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   October 15, 2009  




Other Music has teamed up with Subports to give you the option to purchase any release featured in the Other Music Update with a simple text message from your cell phone. Subports offers the flexibility and convenience of text-to-buy technology, while exclusively promoting independent retailers, artists and designers. All you have to do is take a moment to set up an account at www.subports.com/signup. Afterwards you'll have the option to purchase any CD or LP featured in this Update (and future Updates) by sending a simple text message. Every album will have a Subcode at the bottom of the review. Just text that Subcode to 767825 (which spells the word PORTAL) to place an order. Using text-to-buy, you'll never need to log in with a user name and password, or enter in your billing info (after the one-time registration) to purchase items.

Easy to remember, most of our Subcodes use this simple formula: om, format (cd or lp), the first name of the artist and the first word of the album title.

Here's an example of a Subcode that we posted on our Twitter account over the weekend for Thom Yorke's "Feeling Pulled Apart by Horses" LP: om (other music) lp (format) thom (thom yorke) feeling (feeling pulled apart by horses) = "omlpthomfeeling"

So to purchase this example with a text message, simply text the Subcode "omlpthomfeeling" (with or without the quotes) to 767825.

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Demdike Stare
CANT & Arthur Russell (Split Single)
Patrick Cowley & Jorge Socarras
Flaming Lips
Tumbele (Various Artists)
Thomas Function
D-Funk (Various Artists)
Bite Hard (De Wolfe Comp)
Crayon Angel (Judee Sill Tribute)

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Robert Wyatt
Port O'Brien
White Out
Russell Haswell
Bruce Gilbert
Dom Thoms Mix


The Gossip
The Heavy

All of this week's new arrivals.

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/othermusic

OCT Sun 18 Mon 19 Tues 20 Wed 21 Thurs 22 Fri 23 Sat 24

Sweden's El Perro Del Mar will be stopping by Other Music to celebrate the relase of her great new album, Love Is Not Pop, which comes out that same day on Control Group/TCG.

This unexpected paring of Malian singer Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit has resulted in a pretty unique and absolutely infectious musical fusion of sunny Afro-pop and various western sounds. Get ready to dance!

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

OCT Sun 18 Mon 19 Tues 20 Wed 21 Thurs 22 Fri 23 Sat 24

Other Music, ATP and Terror Bird Media would like to invite you to (Le) Poisson Rouge, next Wednesday, October 21st, for the Exclusive First US Listening Party of Tarot Sport, the new, Andrew Weatherall-produced album from Bristol noise-niks Fuck Buttons (out Tuesday, October 20th on ATP). It all kicks off at 6:30PM and will also feature Other Music and WFMU DJs and other surprises. See you there!

(LE) POISSON ROUGE: 158 Bleeker Street NYC
6:30PM to 10PM / No Cover / 18+ with ID







(Modern Love)

"Extwistle Hall"

Erupting from the bowels of a dusty north of England studio comes this latest full-length from the ever-reliable Modern Love imprint. Unlike the label's previous releases, however, Symbiosis is a left turn from the deep techno vibrations of Claro Intellecto or Andy Stott. The collaborative moniker of veteran Modern Love artist Miles Whittaker (of MLZ, Pendle Coven and more...) and Manchester DJ record collector and Sean Canty, Demdike Stare is the product of many a late night recording session. Notorious gear hoarder Whittaker provides the electronic backbone of the record, while Canty utilizes his boundless collector's knowledge to dig out some of the most intriguing samples ever cut to wax. Mining the rhythms of Iran, Turkey and Africa, these world-wise flourishes sit in-between Whittaker's expertly treated drones and splutters. Comparisons to the hallowed BBC Radiophonic Workshop and John Carpenter are already coming thick and fast, but alongside this there is the unmistakable Berlin techno fingerprint -- the treacle-thick delays and rolling, echoing kicks that made Basic Channel so legendary.

