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   July 15, 2010  
       
   
 
 
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  LAURIE ANDERSON RECORD SIGNING
Other Music is thrilled to welcome Laurie Anderson, who'll be visiting the shop next Wednesday, July 21, to meet fans and autograph copies of her new album, Homeland, out now on Nonesuch. We'll also be raffling off a pair of tickets to the opening night of her Delusion performance at BAM for the Next Wave Festival, on Tuesday, September 21. So come by next Wednesday evening and meet a true American innovator.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 21 - 6PM to 8PM
OTHER MUSIC: 15 East 4th Street NYC



 
   
       
   
     
 
 
FEATURED NEW RELEASES
Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse
Hamper McBee
Charanjit Singh
La Vampires Meets Zola Jesus LP
Sun Kil Moon
Julian Lynch
M.I.A.
Shangaan Electro (Various)
Deutsche Wertarbeit LP
Dark Day LP
Doug Snyder & Bob Thompson
Turkish Freakouts (Various)
Moritz Von Oswald Trio
Muslimgauze
Solid Gold (Italians Do It Better comp.)
 

Carissa's Wierd
Welcome Home (Woodsist comp. LP)
Local Customs (Numero Group comp.)
John & Philipa Cooper
The Love Language
Far Out Spaced Oddyssey (Various)
Family Album (Various)

ALSO AVAILABLE
Cheap Trick
The World Ends (Nigerian comp.)

PRE-ORDER
Arcade Fire

All of this week's new arrivals.

Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/othermusicnyc
Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/othermusic

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




  WIN TICKETS TO OLOF ARNALDS
We've been fans of Olof Arnalds since first hearing this Iceleandic folk chanteuse's beguiling solo debut, Vid Og Vid, a few years back. Next Monday, she returns to New York for a performance at the Rockwood Music Hall, in which we're sure she'll be previewing songs off of her upcoming full-length, Innundir Skinni, which comes out in the States on September 14, on One Little Indian. We've got three pairs of tickets to give away, which you can enter for by emailing tickets@othermusic.com. We'll notify the winners this Friday.

MONDAY, JULY 19
ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL: 196 Allen Street NYC

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




  DYLAN LEBLANC IN-STORE PERFORMANCE:
When Dylan LeBlanc performed on the acoustic stage at the Other Music/Dig For Fire SXSW Lawn Party this year, all we really knew about him was that Geoff Travis had signed the 20-year-old Louisiana native to Rough Trade -- that was enough for us to book him. LeBlanc was probably the biggest, best surprise of the weekend, a mesmerizing singer/songwriter whose forthcoming debut album (due out 8/24) is excellent, and will undoubtedly launch him onto a much bigger stage. See him here first!

TUESDAY, JULY 20 @ 8PM
OTHER MUSIC: 15 East 4th Street NYC
Free Admission & Limited Capacity

MORE UPCOMING IN-STORES
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger: Monday, August 9
Nite Jewel: Monday, August 16

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


  SLEIGH BELLS TICKETS & SPECIAL MIX CD
Noisy Brooklyn electro-pop duo Sleigh Bells are playing this year's Hard NY at Governors Island a week from this Saturday, along with their number one fan and show headliner M.I.A., plus Die Antwoord, Skream, Benga, Rye Rye and more. We've got one pair of passes to this hot concert ticket, which you can enter for by emailing giveaway@othermusic.com, and we'll notify the winner on Monday. And for Hard NY concert goers: starting today, come into the shop and purchase Sleigh Bells' new album, Treats, and receive a special laminate (we have 10 to give away) that you can exchange at the festival's merchandise booth for a special mix CD made by the duo.

SATURDAY, JULY 24
HARD NY: South Field at Governors Island NYC

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


  WIN TICKETS TO ARIEL PINK'S HAUNTED GRAFITTI
Yours and our favorite twisted, weirdo pop genius Ariel Pink and his band are playing New York City's Irving Plaza next Saturday, July 24, in support of their great new album, Before Today. We're giving away two pairs of tickets, just email enter@othermusic.com to put your name in the hat. We'll notify the two winners on Monday.

SATURDAY, JULY 24
IRVING PLAZA: 17 Irving Place NYC
Tickets Available On-Line Here

 
   
       
   

 

 

     
    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.
 
         
   
   
   
   
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

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  DANGER MOUSE & SPARKLEHORSE
Dark Night of the Soul
(Capitol)

"Revenge"
"Every Time I'm with You"

Even without the dark content of the music, it's impossible to listen to Dark Night of the Soul at this point in time without a heavy dose of sadness and melancholy, with the tragic suicides of Mark Linkous (a/k/a Sparklehorse) this past March and Vic Chesnutt in December haunting this record. After endless delays of the official release for this, with Danger Mouse's label EMI successfully blocking a previous version, at this point one can hardly listen to the music here with the oppressive specters of death and uncertainty hovering so close. This official release comes a year later than anybody intended, with much water under the bridge, yet it allows us a fresh perspective on what brought Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse together in the first place: blasted pop songs, featuring a corral bursting with some of this generation's great vocalists.

