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   December 2, 2010  

This month is Other Music's 15th Anniversary and we've kicked off the celebration with a Sale on 100 of our Top Selling CDs of 2010, which runs through December 31. You'll see all of these releases prominently displayed in the shop and listed on the Charts page of our mailorder website. Stay tuned for more anniversary event announcements in the coming weeks and thank you for a great 15 years!

We also hope that we can make your holiday shopping for the music lover in your life a little easier. Consider an Other Music Gift Certificate, which is redeemable for purchases made both in the store and from our CD/LP website. You can buy a gift certificate in the shop, or purchase one on-line by going to: www.othermusic.com/giftcertificates.html
There are Gift Certificates available for Other Music's MP3 download site as well, in $25, $50 and $100 increments.
Soft Moon
The Good Ones
Orange Juice (Box Set)
Group Doueh (Limited LP)
Brownswood Electric (Various)
Street & Gangland Rhythms
Chrisma (2 LPs)
Baby, How Can It Be (Various)
Sonny Burns
Rikki Ililonga & Musi-O-Tunya
Tabu Ley Rochereau
William Tyler
Worth the Weight: Bristol Dubstep Classics
13th Floor Elevators
Neon Judgement (Early Tapes LP)

Dum Dum Girls (7")
The Concretes
Russian Futurists


Dark Day

All of this week's new arrivals.
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DEC Sun 28 Mon 29 Tues 30 Wed 01 Thurs 02 Fri 03 Sat 04

We've been loving Stornoway's Beachcomber's Windowsill since its release on 4AD earlier this year, and if you have been too, we would bet that you're thinking about their Bowery Ballroom gig tonight (Thursday, December 2nd). We've got two pairs of tickets up for grabs, just email giveaway@othermusic.com, and we'll notify the two winners by noon time today.

BOWERY BALLROOM: 6 Delancey Street NYC

DEC Sun 05 Mon 06 Tues 07 Wed 08 Thurs 09 Fri 10 Sat 11

This Monday, indie super-group the New Pornographers play their last North American show of the year in New York City before heading over to UK and we've got two pairs of tickets to give away! Rounding out the bill is Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, need we say more?! To enter, email tickets@othermusic.com, and we'll notify the two winners this Friday.

TERMINAL 5: 610 West 56 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 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.






$14.99 LP


$9.99 MP3


The Soft Moon
(Captured Tracks)

"Breathe the Fire"

After a couple of teaser singles, Soft Moon's debut album firmly cements Luis Vasquez in the upper echelon of punk-gaze romantics. Soft Moon inhabit the same dark and alluring soundworld as that of Moon Duo/Wooden Shjips but the influences are vastly different. Rather than mining Spacemen 3/psych, he draws from '80s post-punk, synth wave and occasionally tips his hat to the Mary Chain. Supposedly Vasquez grew up in the Mojave Desert and it shows as the music is post-apocalyptic but less cold and blackened, and not without hope; instead I'm feeling radiating heat and the urgent need to wear black shades. The ingredients are minimal (hooky basslines, synth swirls, motorik drums) but the outcome is vastly expansive, and the best driving music since Neu! Let's make this dude rich and famous so we don't have to see this reissued as some lost "minimal synth" classic 25 years from now. We have very limited quantities of the special edition red vinyl LP with so act fast (and for the Captured Tracks diehards, we also have a few copies of the limited clear vinyl version of Land and Fixed, the most recent Blank Dogs record...both are limited to 500!) [AK]

Order CD by Texting "omcdsoftmoonsoft" to 767825
Order LP by Texting "omlpsoftmoonsoft" to 767825






$9.99 MP3


Kigali Y' Izahabu
(Dead Oceans)


The Good Ones are a group of Rwandan musicians playing bare-bones street music in the city of Kigali. Simple guitar songs strung through with plaintive folk melodies, this recording paints a rather vivid picture of daily life in this part of Africa, with the kind of casual "I have all the time in the world" vibes that allow endearingly local songs to unfold with a free afternoon and a jury rigged guitar. There's a lot to be drawn to here, but paradoxically it's not really the music itself as much as its evocative nature. East African guitar music has been well-documented for the past 80 years or so (and this no-frills recording could just as well have been made by Hugh Tracey in 1952), but to sit down with a group of pretty songs in album form made from no means whatsoever is in turns inspiring and heart-wrenching. A lucid reminder of music boiled down to its essence, the Good Ones make songs so universal that they could have originated and been recorded anywhere from Haiti to Mozambique to Papua New Guinea without much noticeable difference musically. There is always room for a record like this to make its way into the public eye, even if just to remind us of the powerful essence of folk music. [SG]