There have been a glut of Berlin-influenced records recently, yet Demdike Stare manages to absolutely distance itself from the scene, and probably has more in common with the hauntological sounds of the Ghost Box label than with Quantec or Brendan Moeller. When the reverberating Eastern strings of "Jannisary" are joined by a pulsing, rolling Middle Eastern beat, there should be no doubt that you're listening to a new kind of electronic music altogether -- is this the first album of hauntological techno? I'm not certain, but whatever it is, it is a strong contender for album of the year. [JT]

Order CD by Texting "omcddemdikesymbiosis" to 767825






$1.11 MP3


$1.11 MP3
Arthur Russell


Split Single
(Terrible Records)

CANT/RUSSELL Masterminded by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor and Lust Boys' Ethan Silverman, new indie label Terrible Records launches with the debut release from CANT, Taylor's brand-new solo project. Recorded in Brooklyn at his church-studio (where most of Grizzly Bear's Veckatimist was produced), "Ghosts" is an ethereal track that indeed possesses a haunting atmosphere, and is reminiscent of Grizzly Bear, of course, but darker. On the flip side we get an unreleased song from the great avant-disco auteur Arthur Russell, courtesy of Audika Records. Recorded in the late-'70s, "Come to Life" is a breezy, country-tinged tune from the singer-songwriter side of Russell, and would have sounded perfectly at home on last year's Love Is Overtaking Me. The seven-inch is limited to 1000.

Order 7" Single by Texting "om45cantsplit" to 767825







"Memory Fails Me"
"Eddie Go to My Head"

At first glance, the combined winding histories and music of disco and Hi-NRG pioneer Patrick Cowley and Jorge Socarras seem to mirror that of their contemporary, Arthur Russell. Cowley grew up in Buffalo, NY and moved to the free-spirited San Francisco where he befriended Socarras (the future vocalist of Indoor Life), also from New York -- both men students of visual art and electronic music composition, and gay. The two began this studio collaboration as Catholic in the mid-'70s, recording an album's worth of tracks that shared elements with the likes of Suicide, Gary Numan and Brian Eno, and predated the minimal electro-rock/new wave sounds of Anne Clark, Depeche Mode and Yaz. Even with guest spots from a few players in Sylvester's group, it was a far cry from the synth-heavy disco productions that Cowley was becoming known for -- he soon joined Sylvester's studio band and went on to have a hand in many dance hits -- and would be turned down by his then label, Megatone. The Catholic tapes would sit in a San Fran basement for 30 years, never fully seeing the light of day until now.

It's a shame, as this is some of the best gay avant-rock that I've ever heard. Similar to Arthur Russell, Socarras' emotional vocal delivery and lyrics reflect the sexually charged world of the late-'70s, but replace Russell's tender moments with something more aggressive, biting and agitated. Tracks like "Burn Brighter Flame," a cover of Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and "You Laugh at My Face" -- which tells a story of ridicule, longing and unreturned desire -- are carried by pulsing analog synthesizers, sparse drum machines and the occasional guitar. There are also a few moments that are a little more punk-influenced -- songs like "I Never Want to Fall in Love" and "Cars Collide," that latter reminding me of Adam Ant's "Car Trouble." And there's also a pointed quirkiness to some of the lyrics; my favorite track, "Robot Children," contains verses like: "You say that you love women, you say that you love men, you like to think, that us is just like them" and "you once were into disco, but now you're into rock, you lived in San Francisco, but now you're in New York."

Cowley died early in the 1980s at the dawn of the AIDS era, further cementing his status as the brilliant and tragic outsider. It goes without saying that it's truly a shame that so much queer talent has been lost through the years, but in this age of the reissue, it's beautiful at least to have the chance discover the more personal and creative side of many forgotten artists who were under-appreciated, misunderstood or virtually unnoticed during their lifetimes, finding their place behind the scenes or behind the boards in helping other artists reach the masses. The Catholic album is yet another example of a great lost piece of work that was not understood at the time, but to a new generation of listeners it plays like a blueprint for the post-punk, no wave, new wave, and art-rock genres that would develop in the years to follow. One of the most inspiring and magnetic reissues I heard this year. [DG]

Order CD by Texting "omcdpatrickcatholic" to 767825






$9.99 MP3


Imidiwan: Companions
(World Village)

"Tahult In"
"Ere Tasfata Adounia"

Anyone who has been paying attention to the Other Music Update over the past few years knows how strongly we feel about Tinariwen and their hypnotizing brand of West African "desert blues." Although this band of revolutionary Tuareg warriors has been in existence for over 25 years, in the last five years or so their international profile has skyrocketed, as the group garnered accolades and luminous celebrity fans ranging from Chris Martin to Robert Plant and Carlos Santana. It only takes one listen to 2007's Aman Iman to understand why. Two years later, the nomads are back with another masterpiece, Imidiwan, which was recorded last December in the Malian village of Tessalit, home to Tinariwen co-founder Ibrahim Ag Alhabib. For this album the band wanted to return to the stripped-down, intimate sounds of their earliest recordings, so rather than set up in an established studio, the collective chose to lay down tracks in such exotic (or mundane) village locales as the desert bush, various nomadic camps and the homes of fellow tribe members.

