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   January 13, 2010  

Below is a list of charitiable organizations active in Haiti. To help immediately, you can also text "HAITI" to "90999," and a donation of $10 will be given the Red Cross which will go towards earthquake relief efforts, and charged to your cell phone bill.

Owen Pallett
Vampire Weekend
Meredith Monk
The Real Sound of Chicago (Various)
Freedy Johnston
Irmin Schmidt + Inner Space Production William Nowik

Abbass Mehrpouya
Gay for Johnny Depp

Roland P. Young
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Magda (Fabric 49 Mix)

All of this week's new arrivals.

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JAN Sun 10 Mon 11 Tues 12 Wed 13 Thurs 14 Fri 15 Sat 16

Stop by Other Music this Friday, January 15th from 6 to 8PM, where we'll be throwing a listening party to celebrate the upcoming release of Yeasayer's much-anticipated new album, Odd Blood (out on Secretly Canadian). The album isn't officially out until February 9th, but we'll have early vinyl copies for sale and some other surprises too. See you Friday!!

OTHER MUSIC: 15 East 4th Street NYC
6PM to 8PM
JAN Sun 17 Mon 18 Tues 19 Wed 20 Thurs 21 Fri 22 Sat 23

Chris Rosenau & Justin Vernon

The New York Guitar Festival kicks off its 10th Anniversary this Friday, January 8th, and runs for four weeks of performances by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver, Volcano Choir) and Chris Rosenau (Collections of Colonies of Bees, Volcano Choir), James Blackshaw, Debashish Bhattacharya, Marc Ribot, Gyan Riley, Alex De Grassi, Chicha Libre, and others at many great venues throughout the city. Other Music is giving away two pairs of tickets to the Justin Vernon/Chris Rosenau and Steve Kimock performance January 21st, at Merkin Hall, where they'll play new works during the screening of classic Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton films. Just e-mail tickets@othermusic, and include your name and daytime phone number. For more information about the festival, go to www.newyorkguitarfestival.org

JAN Sun 24 Mon 25 Tues 26 Wed 27 Thurs 28 Fri 29 Sat 30

Other Music is proud to be a friend of the Gowanus Conservancy, whose mission is to be steward for the preservation, restoration and green development of the Gowanus Canal, an important part of New York City history that deserves a future as vibrant as its past. And we are pleased to be helping them celebrate the first ever Goawanus A Go Go, a benefit concert on January 25th at the Bell House, our favorite Gowanus club! It's a great local lineup that includes Plushgun, PaperDoll, the Flanks, Gramercy Arms, and DJ Spiritbear and all proceeds go to the Conservancy, so please join us for this great event.

THE BELL HOUSE: 149 7th Street, Brooklyn NY
$20 tickets available at Other Music & on-line




    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.







$21.99 LPx2 w/MP3


$9.99 MP3



(Domino Recording Co.)

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

Owen Pallett has "offically retired" his Final Fantasy moniker for his new album, and it seems like a good idea. While his previous recordings under that old alias were all gorgeous and impressive platters of lushly orchestrated songcraft, it was sometimes hard to measure the sincerity of a fellow who titled his albums things like He Poos Clouds, and a record this good deserves a fresh start. On Heartland, Pallett's first proper full-length in over three years, he also amps up one key ingredient that always seemed to be lacking on his earlier records: rhythm. Here, he utilizes two percussionists for a rhythmic push and pull that anchors the weightless, psychedelic float of his orchestrations with a bit of tension, and instills the listening experience with a lot of visceral satisfaction. Heartland is a dense, complex album, touching upon many different areas of the classical tradition and pop orchestration, everything from Van Dyke Parks to Terry Riley and the New York minimalist school. His singing voice also seems more assured than ever, and though he claims it to be an album "about nothingness," it sounds in many ways to be his most unashamedly personal record yet. This has all of the ingredients to become one of the year's most talked about and acclaimed records, much like a certain Bitte Orca or Merriweather Post Pavillion was for 2009. That remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain -- Pallett has already, just two weeks into 2010, delivered what will surely stand as one of the year's best releases. If you think that's hyperbolic praise, take this into account too: I'm not the guy that generally flips for albums from our "In" section, but this one successfully blends well-crafted pop tunes with a heavy dose of avant-weirdo eccentricity. This one, as they say, is the jam. Highest recommendation!! [IQ]