Order CD by Texting "omcdgoodkigali" to 767825






Coals to Newcastle

"Holiday Hymn (Peel Session)"
"I Guess I’m Just a Little Too Sensitive"

This band, quite simply, is one of the most important forefathers of what you could call "modern indie" music, yet Orange Juice have remained unfairly obscure and repeatedly overlooked in the annals of rock and pop history. That changed with the publication of Simon Reynolds' post-punk history book Rip It Up and Start Again, which was named after a lyric from OJ's biggest UK chart hit, and which featured a chapter on the band as a key ingredient to the movement's development. A series of CD reissues of the group's albums have remained out of print since the mid '90s, but Domino comes to the rescue with Coals to Newcastle, a stunning, impressive box set of the band's entire recorded discography. Included are six CDs documenting Orange Juice's evolution from scrappy, world weary yet culture savvy kids recording barbed-wire pop to refined, polished craftsmen, fusing the jangle of the Byrds, the razor sharp intensity of the Buzzcocks, and the disco-soul throb of Chic into a sound that became heavily co-opted by a series of manufactured imitators in the mid-to-late 1980s up through today, yet whose brilliance ended up in chart success for people other than the band itself. Tying it all together are Edwyn Collins' multilayered witticisms, filled with self-deprecation, in-the-know cultural winks, and a voice that remains wholly inimitable and instantly recognizable after 30 years.

Many people swear by Orange Juice's early singles recorded for the Scottish Postcard label and often give short shrift to the rest of the group's catalogue. That's a damn shame, because in my opinion, OJ really found their wings in the higher production budgets of the Polydor years. Each of their studio albums, much like the Talking Heads, represent pieces of a larger puzzle, where the band finds its roots in rhythm. The early singles are here via the Glasgow School compilation, and each of the group's Polydor records -- You Can't Hide Your Love Forever, Rip It Up, Texas Fever and The Orange Juice -- are expanded editions, including every period single mix, extended 12" version, dub mixes, b-sides, and even a host of alternate mixes, limited flexi disc cuts, and live tracks, many of which have never been on CD before, even in the previous Polydor CD editions. If that weren't enough, there's also another disc featuring BBC and Peel Session recordings and a DVD reissue of the excellent DaDa with the Juice video that was released after the band's breakup, which takes a great live concert and supplements it with odd studio-filmed footage of the band in Monkees-style shenanigans. Also on the DVD are the group's two music videos (including a great, bizarre Derek Jarman-directed version of "What Presence!" from their last record), as well as four performances from The Old Grey Whistle Test. And of course, there's a nice thick booklet with photos, press clippings, interviews, and the like.

I know it's a lot to take in if you're new to the band. For what you're getting, though, the price is quite nice, and this is the sort of group that finds you in or out -- I'm not sure I've ever met a casual Orange Juice fan, quite honestly. These records remain some of the best pop documents of the 1980s, and with Coals to Newcastle, the group finally gets the treatment they deserve. I seriously cannot recommend this one more highly. Essential. [IQ]

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Beatte Harab
(Sublime Frequencies)

Group Doueh's third album finds the Mauritanian ensemble delving even deeper into a stern, minimal, trance-like groove, continuing in a vector far removed from the blown out, borderline exploitational vibes present on Doueh's coveted debut, Guitar Music from the Western Sahara. For many reasons, this latest outing (as with the second album, Treeg Salaam) rings with a more intense vibe than a bunch of distortion could provide. Doueh plays guitar and a three-stringed lute called a tinidit, backed by vocalist Halima, her cries cutting right across the top of this dazzling, intricate display, and her finger-twisting abilities on the ardin, a harp traditionally played by women. The Sublime Frequencies titles of the vinyl series -- at least those that focus on guitar ensembles of Africa -- have benefited from a greater attention to detail, courtesy of SF honcho Hisham Mayet, who has taken to recording these groups himself rather than rely on existing tapes. What we're getting is the truth of how these groups sound in light of Western technology, and the result is positively mesmerizing, traditional music of the region played with blinding speed and care, music that overpowers you not by force but by its will. While not the most immediate of Doueh's three records, Beatte Harab has the most staying power, and blossoms after a few listens into an unforgettable experience. As with most Sublime Frequencies vinyl, you're not going to have too long of a window to find out for yourself via ownership of your own copy. Step on it, understand the music of a wholly different world than your own, and be dazzled by its beauty to the contrary. [DM]