What results is exemplary and downright stunning at some points. Whatever your genre-mixing, tribal-love-jam-makin', swirling dust-storm guitar-wielding indie faves do, these guys do it better. "Kel Tamashek" is a propulsive campfire sing-along that boasts a pulsing, trancelike, 4/4 handclap rhythm and chunky, virtuoso guitar picking from Alhabibi while "Intitlayahaghen" is classic Tinariwen, complete with a call-n-response chorus and choir, and their trademarked blissful layered guitar sprawl, accented by whoops and hollers. Every track is a winner here, and like all of their major heroes and influences (Santana, Ali Farka Toure, Hendrix and Johnny Cash), they've created a signature sound that belongs to them and only them. There's a reason why these guys are your favorite band's favorite band. A true candidate for album of the year, from one of the best groups on the planet right now.

World Village made us wait a bit of a wait the domestic CD issue of this one, but perhaps to make it up to the U.S. CD-buying fans, they've included a bonus DVD with a nice little film shot on location in the Sahara by French filmmaker Jessy Nottola. [DH]

Order CD by Texting "omcdtinariwenimidiwan" to 767825






Movies Is Magic

"Exploding Unbearable Desire"
"Sound of Confusion"

Over a handful of albums, German producer Sebastian Meissner has perfected his craft and honed a style that can best be described as truly his own. His last album, Dedications (also on the Anticipate label), was the pinnacle of his output, showing the emotional depth of his stuttering guitar-based ambience and garnering Meissner a well-deserved amount of attention. Since that record (which revealed a love of cinema in its 'dedications'), Meissner has clearly dived head-first into the silver screen, and this album (humorously named after a Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks collaboration) is no doubt a step forward in his style. The signature warble of time-stretched guitar is all but gone, and in its place are luxurious strings and orchestral flourishes taken from the golden age of cinema. While cinematic music, and especially music written for an as-yet-unwritten movie, is something of a cliché at the moment, Meissner avoids stepping into the usual tracks and arrives on a body of astoundingly affecting pieces. His music takes cues from Gas and Deaf Center, yet is neither as beat-laden nor as dark as either respectively -- rather, this is a contemporary view of movies past. There might not be the familiar crackle of the old movie soundtrack, but the nostalgia and warmth are present within each and every piece on the record. Meissner has managed to imbue his pieces with all this without losing the sense that Movies Is Magic is still most importantly a Klimek record, and it might just be his most developed album to date. There is certainly a depth and complexity to the production that I haven't heard before from his work, and I'm sure time will reveal just how gorgeous the pieces really are. [JT]

Order CD by Texting "omcdklimekmovies" to 767825






(Warner Bros)

"The Sparrow Looks Up at the Machine"
"I Can Be a Frog"

In the 25-some-odd years they've been a working band, Oklahoma City's finest freaks have traveled a long and winding path. The obscure and difficult psychedelia they were producing way back in the '80s was often brilliant, but definitely not fashionable amongst the nascent alternative nation, but as the band's off-beat pop sensibilities emerged, they struck a chord with the masses some ten years later, and have been hanging on for dear life ever since. And though throughout the second stage of their career the Lips have continued to morph and grow, eventually embracing synthesizers as well as full-blown orchestrations (and furry bear costumes, giant hamster exercise balls and other joyful and interminable stage antics), many longtime fans have felt let down by the group's overblown pop stasis and Wayne Coyne's preening of late.

But only a joker would count these clowns out, and Embryonic, true to its title, is a startling and eminently satisfying return to the Flaming Lips' roots. Sounding more like a rock band (and a pretty messed-up one at that) than they have in more than a decade, these tracks are said to have come from hours of studio jams, later edited and overdubbed into song-form, and the results are often hypnotic. It sounds like hyperbole, but the nearest reference point for this direction may well be Can, who used a similar studio methodology; these songs are built on layered, trance-like grooves, and they pulse with spontaneity and revel in noise and chaos. Add to this Coyne's vocals, which are far darker and truly hallucinogenic than his grandiose (or nursery rhyme) musings of late. Even the requisite guest spots, from such cultivated alterna-brands as Karen O and MGMT sound more like some musicians having fun than anything else, and that's a real good thing. The album's title may also refer to the fresh-faced nature of these songs, not so much for the sound -- it's not groundbreaking, just great -- but more for the spirit of joyful, first-thought inspiration that pervades these sessions. That's what the Flaming Lips were always about really, a childlike abandon that was positively infectious, and it is heartening to see that well into their third decade, that excitement is not lost. [JM]

