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   June 3, 2010  
Sleigh Bells
Dan Curtin
Crystal Castles
Ellen Allien
Roland White
Bo Diddley Is a Songwriter (Various)
Bridget St. John
Be Yourself (Graham Nash Tribute)
Javelin (Limited Tour Cassette)
Fingered Dvdzine #6

Elk City

All of this week's new arrivals.

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SEP Sun 26 Mon 27 Tues 28 Wed 29 Thurs 30 Fri 01 Sat 02

Belle & Sebastian

The Scots are taking over the Williamsburg waterfront on Thursday, September 30th, when Belle & Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub will be performing at the East River State Park! Tickets go on sale this Friday at noon, and you'll be able to buy them at Other Music, or on-line here. If you're feeling sinister lucky, we're also giving away two pairs of tickets to the show, and you can enter to win a pair by emailing tickets@othermusic.com. We'll notify the two winners Friday morning.

WILLIAMSBURG WATERFRONT: North 8th St. & Kent Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
$40 tickets (cash only/includes service feed) go on sale at Other Music this Friday at Noon.

JUN Sun 30 Mon 31 Tues 01 Wed 02 Thurs 03 Fri 04 Sat 05

This Saturday, the DJ Kicks tour will be making a stop in Williamsburg at the Fixed party, with Juan MacLean DJing a special set in celebration of his great new mix for the !K7 series, along with residents JDH and Dave P. Other Music is giving away a pair of tickets to the night. Just email enter@othermusic.com to put your name in the hat. We'll notify the winner on Friday.

PUBLIC ASSEMBLY: North 6th Street (between Wythe and Kent) Williamsburg, Brooklyn
10PM | 21+ | $8 advance tickets available at Other Music




    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.







(Mom and Pop)

"Run the Heart"
"A/B Machines"

First things first: let's address the hype factor right between the eyes, because it's pretty much unavoidable at this point. As an OM employee with a reputation for being a bit of a detractor/separatist when it comes to indie/pop hype machines, I wanted to tackle this one because I was fascinated by the band before I'd even heard a second of the music. The info coming in from Other Music's clientele was rabid and almost sounded unreal: there's this new Brooklyn band called Sleigh Bells; they're on M.I.A.'s new label; they feature former members of Surfer Blood(?!?); the album's out already (the digital release was bumped up months ahead due to the buzz and leaks, etc.)... How could I NOT want to hear what this beast sounded like!?

Well, good news -- it's actually a really great pop record, if a bit aggressive and bombastic. The duo takes chopped-up sample beats in the vein of Swizz Beats, Diplo, XXXChange, etc., and they infuse an in-the-red punk rawness, a clear awareness of hip-hop production blueprint, and some Lolita-pop vocals (upon first listen, I was certain I was hearing some collab between Swedish pop princess Annie, who released my fave album of last year, with some messed up Diplo demos or something), and turns it into thirty-two of the most DENSE, catchy, head-bobbing minutes of music I've heard in a while. There's been talk in Other Music lately amongst a few staffers about how, when it comes to electronic-/beat-oriented music, the dirtier, grimier, and just plain more MESSED-UP the beats sound, the better, and I swear, people have been listening, because these tracks chug forth like pixelated digital undead monsters, while singer Alexis Krauss sings the beasts lullabies to get them to not eat her brain.

I'll be straightforward; as much as people have been salivating for this record, it may not be for everyone. The music is relentlessly overloaded, it definitely nods in the direction of M.I.A and her ghettoblaster pop-hop sensibilities, but twists that sound into a suburban stepchild that hangs with the kids who smoke cigs behind the bleachers at football games, making fun of the cheerleaders on the album's cover while secretly wanting to be one of them. Like much good pop music, it's loud, direct, and deceptively simple. It's also strikes a successful balance of abstract and concrete by managing to actually SOUND like concrete being abstracted. This record's good, folks. [IQ]

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"Mirrors Reflecting"

A new Mobilee album is already something to look out for, but a new Mobilee album by Dan Curtin?! This I had had to check out! With the age-old complaint of every other minimal record sounding rather humdrum, it's good to hear a new album from a techno veteran but on a label with a fresh aesthetic. The pairing is perfect since Mobilee specializes in the interestingly structured, acid-y techno house that is edgy and funky at the same time. To see Dan Curtin take this platform and work his experience into it makes for a really solid album.