Order LP by Texting "omlpgroupbeatte" to 767825






$21.99 LPx2


Modeselektion Vol. 1

"The Assistant Manager" Feadz
"Say Stupid Things" Bok Bok

While some choose to promote themselves as DJs, focusing on a narrow style of music as their calling card, BPitch Control super duo Modeselektor had the foresight and wisdom to dub themselves selectors instead, implying a broader, open playing field from which they can draw their inspiration. With their new mix CD Modeselektion Vol.1, released on their own Monkeytown Records label (no relation to the dearly missed Brooklyn culinary/cultural hub), the duo makes full use of the freedom their name allows by crafting a very different mix from what their own album output to date would have us expect. Stepping away from their back catalogue of chopped up, crunky, fat bass, dancehall/hip-hop/experimental techno hybrid (all great, btw) they went and made a deliciously melodic mix CD that sidesteps all chillout room cliché. This is serious, high-quality melodic stuff that brings to mind classic Aphex Twin while sounding completely fresh and up to date. The cyber-melodic Rephlex artist Cylob even makes an appearance, as well as a relatively laidback track from Ramadanman ("Pitter") and a killer cut from Bok Bok ("Say Stupid Things") that starts slow then kicks into dubstep tempo halfway through.

Not to spark an in-house rivalry, but I'll even go as far as to say that this one has one-upped the recent, (also exceptional) mix from their BPitch labelmate Apparat. Modeselektion features a dynamic variety of melodies and textures (rather than the usual continuum) that makes it almost too interesting for a dance mix. That, plus the high quality of the selections will have listeners too busy grabbing for the CD case to check the track listing to stay busy on the dancefloor. (I know that sounds like a very "straight off the press quote" but it happens to be true.) This is a perfect Modeselektor Back to Mine type mix. Very personalized, special, varied and obviously featuring many favorite cuts spun for friends dancing in the apartment, in stocking-feet perhaps, at the perfect volume to allow for the occasional shout across the room: "Hey, nice track! Who did this one?" [SM]

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Order LP by Texting "omlpmodeselektormode" to 767825






Brownswood Electric

"Computa Love" B. Bravo
"Let Me Love You Forever" Eliphino

Gilles Peterson's Brownswood label rounds out the year with an international collection of contemporary underground electronic artists. Unlike many of the hyper-genre-specific comps released of late, Brownswood Electric doesn't focus on just one sound, but highlights many newcomers to the scene that have yet to be given wide attention, and across the fifteen tracks, a broad picture of the current vibe in instrumental electronic music is fully presented. The most recognizable name here is Mount Kimbie, yet the selection also includes fresh cuts from up-and-comers devonwho, Hypno, Von D, B. Bravo, Mosca and many more. From house to dubstep, UK funky to glitchy R&B re-edits, downtempo beats to soulful IDM, the music and sequence is excellent. If you've gone through the wealth of Soul Jazz compilations, or are just looking for some fresh, sophisticated, jazzy and soulful sounds, this will sooth your yearnings. A surprising collection that will invite you into a great listening experience and give you some artists to keep track of in the months to come. If you've been loving James Blake, Mount Kimbie, Flying Lotus, or Scuba, you will no doubt groove to this set as well. [DG]

Order CD by Texting "omcdvariousbrownswood" to 767825






Street and Gangland Rhythms: Beats and Improvisations by Six Boys in Trouble

I was walking round the corner, and who did I see?
A fat la-lady, looking at me.
I turned around, and who did I feel?
A great Gugamuga -- Let me out of here!
Sapphire... bring my food!
Put it on the table with my new shoe,
Oh no, not on the dew.
Baby, baby, baby, you got the flu,
Well I don't know who got the flu,
but I don't know what Calvin wanna do.

It's a great day to see this in print again at long last; originally released by Folkways in 1959, Street and Gangland Rhythms has long been one of the most coveted and interesting records in that label's vast catalog. It features the sounds of a half-dozen 11- and 12-year-olds from the streets of Harlem, as they jam out on their bongo drums and rhythm sticks, make up nonsensical stories, compose rhymes, sing their own versions of songs from the radio, and just generally get creative and play. It's amazing to witness a child's logic in action throughout this recording, even as the themes they reference reflect an adult reality (cops getting shot, gang fights, and bank robberies), but they still find pleasure in the sounds of crazy words like Zum Zum, Gugamuga, Zigo, and Boogie-Woogie. It's been said that in these grooves you can hear the foundation of what would become hip-hop nearly twenty years later, but I'll leave that to the social scientists and ethnographers to figure out. What counts most is that this is ultimately a sweet and charming listen, a one-of-a-kind snapshot of a moment long faded. [MK]