Order CD by Texting "omcdflamingembryonic" to 767825






Tumbele!: Biguine Afro & Latin Sounds from the French Carribean

"Barel Coppet et Mister Lof"
"Lola Martin"

It's funny, every time we've received a new compilation of tropical grooves in the shop in the past year, I keep saying to myself as I put it in the stereo, "There's no way this one's going to top ____" -- it's been a PHENOMENAL year for reissues in general, and particularly for fans of our international music section. That includes a wonderful resurgence in reissues of Caribbean and Trinidadian music, and damn, this collection of jams from 1963-74 is one of the best I've heard. This set focuses on the music of Guadeloupe and Martinique, on a sound called tumbélé; which combined the local biguine style (which drew heavily from Parisian hot jazz and its more trad New Orleans cousin) with the influence of the Haitian, Cuban, and Congolese musicians who were arriving on the islands around that time. Tumbélé also would grow and develop into what would, by the late 1970s, be called zouk music -- a style that would pretty much dominate the islands (and enjoy popularity in much of France as well) for the entirety of the 1980s.

The energy is infectious, but never overpowering like calypso can be; with its roots in more jazz-based modes, there's a heavier swing to the grooves here, which often combine many of the best elements of the Congolese rumba and Cuban mambo, and even hints of Latin boogaloo. There are drums aplenty for nuts like myself, balanced with great sections of horn and reed players, and often some excellent piano playing as well. Tumbélé wasn't popular for a particularly long time, but the selection on this set is fantastic, and I'm hoping we'll see a few more volumes of this stuff (or perhaps some individual artist reissues?!) in the near future. As usual with Soundway, the booklet is jam-packed with well-written, informative liners, as well as reproductions of some of the best record covers I've seen in a LONG time (check the cover of the Barel Coppet & Mister Lof LP, with the duo in full futbol gear on the playing field, instruments in hand! Badass.). Reissues like this thrill me -- they expose me to sounds I go wild for, and wish I had known about long ago. They also make me wonder if I'm going to have to double the size of my Year-End Best of list. [IQ]

Order CD by Texting "omcdvarioustumbele" to 767825






$12.99 MP3



Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

Listening to Hiroshi Watanabe's debut, Special Life, back in 2002, I came up with a name for the music that I was hearing -- posh trance. Not being derisive, I was trying to make the connection that it was trance music for people who were convinced that they didn't like trance music, and that while trance music had a large negative side there was some merit after all. I mean, who can listen to Paul Van Dyk's "For an Angel" and not feel something? Most of the time it's only our hipster good taste that prevents us from enjoying ascending arpeggios and wailing synthesizers, so here Watanabe has almost given us a get out of jail free card with his Kompakt-assured releases. Trust continues this theme mercilessly and the trance is on show just as much here as it ever was as Watanabe perseveres with his signature style. There are also elements of classic deep house (think Deep Dish or the Toko label) in the stripped down beats and bass sequences of "Nothing Could Be More Peaceful" and title track "Trust," but the overriding theme is one of arpeggiated bliss. Trust seems the perfect name, as we have to trust Watanabe not to let things get quite as cheesy as a Ministry of Sound collection, and with this full-length he keeps things at a good, credible pace (thank goodness). There are even elements of electronic pioneer (and trance Godfather?) Vangelis in Watanabe's extended, watery pad sounds and cinematic washes, and as the bass harmonizes perfectly with the sweeping chords you'll wonder why you were never into trance in the first place. [JT]

Order CD by Texting "omcdkaitotrust" to 767825






$9.99 MP3


Know Better Learn Faster
(Kill Rock Stars)

"Cool Yourself"
"Fixed It"

When I caught Thao Nguyen last year at Music Hall of Williamsburg, she was already past the whirly-go-round indie pop of her whimsical breakout record, We Brave Bee Stings and All. Instead of crowding her set with kidz boppers like "Bag of Hammers," Nguyen let her rollicking backing band, the excellent Get Down Stay Down, pour out a whiskey bottle's worth of new wound-up country songs and soul-baring...well, soul numbers. Know Better Learn Faster, Nguyen's second full-length for Kill Rock Stars, shows her maturing sonically and lyrically in both of those directions, while keeping her boys in the Get Down Stay Down tight and swaggering.