Order CD by texting "omcdowenheartland" to 767825
Order LP by texting "omlpowenheartland" to 767825







$15.99 LP w/MP3_


$9.99 MP3


(XL Recordings)

"California English"

Without resorting to pointless hyperbole, let's say that it's hard to imagine a band that is in more of a "different place" when they recorded their second album than they were when they made their debut. Vampire Weekend, which was released almost exactly two years ago, was self-produced by keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij in a friend's home studio while the band members were all full-time Columbia University students, playing campus parties and the occasional downtown bar gig for their college pals. I'm sure they were dreaming of rock and roll stardom, like most kids with guitars, but they were not betting the farm on it. Eventually picked up by XL after a bit of internet buzz and a small bidding war, those recordings established the group as one of the biggest sellers, most listened to and most argued about bands around. That record was a massive hit by any standard; it is a few weeks shy of going gold in the U.S., it's solid platinum in the U.K., they have toured the world, been all over TV and in the movies, made millions and probably had the time of their lives. Now they have the eyes and ears of the world on them, they know it, and they made a second album. So perhaps the most remarkable thing about Contra is how similar it is to the band's debut, at least on the surface. Produced again by Batmanglij, the new album is really just a deeper, more confident and more fully realized version of their first one, and it shows just how clear their vision was from the start.

Contra will not likely change many minds about this band -- the fans will love it, and the haters still have plenty of fodder -- but this is a more subtle and more nuanced record, both musically and lyrically, and it proves that Vampire Weekend have talent and drive that will last them well beyond their initial wave of recognition. The influences are all still there, from 1970s Africa and Jamaica, jangly '80s U.K.-pop, and of course Paul Simon, but the realization is far richer and more complex than it was on the debut, with great playing from all four band members and thoughtful arrangements that give these pop songs a depth that was sometimes absent in their earliest recordings. And lyrically, frontman Ezra Koenig's brainy, writerly songs have a newfound subtlety that is welcome. Yes, this is college-boy rock, and Koenig still unashamedly views the world through the prism of privilege, but his thought-provoking lyrics seem to be more about honesty and its pursuit than the exploits of well-bred polo-girls (though one of those does grace this album's cover, and if you hate a loafer I suggest you turn off the TV and cancel your magazine subscriptions for the next month or so). Contra may not be loaded with as many immediately infectious pop songs as the debut, but it is a more thoughtful, more fully-realized, weirder, AND more commercial set of songs, and it soundly banishes any talk of a sophomore slump at Vampire Weekend University. (CD and LP formats include bonus Contra Megamelt CD, while supplies last.) [JM]

Order CD by texting "omcdvampirecontra" to 767825
Order LP by texting "omlpvampirecontra" to 767825






Livin' Free

"It Ain't So"
"Livin' Free"

Impossible but true! Schibbinz released a record in Argentina in early 1968 that sounds like Peter Paul & Mary as realized by the Tower Recordings. The product of three American teenagers and one Argentinian, there have been doubts raised to the claims that musicians aged 15 through 17 made this music, let alone the time and place of the recording -- especially now, where its lo-fi charms and four-part vocal harmonies makes it the ultimate Captured Track -- but apparently this was on the state record company, Phonexa, and the label blew through the pressing weeks before the group disbanded. Anyone at all with an interest in twee-pop, juvenile folk, Wes Anderson films, the Everly Brothers, or the sought-after "magical" qualities about discovering an unbelievable record that few have heard, one which will shatter your purview into lollipop dust, needs to seek this one out. NOW. Livin' Free is a near-perfect record, the kind of record you search up and down over. Also, they have the greatest name I've seen in years. Schibbinz. [DM]

Order CD by texting "omcdmcpeakewild" to 767825







"Duet for Voice and Echoplex"
"Do You Be?"

Tzadik Records issues what may be one of their most important and revelatory collections yet with this compilation of some of the earliest recordings by influential vocalist, composer, and performance artist Meredith Monk. Selected by Monk herself from her own personal archives, the most astonishing thing about this set is its breadth; it starts out with a rendition of "Greensleeves," as if to prove that the relentless experimentalist had to start somewhere Earthbound. From there, she goes up and out, yet always retaining the folky earthiness that she displays in that first song. Monk plays an impressive array of instruments on the record, from guitar to piano to bass to jaw harp; she is accompanied by others occasionally, but for the most part, this is Monk flying solo, and the results couldn't be more intimately rewarding. She dabbles in everything from experimental theatre pieces ("Quarry Weave," "Quarry Procession") to solo piano meditations ("Paris"), bursts of Glass/Riley-esque minimalism ("Tower"), to even a bit of psychedelic dub ("Candy Bullets and Moon").