Lifeblood’s variety is its strength, with quality/atmospheric downtempo moments (reminiscent of Neo Ouija stuff!), some soulful techno house moments, and even a welcome appearance of some modern day Warp/bleep-house. It’s all produced with a rare skill and sincerity, but my favorites have to be loping, snappy, house-y tracks like "I See Light," "Tickets to Paris," "Other (Lost in You Mix)," "Schlafwagen" and "You Get What You Need" -- and there are more. Rave-y energy without the cheese, tasteful vocal samples, dancefloor-movin' stabs galore, the stuff is in tune with the current minimal scene but there isn't an annoyingly stiff groove or stale loop in sight. Taste-wise, these tracks are similar to what Efdemin has been doing: great, lean, effective house music. (I hear Efdemin is a Dan Curtin fan too.) The thing is, unlike a lotta new guys, Curtin has more variety and the skill needed to make tracks that simply don't lag anywhere, and add to that, the stuff just can't stop being Balearic. To do that with a minimal palette takes something most don't have these days. And for that, I'm tipping my hat. It’s a great record for those who are down with the above description, and if you are, get this! [SM]

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Love Is Mysterious EP

"Total Loss"

Local release of the week! We're so excited to offer a brand new EP from Brooklyn's Ribbons here at the shop, as these five new tracks manage to upstage the duo's 2008 full-length, Surprise Attacks, a much-buzzed-about, best-selling local record here. Their Love Is Mysterious EP finds the band revisiting their signature sound, a mix of meandering, melodic guitar hooks, heavy, propulsive drumming, and low, emotive vocals. Our previous reviews compared the group's raw intensity to the Durutti Column or Joy Division, and while the new tracks are similarly dark, it feels like there's a dead-on control to their sound now -- perfect timing, authentic melodrama. Vocalist Jenny Logan's distinctive deep vibrato have drawn comparisons to Corin Tucker and Siouxsie Sioux, and her reserved delivery is squarely haunting (think an indie-rock Zola Jesus). No less astounding are the talents of Ribbons' other half, Sam Roudman, whose metal drumming roots turn over beats so dense that at times, there's barely a sliver of space between them. Another dose of expertly executed, darkly beautiful pop! [KS]

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Peace and Love
(Dug Out)

"Seventy-Two Nations"
"Zion Land"

Deep, deep Grounation vibes for roots heads courtesy of Dug Out, the brilliant reissue label run by Basic Channel's Mark Ernestus and Honest Jon's Mark Ainsley, Dadawah's 1974 album Peace and Love is a holy grail of roots reggae. And indeed, this serenely remastered reissue stands to reestablish this album's status as unique in its class. But to refer to Peace and Love, an album of nyabinghi (Rastafarian spiritual music), as reggae at all could be something of a misnomer. Unlike any reggae I've ever heard, it deserves a categorization of its own. Short of space, I'll just say it is something else: earthy and dazed, sun-scorched and spacious and deeply, deeply psychedelic.

On the album's four tracks (all timing in near 10 minutes apiece), the small ensemble of bass, nyabinghi (ceremonial Rasta hand drum), piano and guitar pursue spacious, extended cuts that move with the choreography of smoke tangling in the air and hanging there. Near motionless. Beguiling. Willie Lindo's guitar doesn't play the role so central to nearly all reggae -- playing the insistent downbeat rhythm. This creates a wide opening in each of these songs, wherein Lindo plays off vocalist Ras Michaels' spiritual incantations, improvising like a cross between Can's Michael Karoli and an African bluesman. There is something arid at work, as if you've been marooned in an endless desert and can feel the dryness of your throat, the sand collecting in your shoes. "Oh run away, come away from the land of the sinking sand," sings Ras Michael on "Run Come Rally." "Zion Land" is the equivalent of deep JA gospel, a strung-out nodder that achieves an unlikely balance between the soporific and the euphoric, conjuring a sacred air I have rarely been privy to. "Know How You Stand" meanwhile barely stands on its own two legs, threatening to topple over for its entire length. It hangs by a thread, the bass guitar acting as glue between the spare percussion and the gorgeous piano work. How it sustains itself for nearly 11 minutes is beyond me. If this sounds like a dig, it isn't.