With a guest list that includes Wayne Coyne, Julian Casablancas, the late Chesnutt, Suzanne Vega, Iggy Pop, Jason Lytle, James Mercer, David Lynch, Gruff Rhys, Nina Persson, and Black Francis, it's tough to go wrong. Each song takes on the additional burden of seeming "of a piece" with the whole concept of the album, while being composed of singers who are, to say the least, individualistic and stylistically at odds. Linkous' glitch-pocked alt-country turns out to be the perfect kind of loose thread that wraps everything together. Combining shimmering, tremolo-heavy electric guitars and otherworldly analog static with digital hiss, Linkous and Danger Mouse create a rough-hewn texture that molds itself comfortably around crooners like Coyne, throat scratchers like Casablancas, and angels like Vega. The lush string arrangement serves as a mirror to Coyne's voice on opener "Revenge," while a loping loner's shuffle accompanies Super Furry Animals' frontman Rhys fittingly down the road of "Just War." In my mind, the nicest surprises come from the women of the record, with Vega and Perrson (of the Cardigans) both delivering performances that are genuine and warm-spirited.

As it turns out, after all the red tape that EMI threw up and the tragedies that haunt this album, Dark Night of the Soul rises above its earthly shackles and remains, simply, a great record filled with great textured pop songs, and as powerful of a sendoff as Linkous' collaborators, supporters and fans could hope for. [MS]

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  HAMPER MCBEE
The Good Old Fashioned Way
(Twos & Fews / Drag City)

"Wreck of the Number 9"
"Knoxville Girl"

Goddamn if this isn't one of the most hilarious, moving, profane, and fascinating releases of the year. Released by Twos & Fews, a Drag City imprint, The Good Old Fashioned Way resurrects the singing and storytelling of Monteagle, Tennessee's Hamper McBee, a hard-drinking moonshiner, carnival barker, ballad singer, tall-tale teller, and general raconteur who was most impressively mustachioed, recorded in the mid 1970s by famous country-blues historian Charles Wolfe. Some of these recordings were originally released on an old Rounder Records LP entitled Raw Mash, published in the 1970s to accompany an extraordinary documentary by filmmaker Sol Korine (yep, Harmony's father) of the same name. Featuring both his songs and his stories, this release gives a much fuller view of the man -- from the double entendre of the album title, to the inclusion of some decidedly un-PC material even Rounder was too hesitant to include originally, to a wider swath of his marvelous folk-ballad singing.

McBee was a fine, fine, singer, and these tunes go down real easy, with little of the sharp edges and high nasal tones you might expect from a Southern balladeer. You can tell these vocal cords have been loosened by many Mason jars of whiskey. There must have been a pretty remarkable division in this man's character too, as it's incredible how deeply soulful he presents these songs, mostly familiar old-time ballads like "Knoxville Girl" and "Jack of Diamonds," and then immediately pivots to some of the most jaw-dropping and outrageous stories you're ever likely to hear. I'm not going to give any of them away though, because much of the pleasure of this release is discovering all of the different levels of human experience crammed into its 29 tracks. This is without a doubt the old-timey discovery of the year and a goddamn essential purchase! [MK]

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  CHARANJIT SINGH
Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat
(Bombay Connection)

"Raga Bhairav"
"Raga Madhuvanti"

Forget what you think you know about the origins of acid house. As it turns out, it wasn't Phuture that kick-started the genre in the mid-1980s with "Acid Tracks," but rather a journeyman Bollywood composer named Charanjit Singh. Mostly "known" (if at all) in India as a soundtrack session man and leader of a cover band that toured the wedding circuit, Singh's career was also marked by an almost prescient appreciation of new and emerging gear -- particularly synthesizers. In the early 80s, looking to cross-pollinate the traditional music of his native land with the then-emerging thump of western disco, Singh went to work with a Roland TB-303 and TR-808, along with a Jupiter-8, and emerged with Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat, an incredibly forward-thinking album that nonetheless languished in obscurity for decades.

