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   January 6, 2010  

Pre-Order Vampire Weekend's Contra
Shipped to arrive at your door on next Tuesday's release date

$12.99 CD+Bonus CD single
On Sale


$15.99 LP/MP3+CD single


Other Music is pleased to be presenting Vampire Weekend's record release party, along with our friends at XL Recordings and SPIN magazine, tomorrow night in Manhattan. Contra is out next Tuesday (and you can pre-order it right now to arrive at your doorstep on the street date), and to celebrate in their home town, the band will be spinning records, playing ping-pong and tossing back a few drinks, and you're invited! RSVP to contra@spin.com but show up early, because RSVP DOES NOT GUARANTEE ADMISSION. It's first come, first served with an open bar from 8pm-9pm. (The party is all ages but you must be 21+ with an ID to drink.) There will be lots of give-aways including tickets to the group's United Palace show in NYC, plus, Other Music will be handing out free Vampire Weekend remix discs to the first 50 attendees in line, and a coupon for a rock-bottom price on the Contra CD or LP to everyone.

SPINYC: 48 East 23rd Street (btwn Park & Madison) NYC
8PM to Midnight | Open Bar from 8 to 9PM
All Ages | 21+ w/ID to Drink

Oneohtrix Point Never
William Basinski
F.J. McMahon
Face a Frowning World (E.C. Ball Tribute)
Felt Letters
Peter Broderick & Machinefabriek
Nippon Girls (Various Artists)

Isolation Ward
Edges (French Electronic Music comp.)

Throbbing Gristle Soundbox
SJOB Movement (Now on CD)
Mebusas (Now on CD)

All of this week's new arrivals.

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JAN Sun 03 Mon 04 Tues 05 Wed 06 Thurs 07 Fri 08 Sat 09

This Friday, the Bunker marks their seventh year with an epic celebration! They'll be turning over the backroom for the entire eight hours to techno groundbreaker Speedy J (Electric Deluxe, Mute, Warp, Plus8) while up front Kiss & Tell will be presenting Sezes's birthday bash with sets from Neurotic Drum Band (Wurst), Nick Chacona (Moodmusic, Hector Works, Statra), John Roberts (Dial, Laid) and Bethany Benzur (Kiss & Tell). Enter to get your name on the guest list with a plus-one by emailing tickets@othermusic.com. We'll notify the two winners on Friday morning, January 8.

: 70 N. 6th Street Williamsburg, BKLN
10PM to 6AM




    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.







(No Fun)

"Laser to Lasery"

Oneohtrix Point Never might not necessarily be the next household name, but Rifts is a powerful record that is definitely turning some heads and pricking some ears. As readers of The Wire magazine already know, this release nearly topped its revered list as the #2 Best Album of 2009. I can testify that from the moment I first heard OPN on WNYU last year, I was mesmerized -- here were thick textures of staccato analog synth loops, an attentiveness to melody so acute that it bore "hooks" from noise/drone elements, and a measured and restrained pace, despite the sheer amount of notes being run through the delay. With its unmistakable '80s bustle, this music could double as a score for the birth of the Information Age, but its retrospective style does not negate its sophistication, and Rifts signifies great advances in melodic noise, owing in part to the mature, skilled approach of the composer.

Oneohtrix Point Never is the solo project of Daniel Lopatin, of Brooklyn drone/loop duo Infinity Window, and at 27 tracks spanning two-and-a-half hours, Rifts is a somewhat intimidating sample of the past three years of his music-making. This bountiful double-disc release includes three OPN full-lengths, as well as a handful of tracks culled from Lopatin's couple dozen cassettes and CD-Rs. I'm thrilled that this collection has arrived on our shelves; previously, Lopatin's records were isolated treasures in our vinyl bins, extremely limited and seemingly never to be seen again. I'm happy to be wrong about that, as Oneohtrix Point Never's varied compositions will make an indelible impression not only on those into German Kraut pioneers such as Klaus Schulze and Manuel Gottsching, but contemporary experimentalists such as Sun Araw, Ducktails, and White Rainbow. On a note that's so un-avant that maybe it's actually avant again, it's also worth mentioning that one of the noise scene's newest experimentalists is actually making closet dance music, and Lopatin could easily, if he wanted, be a cornerstone of 2010's emerging instrumental electro scene, including Teengirl Fantasy, Pictureplane, Chicago's Gatekeeper, Javelin, and surely others who don't even exist yet. Oneohtrix Point Never presents a challenging blend of melody to noise, ambience to beats, and retro to modern. One of the must-have experimental releases of this past year! [KS]