The collection also features many early versions of pieces that would go on to become staples and signatures in Monk's repertoire ("Do You Be?," the aforementioned "Quarry" pieces), and the set plays out quite well as an album, surprisingly enough. What makes this record so fantastic is that it shows, like many of the most lasting and important documents of experimental music over the decades, the depth, power, and influence it has had over not only then-contemporary peers, but over current strains of underground music as well. You can easily hear Monk's influence, calculated or not, in various Other Music favorites like Grouper, Julianna Barwick, the Dirty Projectors, and so forth. Beginnings has already staked claim to become one of the year's most important reissues in any genre, and if you have shown interest in any of the artists I've mentioned above, or have the curiosity to explore Monk's universe but never knew where to start, pick this up post-haste. It's a rare experimental record whose experiments bore fruit that blossoms across many different areas of our store, and of underground music in general. This is the definition of essential listening. [IQ]

Order CD by texting "omcdmeredithbeginnings" to 767825






The Real Sound of Chicago

"Love So New" Loveship
"Can You Feel It?" Synergy feat. Jimmy Tillman

Music that can make you dance is substantially different from music that is made for you to dance to. There are thousands of great pop songs that can move you, most taking cues or emanating from 1960's black America: the Beatles' doing "Twist and Shout," Otis Redding's version of "Shake!" or the Clash's "Train in Vain (Stand by Me)." But pop songs that happen to have a great groove don't have to work as hard as a song that, stylistically and dramatically, is executed for maximum ass-shaking. I've always admired the workhorse ethic of disco, particularly for its relentless dedication to the good times. Not only do they want you to dance, dammit, they want you to do it consistently for upwards of five or six or even seven minutes, to the same punishing groove.

BBE Records, together with the house and hip-hop oriented Mr. Peabody Records shop in Chicago, have unearthed 24 anthems from the hard-edged glamour of the Windy City's underground disco scene, circa '70s and '80s. Brighter Side of Darkness, famous as a one-hit wonder with a 12-year-old singer a la the Jackson 5, turn in one of the most interesting declarations of purpose with "Disco Ball." It is built on the four-on-the-floor kick, chickety-chick sixteenth notes on the hi-hat and syncopated slinky bass line, but it's all about the breakdowns, where the male vocals band together and shout, "Soul Train's doin' it at the disco ball/Bandstand's doin' it at the disco ball/Brighter Side's doin' it at the disco ball." Everybody's doing it at the disco ball, even the teeny-bopper national television programs, and Brighter Side of Darkness is keeping pace, aching for the national glory that was ultimately denied them, but giving us a few minutes of dancing bliss in the process. Snappy guitar tones, congas, cowbells, and group vocals dominate, alongside plenty of lyrics that refer to both the party, and getting to the party. On the second disc, the Moore Brothers hit that indefinable hard groove with "Bass Back," and you'll hear echoes of Talking Heads synthesizer work with "Road to Sunshine," performed by Expo and featuring J. Eliot Robinson.

The compilation is sequenced to move backwards in time, starting with the decidedly 1980s "Your Love Is in the Pocket" by Premonition. Fans of contemporary dance music with a decidedly pop focus (like Hercules and Love Affair, !!!, and obviously Daft Punk) will hear the progression instantly -- dreamy synthesizer work mashed up with razor-tight musicianship has become a hallmark of indie dance music. As an entry point to the hardscrabble, sweat-soaked world of dance music, The Real Sound of Chicago does no wrong. [MS]

Order CD by texting "omcdvariousreal" to 767825






$9.99 MP3


Rain on the City

"The Devil Raises His Own"
"It's Gonna Come Back to You"