Re-discovered by the good folks who run the Bombay Connection label a couple of years back, on first spin it's easy to see why this album had people speculating that it was, in fact, the work of one merry, modern electronic prankster (like Richard D. James). After all, on tracks like "Raga Lalit" and the serpentine "Raga Megh Malhar," Singh's music unfolds like it's unintentionally establishing a template that will be followed to years to come -- all limber, squelching bass lines atop trance-inducing beats. With synthesized ragas supplying oft-joyful, occasionally introspective melodies, tracks like "Raga Yaman" and "Raga Bhupali" almost seem to take elements of Kraftwerk to Southern Asia, in the process creating a sound that's wholly its own, and one that undoubtedly baffled then-contemporary audiences expecting more Bollywood favorites from Singh. More than having just kitsch appeal, though, Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat is an ecstatic record of undeniable innovation, one that we're lucky have a chance to appreciate years after the fact. [MC]

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  LA VAMPIRES & ZOLA JESUS
LA Vampires Meets Zola Jesus
(Not Not Fun)

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

Not Not Fun brings us this recent collaboration between LA Vampires (a/k/a Amanda Brown of Pocahaunted) and rising, dramatic goth pop vocalist Zola Jesus (alter ego of young Wisconsin native Nika Roza Danilova). Unlike Zola Jesus' recent Stridulum 12", Danilova's grandiose vocals are more subtle here, enshrouded in Brown's haunting, atmospheric electronics and crispy, crumbly drum machine beats. But the surprise treat here is the duo's captivating, offbeat take on Dawn Penn's classic reggae track, "No No No," which must have been the inspiration for the great cover art/style of the sleeve. Verdict: an EP worth your time and repeated listens. [PG]

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  SUN KIL MOON
Admiral Fell Promises
(Caldo Verde)

"Ålesund"
"You Are My Sun"

When you've built up a body of work as estimable as that of Mark Kozelek, it must be difficult to know where to go next. Responsible for the game-changing Red House Painters as well as his near-solo Sun Kil Moon project, Kozelek has for many re-defined the singer/songwriter sound. Devoid of the sloppy 1960s folk-isms of so many of his contemporaries, Kozelek has a knack for imbuing his succinct lyrical themes with a passion and complexity rarely seen in the genre. Admiral Fell Promises is his latest statement, and is notable for a slight shift in direction since the phenomenal April. Gone are the soaring multi-layered productions (and the rest of the band, seemingly) and in their place is, well, nothing. The simplicity at the root of Kozelek's writing is untouched -- this is merely voice and guitar, and his songs are given the space they need to breathe. Much will no doubt be made of the slightly Spanish bent of the record, and there are indeed Flamenco-influenced rhythms present throughout, only accentuated by the tone of his nylon strings. However, this is far from the Mediterranean love affair many are calling it out as being; it is still wholly Kozelek, just with an added balmy flourish offering the album something a little different. There might not be anything here as instant as, say, "Summer Dress," but that's not why we're listening to Mark Kozelek in 2010, is it? The man has provided us yet again with one of the finest collections of singer/songwriter music you're likely to hear this year. It's a smoldering, slowly building beauty of a record, and like a fine wine it is likely to age very well indeed. [JT]

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Mare
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Droplet
$6.99
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JULIAN LYNCH
Mare
(Olde English Spelling Bee)

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

JULIAN LYNCH
Droplet on a Hot Stove
(Underwater Peoples)

Though the Ridgewood, NJ native has been associated with chillwavers like Ducktails, Alex Bleeker & the Freaks and Real Estate, Julian Lynch's wistful psychedelia has more in common with Bradford Cox's bedroom project, Atlas Sound. Both Cox and Lynch craft intimate, sensuous music from spare musical parts, letting ideas and details slowly unfurl like flags in the wind. But whereas Cox will let electronic squiggles and squawks carry a song, Lynch prefers organic instruments; acoustic guitars, shakers, defanged synthesizers and layers of clarinet are all blanketed by the sound of the unspooling cassette tape. On songs like "Ruth, My Sister," Lynch builds the entire song around two plunky piano chords, some plaintive clarinet warbles, a shaker, and a bass, as if Lynch had scooped them up like crawdads in a Mason jar, swirled them around, and poured them onto the microphone. Lyrically, Mare is pretty sparse, with Lynch simply using words as signposts and placeholders rather than attempting a narrative, which is just right for this kind of lush, lo-fi suburban psychedelic music. Songs like the opener "Just Enough" and closer "In New Jersey" are tinged with shades of twang and warble, and on the whole, Mare is a fantastic entry in the new American folk canon, centered around the cathedral of the cassette tape community, the open road, and intimacy projected outward.