Order CD by texting "omcdoneohtrixrifts" to 767825






Vivian & Ondine

"Vivian & Ondine"

A 45-minute piece composed of "ancient" tape loops, William Basinski's Vivian & Ondine was originally performed live at Issue Project Room in 2008, and this version at hand was also performed live, but in his Los Angeles studio. Basinski's loop-based music has an unsettling, disorienting quality that makes it truly psychedelic and here, waves of heavily echo-laden loops bathe the listener in a calm, yet woozy, sound world. Basinski is a master at layering several melodic fragments in a way that produces subtle shifts, causing one to lose their sense of time and space, and this same attention to subtlety is what keeps the piece interesting throughout its duration. The gauzy texture makes the music sound like it has been remembered from the distant past, yet it still sounds modern; fans of James Kirby's recent work as the Caretaker and Leyland Kirby will feel right at home in this hazy cocoon. One of Basinski's biggest strengths is creating somber music that ultimately proves to be uplifting, and that strength is certainly on display here; as this piece was created with the imminent birth of his niece in mind, the aim seems to be a womblike serenity. Basinski is one of few composers working today creating pieces that are on par with Eno's ambient works, and with Vivian & Ondine he proves again that sometimes grand statements can be whispered in the wind. [MM]

Order CD by texting "omcdwilliamvivian" to 767825






Dance Paradox

"Man Out of Time"

Alongside his Underground Resistance-esque hidden identity, Redshape harkens back to classic Detroit with tracks that get at one of the true essences of techno: all sounds speak to an imagined world of the future, but in the end, remain human. This much-anticipated debut full-length from Redshape, Dance Paradox succeeds for the simple fact that all beats, pulses, chords and even breakbeats(!) are hand-sculpted and arranged to form exquisitely musical tracks that are still staunchly and proudly techno. His generally slower pace (for contemporary techno) and musicality make for a great album-length listen. A track like "Man Out of Time" manages to sound like a b-boy call-to-arms, so epic, dramatic and funky, but still with a grave tone reminding us of the range of emotion techno can display, and the album just takes off from there. An excellent record, I would have added this to my top ten for '09 if it came out a bit sooner -- looks like we're off to a good start on my ten for '10... recommended! [SM]

Order CD by texting "omcdredshapedance" to 767825






$8.99 MP3


Spirit of the Golden Juice

"Sister Brother"
"Black Night Woman"

Leave it to the UK's Rev-Ola to resurrect another long lost masterpiece of forlorn Americana, Viet Nam veteran F.J. McMahon's sole 1969 release, Spirit of the Golden Juice. The golden juice he's referring to in the title is apparently I.W. Harper bourbon, which he claimed in an interview was the "fuel of the times," but this record is far from being a booze-fueled party. Instead, what McMahon does here, song after song, is masterfully conjure the early morning fade-out and dissipation Kristofferson wrote about in "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down." The entire vibe of this album is simply undeniable, not overly depressing yet still filled with a world-weariness that I can't help but find utterly compelling. It's also extremely interesting to hear an album about the Viet Nam experience and its aftermath from someone who actually lived it, as opposed to having simply protested it as so many '60s folk-singers did. I've had this album for years and it's one I truly never get tired of, and as far as I'm concerned sits very near the top of the pile in the so-called "loner folk" genre. [MK]

Order CD by texting "omcdfjspirit" to 767825






$9.99 MP3


Face a Frowning World: An E.C. Ball Memorial Album
(Tompkins Square)