Nguyen has always been an eccentric vocalist, often preferring a good yelp or yowl to any kind of real lyric. But on the new one, she trades the wildcat theatrics for a smoky, devastating croon that teases every word. We definitely heard this coming -- last year's "Swimming Pools" single had a straight-shooting cover of Smokey Robinson's "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" as the b-side, and the result was spooky and sexy, hinting at a sultry new Thao. Thirty-second opener "The Clap" is a short, seething hymn, confirming that Nguyen and the band have been raking through southern gospel traditions, incorporating group vocals, stamping feet, and clapping hands. "Cool Yourself" is a soulful rumpus, featuring blazing horn bursts and a cheeky, charming oh-oh chorus. Thao and the band are at their most ravenous and libido-driven on "When We Swam." "Bring your hips to me/oh bring your hips to me!" Nguyen gasps, recalling the sex-driven R&B that wasn't specifically sexual, but tempting enough to taste of delicious forbidden fruit.

These new songs have the ring of autobiographical honesty about them, telling sadly of missed opportunities and rejection. The title track is a churning country-stomper that features the heartbreaking line, "I need you to be better than me." "Body," in particular, rings of coldness and bewilderment. Thao and her Get Down Stay Down may play like a summer-time band, but at their core is melancholy and frustration. Where We Brave Bee Stings and All established her as a fiery personality with blazingly good pipes, Know Better Learn Faster reveals the deep autumnal side of Thao Nguyen. [MS]

Order CD by Texting "omcdthaoknow" to 767825






$12.99 LP


In the Valley of Sickness
(Fat Possum)

"Day in the Shade"

The second effort from Alabama's Thomas Function is chock full of the catchy rock and roll that made Celebration a shop favorite last year. The young band taps into a timeless power-pop combination that teeters in and out of adolescent punk rebellion, and In the Valley of Sickness reveals a group with a bright future. Steady pumping organ and a scientifically precise application of fuzz guitar captures the teenage riot of garage rock while dipping ever so softly into both fifties pop and roots rock to capture an original and riveting sound. Heavy riffing songs with a tinge of Americana beg a Brian Jones-era Rolling Stones reference, but the bizarre specter of 1950s Frankie Avalon looms with a popcorn-pop playfulness. This is definitely the band you want playing your house party. There are many obvious reference points, from Black Lips to the Only Ones to Television to Supergrass, but ultimately Thomas Function carve out their own niche. In the Valley of Sickness packs an infectious punch, and as far as I'm concerned, that is a great thing! [BCa]

Order CD by Texting "omcdthomasin" to 767825
Order LP by Texting "omlpthomasin" to 767825






D-Funk: Funk, Disco & Boogie Grooves from Germany 1972-2002

"Dancing in the Streets" Boney M
"Magic Dance" Su Kramer

From the same fun loving label that gave you the campy Deutchsland Disco compilation from a couple of years back comes this great collection of porn-tastic underground party disco from Germany. Like the earlier release, there's a nice irreverence to the presentation and packaging of this comp, which strips all pretension away. The artists included here had a serious jones for the funk; Sly Stone, Funkadelic, George Duke and the Sunshine Band seem to be the major influences on most of the names highlighted in this collection. Cheeseslider's "Sweatmajor" is a nasty piece of incessant Sly-influenced sleaze, complete with nasty Betty Davis-styled lyrics. Charly Antolini, James Last and Fehlfarben all contribute good, solid, swinger-party go-go grooves that we all love the Germans for, and there's some great new school instrumental funk from the underrated Poets of Rhythm. There's also a healthy dose of spacey, cosmic disco courtesy of Ganymed and Su Kramer as well some good post-punk disco from Fehlfarben and Zatopek. Fans of ZE Records' Mutant Disco comps should check this one out for sure. [DH]

Order CD by Texting "omcdvariousdfunk" to 767825






Bite Harder: The Music De Wolfe Studio Sampler Volume 2
(De Wolfe)