Also Available: Julian Lynch's Underwater Peoples-issued 7" featuring "Droplet on a Hot Stove" and "Nen Vole," both tracks originally included on the Wild Animal Kingdom released Born2Run cassette. [MS]

Order LP by Texting "omlpjulianmare" to 767825
Order 45 by Texting "om45juliandroplet" to 767825


 
         
   
   
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  M.I.A.
/\/\/\Y/\
(Interscope)

"Lovalot"
"Tell Me Why"

M.I.A.'s latest notes from the political-pop underground are a digital mosh pit of clashing sounds, public discourse vs. private themes, and 21st century technology. No longer the new "it" girl on the scene, but with more eyes on her than ever before, Maya Arulpragasam, offers up her edgiest, most abrasive, most challenging, and in my opinion, her strongest album to date. Still entrenched in the sound clash of the Mad Decent crew, production comes mainly from Diplo, Switch, Rusko and Blaqstarr, delivering M.I.A.'s take on the B-More sound clash of dancehall, crunk, dubstep, chip tune, and future ghetto beats. The album starts with an intro based on the children's rhyme game of hand-bone, updated as "the headphones connected to the iPhone, connected to the Internet, connected to the government," voiced by her brother Sugu. "The Message" may be child-like, yet the riffs on our own connections to and reliance on artificial intelligence in this digital age run deeper than any game. From there "Steppin' Up" sets gears grinding, churning and scratching, a pounding and screeching metallic assault, with M.I.A. riding the clanking rhythm in good stride.

Throughout, the collage of infectiously intrusive and in-your-face digital noises create an uneasy seesaw of contemporary beat making. The album sounds like nothing else around, outside of her inner circle; there are hints of Major Lazer and Sleigh Bells (whose Derrek E. Miller also worked on the album), yet feels overtly future-present, with a dense mix of industrial, punk, and grimy dancehall. Her lyrical content is inspired by her own real life international drama, as well as trying to tap into the undertow of global politics, albeit with a pop star's sound-bite aesthetic. But Maya's lyrics and voice often become just another high-pitched sound that gets chopped and screwed throughout, as on the six-minute "Teqkilla," which feels like a cyber-fiesta. "Born Free" samples Suicide's "Ghost Rider," "It Takes a Muscle" has the filtered Caribbean vibe of a Rhianna song. There are moments that hint at her past surprise urban radio hit "Paper Planes," on "XXXO" (which already has a remix featuring Jay-Z), and "Tell Me Why," with the sing-along quality she does so well. But overall the album gives the impression that M.I.A. was almost willfully avoiding any hit singles here, and even the most hook-filled tracks can turn on you at surprising moments. It took me a few listens, but I'm into it. A volatile mix of real life, hard beats, and global culture that fuels my fire. She's good like that. You know you wanna check it out. But be sure to have some aspirin nearby, just in case. [DG]

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Shangaan Electro: New Wave Dance Music from South Africa
(Honest Jon's)

"Nwa Pfundla" Tshetsha Boys
"Nwa Gezani" Zinja Hlungwani

It's been awhile since we've had an Afro Jam of the Week, and this one may be the strangest yet featured. This astounding compilation, compiled by Mark Ernestus (Hardwax/Rhythm & Sound) and Mark Ainley (Honest Jon's) anthologizes one of the newest, most wild sounds coming out of Soweto, South Africa today. Shangaan is a dance music based around the sounds of the marimba and layers of rhythm boxes programmed at tempos of 180 bpms or higher -- it's frenetic, yet light and airy, combining the relentless pace of juke house with the tropical bounce of Caribbean soca, topped with soulful, melodic vocals and a slightly avant/minimal techno aesthetic. The comp also shares aesthetic similarities to the Konono No 1/Congotronics mindset of taking trad roots dance music and hotwiring it with a junkshop/DIY punk mentality; these tunes could all be rearranged for "traditional" ensembles, but it's the slightly alien textures of the synth and rhythm box arrangements that make this stuff sound closer to Profan or Kompakt techno than the Nonesuch Explorer Series. To be fair, this record's definitely not for everyone, and it may be a bit too much to take in one sitting, but this music is gorgeous, soulful, and uplifting, and yes... you can dance to it; just make sure you stretch first! Essential. [IQ]

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  DEUTSCHE WERTARBEIT
Deutsche Wertarbeit
(Medical)

Seattle's Medical Records is a nascent imprint, specializing in vinyl reissues within the increasingly fashionable genres of new wave, cold wave, cosmic disco and synth. And if their first outing is any indication of their future, they are a label to watch. Mentioned briefly in a criminally tepid blurb in Krautrock encyclopedia Crack in the Cosmic Egg, Deutsche Wertarbeit is the solo project of classically-trained pianist Dorothea Raukes, one of the few women in the Kraut boys club, as a key member of prog/psych band Streetmark. Released in 1981 on Sky Records soon after the demise of that band, the name fittingly translates to "German Craftmanship," and the record is comprised of six instrumental tracks that blend classic influences like Cluster and Tangerine Dream with moments most akin to soundtrack creations a la Vangelis. Opening with spaced-out synths layered under fuzzy vocoder vocals, "Guten Abend, Leute" merges into the lush and warm standout, "Deutsche Walder," a track full of beautiful analogue arpeggios topped with a unique harpsichord-like synth melody. Full of movement and successfully captivating sound experiments, side B skillfully maneuvers into Chariots of Fire territory before ending with one final wayfaring synth odyssey. Fantastic record. Limited to 500 copies. [PG]