"The Early Bird Always Gets the Worm" Michael Hurley
"Tribulations" Joe Manning and Glen Dentinger

Estil Cortez Ball's life began in 1913 in Rugby, Virginia, and ended 65 years later and about that many miles away, in Grassy Creek, North Carolina. Geographically, the man hardly moved an inch, but his soul and his spirit traveled far and wide via the airwaves of West Jefferson, NC's WKSK and other weekly gospel shows in "any church where anyone invites us to come." For nearly 50 years, Ball, his wife Orna, and their Friendly Gospel Singers spread the good word with Appalachian earnestness, hickory croons, and Ball's springy fingerpicking guitar style, which will sound like heaven itself to anyone who swoons for John Fahey or Townes Van Zandt.

Compiled by musician and music anthropologist Nathan Salsburg (also an Other Music Update contributor) to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Ball's death, the album culls from both the sacred and secular poles of Ball's songwriting spectrum with a huge cast of traditional and next generation country musicians. No distinction is made between songs that feature him, and songs that don't; you will find the sad sack lament, "The Early Bird Always Gets the Worm," performed here in a sparse and clucky arrangement by 68-year-old Michael Hurley, right next to the gorgeous "Lord I Want More Religion," from contemporary bluegrass fiddler Rayna Gellert. The first half of the disc is frontloaded with goosed-up country kickers from the likes of Dave Bird and Pokey LaFarge, while the tail end acts as the comedown from the twang party, with Joe Manning and Glen Dentinger tackling Ball's famous "Tribulations," and Salsburg contributing his reverential cut to the record, "One Day I Will."

The end of the album is a blessing, with Dave Bird, Catherine Irwin and Bonnie "Prince" Billy ramshackling themselves to "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem," quickly followed by the lilting "Fathers Have a Home Sweet Home," from Jan Bell, Jolie Holland, and Samantha Parton. If you're familiar with E.C. and his wife, you might be taken aback by all the amplified string bending and the devilish snare drum slap inside of songs like "He's My God." But the exuberance and joy are backed by respect and reverence for this truly American artist, and just hearing the words and the music breathe again makes Face a Frowning World more spiritually satisfying than most 10 A.M. services. [MS]

Order CD by texting "omcdvariousface" to 767825






600,000 BANDS

Seven-inch reviews are few and far between in these pages but there is obviously some sort of a revival going on, with tons of young bands releasing their first and best stuff as honest-to-goodness vinyl 45s, just like in the olden days. Felt Letters are a new band, but no kids; the trio features Ian Svenonius (Nation of Ulysses, Make-Up, etc.) on vox, Brendan Canty (Rites of Spring, Fugazi, etc.) on guitar, keys and drums, and Tom Bunnell on bass, and their unbelievably enjoyable debut single is some sort of a comment on the exponentially exploding indie-rock culture that delivers all of these great and not-so-great 7"s to our sagging shelves of late.

"600,000 Bands" slides by on a submarine sonar beat, an incredibly soulful bass groove, echoey piano, tons of reverb, a couple of wicked guitar solos, and Svenonius singing, spitting and talking to himself about all of these bands, these bands, these fucking bands. Too many great lyrics to quote, but my favorite is "50,000 sound like Can, 50,000 sound like Manfred Mann, I'm starting one like Kool & the Gang." Plus, the b-side is fantastic too -- a dark, dubby slice of weirdness that beats most a-sides. I hope this is a real band; unlike most of the new things I've heard of late, these guys need an album! [JM]

Order 45 by texting "om45felt600000" to 767825






$9.99 MP3


Blank Grey Canvas Sky
(Fang Bomb)


Oregon-born composer Peter Broderick has been a busy man over the past couple of years, issuing a stream of good-to-great solo records that stretch his multi-instrumental talents across some fairly stunning lyrical compositions, an approach he's also honed as a member of bands like Norfolk & Western and Efterklang. Every bit as busy if not more prolific under the guise of Machinefabriek, Rutger Zuydervelt has spent his time crafting a stream of releases that cover a wide spectrum of sound, from warm, gauzy drones to nigh-on-industrial clatter. At first glance, then, it might seem as if this pair of composers would make strange bedfellows -- one explores the depth of acoustic expression, while another seems more intent on mutating those sounds and pulling them apart. However, that's decidedly not the case with Blank Grey Canvas Sky, the pair's first collaborative effort, a beautiful and oft-brilliant album that's as strong as anything else these two have done.