Order LP by Texting "omlpnvariousstreet" to 767825



Chinese Restaurant




Chinese Restaurant


From out of the blogosphere (where else?) comes these two totally unique '70s artifacts, and it's safe to say that the first two albums by Chrisma are wholly different than just about anything in your collection. The group was a duo of husband and wife Maurizio Arcieri and Christine Moser. Arcieri was the frontman for New Dada, a successful beat group in his native Italy that toured with the Beatles in 1965, and then enjoyed a solo career. What could have possessed him to predict the future? From the sound of things, a combination of Eno's solo albums, exposure to Krautrock, and Italy's vibrant progressive rock scene pushed the duo to form Chrisma, one of the first wavo offerings in the country. Picked up by producer Niko Papathanassiou (Vangelis' brother, and a staff producer at Polydor), Chrisma cut two albums in late-'70s London, falling in line with the new guard of Italian punk and new wave alongside groups like Rancid X and the Confusional Quartet, but more technologically savvy and forward-thinking than their compatriots.

Chinese Restaurant was recorded in 1977, but given the range of sounds and influences within (cited on closing track "Thank You," which lists everyone from Lonnie Donegan to Neu!, Iggy Pop to Brian Jones, Roxy Music to Sha Na Na), it could have more reasonably have been a product of the past decade, a forward-thinking blend of gloomy cabaret and synth treatments, ice-cold rock, motorik rhythms, and breathless erotica. 1979's Hibernation is more polished, less experimental, but just as winning as it is all over the place, displaying more of an integrated sound of the times (there's a pronounced Blondie feel to "Aurora B," crossed up with national pop sensibilities that would help the song gain airplay), nods towards dance music (the irresistible "Gott Gott Electron" and "We R" were tailor-made for today's minimal synth frost queens), the sort of abrasive drum-machine punk ("So You Don't" might pass as a Big Black demo), and many of the other variants that made their debut so great. These are totally crazy records and will appeal to a very wide cross-section of all you out there looking for an adventurous, yet familiar listen. Both LPs are pressed on colored vinyl in a numbered edition of 500 copies, so don't hesitate on either. [DM]

Order Chinese Restaurant LP by Texting "omlpchrismachinese" to 767825
Order Hibernation LP by Texting "omlpchrismahibernation" to 767825






Baby, How Can It Be?

I suppose if you get right down to it, most, if not all, significant human experience can be traced back to love, lust, or contempt -- or at least that's the flimsy theory I'm sticking with for now. The three discs that make up this sixteenth release by Atlanta's mighty Dust-to-Digital contain evidence in support of my arm-chair theory, each one representing one of the three aforementioned themes; this set is a compendium of the best and worst humanity has to offer, all of it swimmingly entertaining. All 66 tracks of Cajun, blues, old time, Irish, jazz, Hawaiian, folk, and nearly every other flavor of early 20th century American music contained was pulled from the collection of East River String Band member John Heneghan and solicitously compiled for this release by Heneghan and DTD's Lance Ledbetter.

Even to diehard fans/collectors of this music, there are many surprises, and even old favorites will be new again. Of the many standouts, some of the most inspiring, by theme, include... LOVE: Davey Miller's "My Pretty Little Indian Napanee" -- as touching a pan-cultural love letter as you're likely to find. Fletcher Henderson's "Then I'll Be Happy" -- a hot jazz jumper with lyrics showcasing obsession as a blissfully uplifting means of coping with life's ups and downs. LUST: Bernie Cummins' "Minnie the Mermaid" -- I'm a sucker for any "goings on at the bottom of the sea" number, especially one that features a penny whistle solo and stride piano. The Virginia Four's "I'd Feel Much Better" -- If you ever wondered what the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet would sound like doing blue material about "crankin' the hole," this is the song for you. Cliff (the voice of Jiminy Cricket) Edwards -- "If You Can't Land Er on the Old Veranda" -- sage love advice from an obvious master of carnal affairs. CONTEMPT: (again!) Cliff Edward's "How Can You Look So Good" -- the master returns with a ditty reinforcing the old adage "you can't judge a book by its cover." Bill Carlisle's "I'm Wearin' the Britches Now" -- a deeply troubled man reclaims "control" from his lousy sow with outerwear... over flat-picking. Bertha Chippie Hill's "Some Cold Rainy Day" -- a predictive blues meditation about a rejecting ex's certain fate (or is it a self-reflection?), likely to be met with nothing but CONTEMPT.