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  DARK DAY
Window
(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]

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  DOUG SNYDER & BOB THOMPSON
Daily Dance
(Lion Productions)

"Soul and Universe"
"Truth Is a Pathless Land"

A longtime favorite, this mystery, self-released album now enjoys a stellar reissue. Snyder and Thompson were a guitar and drums duo from the boonies out by Ohio State University. They bought recording equipment and musical gear, and practiced for hours on end in the attic of an old farmhouse, eventually releasing this rust-raw torrent of filth upon an unsuspecting public in 1973. Sold for years through the sainted New Music Distribution Service (original copies were available up until that place closed), this is a private press monster of molten rock explosion, from guys who'd seen the Velvets, Stooges and MC5 at the peaks of their respective powers, and attempted to write the next chapter. Absolutely brutal, this paint stripper of an album prefaces Keiji Haino's guitar destruction, NYC no wave, death metal, and harsh noise, improvising within rock's sonic boundaries but blowing several handfuls of buckshot into the conventions of the day. Not to be missed! [DM]

Order CD by Texting "omcddougdaily" to 767825

 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Turkish Freakout
(Bouzouki Joe)

"Dokuz Sekiz" Okay Temiz
"Seni Dileniyorum" Alpay

This stellar compilation collects a sack full of rare Turkish psych, funk, and acid folk jams from 1969-80; it features heavyweights like Erkin Koray, Baris Manco, and Ersen alongside lesser-known figures like Onder Bali, Ajda Pekkan, and Alpay, amongst others. It also happens to be one of the best collections of this stuff I've heard; it follows quite heavily the vibe and style of Finders Keepers/B-Music anthologies like Well Hung and Pomegranates, with a bit of dancefloor glitter cutting through the patchouli and marijuana haze. The collection starts out with one of the best psychedelic dance tracks ever cut to wax, "Dokuz Sekiz" by percussionist Okay Temiz (perhaps best known for his work with jazz heavies like Don Cherry, Mongezi Feza, and Johnny Dyani); from there, we get treated to a series of soulful jams filled with clattering percussion breaks, passionate vocals, swooping strings, and guitars fuzzier than a Muppet. It's sequenced quite nicely, and the booklet features full color photos of every 7"'s cover, so you can start saving your milk money and get to digging in those crates. I don't know who Bouzouki Joe is, but I'm psyched that he started this label -- pun fully intended. Here's hoping they deliver more treats in the months to come. Highest recommendation! [IQ]

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  MORITZ VON OSWALD TRIO
Live in New York
(Honest Jon's)

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

That the MvO3 embodies almost the entire history of minimal techno within its folds (Oswald, Max Loderbauer of Sun Electric and Sasu Ripatti a/k/a Luomo and Vladislav Delay) you might already know. Each member is a heavyweight in his own right, and combined, their first disc was one of 2009's most memorable. So expectations were high when the trio appeared at (Le) Poisson Rouge as part of the inaugural NYC edition of the Unsound Festival. But when the trio appeared with Detroit's Carl Craig and New York's Francois Kevorkian, the concert was an instant classic. Building from the continuum that Francois K. wrought (infusing 70s disco with dub) and updated by Craig's techno prowess, this augmented trio operated on a higher plane the entire evening, wasting heads in the room with an intergalactic slice of living history. And thankfully, it was all captured on disc. Split into four pieces, this is simply put, the past, present and future of electronic music. [AB]

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  MUSLIMGAUZE
Iran
(Soleilmoon)

"Qom (Short Version)"
"Intifadah (Extended Re-Mix)"

I was a bit suspicious of all the hoopla surrounding this being a reissue of Muslimgauze's first CD. I mean, with 200-plus releases on tape, vinyl and compact disc, some accompanied with ping-pong paddles and pillowcases, and others coming out 11 years after his death, it just seemed to be a pretty trivial detail. That said, I should have clued into the fact that Iran has rarely, if ever, surfaced as a used disc in the shop through the years, and it does indeed stand out as one of the best Muslimgauze releases that I hadn't heard until now.