As with any great duo recording, Broderick and Zuydervelt engage here in a taut, compelling, and almost intuitive dialogue, with the hallmarks of their respective sounds complementing each other effortlessly. Thus, while it's relatively easy to guess at the originator of any component of a track -- like the urgent piano and string lines of "Planes" that would sound at home on any of Broderick's other records, or that same piece's enveloping, static-y drones that are vintage Zuydervelt -- the real joy here is the way in which these two manage to retain their own style while creating a work that never once feels like a forced pastiche. While every track here goes a ways towards maintaining the same dour (yet surprisingly enjoyable) mood, it's "Blank Grey" that shines above all. Opening with jarring, chopped radio transmissions, Broderick's keys gradually come to the fore, reveling in that sense of unease that finally breaks into an inspired passage of ambience, with a chorus of voices slowly building to drown out everything else. In Blank Grey Canvas Sky, Broderick and Zuydervelt have managed a carefully composed work that still managed to flow freely and with a subtle power all its own. [MC]

Order CD by texting "omcdpeterblank" to 767825






Nippon Girls: Japanese Pop, Beat & Bossa Nova 1966-1970
(Big Beat International)

"Suki Sa Suki Sa Suki Sa" Nana Kinomi & Leo Beats
"Aeba Suki Suki" Magaret with Bunnys

Big Beat International have outdone themselves with this outstanding 25-track collection of swinging pop jams from some of the best Japanese beat girls of the late 1960s and early '70s. Combining elements of Ventures-esque surf music (made popular during Japan's "eleki" boom of the early '60s), the elaborate arrangements of northern soul- and Burt Bacharach-inspired pops orchestras, a bit of Brazilian bossa nova groove, and a heavy, heavy dose of jumpy French yé-yé pop akin to the likes of France Gall and Sylvie Vartan, these tracks are totally infectious, overflowing with repressed sensuality and the inevitable release that came with Japan's move away from buttoned-up enka song styles into the modes of the pop machine. (Ever seen the cover to Sparks's Kimono My House album? That photo sums up precisely what I'm referring to.) There seriously is not a single dud on this collection; it has been lovingly compiled and features a booklet jam-packed with notes on each of the singers here and the evolution of the popular song in Japan during the 1960s, along with amazing period photos and sleeve repros. I've been collecting this stuff myself for quite a few years now, and I was familiar with only a fraction of the tracks and performers on offer here. Let's hope a Volume 2 comes soon -- until then, put on your best mod gear and get busy! Highest recommendation! [IQ]

Order CD by texting "omcdvariousnippon" to 767825






$9.99 MP3


Point Final

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

The dark Belgian post-punk combo Isolation Ward existed in the early '80s, in the shadow of groups like Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees (who they'd open for in 1983), and the Legendary Pink Dots. The niche they carved out for themselves spells out brainy, romantic solitude, and would have infiltrated many a high school art classroom in America had they released records in any quantity. Point Final offers up both their 7" and 12" on Les Disques du Crepuscle, as well as material from a self-released cassette and a handful of live tracks. They have an arresting sound, live drums and sharp guitars bending around megalith analog synth stabs and desperate female vocals, and the seventeen tracks offered up here have that grower-not-a-shower quality that the best overviews of lost bands (see the Lines reissues on Acute) tend to possess. Look down, child of the night. Avert your eyes against the cruel world. Point Final is here, in our coldest month, to provide you spare solace. [DM]