It's been a long time since Freedy Johnston released a new studio album -- his final Elektra record came out close to ten years ago, and honestly, his best work was a few years before that. But when I found myself in a half-empty Maxwell's on a cold, rainy Sunday night a few weeks back, at the tail end of a late-running benefit show for an ailing Hoboken musician, I stood front and center for Johnston's solo set, which was loose, under-rehearsed, and totally riveting, with a few classic tracks and a bunch of stellar new ones, from this new Bar/None album that I didn't even know was on the way. Many of these songs rank with his best early/mid-'90s stuff, and you have to wonder what took so long. At their best, Johnston's meticulously crafted songs tell unforgettable stories about the underside of love and loss, often from the point of view of some misguided loser or jerk who doesn't know any better, and they do it with a hook and a strum that burrow into your psyche. Rain on the City is rich with these moments, and a track like "Don't Fall in Love with a Lonely Girl" was worth waiting for. [JM]

Order CD by texting "omcdfreedyrain" to 767825






Kamasutra Vollendung Der Liebe
(Crippled Dick Hot Wax)

"I'm Hiding My Nightingale"
"Indische Liebesszene"

After fifteen years of hemming and hawing I finally bit the bullet and bought a pair of chinos, and now I don't know how I ever lived without them. Kind of the way I feel about Can: an essential pillar that, once it hits, most other things don't seem to make as much sense. (For the record, Can is way better than those pants, Jon -ed.) Bands, they come and go, rise up from the primordial soup, asserted as new conquering tribe only to disappear back into the recessive gene pool without warning, forgotten like a vestigial tail. Then you have Can. Along with maybe Fela and the Fall, Can are one of the few things that pretty much always sound good to me. So it goes without saying that the appearance of Irmin Schmidt's soundtrack to the 1968 erotic/educational film, Kamasutra, was a pleasant, if unexpected surprise.

Given the subject matter, much of the film was set in the Kamasutra's native India, and thus demanded an appropriately adventurous, Eastern-tinged soundtrack. One wonders if the filmmakers fully grasped their good fortune in drafting the nascent Can to soundtrack their exotic paean to the sexual revolution. Although Schmidt is the only member explicitly credited, one listen confirms that the musicians brewing this love potion can be none other than Michael Karoli, Jaki Liebezeit, and Malcolm Mooney -- the original Can lineup, still known as Inner Space at this juncture. These recordings pre-date the proper Can debut, Monster Movie, and offer evidence that everything (acid-fried leads, avant-garde restlessness, ethnic trance, etc.) that would come to distinguish Can as arguably the most singular voice in an already highly unconventional peer group (Krautrock) was already firmly in place from the outset.

The music here, while unmistakably Can-esque, also incorporates more traditional Eastern instrumentation in the form of sitars and flutes, assuming a meditative hash-den vibe at times. However, any notions of nodding off are swiftly cast out by vocal turns from Mooney and Margarete Juvan, who manages to temporarily steal the spotlight with her luminous "I'm Hiding My Nightingale," a tune that could almost be mistaken for Fairport Convention or Pentangle at their most psyched-out. Far from being a completists-only proposition, the music here is strong enough to stand alone, setting a mood that works beautifully independent of the film itself. Far superior to that Inner Space Agilok & Blubbo foolishness that came out a minute ago, this points the way forward towards Monster Movie and (duh) Soundtracks in the Can canon. Cop one for the country house and one for the penthouse. [JTr]

Order CD by texting "omcdirwinkamasutra" to 767825






Pan Symphony in E Minor

"Flight from Morocco"

This is an astonishing psych/jazz/prog game changer, recorded by San Francisco refugee William Nowik in western New York State circa 1974. The story tells of big ideas whittled down, but you'll be shocked at how fresh this material sounds. Nowik played 90% of the album's lush instrumentation himself, proving to be a unique, adept voice where the rows in the patchworks of both lost '70s burners and private press marvels converge. Pianos, guitars, violins, saxes, drums, and various percussives clang together through two suites of carefully-constructed mood music. The slow, bluesy guitar dirges sound as if they'd fallen off of Pink Floyd's More soundtrack, giving way to electric roadhouse prog, like Ry Cooder and Family getting together. Still more parts of the record take on this spiritualism you won't believe. A truly lost, yet pro-sounding effort that'll bowl over even the most complacent, heard-it-all psych heads. Unreal. [DM]

