortoise are back and if this week's free song download of is any indication, their first new album in five years, Beacons of Ancestorship (which hits stores on Tuesday, June 23rd), is going to be a post-rock rocker. Album anthem "Prepare Your Coffin" gives Battles a serious run for their money, with drummer John Herndon leading the charge while Jeff Parker does some serious guitar shredding on top. Stay tuned for details on Tortoise's upcoming in-store at Other Music on Saturday, July 18th at 8PM.
Tortoise Listening Party: This Thursday
If you're in New York City, come by Stanton Public this Thursday, June 18th where we'll be throwing a listening party for Tortoise's new album. It all gets underway at 9PM when we'll play Beacons of Ancestorship all the way through followed by Other Music DJs for the rest of the night. Of course, there'll be Thrill Jockey give-aways and drink specials from 9 to 10PM which include $2 PBR, $3 Bud Light, $4 Yuengling, $5 PBR+ Whiskey, and $3 Well Drinks.
Thursday, June 18
Stanton Public: 17 Stanton Street (Between Bowery & Chrystie) L.E.S.
No Cover / Ages 21+ with ID
This Week's Featured Downloads
Menlo Park Recordings
Exclusive Advance Release
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Whilst the majority of Brooklyn is swarming with melodic, layered pop, Talk Normal has seized control of the borough's dark experimental noise underground. The ruthless duo of Andrya Ambro and Sarah Register, often clad in post-apocalyptic jumpsuits, achieve sonic destruction by twisting metal tools under guitar strings, pummeling drums to obliteration, and shrieking like possessed banshees. Addictively dark and technically invincible, this will vibrate believers of Erase Errata, the Fall, and DNA on all wavelengths.
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Whoa, this one threw me for a loop. I'm honestly not sure what even compelled me to play this in the first place, as judging by the cover you'd probably expect it to be a rather run of the mill garage rock revivalist album, a genre I generally have little use for. I know, I know, the old cliché about not judging a book by its cover, but that's truly the case here, as Charlie Megira has managed to thoroughly subvert my expectations with his very, very peculiar and unique take on fifties rock-n-roll. Megira and his band hail from Jaffa-Tel Aviv, Israel, and clearly have a more than passing familiarity with the works of Link Wray and Dick Dale, amongst god knows what other archaic and long forgotten early rock-and-roll 45s, yet those influences all get filtered through some sort of weird, lo-fi and contemporary take on Joe Meek. Megira is obviously bursting at the seams, creatively; there are twenty-five tracks on here, with the average tune clocking in at about two minutes, and in some respects he could be compared to Ariel Pink if you replaced the 70s AM fixation with beach films and Back from Grave comps. There are a couple of lovely ballads sung in Hebrew that seem to border just on the edge of parody, but like nearly everything on this album, Megira's approach is so spot-on that he pulls it off. A highly enjoyable and pleasant surprise.
Marcio Local Says Don Day Don Dree Don Don
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Oh man, so nice! Luaka Bop returns with this deep, gorgeous samba soul record by newcomer Marcio Local. Picking up and carrying the torch held by old school dons of the style like Tim Maia, Wilson Simonal, and even a bit of Jorge Ben, Local's album is filled with jumping percussion, choppy funk guitars, and robust horn sections, with plenty of little sonic touches like a vocoder here and a percolating clavinet there. The arrangements are full but never overdone; Local moves from bossa- and samba-inflected workouts to stomping Motown-inspired moves with ease, and his voice is rich and powerful. Local in many ways on this album provides a South American counterpoint to what the folks at Daptone are doing so well -- they're bringing a classic, much-beloved sound into the modern age by embracing what made the music so timeless, and at the same time introducing fresh contexts with respect and subtlety. This album took me completely by surprise -- I'll be the first to admit that much of the modern crop of Brazilian soul music leaves me feeling flat, but this record cooks! Highly recommended to fans of any of the artists I mentioned earlier, and for those in need of some quality summer soundtracking. Let's have some more, Luaka Bop!