Order CD by texting "omcdisolationpoint" to 767825






Edges: A New French Electronic Generation

"Penelope Pitstop" Breakbot
"Odessa (Spring Version)" Spitzer

It seems that the French have perfected that candy-coated, clamorous brand of dance music that drives the day-glo club kids wild these days. For better or worse, Justice and their Ed Banger cohort's "Daft Punk on steroids" brand of bleepy Eurodisco has moved a new generation of ravers all over the world, and influenced various mainstream international mega-producers looking for fresh inspiration. Closer to home, there are slews of hungry, Ableton-armed French producers lying in wait, eager to be heard. This comp combines the best of these young producers from that scene, and although the styles vary a bit, from minimal tech to glitchy disco, all of the tracks retain that the decadence, melodic meticulousness and fidgety drama one would expect from France. Highlights include the bubble gum electroboogie of Breakbot's "Penelope Pitstop" and Donovan's "Wonderland," the stuttering modern rave of "James" by DJedjotronic, and the dirty electro-rap "Lamborghini Lungz" by Stereoheroes. Welcome to the new sound of Saturday night. [DH]

Order CD by texting "omcdvariousedges" to 767825






Chrome Soundbox

Finally in stock, the shiny chrome edition of the newest soundbox from FM3, which happens to be a collaboration with none other than Throbbing Gristle! Physically, this version is a bit shorter and fatter than the original Buddha Machine, more of a chunky square, and it comes in an elegant, die-cut cardboard sleeve. Sonically speaking, this is certainly darker, heavier and more unsettling; we hear some snippets of classic TG tracks, as well as some ominous sounds that can't be positively identified, but it is all unmistakably Gristle.

Order Gristleism Chrome by texting "omgristleismchrome" to 767825












A Move in the Right Direction

"No One Cares"
"You Only Live Once

Blood Brothers

"Blood Brothers"
"I Wonna Do It"

From the mastermind behind the brilliant Ofege reissue from earlier this year come two more scorching '70s Afro-rock and funk albums. You might know SJOB Movement from the disco volume of Nigeria Special, but other than that you'd have to be a pretty hardened collector of African records to know much about the group. A Move in the Right Direction from 1974 is a wonderfully offbeat record, sure there are funky Afrobeat grooves for miles on here, but what makes this album really special is its off-kilter qualities. There's a heavy, introspective vibe at times, enhanced by swirling synth and keyboard sounds fairly unique in the region and era; it sounds far deeper and spacier than anything I've heard coming out of 1970s Nigeria.

The Mebusas' Blood Brothers album from 1973 is a little more conventional but no less essential. Borrowing from all across the globe, the backbone here is American funk but the way the band incorporates psychedelic rock (some killer fuzzed out and trippy guitar shredding on here), Caribbean rhythms and traditional African sounds makes things interesting all the way. Cross-cultural jam of the week! SJOB Movement wins by a whisker but you probably need them both. [AK]

Order SJOB CD by Texting "omcdsjobmove" to 767825
Order SJOB LP by Texting "omlpsjobmove" to 767825

Order Mebusas CD by Texting "omcdmebusasblood" to 767825
Order Mebusas LP by Texting "omlpmebusasblood" to 767825






(Fourth Dimension)


Now on CD, a powerful live set from the Finnish new-metal/prog/psychedelic masters, recorded at the WFMU studios on their second US tour in the fall of 2007 (different from the 2006 WFMU session that became the Arkades album). Six cuts spread over two discs, these are some of the band's most dynamic and compelling recordings yet, with atmospheric piano and effects passages interspersed with heavier fare. True innovators, this is great stuff.

Order CD by texting "omcdcircletriumph" to 767825
  All of this week's new arrivals.

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[MC] Michael Crumsho
[DH] Duane Harriott
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[AK] Andreas Knutsen
[MK] Michael Klausman
[JM] Josh Madell
[MM] Marc Moeller
[DM] Doug Mosurock
[SM] Scott Mou
[KS] Karen Soskin
[MS] Michael Stasiak

- all of us at Other Music

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