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   April 15, 2010  

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

The Drums


This Saturday, Other Music will be celebrating the third annual Record Store Day, a day in which record shops across the country, and the people who love them, celebrate their unique place in the cultural landscape. The last two years were wildly popular and once again we've got a lot of great things in store, including special gift cards and tote bags from our good friends at Converse, and lots of exclusive and extremely limited Record Store Day releases, listed here. (Please note: Other Music will have a very wide range of these special releases but may not carry everything, due to availability. Keeping in the spirit of the day, we will be selling Record Store Day items first come, first served and will not be able to reserve any of these items or sell on our website. So get here early for the best possible selection.)

11AM to 8PM (In-Store Performances begin at 9PM)

We also have a fantastic line-up of guest DJs spinning their favorite tunes throughout the day and then at 9PM, performances from the Drums and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Here's the full schedule:

1PM: Dan Hougland from Excepter
2PM: Sal P of Liquid Liquid
3PM: Nice Nice
4PM: The Hundred in the Hands
5PM: Avey Tare from Animal Collective
6PM: Scott from the National

The Drums & The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Free Admission / Limited Capacity

If you are in NYC on Saturday, we hope you can come by and see us, and no matter what town you're in, please stop by your favorite local record shop(s) and show them some love.

The Tallest Man on Earth
Johann Johannsson
Jana Winderen
Prins Thomas
Tristram Cary
Terry Riley
Sam Amidon
Freelance Whales
Elliott Smith (2 Reissues)
The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim
Speaking in Code (DVD)
This Is Dubstep Vol. 2

The Stooges (Raw Power Legacy Edition)
Passion Pit (Limited Edition)

All of this week's new arrivals.

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

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

Featuring Taketo Shimada, Tres Warren (Psychic Ills) and Spencer Herbst (Mountains of Matalamma), Messages will be marking the release of their new album After Before, out on De Stijl, performing a third-eye opening set of celestial tones and otherworldly drones.

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

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

Hot on the heels of their great new album American Gong, indie rock icons Quasi are playing the Bowery Ballroom next Thursday, April 22, with Let's Wrestle and Blair. Other Music has a pair of tickets up for grabs, so enter giveaway@othermusic.com, and we'll notify the winner via email this Friday. Good luck!!

BOWERY BALLROOM: 6 Delancey Street NYC

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

Hot Chip are playing Terminal 5 next Friday, April 23rd with local favorites Gang Gang Dance opening and we've got a pair of tickets to give away!! Just email contest@othermusic.com to enter and we'll be notifying the winner this Friday. Please note: Other Music does not assume responsibility if you or your plus-one happen to be evaporated by a laser beams shooting out of the eyes and or mouth of some deity, as what happened at this show.

TERMINAL 5: 610 West 56 Street NYC

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

Next Friday, April 23rd, White Hinterland will be performing their gorgeous, submerged pop at Mercury Lounge, along with electronic wunderkind Dosh. We're giving away a pair of tickets to this great show and to enter, just email tickets@othermusic.com. The winner will be notified this Friday.

MERCURY LOUNGE: 217 East Houston Street NYC




    Many of our customers have been enjoying the ease of texting their orders with their mobile phone. To take advantage of this option with any of the items listed below, go to subports.com where you can create your free Subports account. Afterwards, just text the corresponding subcode listed underneath each item to 767825.












"Song for Dan Treacy"
"I Found a Whistle"

It's not like MGMT have made an entirely radical shift for their sophomore album, but they are no doubt approaching their arty pop from a pretty different angle, and likely will gain quite a few new fans -- and perhaps lose many more -- from the change-up. This Brooklyn duo made good on their major-label deal with a couple of glammy electro-pop singles that carried the Dave Fridmann-produced debut Oracular Spectacular far up the charts, selling millions and making this odd art-school band mainstream stars. The leadoff single from that first album, "Time to Pretend," poked fun at rock star ambitions, and now that they have achieved -- and seemingly embraced -- many of them, the lyrical barbs are no less sharp. Congratulations continues to muse on the emptiness of fame and fortune, while musically MGMT seem to be thumbing their noses at it, or perhaps just taking advantage of their newfound security; rather than sticking to their base and producing a couple more alterna-radio-friendly singles that would secure the band's stadium status, they have delivered a single-free psychedelic pop album that is so enjoyable, it's hard to put any motives on its creation beyond simple inspiration.