The gris gris (indeed this is the kind of reggae Doctor John, and his offspring, such as Brightblack Morning Light would love) herein takes you somewhere else. Somewhere very different from where you likely stand. Rarely has music been so organic, so delicate and so deeply reaching, as if it emanates from inside the core of the earth and rises like tree branches up to the sky. Hyperbole, you ask? Enh, not s'much. The group's interplay can be evidenced nine minutes into the cosmic "Seventy Two Nations," wherein the ensemble nearly dissolves before morphing into a lilting groove, the piano leading the group through a sublime departure. As the myth goes, producer Lloyd Charmers and engineer George Raymond stayed up all night after the session to mix the album and you can hear the echoing stillness of deep night, with subtle reverbs and echoes creating a wide-open spaciousness that amazes. Remastered at Abbey Road, Peace and Love is warm, deep, enveloping and full-spectrum. If you've weaned yourself on the Congos' Heart of the Congos, if you've gotten hot and heavy with Rhythm & Sound, if you've enjoyed imagining yourself wandering high in the desert, you've been primed proper for the astral gospel that is Peace and Love. Most high recommendation! [AG]

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Crystal Castles (II)
(Universal Motwown)

"Years of Silence"

Most listeners already know whether they will love or hate Crystal Castles (II) -- and though there are quite a few surprises on the excellent sophomore album from this galvanizing electro-noise-pop duo, most listeners are probably right. Some will adore the glitchy hiccups, others will despise the skull-numbingly loud volume and the static and crackling; some will be charmed and intrigued by lead singer Alice Glass' ferocity and kiss-off/c'mere attitude, others will think she's Queen Bitch Hipster. It basically comes down to how adventurous you're feeling today: are you brazen enough to butt heads with a band that wants to fight, f**k, eat your face, and dance with you at the same time?

The self-titling of their second album is a canny move -- it says, "So you thought that first record was us? Nah, not even close. That WAS Crystal Castles; now THIS is Crystal Castles." On the surface, little has changed; Ethan Kath still effortlessly programs insanely powerful beats and modulated synthesizer hooks, Glass still shrieks like a banshee that found some Death by Audio pedals in the garbage can -- that sums up the first track, "Fainting Spells." But then there's "Celestica," a gorgeous, intoxicating banger that finds Glass singing (!) and lovelorn; "When it's cold outside, hold me, don't hold me/When I choose to rest my eyes, coax me, don't coax me," she pines. It's a vulnerable moment for the duo, and pretty far from anything else on the album -- but not as radical a departure from the CC MO as it seems. The line separating ferocity from sadness is a fine one, and though Crystal Castles tend to find themselves on the former side (see "Doe Deer") what makes them such a feast for the eyes and ears is how willingly they put all of themselves on display, and risk being too forceful and up front. The neurotic club vibe of "Baptism" is seemingly at odds with Glass' pump-you-up delivery of the line, "This is your baptism!" and the result is uncomfortable but strangely pleasurable. "Violent Dreams" throbs and pulses like a creature not quite alive and not quite dead. The end of the record is a relief, but the act of listening doesn't even begin to answer the questions raised by such an odd, enigmatic, and ultimately thrilling piece of music. [MS]

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$9.99 MP3


(BPitch Control)