-Mikey IQ Jones
The Glass Bead Game
Young God Records
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Nearly every year, we wind up gushing about the newest album from London guitarist James Blackshaw, and by the next year, he's blown past all previous expectations with something more eloquent and grandiose. Such is the case with his first album for Michael Gira's Young God imprint. While last year's Litany of Echoes showcased the steel-string maestro branching out to the piano, here he brings all his talents together, commingling his guitar and piano playing with violin, viola, and wordless vocals into something stunning and spellbinding. Opener "Cross" is about the closest modern thing we've heard to reach the peaks of Italian composer Luciano Cilio's mid-70s masterwork, Dell'Universo Assente. Recommended.
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Long overdue reissue of French minimalist/tape composer Eliane Radigue's 84-minute evocation of the life of the 11th century Tibetan yogi and poet, Milarepa. Radigue immersed herself in Tibetan Buddhism in 1975, she'd previously been a composer in residence at NYU, and had studied electroacoustic composition with both Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry in the fifties and sixties while developing a completely unique compositional style. However, her devotion to Buddhism at that time was total and she abandoned composing for a period of several years, until the master she was studying under urged her to return to her instrument and channel what she'd learned into a "testimony of her commitment." She responded by composing a series of major works inspired by the life of Tibet's most famous saint, Milarepa, a man who attained wisdom and enlightenment through herculean tasks and ascetic devotion after a period of extreme wickedness. Lovely Music has previously issued Radigue's Songs of Milarepa, which features settings of texts by Milarepa as performed by the composer Robert Ashley and Lama Kunga Rinpoche. Jetsun Mila eschews text in favor of a purely electronic treating of his storied life via nine passages that slowly and seamlessly flow into one another. Radigue is one of the most perceptually disorienting composers I've ever heard, her exploration of inaudible subharmonics and overtones has a way of physically changing the landscape of the room her music inhabits, and it becomes difficult to sort out what the reality is between what you're perceiving and actually hearing. Jetsun Mila is deeply meditative, with some passages conjuring the random patterns of bells blowing in the stark mountains and valleys of Tibet, while others have the sustained power and near violence of Tibetan ritual horns. Her genius is that she achieves those effects through allusion rather than mimicry, trusting in the listener's ability to pursue the truth just as Milarepa did with his inscrutable words of wisdom.
Burning Star Core
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All-synth/drone/mournful pop cavalcade of abstract action from Cincinnati's C. Spencer Yeh, here on one of his more recent expeditions outside of the world of CD-R and cassette microeditions into the more tangible realms of sound expression. Sheets of tones that freeze the breath are offset with guitar, tone generators, mouth harp, and field recordings that blend together for the moment, creating sympathetic soundscapes to get lost inside.
Yellow Sea Years 68-71
Light in the Attic
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If I were to just say that Traffic Sound were one of Peru's greatest
rock bands in the days of their existence (c. 68-71), you'd probably
say fair enough. But I'm here to argue that the case could be
made that they were one of the greatest rock bands going in those
days, period. And I must say, it's an utter shame you haven't
heard of 'em. The boys in Traffic Sound must have studied the
catalogs of the Kinks, Stones, Zeppelin, Hendrix, the entirety
of West Coast folk rock, etc., better than nearly anybody back
then. And while I may just be at a point in my life where I think
the entirety of both Nuggets box sets would sound better with
all Latin rhythms, Traffic Sound made some undeniably kick-ass
rock and roll that would have been enormously influential had
it ever actually been heard in the States or England. Combining
a Latin groove with an original synthesis of all the groups listed
above, over their four brilliant albums, Traffic Sound in their
brief life span managed to become one of the most popular rock
groups in South America due to touring. Probably the only thing
keeping them from even more international success was the troubled
political situation at home. Traffic Sound gave a serious Incan
consciousness to the admittedly Anglo form in which they were
working, with lyrics (usually in English) that took stock of and
responded to the milieu in which they lived, whether it be the
political turmoil of the day or the counter cultural fascination
with the possibilities to be discovered through the assistance
of hallucinogenic drugs.