Congratulations may be a genuine artistic statement, but on paper it looks like it could have been crafted by a shrewd marketing department looking to secure MGMT's cred with snooty customers like myself; produced by Spacemen 3's Sonic Boom, with tribute songs to both the Television Personalities ("Song for Dan Treacy") and Brian Eno ("Brian Eno"), a guest vocal shot from Royal Trux's Jennifer Herrema -- there is no doubt that this is fan rock, and these fans wear their influences on their sleeves. More than anything, MGMT are drawing on a love for fragile '60s and '70s U.K. art rock, from Barrett-era Pink Floyd to Bowie to the TVPs, and they have crafted a charmingly homespun album that is a great addition to the canon. Sonic Boom's production is front and center here, and the album has a rich and hazy sound, obsessively orchestrated with bubbling synths, spindly acoustic guitar, trembling strings, trilling flutes, dense vocal choruses, loads of reverb, and a wonderfully thin drum and bass sound. And the songs? Well indeed there may be no pop "hits" here, but there are plenty of hooks; these tunes are packed with twists and turns and overflowing with ideas.

In our record reviews, we always try to cover a few basic points, one of them being, "Will the fans like it?" This is a case where I honestly don't know. I think a hell of a lot of our readers will love this record, and I for one can't stop playing it, and I'm already wondering what the band's next album might sound like. But MGMT's legions of teen fans who were drawn to their earlier neon electro-hippie imagery and song craft? I will choose to think that in these modern times of musical exploration, the duo's fans will learn to bliss out and freak out and fuzz out and flip out with their heroes, and perhaps we'll sell a few more Spacemen 3, TVPs and Roxy Music albums to boot. (Limited edition CD and LP versions are packaged with a "scratch-off" cover and include a special MGMT coin to do the scratching). [JM]

Enter to win a silk screen canvas of the Congratulations album art by emailing enter@othermusic.com. Winner will need to be able pick up the canvas in person at Other Music.

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$9.99 MP3



"Gone Completely"

Remove the overt Ron Asheton riffs, Kraut-like octave jump bass lines, shuffling drums and spoke/sung rock vocals from the debut Disappears album, and you're left with room tone, feedback and ambience -- what you'd expect from a Kranky release circa 1998. But this is 2010, and Disappears are the esteemed ambient label's most overtly rocking signing in history. Already a big deal in their hometown of Chicago, the four-piece (featuring former and past members of the Ponys, 90 Day Men, and BOAS, and boasting a membership of guys who have all worked as audio engineers) released a pair of 7" singles in 2008, built up a live following, and now present Lux, 30-odd minutes of some of the best-sounding rock 'n' roll you're going to find on the shelf this year. The group really nails that broken-in leather jacket/finely aged raw denim jeans-as-sound concept, with warm, rusty, smoky guitar tones, heavy all-tube bass, and mist-concealed drumming that all add character to a number of three-minute fog/rock anthems. Disappears don't aspire to any one sound, and like many artists today, they combine aspects of any number of bands and styles from across the continuum of youth/underground culture and roll them into whatever order feels right. This review could take up the rest of the page listing all the references nicked across these ten tracks, but I'll leave you with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club getting roughed up in the alley next to a club by Wooden Shjips and Viva L'American Death Ray Music as a general idea of how this one plays out. Kick the tires on Lux and you will not regret it anytime soon; it's been a long time since anyone sounded this cool playing rock music. [DM]

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$14.99 LP


$9.99 MP3


The Wild Hunt
(Dead Oceans)

"Troubles Will Be Gone"
"Thousand Ways"

It's hard to know what to say about an album this simple, this straightforward, and this unbelievably good. Kristian Matsson has refined his early-Dylan-inspired, driving acoustic guitar folk-pop on the second full-length as the Tallest Man on Earth the old fashioned way; he wrote even better songs, and then played them with a clarity and intensity that will surprise nobody who has seen this dynamic performer on stage over the past couple of years. Really, there is nothing new here, just great, light-fingered and effortlessly intricate guitar-playing and equally deft and melodic lyricism, sung in an endearing yelp by this young Swede who writes in English more intriguingly than most native speakers even dream. Every song is a gem here, not least the live favorite "King of Spain," the spine-tingling finger picking of "Love Is All," and the one-two punch of set-opening title song "The Wild Hunt" and the beautiful ache of "Burden of Tomorrow." Making music this moving out of such simple and well-worn parts is not easy, but Matsson does it seemingly with ease -- a great record that you need in your life. (Includes a bonus CD-single of the album's "The King of Spain," featuring two additional songs, a cover of Paul Simon's "Graceland" and "Where I Thought I Met the Angels," while supplies last.) [JM]

WIN TICKETS to the Tallest Man on Earth's sold out show at NYC's Highline Ballroom this Tuesday, April 20th. Enter by emailing tickets@othermusic.com.