Unlike many of the Muslimgauze reissues featuring Middle Eastern breakbeats combined with tabla loops with sitars, Iran, thankfully, offers another vibe altogether. These rhythms are unique, even for Muslimgauze, in that they strike a balance between the acoustic quality of his sampled hand percussion work and his electronic/techno sounding material. It's very fluid, and yet still primal, and some of which happens to resemble Thomas Brinkmann's more physical and less synthetic sounding Rosa-era rhythms, with the difference here being the requisite Middle Eastern and North African atmospheres. The beautifully rolling percussion is accented with ringing, bell-like cymbals and tom-toms that conjure images of a chase scene through a rain forest.

A 35-minute, three-song mini-album, with two of the tracks in an epic/medley form of 10 minutes and 17-plus minutes, respectively, Iran comes housed in a nicely screened cardstock jacket, with the real kicker being that the scented inner sleeve actually permeates the CD to some degree. We're not talking about some hippie store Nag Champa either -- more like something closer to Frankincense or Myrrh. I've been asking around here and no one can quite place the scent, so if anyone out there knows what it is, hook a brother up. It would smell lovely in my personal meditation chamber with Iran jamming in the background. [SM]

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Solid Gold
(Italians Do It Better)

"Robots Are Dub American" Solange
"Cable Dazed" Invisible Conga People

What started as a side label to give Johnny Jewel an outlet for his electronic dance experiments has now become one of the go-to imprints for arpeggiated, night-flight fantasy disco. Italians Do It Better has by and large introduced the world to such namesakes as Bottin, Professor Genius and Nite Jewel, as well as being a platform for Mr. Jewel's own Glass Candy to transform themselves from arty glam-punks to sultry, slo-mo electro-makers. Many of the 12''s featured here are long out-of-print, and Solid Gold attempts to right those wrongs. I'm happy to find several of my personal faves available again, tracks like Tiedye's sleek reworking of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters," which boasts a pretty gnarly cop-rock guitar lead, as well as their lovely remix of "I Feel Electric" by Rubies. Elsewhere, the muscular, filtered Italo-drive of Bottin's "No Static" is a surprisingly upbeat affair coming from the self-proclaimed dark prince of horror disco, while the three-minute atmospheric feel of Twisted Wires' "One Night at the Raw Deal" should appeal to Factory Records fans enamored with dubby Martin Hannett-isms. The crown (Johnny) jewel in this collection, however, has to be Bottin's dub reworking of Solange's "Robots Are Un-American" (renamed "Robots Are Dub-American"), a rare Italo disco track from '84 that's a head scratching call-to-arms to defeat an incoming invasion of robots, set to percolating Moroder-isms. It's pretty brilliant to say the least. Like everything else on Italians Do It Better, this collection comes limited, so if you missed out on the 12"s the first time around, I urge you to grab this before it floats away for good. [DH]

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  CARISSA'S WIERD
They’ll Only Miss You When You Leave: Songs 1996–2003
(Hardly Art)

"Blessed Arms That Hold You Tight..."
"Die"

The heaviest musical influence I had growing up was a weekly radio show on Seattle's 107.7 The End, hosted by John Richards (of The Morning Show on KEXP fame). It was called The Young and the Restless, and it was the only dedicated local music program on the airwaves. Richards was, and still is, my favorite disc jockey, and I only have him to thank for introducing me to the heavies of the Northwest music scene like Death Cab for Cutie and Modest Mouse, as well as the smaller bands that I continue to nurture a fierce affection for, like the now defunct the Divorce, Dolour, and in particular Carissa's Wierd. Probably better known these days as Band of Horses: The Beginnings, it is indeed where Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke first joined forces, but to evaluate Carissa's Wierd in the shadow of Band of Horses wouldn't be fair. CW songs are lush, melancholy, and pretty far away from the arena-country that BoH are now famous for. "You Should Be Hated Here," originally a 7" for Sub Pop in 2001, as well as the opener "Low Budget Slow Motion Soundtrack Song for the Leaving Scene," feature swelling string sections underneath acoustic guitar and spare electric accompaniment, while some brushes patter away pleasingly in the background. You don't get much more heart on your sleeve than Carissa's Wierd; singer Jenn Ghetto's voice is the perfect medium for songs about forgetting and leaving. It's sweet, earnest, with just a little smoke, like Sarah Bleach and Rachel Evans' work with Comet Gain. Even Brooke's voice carries lines like "You're the only one could be my valentine" past emo and straight through to the heart. Like the Frames, Carissa's Wierd bring honesty and energy to everyday sentiments and struggles, and this collection reignites one of my most cherished memories: alone in my room, ear pressed to the radio for two hours every Sunday night, waiting for my not-so-far-away friends to sing. [MS]