There is so much more fun on these discs than there is room to write about here, so you'll have to take my word for it and grab one -- it will keep you humming through the love, lust, and contempt that you encounter this holiday season and beyond. [KC]

Order CD by Texting "omcdvariousbaby" to 767825






Satan's a' Waitin'

"I'm Not Long for This World"
"Heartbroken Me (with George Jones)"

Hard-edged, honky-tonk musings from one of George Jones' old drinking buddies, Sonny Burns. Despite cutting a ton of solid tracks, he's somewhat unfairly languished in obscurity, but this stellar comp on Righteous should go some ways toward rectifying that. This is the best kind of '50s country music, totally unadorned, no frills, no nonsense stories that seem to plumb the very depths of human misery and male/female interpersonal relationships. Country music can get dark, but Burns really takes it there, even a cursory glance at the song titles gives some indication -- "I'm Not Long for This World," "Girl of the Streets," "Waltzing with Sin," "Heart Like a Dollar," "Satan's a' Waiting," not to mention one of my favorites, "Six Feet of Earth," featuring the amazing lines:

When the grim reaper
knocks on your door/
he don't inquire
if you're rich or poor/
and it makes no difference
if you're loved or despised/
six feet of earth makes us all the same size.

This kind of stuff makes Hank Williams sound positively optimistic! The real deal right here folks... [MK]

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$51.99 LPx3


Dark Sunrise

"Dark Sunrise"
"Sansa Kuwa"

Now-Again Records deliver a wicked, stunning collection of Zambian psych-rock king Rikki Ililonga's early years, appropriately titled Dark Sunrise. This set collects the debut album of Ililonga's first group Musi-O-Tunya, as well as his first two solo albums, which see the man regarded as the Godfather of Zamrock kicking out his jams in a one-man band, recording all of the parts and playing all of the instruments himself. Musically, this stuff is KILLER, fusing together the junkyard funk of the Chrissy Zebby Tembo record so beloved amongst OM staff with a strain of dark voodoo psychedelia similar to 1970s Donald Byrd or electric Miles Davis records like Dark Magus or Get Up with It, which were in turn influenced by the voodoo boogie of Jimi Hendrix. This music also carries important cultural significance, as these three albums were the first pop albums released in Zambia after its independence; the sound of liberation is all over these recordings, and the songs cry, scream and shout as much as they rejoice. This stuff is deep, it's funky, and it's trippy as hell. If you've banged your head or shook your ass to the sounds of Zebby Tembo, Witch, or Amanaz in the past year, this is required listening. The candid, in-depth interview with Ililonga in the accompanying booklet is also invaluable, as it paints a picture of a man who was culturally subversive and inventive in equal measure. I haven't uttered these words in a long time, but damn, it's necessary here: Afro Jam of the Year. It really doesn't get much better than this, folks. [IQ]

Order CD by Texting "omcdcdrikkidark" to 767825
Order LP by Texting "omlprikkidark" to 767825






$19.99 MP3


Voice of Lightness Vol. 2
(Sterns Africa)

"Ponce Pilate"

This is the second two-CD set from Sterns celebrating the legacy of Congolese soukous innovator Tabu Ley Rochereau. While the first volume catalogued his undeniably sublime '60s and early-'70s rumba records, this installment takes us through the late '70s and '80s, when Rochereau was able to break out of the shadow of Franco, the "Grand Maitre" of Congolese music, and truly define himself as an artist. Part of Rochereau's greatest legacy is that of helping to refine the sound of modern soukous, wherein traditional Congolese music, rumba, and the rapid-fire rhythms of cavacha were mixed into a large band setting and recorded in professional European studios. Rochereau's band, the Afrisa International, ballooned to over 20 members and performed legendary residencies in Nairobi and Paris in the early '80s. This practice, and Rochereau's unflinching demands as bandleader (and a notorious perfectionist; band members were disposable if they couldn't keep up with him and thus the lineup changes quite a bit between records), led to some of the most energetic and uniquely dynamic pop music that Africa has ever produced. With lilting melodies, complex guitar interplay (often four to six crispy electric guitars deep) and hiccupy syncopated drumming, the music of Rochereau is ceaselessly infectious and consistently beautiful. Many of the later songs on this collection feature the synthesizer and programmed drums so often dismissed or seen as a threat to the "authenticity" of African music (mostly by listeners who like to create their own picture of what that might mean theoretically while ignoring reality), but Rochereau always kept his music pure and tasteful, with the majestic horn crescendos and huge song-swerving breaks that define his best songs of any era. This is blueprint level Afro-pop, sunny and gorgeous, resplendent with a transparent talent for harmony, composition and perseverance. It's the sound of a particularly timeless music, and an importantly overdue dedication to the most creative period of one of Africa's musical giants. [SG]