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Energy Distortion


The dubstep movement continues to push beyond its UK borders, now with this notable debut full-length from France's Floren Aupetit, simply known here as F, on brand new French label 7even. Aupetit's style can best be grouped with the tech-house-step sound of Scuba, Martyn, Shed or Untold, with a touch of Detroit/Basic Channel, and his productions are always exciting, filled with jiggling, intertwined digital percussion, rich synth textures, crisp snare snaps, and some nice, fluid low end. The tracks on Energy Distortion are more melodic than skeletal and replace the constant rubber-banding acrobatics usually associated with the genre for more of a solid, rhythmic sway. Most of these cuts were originally released as 12"s, so each song is able to stand on its own, and in true French style, the sound is flawless, manicured and precise -- lean and actually not that mean. My surprise of the week. [DG]

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And in the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees

"City Building"

Icelander Johann Johannsson has been an exceedingly busy man for much of the past couple decades -- as a composer for stage and screen, an occasional producer and arranger for other artists, and the author of more than a few beautiful solo works. Over his past few releases, Johannsson has gradually shifted from an understated, minimalist ethos that found him favoring lengthier passages of subtly shifting tones on albums like Viroulegu Forsetar, to a fully baroque and highly lyrical style that seeks to tell very specific stories with his music. And in the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees is the man's first album for Type, and while it focuses largely on the robust, emotional swells that have come to color his more recent output, parts of the disc are suitably understated and tastefully restrained in a way that directly calls back to his earliest compositional works. Originally intended as the score for an animated film called Varmints, these thirteen tracks still resonate with a deep intensity in the absence of any visual accompaniment. Draping haunted piano chords across backing choruses, rising strings, and delicate electronics all throughout, And in the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees once again finds Johannsson crafting resonant aural imagery in ways that few of his peers can match. [MC]

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Energy Field

"Sense of Latent Power"

Though we are treated to the sound of birds squawking away during the first few minutes of Energy Field, Jana Winderen's approach to field recording is far more meticulous and labor-intensive than simply capturing some outdoor ambiance. Winderen works mainly with hydrophones, microphones that record underwater, and these three pieces were constructed and composed using recordings that were made in the Barents Sea and greater Arctic Ocean, off the coasts of Greenland and Norway. The close-up detail Winderen captures allows these pieces to breathe like the organisms she uses as source material. While she hasn't provided a list of what exactly we are hearing this time, on previous releases Windren has revealed that fish, shrimp and other crustaceans are present. The intimate crackling sounds that make up a large section of "Aquaculture" have the distinct sound of tiny living creatures. The warmth she conveys via state-of-the-art recording techniques is fascinating, and Winderen's work brings these creatures, and various elements of their environment, right into the room with you.

Not only is Winderen a master field recordist, she also has a stellar sense of composition. Energy Field is more engaging and complex than the typical, one-dimensional field recording, exploring a depth of sound that exists in nature, yet which a single microphone could never capture. She has arranged layers of sound in a way that certain elements stand out in sharp relief, often using distant ghostly ambiance as a backdrop for the sound of splashing water and other crystal clear foreground events. The creaking floorboards and groaning wind tunnel effect achieved on "Isolation/Measurement" recall Nurse With Wound's Shipwreck Radio volumes or Salt Marie Celeste. "Sense of Latent Power" showcases the ocean itself, with its bubbling water alluding to layers of active lifeforms underneath. The latter half of this 20-minute piece sounds not unlike a dark gong drone. The fact that Winderen's raw recordings are so compelling that they need only editing, not extra effects, is a testament to the dynamic world of marine ecosystems as well as her skill as an observer. She expertly captures the sounds of a world few humans ever get a chance to experience. If you are as fascinated with Chris Watson's work as I am, Jana Winderen is just as deserving of your attention. [MM]

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Prins Thomas
(Full Pupp)

"Wendy Not Walter"