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Welcome Home / Diggin' the Universe
(Woodsist)

An all-encompassing meeting of the tribes, Diggin' the Universe succeeds where so many compilations fail by making a convincing case for the far-reaching influence of and (hopeful) longevity of the scene it documents. The last collection of this magnitude was probably the World's Lousy with Ideas Vol. 8, which served as a definitive summation of everything right about the current garage/weird-punk/psych scene. Like its predecessor, Diggin' is a cohesive statement that boasts uncommonly strong individual contributions, especially considering that every track save for one here is exclusive. Far from being throwaways, these tunes serve as the aprium to World's Lousy's pluot, showcasing the more rustic, spaced-out, side of things, while also letting the twee run free. Great selections from Woods, Fresh & Onlys, Nodzzz, Ducktails, not to mention a fried-out, next-level Moon Duo track introducing piano. Hell, even the covers are good (City Center doing the Dead's "Box of Rain" and Skygreen Leopards covering "Catch" by the Cure)! Not a dud in the deck. [JTr]

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Local Customs: Lone Star Lowlands
(The Numero Group)

"Live My Life Today" Insight Out
"Give Me Time" Circus

There's no question that the staff at the Numero Group are compilers extraordinaire -- organizers of sonic libraries so intriguing, diverse, engaging, and surprising that they often leave you wondering how they can keep finding such deep veins of music to mine. This offering presents a variety of material recorded between 1969 and 1974 at a small studio in a strip-mall in east Texas, and is a more complete representation of a time and a place than any photograph I've ever seen. This compilation has got it all: a guy named Bobby Welch who thinks he's Stephen Stills; classic library instrumental weirdness courtesy of the Lowlands Studio house band; an acid-and-beer-fueled psych outfit called Hope; and Donald Thomas -- a man whose music sounds like a mix between the Coaster's "Yakety Yak," mid-'70s Paul Simon, and Biz Markie. Seriously, I'd buy this album just to own the Donald Thomas song. The bulk of these tracks fit into the odd subgenre of obscure commercial music: mellow, folky pop that aimed for radio gold, but somehow missed the mark, from a loosely-connected group of musicians, singers and producers with songs and talent, but no hits. This collection ensures that they are not completely forgotten; Numero has put in the time, done the research, and opened a window into a corner of the world you never even knew existed, and they've done it in the clean, well-organized and sophisticated manner we've all come to expect from this label. They claim to aspire towards being the "best archival record label in the world," and for my money they are. (*Folkways, later Smithsonian Folkways, lovingly excluded from consideration for being so fundamental to the genre.) [AS]

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  JOHN AND PHILIPA COOPER
The Cooperville Times
(Shadoks)

"The Mad Professor"
"Edge of Eternity"

Shadoks continues in their unearthing of every South African psych record worth a toss with this extreme rarity, released by EMI in 1968. The Coopers were a brother-and-sister duo that mined the pop-psych realm with members of Freedom's Children and the Third Eye. This was their only album, and for the time and place it's a top shelf exploration into fields of daisies and some surprisingly heavy moments (check the break at the beginning of opener "The Mad Professor"). A short, sweet album that will appeal to fans of factory pop/folk of the day, this is a quality discovery, and worth your time. [DM]

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  THE LOVE LANGUAGE
Libraries
(Merge)

"Pedals"
"Summer Dust"

After stirring up a considerable buzz with a scruffy, lo-fi album (reportedly recorded in a storage space via ancient 4-track), Stuart McLamb brings his one-man pop revivalism to a wider-screen with Libraries, his Merge Records debut. McLamb was brought to the label's attention via another Merge staple, the Rosebuds, and any fan of the aforementioned (especially their early albums) will find much to love here. McLamb's MO recalls the same delicate, baroque take on Brill-Building-era pop that the Rosebuds quietly whittled away at, muddling Spector-inspired wall-of-sound production with a sweeping, more anthemic rock 'n' roll sensibility at times. Old school Merge-diehards may also pick up on a serious Rock*A*Teens vibe, one of the greatest, and most-criminally under-discussed acts from the label's early years, fully connecting the dots of the Southern indie rock underground. [JTr]

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Far Out Spaced Oddyssey
(Far Out)

"Apocalipse" Jose Mauro
"Quantao (Featuring Daz-I-Que Re-edit)" Binario

For 15 years the London-based label Far Out has been showcasing Brazilian-influenced electronica, and they have been instrumental in exposing Brazilian legends like Azymuth, Joyce and Marcos Valle to a much larger audience outside of their native country. While Far Out's most popular releases tend to be of the future-jazz variety, over the years the label has also put out some solid, forward-thinking leftfield albums that sadly fell under the radar. Far Out Spaced Oddyssey, however, aims to rectify this by re-introducing us to some great, little heard Brazilian and Brazilian-influenced psychedelia and jazz, both old and new. This ambitious release was first issued on vinyl back in January, complete with some amazing artwork designed by world-psych guru (and Far Out label alum) Andy Votel, and for this CD edition we get an expanded two-disc sampling.