Order CD by texting "omcdwilliampan" to 767825






Mehrpouya Sitar

Track 1
Track 5

Damn! According to the notes included with this reissue, Abbass Mehrpouya was an Iranian sitar player who had a reputation as one of his nation's best. I tried to scoop more info on this guy, because this album is absolutely BANGIN', but Google's magic has failed me, so we're just going to take their word for it. What matters is that this record is overflowing with hypnotic, gyrating psychedelic shag-carpet grooves; funk drums mingle with skittering tablas, and choppy chicken scratch guitars dance around flute and horn arrangements as Mehrpouya lays a thick sitar incense haze around the whole party. The record reaches its apex with the 12-minute "African Jumbo;" he then takes things down a notch on Side Two with a batch of more mellow, somewhat orchestrated, but still grooving vocal tracks that flow quite nicely after the insanity of Side One. I haven't heard a record that so successfully mixes heavy eastern vibe-outs with heavy western funk-outs since Ananda Shankar's amazing batch of '70s platters got reissued a few years back. If you were a fan of those records, if you dig on the funkier side of the Bollywood spectrum, of if you just need something new to hit your hookah, this is the record for you. Highest recommendation! [IQ]

Order CD by texting "omcdabbassmehrpouya" to 767825







"Belief in God Is So Adorable"
"Seriously Ted, Just Admit It"

Really, who isn't gay for Johnny Depp? Of course, that's a discussion better suited for a celebrity blog than a music newsletter, but it's for a whole other list of reasons that we're not going to print (the band) Gay for Johnny Depp's song titles or lyrics in these pages -- lest your spam filter goes off. Let's just say that this New York post-hardcore act makes the Blood Brothers look like the Jonas Brothers (well, not quite, but you get the idea), and their obsession with the actor goes way beyond an innocent, harmless crush. Gay for Johnny Depp is not another group of angst-ridden suburban kids aping their big brother's old Quicksand and At the Drive-In records; the band includes scene veterans from Garrison and Instruction in their line-up, and this 31-track GFJD collection (featuring everything the group has recorded -- their hard-to-find Politics of Cruelty full-length and three EPs) plays like a primer for any young screamo band in the making. Granted, the graphic, homoerotic lyrics are certain to scare the bejeezus out of many kids and parents alike; let's just say themes of blood and sex (often with the actor) are frequently intertwined. But behind the abrasive guitars, chugging start-and-stop rhythms and singer Marty Leopard's tonsil-shriveling yelps and screams, the band is out to break stereotypes, in the most un-PC and confrontational ways possible. There's no doubt which side of the political fence GFJD are on, and while I'm sure they'd be quite thrilled to play a Pride rally, I doubt that they'll be getting invites any time soon. In Great Britain, where political parody is an art, the band has gained quite a following, but back on this side of the pond, Other Music may be the only place you'll find Gay for Johnny Depp in the racks. These CDs won't be around for long... [GH]

Order CD by texting "omcdgaymanthology" to 767825






(Bureau B)


Recorded at Conny Plank's place in '83, this was the Cluster-man's first proper solo album, and its title, translated as "soundtrack," pretty much says it all. Atmospheric, tense, minimal and as indefinable today as it was in its own time.

Order CD by texting "omcdmoebiustonspuren" to 767825






Istet Serenade


The first new music from Roland Young in many, many moons (is it 30 years?) is as powerful and haunting as any before. Ambient ethno-jazz, if that means anything -- "great stuff" will suffice if not.

Order CD by texting "omcdrolandistet" to 767825






The Road Soundtrack

This is the third soundtrack these two have composed together, and while it must be a nice sideline to their day gigs, we'd posit that the spare and beautiful, somewhat repetitive piano/violin duets featured here are better suited as background music -- as intended, of course -- than as a proper album. These are two of the more intense and engaging musicians out there when they are trying to command the spotlight, so it can be a little bit of a letdown when they are trying to blend in. Regardless, good stuff, for the super-fans at least.

Order CD by texting "omcdnickroad" to 767825






Fabric 49

Magda's entry in this excellent series is a pulsing patchwork of groove, harsh, staticy techno and raw minimal house, layered three-deep with leftfield sounds of all stripes, for a cool yet soulful, eminently danceable excursion.

Order CD by texting "omcdmagdafabric" to 767825
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[GH] Gerald Hammill
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[JM] Josh Madell
[DM] Doug Mosurock
[MS] Michael Stasiak
[JTr] Jonathan Treneff

- all of us at Other Music

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