As one half of the Norwegian cosmic disco stalwarts Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, listeners might be forgiven for thinking they were gonna need to lace up a pair of silver moonboots for a night out in space for the first solo album from Thomas. But much the same way his cohort Hans Peter Lindstrøm sidestepped the obvious, dropping a proggy heavily-arpeggiated epic debut with Where You Go, I Go Too, so too does Thomas strike off on his own particular trajectory. Rather than the disco zeitgeist, we hear Thomas on a Krautrock-inspired cosmic journey, crafting a solo disc that could easily get slotted with the efforts of former Neu! guitarist Michael Rother (a high compliment indeed). Driving rhythms give way to gentle melodicism, slow crests, and gorgeous drifts of sound. To top it off, you get to hear fellow Norwegian disco-don Todd Terje play trumpet! [AB]

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It's Time for Tristram Cary

"Music for Light (Red/Green/White dubbing track)"
"Shaped for Living (Mixed Track)"

As usual with all good Trunk releases, this latest bumper anthology contains more information on British electronic pioneer Tristram Cary than you could ever possibly need. It hardly seems worth going into the musician's esteemed history in detail here, but suffice to say he developed a taste for synthesized sounds early on in his career, and was quickly snapped up by the BBC to write incidental music for the then fledgling TV series Doctor Who. What resulted was a sound that would not only come to define the longest running science fiction series of all time, but also define its in-house sound studio -- the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. While Delia Derbyshire, Dick Mills and Paddy Kingsland might have achieved more notoriety, as not being an official part of the team Cary's input is mostly forgotten -- yet he was crucial to the early sound of the show. Indeed, it was Cary who added incidental music to the Daleks -- the first appearance of those soon-to-be legendary pepper pots. On top of this Cary also lent his peculiar otherworldly vision to plenty of Hammer productions (notably Quatermass and the Pit) and advertisements, art pieces and corporate presentations (the Olivetti story is particularly good) and Trunk have been absolute darlings in compiling a good chunk of this back-catalogue here for us to consume rabidly.

Sound-wise Cary's music shouldn't surprise those with a taste for British Radiophonic sounds -- his work with the EMS synthesizer was pioneering and to hear it used here by one of the masters of the genre is inspiring to say the least. Bubbling, hissing and eerie ambience, pulsing ramped synth sequences and off-track bonkers rhythmic tape experiments are pasted together to produce music as original as it is unmatched. It's hard to compare it to much we find currently -- there are shades of the nu-synth set (Emeralds, Oneohtrix Point Never, et al.) but this is nowhere near as knowing. And there are plenty of lines to be drawn between these pieces and the more rhythmically intense work of Moondog, but the truth is that Cary was doing something truly singular, and this disc is all the more enjoyable in the knowledge of that. Hugely recommended. [JT]

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Autodreamographical Tales

"Ebony Horns"
"Long Bus Ride"

Terry Riley, one of the most innovative and influential musicians alive, has given us the gift of a journey into his subconscious mind. Autodreamographical Tales is a collection of entries from Mr. Riley's dream journal, delivered by Riley himself in a series of eloquent dream narrations, interwoven with songs inspired by the dreams as performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars. The result is a fluid yet sometimes jarring voyage, hypnotically pulling us into tales that range from insightful to surreal to bizarre. These tracks are interspersed with sections of his famous "Hook Lecture," which finds Riley speaking profoundly and poetically in a university lecture from Sydney, Australia on the magic and mystery of music, as well as performing some truly mesmerizing solo piano pieces, akin to his haunting Lisbon Concert CD. Here is a snippet of his lecture, which captures the devotion and insight of a musician fully devoted to his art: "I really do wish I could explain to you this wonderful mystery we call music, how it brings us all to our knees in something not unlike prayer, how it closes the eyes and steadies the thought, how it momentarily renders us childlike and innocent." [JC]

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$15.99 LP


$9.99 MP3


I See the Sign
(Bedroom Community)

"You Better Mind"

Sam Amidon's recipe is a simple one: take classic old-time folk, country and gospel standards from the American songbook (as well as some new standards, like R.Kelly's "Relief"), and subtly transform them, with the help of left-of-center collaborators like Nico Muhly and Doveman. Amidon's voice is world-weary and heartfelt, and the circular acoustic guitar and banjo riffs that are the basis for most of Amidon's constructions are not avant explorations. But there is a simplicity that borders on minimalism here, then fleshed out with odd orchestrations or unsettling harmonies that show Muhly's imprint. This new one follows a similar path to Amidon's previous albums, but it is his most enjoyable and accomplished, and moreover creates a magical sonic space all its own. The most hardcore traditionalists on the folk scene might not fall under this spell, but surely fans of Will Oldham or Sufjan Stevens would find much to enjoy, and there is an honesty and purity at this music's core that few could deny. [JM]