"Street Girl" Peter Reno
"Warlock" Reg Tilsley

If you're thinking that Bite Harder is just another collection of goofy De Wolfe library music, you are right in many respects, yet this particular set plays down the goofy and ups the funky, to great effect. Feeling more inspired by the true school beat head, this is a hard-hitting selection of many yet-to-be-explored jams for the aspiring b-boy. Ten years after their first volume wooed an array of sampledelic artists from Jay-Z to Lily Allen, Gorillaz to Ja Rule, Music De Wolfe studios compiles nineteen more tracks from their vast library of music for this second edition. And it's another wild ride of psych-soul, electronic prog, Afro-rock, and deep orchestral funk. Some of the tracks included have already been used to great extent by J-Dilla, Madlib, Rhianna, Cam'ron, High & Mighty, Kool G Rap, and more. The liner notes are hilarious and insightful, with expansive and detailed descriptions of the studio/library itself, including varied amounts of info about the back-stories of the players featured here. The tracks come with description tags like "Forceful deliberate beat intro into faster racy theme" or "Heavy bass riffs with electronic effects" or even "Funky rock style with flutes," so you know the songs are going to interesting if nothing else. Once again De Wolfe delivers the goods for the rabid crate digger to salivate over. From zombie-biker themes to steel band funk, it's a tight collection of rare and off the beaten track jams. Go ahead, get your deep groove on. [DG]

Order CD by Texting "omcdvariousbite" to 767825






$9.99 CD


Crayon Angel: A Tribute to the Music of Judee Sill
(American Dust)

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

Judee Sill, overshadowed as she was back in the day by her contemporary singing cowgirls Joni Mitchell and Linda Ronstadt, is a Laurel Canyon cult figure who, only in the last few years, seems to be getting the sort of recognition that an artist of her caliber deserves. Though the first signee to David Geffen's (once-hallowed) Asylum and despite a wealth of talent and connections to boot, poor Judee's two albums were met with critical accolades and little more, and disappointment both personal and professional led to the flame out which abruptly terminated her once-promising career. Laurel Canyon's rustic-cosmic patent of the American Dream, which disintegrated largely circa 1979 when Sill herself expired, turned into a dystopian nightmare for the lost artist. However, the precocious wild child who composed from the intersection of baroque pop, pioneering Christian rock fusion (hollerback Chris Bell), and folk as surely as many of her male peers in the singer-songwriter boom deserves being recouped to pop history.

The recent Dreams Come True and Live in London / The BBC Recordings reissues were surprising enough, but new-drop Crayon Angel, full of homages from the likes of Beth Orton ("Reach for the Sky"), Frida Hyvönen ("Jesus Was a Cross Maker"), and Marissa Nadler ("The Kiss"), still feels so out of left field. With a new generation of female artists scaling the heights of Sill's most notable songs, the collection seems to sport an implicit comment that there's something akin to her spirit in the water again. Yet a standout is Daniel Rossen's spectral, beautiful take on "Waterfalls;" Bill Callahan mines some subtle funk via "For a Rainbow;" and wonderboy Nicolai Dunger's version of "Soldier of the Heart" is jazzy (in a way Marvin Gaye could appreciate) and riveting. Perhaps things are more equal in indie-land compared to the more trad -- and often throwback sexist -- canyon redux scene, but Crayon Angel could have benefited from the participation of some of the new order's leading lights -- "There's a Rugged Road" by the Bye Bye Blackbirds comes closest in woodsy wash -- and satellites (Silver Phial's singing drummer Cheryl could have held this thang down in her sleep). Anyway you can get your Sill on, though, it's all good. [KCH]

Order CD by Texting "omcdvariouscrayon" to 767825






White Lunar

"Gun Thing (The Proposition)"
"Dandy Brain Cannula (The English Surgeon)"

Being a Nick Cave fan in recent years has either become much harder or much easier. There are plenty of Bad Seeds followers who no doubt have little time for Cave's soundtrack work with Warren Ellis, but these recordings, in their sun-bleached ambient haze, have without a doubt reigned in a number of new fans. Despite the number of people purportedly creating music for imaginary movies, soundtracks are not as easy to write as some musicians might think. The pacing and sound has to fit directly with the imagery, and luckily Cave and Ellis have nailed this admirably. This double-disc set compiles their soundtrack work to date and shows the scope and power of their compositions. The first movie in the collection I managed to see was The Proposition, and Cave and Ellis' burned guitar drones and post-Americana stylings melted into the picture perfectly. The sounds matched the sizzling Australian vistas and inherent darkness of the film, and this served as a great proving ground before they began work on bigger pictures. The star of the show here is The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and again, Cave and Ellis' moody instrumentals capture the distinct melancholy and gravitas of the movie itself. Also included in the set is the duo's soundtrack to the forthcoming adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road as well as the lesser known films The English Surgeon and The Girls of Phnom Penh. The two-disc set is rounded up with a handful of pieces from the duo's archives, and each track seems to have the same attention to detail and intense quality as their better known themes. Whether you're already a fan of Nick Cave or not, this is a gorgeous bumper package of haunting soundtrack music. Highly recommended. [JT]