Order CD by Texting "omcdcdtabuvoice2" to 767825






$15.99 LP


$9.99 MP3


Behold the Spirit
(Tompkins Square)

"Terrace of the Leper King"
"The Green Pastures"

An ever-present but soft-stated sense of grandeur coupled with a constantly creative set of arrangements make Nashville guitarist William Tyler's Behold the Spirit far and away the best acoustic guitar-centered album I've heard in a long while. In fact, it might possibly be the best collection of new music thus far released by the venerable Tompkins Square label, which is saying quite a lot. Tyler has a pretty jaw-dropping CV, having been, at the relatively young age of 30, either a member of or a collaborator with Lambchop, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Silver Jews, Bobby Bare, and Charlie Louvin amongst many others. His debut release from last year under the Paper Hats moniker was pleasant, but didn't really prepare me for the majesty that comes across on this album. He's certainly studied John Fahey's catalog, and amply displays the chops that show it, but he's really breathing new life into the genre, with a fine, comforting melodic sense that practically envelops you like your favorite blanket. Tracks like "Cult of the Peacock" are brought into focus with a soaring pedal-steel to offset Tyler's intricate picking, and throughout there's a palpable sense of contemplative space that's totally refreshing. Just a great, immediate listen, and a total lock on my list of top new releases of the year. [MK]

Order CD by Texting "omcdwiliambehold" to 767825
Order LP by Texting "omlpwiliambehold" to 767825






Worth the Weight: Bristol Dubstep Classics
(Punch Drunk)

"Qawwali" Pinch
"The Grind" Peverelist

Though London may be recognized as the birthplace of dubstep, Bristol is where the dub element is fully represented. The city has always had a history of bass music from the days of Y Records (Pop Group, Pigbag) through the mid-'90s era of Massive Attack and Roni Size, to the current crop of producers and labels running the local sound systems that include Pinch's Tectonic, Skull Disco crew (Appleblim, Peverelist, Gatekeeper), and Punch Drunk run by Rob Smith (Smith & Mighty, RSD). Worth the Weight is a two-CD comp featuring tracks from the last few years that have become established classics within the dubstep canon, all from the city of Bristol. Joker's "Holly Brook Park" and Pinch's "Qawwali" get rotation next to selections from Guido, Headhunter, Gemmy and many more. Tight and tough beats, dub effects, ethnic infusion, and lots of low-end bass is the formula here, with great results throughout. Bristol may be the second city to London, but to me, it has always been the birthplace of some of the best dub-influenced music through the years, and this comp nicely showcases the current state of the vibrant and still valid scene. [DG]

Order CD by Texting "omcdvariousworth" to 767825






$9.99 MP3


(Ectopic Ents)

"Ballad of Sisyphus T. Jones"
"O Putrid Sun (For Yuko)"

This has been one of JG Thirlwell's strongest years musically, with his excellent instrumental Manorexia album for Tzadik and now this record coming out as its stunning vocal counterpoint. In all honesty, Hide may just be the best thing he's recorded under the Foetus name since the halcyon days of his Hole, Nail and Thaw albums. It's filled with the same massive, epic sonics as the aforementioned releases, but filtered through a lens with its eye on the sort of orchestral sounds he's perfected in his Manorexia guise, not to mention his recent score work for the Venture Brothers television series. I also hear a hefty dose of the operatic, rhythmic rock bombast of bands like Magma, a touch of Morricone's lush western soundworld, and a bit of psychedelic chanson akin to the likes of Alain Bashung with a touch of Gainsbourg. The choral and orchestral arrangements are the real stars here though; while Thirlwell has always been a talented arranger, he really outdoes himself on Hide. There's also a more tender vocal delivery on display here -- something you'd perhaps not expect from the man, but which works surprisingly well with the material. Ambition is something that Thirlwell has always offered in generous doses, but with Hide, he successfully balances ambition and subtlety and what results is an album that stands as one of his best ever records under any moniker, and will go down as one of my favorite releases of 2010. If you dare to walk the vast, gorgeous sonic landscape created on Hide, you'll find riches aplenty. [IQ]

Order CD by Texting "omcdfoetushide" to 767825






$9.99 MP3


Heart Ache & Dethroned
(Hydra Head)