Eccentric Soul: The Bandit Label
The Numero Group
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Released in late 2004, the second installment of Numero's Eccentric Soul series
focuses on the small output of the Chicago based Bandit label.
In the late-'60s, rogue entrepreneur Arrow Brown began forming
a musical family (literally) to sing, play and bring his vision
of soul music to life -- selections from his collected productions
of 45s and one lone full-length make up this installment. Most
of the songs here are by the vocal group the Majestic Arrows but
also featured are funk and soul tracks from vocalists Johnny Davis,
Linda Balintine, and Altyrone Deno Brown, the then seven-year-old
"Michael Jackson of Chicago."
Bluesy, darkly orchestrated gospel-injected grooves and emotion
are the stylings of these sultry, scorned soul sides and fit right
in line with the wealth of Chicago soul like the Chi-lites, Impressions,
and Curtis Mayfield. Family, friends of family, and girlfriends
of "the man" Arrow Brown deliver raw vocal performances
singing his lyrics and creating the charm of the label's sound.
Local musicians, including members of the Pharaohs, served as
the spirited backing band providing sparse, melancholy and soulful
arrangements with slight blues overtones. Sadly, the label's output
was scattered and never did produce a single hit.
Like the city it highlights, this edition of Eccentric Soul
is a slow burner and much more mellow and subdued than the first
volume of the series. The real treasures of this reissue are three
bonus rehearsal tracks; re-mastered from cassette tapes, the raw
power and energy of the amateur yet instinctive talent of the
Majestic Arrows penetrates the heart and soul. With little more
accompaniment other than a thump or snap, these beautifully haunting
hidden gems of acapella soul are worth the price alone!
Twice As Nice : Be Music / Dojo / Kamins / Baker Productions
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Following up the great Cool as Ice compilation, which focused on the dance music and early electro tracks that the various members of New Order produced between '82 and '86 (all under the collaborative
moniker of Be Music), Twice as Nice covers the same period but expands the roster of producers with names like
Mark Kamins and the legendary Arthur Baker. Here, classics such
as a Jellybean Benitez remix of 52nd Street's "Cool as Ice
(Twice as Nice)," Marcel King's "Keep on Dancing"
(produced by Bernard Sumner, DoJo and Fruitz) and "Genius"
by Quando Quango sit next to the more obscure. The inclusion of
both sides of the long lost Factory single, 52nd Street's
"Express" and "Look into My Eyes," is well
worth the album's sticker price. Another real gem is the instrumental
edit of the original version of New Order's "586," which
reveals the band's early flirtation with sequencers a whole year
before their watershed "Blue Monday."
The Arthur Baker re-mix of Anna Domino's jazz infused "Summer"
is a slice of swinging pop music, while Cheyne's "Call Me
Mr. Telephone" is driven by programmed electro beats and
is very reminiscent of early Madonna -- no doubt due to producer
Mark Kamins who is credited on some of her early singles. (The
story has it that the material girl originally offered "Into
the Groove" to Cheyne, only to ask for it back.) Other standouts
include the club friendly "You Hurt Me" sung by Germany's
Shark Vegas and produced by DoJo and Bernard Sumner. Very synth
heavy, you can hear some of the same drum sounds and beats that
would be used by New Order on their Low Life LP. With Peter
Hook at the helm, the Royal Family and the Poor's "Motherland"
is bass heavy, with lots of icy accents and robotic beats enhancing
the eerie vocorder introduction. Twice as Nice also features
Factory staples like Section 25 as well as the darker styling
of Thick Pigeon (produced by Steve Morris and Gillian Gilbert).
As far as history lessons, this is fantastic audio lecture to
a turning point in dance music history. Like Cool as Ice, LTM's second volume tells an even bigger piece of the story to
those of us not lucky to have witnessed this important period
firsthand, as technology worked its way into the music mainstream.