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$26.99 LP


Radio Experiment Rome, February 1981
(Rai Trade)

"Heathens Have No Souls"
"Born Again Cretin"

1981 was an interesting year for Robert Wyatt. The singer, songwriter, and former Soft Machine drummer hadn't released an album of his own since 1975's Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard, though he'd recently made appearances playing keyboards on Scritti Politti's "Sweetest Girl" and singing on Fictitious Sports, an album of wonderful, splintered art-funk by Carla Bley and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason. 1981 was also essentially when Wyatt went from being a beloved member of the post-hippie psychedelic counterculture elite to an inspirational figure in the post-punk political counterculture elite, when the Rough Trade label gave him the opportunity to record a few singles which brought him back onto the radar of a new generation of record buying tastemakers.

This recording, made in '81 on invitation for Italian Radio 3 when they asked him to document the inner workings of his creative process, is the key to bridging those two eras of Wyatt's career; it's also a fascinating glimpse at Wyatt in an unusually improvisational setting. Wyatt scats and croons over loops of his own voice, skittery hi-hats and off-kilter percussion patterns, and some wicked jaw harp playing, and he incorporates tape manipulation tricks and spoken monologues alongside off-the-cuff lyric experiments like some bizarre precursor to freestyle hip-hop flows or ad-hoc pickup jazz. The intense casualness of these recordings actually adds to their charm, and they seldom sound like demos or throwaways (only one piece here, "Born Again Cretin," would go on to be rerecorded in a drastically different form on a later Rough Trade single). It's very rare that we as listeners are granted access to the creative process of such a talented artist from an era before the never-ending scrutiny of the internet generation; that this release is of such high quality is even more reason to be thankful. If you're new to Wyatt, this may not be the best place to start (I highly recommend the Rough Trade singles comp Nothing Can Stop Us or his 1985 album Old Rottenhat for newbies), but with that being said, there's MUCH to enjoy for both the fans and the neophytes alike. If you ARE a fan, you're definitely going to want to check this. It rules. [IQ]

Order CD by Texting "omcdrobertradio" to 767825
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$18.99 LP



The sophomore LP from this California band takes an introspective turn, showing a newfound maturity in their songwriting and composition that adds depth to an already strong formula. A lineup change finds the core duo of the group, Van Pierszalowski and Cambria Goodwin, re-imagining the band to some extent, sharing both songwriting and singing duties, with a new set of songs that focus less on Pierszalowski's experiences as a fisherman in Alaska and more on subtle tensions in family obligations, mourning, and the loss of youth. There are still some foot-stomping shanties that pick up and propel the album between ballads, cohesively balancing the sound that got them notoriety in the first place with a deeper and broader approach. "My Will Is Good," and "Oslo Campfire" are anthems in their own right, perfect pop songs for autumn. This comes definitely recommended for fans of Modest Mouse, Neil Young, and Conor Oberst. [BCa]

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(Ecstatic Peace)

"Fear of Fear"
"The Eyes the Mouth"

The improvisational White Out duo of Tom Surgal on drums and Lin Culbertson on electronics/keys/whatever have released a series of albums over the years, always in collaboration with musicians who inspire. Two of their favorite muses have been Thurston Moore and Jim O'Rourke, and this amazing double-disc set, recorded at the Lower East Side's dear-departed Tonic (once White Out's home base), features both men, O'Rourke twiddling knobs and Moore abusing a guitar, on two extended jams that straddle the line between free jazz and outright noise, with subtlety and abandon that is rare, and thrilling. [JM]

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Wild Tracks
(Editions Mego)

"Ant Colony"
"Falling Snow"