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(Frenchkiss / Mom + Pop)


I saw these guys and girl playing at my subway stop a while ago, but it wasn't until much later, upon spotting a photo of the same faces in a music blog, that I realized that I had caught Freelance Whales at one of their now-legendary train platform performances. Now at the risk of sounding jaded, the site of young indie rock buskers usually makes my skin crawl -- aren't they all supposed to be trust fund kids?! (I do sound jaded!!) But this band's sincere enthusiasm and their everything-but-the-kitchen-sink instrumentation managed to turn my frown upside down; I might have even dropped a dollar into their guitar case. The opening track of their debut CD, "Generator^First Floor" is the song I remember them playing that day, its wordless, group-sung chorus ("eh-eh-eh-eh") hung in my head for hours after. On the record the tune is given a Technicolor sheen, with buzzing electronics augmenting the hum of a harmonium and droning underneath the stereo-panned glockenspiel and banjos, but somehow it retains its folksy pop charm. Almost to a fault, Freelance Whales have ingested the past five or 10 years of indie rock, taking cues from Sufjan Stevens' rustic but intricate arrangements and Arcade Fire's flair for the dramatic, not to mention the ebullient full-band harmonies that both of these artists (and every other band these days it seems) employ. Add to this some gurgling electronics and a witty lead singer who possesses the voice of Ben Gibbard, and you get more than a few moments where you can almost imagine the Postal Service setting up shop in a barn. But it's the songs themselves that make you forget what you already know, from the gorgeous heartbreak-melancholy of "Location" to the irresistible quirky pop charms of "Kilojoules," complete with handclaps and shimmering glockenspiels. While this is not a record for jaded, heard-it-all-before listeners, indie pop lovers and open-minded fans of the aforementioned have just discovered their soundtrack to usher in the summer. [GH]

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Roman Candle


$15.99 LP


From a Basement


$17.99 LP


Roman Candle - Remastered
(Kill Rock Stars)

"Roman Candle"
"Drive All Over Town"

From a Basement on the Hill
(Kill Rock Stars)

"Let's Get Lost"
"Shooting Star"

As a Pacific Northwest native, it's hard to get away from Elliott Smith. His plaintive voice and intricate guitar playing comes down like the rain when you travel through Oregon and Washington, from most every café stereo system and friend's car, he's there right next to you when you're having a beer or picking through a used record bin. I remember waking up on my friend Brandon's floor on New Year's Day, and everybody just wanted to listen to Elliott -- like he was some kind of baroque-pop hangover balm. But for a brief period of time, before singing "Miss Misery" at the Oscars in 1998, before signing with DreamWorks Records, and before his suicide placed him firmly in the canon of mythical Evergreen songwriters who were lost too soon, Smith's records were still passed around like a handshake, and we praised his glory in whispers and fervent nods. The magic was, and still is, very real; I don't listen to him as much as I used to, kind of the way that I don't spin Revolver as much as I used to. But when I do visit the chapel that has become Elliott Smith, I still get chills from the heavenly swells of multi-track harmonies, Alex Chilton-isms, and that wounded, crackling voice.

Arguably, Smith's most beloved albums came out on the Olympia, Washington indie label Kill Rock Stars (who put out Elliott Smith, Either/Or, and the posthumous release New Moon), and the label has spent years working hard to maintain Smith's legacy. Now, with the re-release of Smith's debut, Roman Candle (originally on Cavity Search), and the first posthumous record, From a Basement on the Hill (originally an ANTI- Records release), they have consolidated Smith's entire catalog save the two DreamWorks albums. One of the more notable items of importance to come from this game of record company politics is the re-mastering of Roman Candle, courtesy of Larry Crane, who is the editor of Tape Op Magazine and the archivist for Smith's family. Crane removes some of the more alarming squeaks and rattles from Elliott's close-mic'd playing style, and for a vast majority of his fans, this is a very good thing -- that infernal noise made from sliding your finger roughly against a guitar string, that strange hiss that results from multi-tracked hard consonants? Most of them are gone or softened to the point of being background ambience even on loud listens. Conversely, this will be a major sore spot for some Smith fans, who have become so intimate with his records that every squeak is an inexorable part of the whole, and perhaps enjoy his music partially for the sense that each listen feels like eavesdropping.