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

When Justin Broadrick first debuted his Jesu project in 2004, it was hard to know what to expect. After all, not only had the man done time in grindcore patient zero Napalm Death, explored the intersections of hip-hop and electronic music as part of Techno Animal, and pursued power electronics and ambient music as Final, he'd also (and perhaps most famously) presided over industrial metal behemoths Godflesh until their eventual collapse in 2002. But the release of the Heart Ache EP in '04 heralded the start of something new for Broadrick. Naming his project "Jesu" after the final song of the last Godflesh album, the man thus released into the world two twenty-minute tracks that retained bits and pieces of Godflesh's storm and scrape, but also imbued that dynamic with an obvious sense of melody, a penchant for cascading layers seemingly ripped right from the shoegaze playbook, and an obvious debt to the drift and power of doom-drone acts like Earth. Powerful stuff, and while it definitely retained elements of Broadrick's past work, both "Heart Ache" and "Ruined" (the latter with its beautiful piano lines as well) showcased a man eager to move forward. Though Heart Ache has remained one of Jesu's finest moments, it has unfortunately barely been available since its initial release. Thankfully, Hydra Head has stepped up to rectify that, expanding the original with four never-before released tracks that come from the same era, but remained unfinished until just this past year. Thus, Jesu's debut gets supplemented with great moments like "Dethroned" and "Annul," both which trace the recent developments in Broadrick's sound back to their roots in heavier, darker matter -- all metal throb butting up against gentle melody, a simple juxtaposition into which Jesu continually breathes new life. [MC]

Order CD by Texting "omcdjesuheart" to 767825






The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators

"Don’t Fall Down (Original Stereo Mix)"

The 13th Floor Elevators' 1966 debut album might mark the genesis of psychedelic rock, it might be one of the all-time high-water marks of fuzzed-out garage rock, and closing in on 50 years since its release, it is almost stupidly relevant to so much of what is considered cutting-edge underground music today. And, it still rules. It's also been released and re-released and re-mastered and expanded so many times, it's hard to imagine that anyone who cares about this sort of stuff needs a new version (except maybe your little cousin Ned who thinks he knows everything about garage rock -- hint hint, 'tis the season ya know). But Snapper/Charly have indeed found a nice angle here, with an excellent master of the original '66 mono mix on disc one, the '66 stereo mix in the band's original intended running order on disc two, plus five bonus tracks: Bob Sullivan's original "desk" mixes of "Fire Engine," Monkey Island," "Roller Coaster," "Thru the Rhythm" and "Tried to Hide." Packaged in a cool hardbound double-digi gatefold sleeve, if you don't have this record, just buy it already, and if you do, only your inner obsessive knows how much you need this fine new version. [JM]

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(Friendly Fire Recordings)

"The Dawn of Your Happiness Is Rising"
"Full Collision"

Though Violens may be the brainchild of Lansing-Dreiden's Jorge Elbrecht, his latest project shrugs the anonymous, art-meets-commerce modus operandi of L-D for a more conventional approach -- yes, this band even has proper press photos and makes no secret of its members' names. While both groups embrace a sleek brew of mostly '80s inspirations and dream pop, Violens take a less amorphous approach, placing more emphasis on song-craft than, say, trying to fuse disparate elements like speed metal drumming with new wave synthesizers. Granted, there are still plenty of stylistic detours here, from the jaunty album opener, "The Dawn of Your Happiness Is Rising," or "Full Collision," which is propelled by some Johnny Marr-esque guitar jangle, to the organ-fueled psych-pop of "Are You Still in the Illusion" and "Violent Sensation Descends," the latter sounding like the Shins covering the Zombies. Elbrecht's catchy melodies soar through the album's lush, wet production, which could easily be mistaken for a recording made during the early years of the M.I.D.I. age if not for some modern cues -- like the shoegaze wash of guitars that shimmers above some, errr, speed-metal drum-thwacking during "Another Strike Restrained." No, Elbrecht hasn't completely abandoned his penchant for writing genre-colluding pop songs, but the pieces fit together better here, like a jigsaw puzzle with seams that are barely visible. [GH]

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Early Tapes
(Dark Entries)

"TV Treatment"
"Sweet Revenge"