A disc from notorious noise demon and occasional Merzbow collaborator Russell Haswell called Wild Tracks should be fairly obvious in its extreme qualities. I must admit, I ventured into the album expecting a veritable onslaught of cacophony, but within a few minutes I realized that harsh computer noise was the last thing Wild Tracks was about to provide. Instead, Haswell trades his virtual machines for insects, snow and helicopters, and uses the outside world to create the dynamics he loves in sound art. So we go from near silence to hearing a propane gas cannon and the chattering of birds, then into the whistling of a Jamaican blow-hole, the crunchy stutter of tiny footsteps in an ant colony and the buzz of wasps. It is field recording, but done in Haswell's typically mischievous guerilla style, eschewing the usual pastoral beauty of the birds and bees recordings for gunshots and aircraft engines. When the album does finally come to a close, however, we do reach a pair of quite ineffably beautiful tracks -- one of falling snow, amplified by twenty decibels and one of whistling winds. Both have a calm and solitude in their familiarity, but Haswell enhances the odder qualities giving it a spine-chilling edge impossible to ignore. Coming housed in a giant plastic handled case, this is no doubt a beguiling release but one that should amaze more on each subsequent listen. Recommended. [JT]

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Oblivio Agitatum
(Editions Mego)


His first record since 1996's Ordier, Oblivio Agitatum is the latest piece of crumbling sound-art from Wire-founder Bruce Gilbert. Given the man's esteemed history it would be facile to throw down idle comparisons, but the record seems to possess a near-industrial charm. Like Robert Hampson's recent Vectors release, Oblivio Agitatum has an academic prowess, but also a darkness and looming menace which make for an intense and deeply involving listening experience. There is little information around on how the record was created, but it sounds like various synthesized tones were recorded and re-recorded, shifting and swelling through the album. These drones are set against the sounds of dying machinery; the dark, spacious recordings could have been stripped from the underbelly of a large instrument of war. I find it impressive how Gilbert can make sounds so sparse so dangerously epic, and as the disc immerses you in its darkness it is hard not to be overwhelmed. [JT]

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Miscellaneous Mutant Mishaps - Mix
(Brutal Music)

Track 8
Track 12

Andy Votel's partner in beat diggin' crime unleashes his first solo chop-shop DJ mix for the new B-Music affiliated label Brutal Music. By now you should know their steez; 19 obscure, nameless tracks running the gamut from Turkish psychedelic fuzz to funky Tropicalia and bouncy Bollywood funk are all run through a blender and re-contextualized, giving you an acid-tinged world beat stew. The point of all this is to both expand your musical palette and to get you dancing, and Mr. Thomas accomplishes both goals with ease. Thomas' aesthetic is a bit more rock-n-roll with a touch of tech madness to Votel's crazed b-boy world beat, so expect to hear heavier guitars and weirder electronic interludes throughout. Although Thomas is just as cryptic as his cohorts regarding his musical sources, he generously allows most of these songs to play out with a minimum amount of time-stretch editing. Another winner from these crazy Mancs! [DH]

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$9.99 MP3


Barn Nova
(Ecstatic Peace)

"Summer Magic"
"Fully Tanked"

Matt Valentine and Erika Elder deliver a fresh batch of drugged, folksy grooves on the Ecstatic Peace released Barn Nova. The eight tracks crackle with a backwoods twang, but there's also a heavy, ethereal sheen throughout, resulting in an album that is equal parts Appalachian and atmospheric. The vocals are great, too, in all of their airy, meditative beauty. Perfect for fans of Brightblack Morning Light or Black Mountain.

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Music for Men

"8th Wonder"

The new Gossip album, with Rick Rubin at the helm, finds the band in their recent dance-punk guise, grooving and hollering through a series of solid new tracks. Rubin has not really helped the trio rediscover their inner soul, as he is wont to do, but the band sounds as fierce as ever, and that's not bad.

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$16.99 LP


$9.99 MP3


The House That Dirt Built

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

Granted, a modern British band making '60s soul-funk is a bit of a dicey proposition, despite the commercial, and sometimes even artistic successes of quite a few in the past couple of years. And while the Heavy's sophomore album may not be a crossover pop smash, it's actually quite good, with blaring horns, pulsing bass, raw-throated vocals and a tougher, more driving sound then on their debut. Not all of their explorations are brilliant, but overall it is a solid album for fans of the Dap-Kings, and maybe even the Famous Flames.

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[BCa] Brian Cassidy
[DG] Daniel Givens
[DH] Duane Harriott
[KCH] Kandia Crazy Horse
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[JM] Josh Madell
[MS] Michael Stasiak
[JT] John Twells

- all of us at Other Music

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