The songs on the debut, like the standout "Condor Avenue," are resilient and defiant as ever. The "No Name" tracks that make up half of the record retain their melodic surface charm and delicacy while Smith's lyrics effectively communicate the spitfire and rage just underneath. As for the first post-suicide record, From a Basement on the Hill, it remains one of the scariest and most crushing albums in pop music history. The dissonant, crunchy opening of "Coast to Coast" is the antithesis of the bright chord that kicked off The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night." Smith's crackling voice and distorted guitar sound like instruments engaged in a final battle with themselves, and on "Don't Go Down" Smith channels his "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" to even greater effect. And yet there was also ample indication on From a Basement on the Hill that a different Elliott Smith was struggling to emerge, full of renewed vigor to complete his best album and get clean; it's evident in his lyrics: "I feel pretty, pretty enough for you/I felt so ugly before, I didn't know what to do." And then...well, you know the rest. [MS] (Reissued 2010)

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The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim
(El / Cherry Red)

"Desafinado" - Joao Gilberto
"Chega de Saudade" - Trio Nago

This is a lovely collection of songs penned by Jobim, whose impact and influence on music in Brazil and beyond could not be overestimated. He, alongside Joao Gilberto, is one of the founding fathers of bossa nova, as well as a great innovator in jazz and Brazilian popular music. The compilation opens with a definitive version of the sunny, sensuous classic Desafinado sung by Joao Gilberto, and continues with a splendid collection of Brazilian artists performing early versions of Jobim's work, including Lenita Bruno's romantic operatics, the smooth and jovial organ of Walter Wanderley, and gorgeous vocals by the tragically short-lived Silvia Telles, whose voice perfectly mirrors the moods of Jobim's compositions. Play this one loudly and often to celebrate the warm breeziness of spring, as the bitter cold of winter melts into a distant memory. [JC]

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Risco Connection
(Musica Paradiso)

"It's My House"
"Sitting in the Park"

Operating out of Kingston during the late '70s and early '80s, Risco Connection was the brainchild of legendary Studio One drummer Joe Isaacs, who produced these sought after 12-inches. The studio group specialized in making sunny, mid-tempo reggae covers of popular disco songs that ended up being huge crossover tunes, especially in UK and NYC roller boogie clubs. Their cover of McFadden & Whitehead's "Ain't No Stoppin Us Now" ("Version" included here) was also a big tune at the Loft and a fave of Larry Levan's as well, and I personally remember hearing a lot of these tracks on pirate radio in Manchester when I visited there for the first time in the mid-'80s. This CD collects most of the band's 12-inch releases tacking on a few nice, dubby originals, some of the highlights being their breezy cover of Diana Ross's "It's My House," Inner Life's "I'm Caught Up" and a lovely re-make of Billy Stewart's soul classic, "Sitting in the Park." Each track has a breezy, funky vibe, much like the Caribbean-infused sounds emanating out of Compass Point Studios at the time, and original tunes such as "Argument" have a dark, Bullwackies-styled vibe thrown in for good measure. Every song here is a winner making this one of those no-brainer purchases for the summer. Any fan of reggae, leftfield disco, Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, short shorts, clams on the half-shell, roller skates, sunshine, etc...step right up! [DH]

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(Speaking in Code)

When Other Music closed our Cambridge store we left some good friends behind, including David Day, who had relocated to Boston from our New York store to manage the new shop and, with his wife Amy Grill, ended up staying long after we had split town. David found another job in the music industry, and also became very involved in promoting techno -- particularly minimal German techno -- in the rock town of Boston. Actually, techno became somewhat of an obsession for David, and turning Boston (and by extension all of America) onto these somewhat obscure Euro grooves became his overriding mission. David's obsession, and the artists that he was obsessed with are the focus of this engaging new documentary by Amy Grill.