The compilation kicks off with two stunners, both produced by the underrated Brazilian producer Roberto Quartin. Opener "Apocalipse" is taken from Jose Mauro's sole LP from 1970, with the track being a dark, soft-psych wonder that utilizes a minor-key Turkish-style scale as Mauro's vocals soar above acoustic guitar, dissonant strings and heavy drums, and then the mysterious Piri offers a lovely, moody piece of hippie bossa, most reminiscent of Arthur Verocai. Other highlights include tracks from Binario and Rabotnik (Tortoise fans should dig both of these artists' abstract sounds), as well as "Passarinho" by the underrated Brazilian jazz-fusion vocalist Aleuda, whose incredibly rich but unfortunately little heard album Oferenda from 2000 should appeal to fans of Brigitte Fontaine, Gal Costa's Gal and Joyce -- it's that good. And speaking of Joyce, she's well represented here too. We also get a stone deep house classic courtesy of Mark Pritchard's Troubleman moniker, "Switch" being a monstrous tribal-elecro stomper, with deep-techy Motor City melodies, which in fact Carl Craig and Derrick May have been caning in their DJ sets for quite some time now. Add the remixes from nu-skool UK favorites like Paul White and Kwes, and I can honestly say that this release comes highly recommended. [DH]

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Family Album
(Peoples Potential Unlimited)

"Live" Minority Band
"Time to Throw Down" J.P.' s Force

Peoples Potential Unlimited is one of those crate-digging reissue labels that succeeds by keeping a laser-sharp focus, in their case, on obscure early-'80s dancefloor funk. It was a weird time for funk, well past the prime of the live soul stompers, as disco entered its death throes, yet before pop icons like Michael Jackson and Prince really changed the landscape for good. The music the label has brought to light, on a series of limited vinyl pressings, runs the gamut from boogie to go-go to pretty much any other deep groove you can imagine, from raw and weird to slick and soulful, and everything in between. The unifying force is the heavy, sweaty beat, and while the groups championed by PPU are universally forgotten -- most likely never known in the first place outside of their own local club scenes -- the music is often as powerful and soulful as that of any marquee band of the time. Peoples Potential Family Album is the first CD collection from the label, culling together the best tracks PPU has unearthed on a thrilling 80-minute compilation that hits the mark again and again. Some of these tracks should have been hits, some of them are so deliriously twisted they demand head scratching in time to the beat, but all of them will fill your own personal dancefloor all summer long. [JM]

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  CHEAP TRICK
Budokan! Friday, April 28, 1978
(Epic)

An album this iconic (and great) deserves a few rehashes, and Cheap Trick's career-making live set gets another one here, with the full concert on CD and DVD. The original At Budokan album was comped together from a few different performances, but this is a complete 19-song set from the band, with great audio and video from Japanese TV, plus some new interviews and bonus material.

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
The World Ends: Afro Rock and Psychedelia in 1970s Nigeria
(Soundway)

Yes, it is a premise you may well be familiar with at this point -- 1970s Nigerian guitar funk and psychedelia -- but we all know it is a fertile genre, and few can do it like the Soundway label. Thirty-two tracks from obscure and wonderful artists of all stripes, on a double disc. Full review in next week's Update.

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Arcade Fire
Pre-order
On Sale
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  ARCADE FIRE
The Suburbs
(Merge)

Arcade Fire's anticipated new album, The Suburbs, hits store shelves on Tuesday, August 3, and can be pre-ordered right now for the sale price of $11.99. The album will be shipped to arrive at your door on or near the record's release date. Shipping and handling charge for domestic packages in the US begins at $2, and international orders start at $4. Questions: email orders@othermusic.com.

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  All of this week's new arrivals.

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THIS WEEK'S CONTRIBUTORS

[AB] Adrian Burkholder
[MC] Michael Crumsho
[PG] Pamela Garavano-Coolbaugh
[DG] Daniel Givens
[DH] Duane Harriott
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[MK] Michael Klausman
[JM] Josh Madell
[DM] Doug Mosurock
[SM] Scott Mou
[CPa] Chris Pappas
[AS] Andrew Siskind
[MS] Michael Stasiak
[JTr] Jon Treneff
[JT] John Twells


THANKS FOR READING
- all of us at Other Music

 
         
   
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