Dark Entries does it again! Stepping away slightly from its focus on the totally obscure, the label has done all us synth-heads a great service by re-releasing the first two cassettes from Belgian synth/EBM band Neon Judgement for the first time on vinyl. Originally released in 1981 and '82, this LP compiles both the Suffering and T.V. Treated tapes, which documented this seminal electronic band in their nativity. Better known for their contributions to Belgian new beat and EBM, Early Tapes finds Neon Judgment at their most stripped down. While one could draw comparisons to fellow Belgians Front 242 or Absolute Body Control (though in an interview on the Dark Entries website, co-founder Dirk Da Davo says they knew nothing about other synth bands, as "it was uncool to be very social"), Neon Judgement have a more sinister, industrial edge to them, especially on the Suffering cassette. Atonal guitars squelch and drone under atmospheric synth experiments on "Army Green" and a disturbingly hypnotic synth line dominates the proto-techno "Schizophrenic Freddy." The T.V. Treated side of the record finds the band moving towards the sound they would eventually explore through the rest of the 80's -- noisy, pounding industrial pop; though what really makes Early Tapes exciting is the fuzzy, demo-like production on these tracks which makes Neon Judgement sound more like Suicide than the straight up industrial pop sound for which they would eventually become known. Recommended! [CPa]

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Stiff Little Fingers
(Hell Yes)

Italy's Hell, Yes! Records has been releasing beautifully packaged, limited edition 7"s at a steady clip for a little over two years now, with artists like Gary War, Tamaryn and Fresh and Onlys already on its roster. Their latest single comes from a shop favorite, California's Dum Dum Girls. The A-side is a brand new track and features all of the girl group's early hallmarks; it's a fuzzed out pop song, full of layered vocals, recorded by Dee Dee herself. The B-side is "Dream Away Life," previously only available on the now long out of print Blissed Out cassette compilation.

Other new Hell, Yes! 7"s worth checking out include Robust Universe by San Diego's Ale Mania, Something Wrong by Italy's Vermillion Sand and Sharp Teeth by Sisu, the band of Dum Dum Girls' latest addition, drummer Sandy Vu. Collect 'em all!







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(Friendly Fire Recordings)

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

It's been a few years since America last heard from the Concretes, and with the departure of Victoria Bergsman in 2006 to pursue her Taken by Trees project, many might have assumed the band was no more. Au contraire (or however you say that in Swedish), the group lives on with drummer Lisa Milberg stepping out from behind her kit and up to the mic, and WYWH is the band's first record released in the States featuring Milberg in her new role. It's what they're calling their "disco album," but granted it's the Concretes' own dreamy, sultry interpretation of the genre. A welcome return for sure.

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The Weight's on the Wheel
(Upper Class)

Matthew Adam Hart shook things up a bit on his band's fourth album; after tracking the whole thing in his bedroom, as he has done on the previous three records, Hart reached out to producer Michael Musmanno, who has worked with everyone from the Lilys to Outkast, and started from scratch in Musmanno's studio. The results realize the pop aspirations that Russian Futurists have always hinted at, but only hazily achieved in the past, with a clean, fresh sound that is produced without being slick.

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(Dark Entries)

Only a year after its inception, San Francisco's Dark Entries is quickly becoming one of the most exciting reissue labels of obscure synth records. The imprint takes a big step forward with the re-mastered, vinyl-only reissue of this highly coveted piece of wax: Dark Day's Window, hands-down one of the best US minimal synth LPs of the early 80s.

Dark Day was the project of Robin Crutchfield, a New York City-based performance artist and co-founder of the pioneering no wave band DNA, appearing on their first 7" and the No New York compilation. Crutchfield's solo effort differed from the art-damaged cacophony of his contemporaries, though, by focusing on the ghostly, outsider-pop potentialities of the analog synthesizer. No stranger to the downtown scene (Dark Day had a rotating cast of musicians and artists including members of Mars, Ut and, at one time, filmmaker Jim Jarmusch), Crutchfield used the scene's DIY ethos to construct an eerie, claustrophobic world that was utterly his own a number of years before synthesizers would come to dominate the new wave era.

Employing cheap synths and toy electronics, Window could almost be the soundtrack to a deranged children's program (perhaps on the same network that would also broadcast Videodrome later in the evening) -- though to call the album childlike or simplistic would be a misnomer. Instead, this is minimal synth at its absolute finest; basic, metronomic drum patterns move under discordant synth lines while Crutchfield's deadpan monotone floats over the cold landscape like an ominous specter. One listen to the album's standout track, "The Metal Benders," and Crutchfield's vision becomes clear: this is music about a feeling or an experience in a world that is something like our own but is different in subtle, disturbing ways. An absolute must-have LP for fans of this genre. Highly recommended! [CPa]

Order LP by Texting "omlpdarkwindow" to 767825
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