Amy and David set out to explore in the film why this music, which originated in the American Midwest, is relegated to such a second-class status in the U.S. today, while many of the same artists play to huge crowds throughout Europe, and moreover, they wanted to put a human face on the often cool, robotic sounds of the music. To that end, Grill has done a wonderful job. The doc focuses on several aspects of the European techno community, with much behind-the-scenes footage and thoughtful interviews with most of the key players from Kompakt (including Michael Mayer and Wolfgang Voigt), Ellen Allien and the Bpitch Control crew, and many more. But the real excitement comes through in-depth features on a few different players that are woven through the film, including Modeselektor, Monolake and the Wighnomy Brothers. Modeselktor may hew closest to what you would expect a German production duo to be -- they seem like really nice, fun German dudes who love music and love to party. But Gabor Schablitzki and Sören Bodner of Wighnomy Brothers are something else entirely, a pair of open-hearted, chubby elfin hippies living in a sort of a commune in the quaint central German town of Jena, alternating vodka-fueled weekends DJing around Europe with quiet simplicity at home. And Robert Henke (Monolake) is perhaps the most fascinating, a smiling, energetic, endlessly creative man who, besides producing his own music, is one of the main software developers of the hugely successful Ableton Live program which has become an essential tool for many live electronic music performers, as well as numerous other related software and hardware tools and art projects, etc. The passion that drives these different characters is the lifeblood of this film, and their stories are often surprising and emotional.

But the main story that defines this movie is the passion of Grill and Day, and through Grill's narration and Day's on-screen portrayal, we see their relationship grow, as they throw themselves into this music, and we also see it splinter. As David becomes more involved in Boston nightlife and promoting live events and after-parties at a loft the couple rents, and Grill throws herself into this film, while both continue to struggle at full-time day jobs, the pair run up huge credit card debt and grow increasingly estranged. It's an unusual, unflinching depiction of a relationship under serious stress, and raises some interesting questions, as the couple's own deep passions in some ways seem to destroy their own lives, as they often elevate those of the heroes we see in parallel. Of course many of the artists profiled also speak at length about the many sacrifices they must make for their art and the lifestyle that accompanies it, and in many ways this sacrifice is really the central story of Speaking in Code. [JM]

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This Is Dubstep Vol. 2
(Get Darker)

"EyeTunes" - Benga
"Could This Be Real" - Sub Focus (Joker Remix)

Get Darker's second installment of this series gathers 40 more big-room directed dubstep tunes that are guaranteed to raise your blood pressure and play havoc on your eardrums. Starting off with a killa Caspa remix of Breakage's "Hard," the high-octave rumblings and warping bass are a constant throughout the double-disc set, nicely summing up the last two years of bouncy, dubby dance music. Featuring established and championed names like Benga, Skream and Distance, as well as newcomers like Ikonika and Joker (to name a few), the collection moves from serious and heavy to, at times, fun and goofy -- there are some occasional amazing moments as well. Not counting the Rinse series, this is one of the most ravey, club-oriented comps that I've heard recently, and while it's not for your casual dubstep fan, it is a great way for the non-vinyl-buying enthusiast to play catch-up. [DG]

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Raw Power Legacy Edition
(Columbia Legacy)

MP3 Clip
MP3 Clip

Iggy's (and Stooges purists) extreme dislike of David Bowie's mix of Raw Power is legendary, and Iggy eventually re-mixed it himself back in 1997 for the CD reissue, pushing the needle waaaaay into the red. That said, others have made the case that the thin, trebly mix of the original LP -- and more importantly, of course, the ferocious rock 'n' roll nihilism of the Stooges -- laid the sonic groundwork for the punk era. And now we find the ball back in Mr. Stardust's court, well sort of, the "Legacy Edition" making Bowie's mix available once again, albeit in newly re-mastered form (most noticeably present here is a little more bottom end). The bonus disc is the real draw for fans though, featuring some of the better sounding live recordings of the Stooges, captured during a 1973 performance in Atlanta, as well as two outtakes from the Raw Power sessions.

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Manners - Limited Edition

"Little Secrets"
"Moth's Wings"

With a huge spring tour now underway including a top spot at Coachella tomorrow, Passion Pit's indie-electro pop masterpiece gets a deluxe re-working, with new album art and three bonus tracks: stripped-down versions of "Sleepyhead" and "Moth's Wings," and a live-favorite cover of the Cranberries "Dreams."

Order CD by Texting "omcdpassionmannersdeluxe" to 767825
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[AB] Adrian Burkholder
[JC] Jo Colagiacomi
[MC] Michael Crumsho
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[DH] Duane Harriott
[JM] Josh Madell
[MM] Marc Moeller
[DM] Doug Mosurock
[MS] Michael Stasiak
[JT] John Twells

- all of us at Other Music

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