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

Berlin's Ellen Allien is a force to be reckoned with in the electronic music world; she's a prolific producer, jet-setting DJ, and head of the much-respected BPitch Control label -- that's not even mentioning her fashion line. Though she's never one to shy away from pop elements in her productions, Ms. Allien has always incorporated a wide swath of electronic sub-genres and sounds into her distinctive brand of dance music: electro, IDM, minimal, tech-house, glitch-funk, digital disco... Add to this 2008's bare-boned Sool, probably her deepest, most experimental album, which came across to many listeners as a reaction to the very accessible, lush tech-pop of 06's Orchestra of Bubbles, it was impossible not to wonder what Allien's next move would be. This brings us to Dust, an album that finds the pendulum swinging back towards the sounds of Orchestra, meaning a focus on melody. Adding German electronic music veteran Tobias Freund to her list of album collaborators (which in the past have included AGF, Apparat and Smash TV), Allien opens the record with "Our Utopie," the track's ringing chimes melting the icy delivery of her spoken vocal, and then heads into dancefloor-friendly minimal electro with "Flashy Flashy," in which Allien duets with a possessed sounding, pitch-shifted version of herself, chanting "Flashy, flashy, flashy, flashy disco lights" over the choppy, bouncing bass. Her two poppiest outreaches here, though, are a mixed bunch; "Sun the Rain" is an uninspired detour into indietronica that's propelled by a tepid beat and relies on several layers of generic guitars to carry the song musically -- even Allien's signature vocals can't save this one. In contrast, "You" is also carried by guitar, but this track nicely unfolds into a great, sultry piece of melancholic pop that's sure to perk the ears of many Lali Puna fans.

As with any Allien album, Dust is not without its abstract side; the somnambulant instrumental "Should We Go Home" ascends from a warm bed of synths, slow modulating tones and faint layers of exotic, ghostly voices and turns out to be seven of the record's most entrancing minutes, while "Ever" is just as hypnotizing, albeit it's a more clubby slice of minimal techno with crystalline music box tones that flutter in, out and around the looped beat. Elsewhere, Allien gives a nod to the slippery, tropic influence of the Compass Point All Stars on "Huibuh," a track that delightfully equates to a late night spent walking in the (Berlin) rain. What Dust lacks in stylistic fluidity is more than made up for in diversity, and when played from start to finish the album does flow quite nicely. One can only suspect that for this outing Allien was, more so than ever, looking to merge her pop sensibilities with her minimal and experimental sides, and simply have a little fun in the process. No matter what her name may suggest, she is human after all. [GH]

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$9.99 MP3


I Wasn't Born to Rock 'n' Roll
(Tompkins Square)

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

Perhaps playing off bluesman Mississippi Fred McDowell's famous album title I Do Not Play No Rock & Roll, here we have bluegrass mandolin player extraordinaire Roland White's obscure 1976 release, I Wasn't Born to Rock & Roll, lovingly resurrected by the fine folks over at Tompkins Square. Roland, along with his brother Clarence (who was born to rock & roll by the way, being one of the greatest guitarists who has ever lived, as evidenced by his stint in the Byrds, and otherwise) were both members of the pioneering bluegrass band the Kentucky Colonels, creators of surely some of the most remarkable music these ears have ever heard. Following that group’s dissolution and Clarence's embrace of the rock & roll lifestyle, brother Roland went on to play in the bands of bluegrass legends Bill Monroe and Lester Flatt. The solo album at hand was issued a couple of years after a reconstituted version of the Kentucky Colonels was cut short by the untimely death of Clarence following a car accident. It's a gem of an album, as laidback and rolling as often as it's firing on all cylinders. The band is perfectly in sync, with Roland's fleet prowess on the mandolin just a wonder to behold. When not doing originals, they dig pretty deep into the bluegrass and old timey canon, so you're never stuck hearing a version of a song you've heard 5,000 times before. This reissue's come along at just the perfect time, as I'm about to crack open a beer and have a little late afternoon summer barbeque, and a better album to accompany such an activity I can not think of. [MK]

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Bo Diddley Is a Songwriter

"Bo Diddley" Buddy Holly
"Who Do You Love?" Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks

Bo Diddley was a gunslinger, as one of his most beloved and classic albums once declared, but what many people don't realize, though, was that he was also a talented and prolific songwriter. This great addition to Ace Records' excellent compilation series highlights the chops of this R&B/blues legend, filled with killer tracks by '50s rock 'n' roll legends like the Everly Brothers ("Love Is Strange") and Buddy Holly (admirably tackling the eponymous "Bo Diddley"), '60s garage stompers by the Animals ("The Story of Bo Diddley"), Shadows of Knight ("Oh Yeah"), the Zombies ("Road Runner") and the Pretty Things (taking a clever spin on "Pretty Thing"), and '70s glam stompers and barroom rock by the New York Dolls ("Pills") and Delbert McClinton ("Before You Accuse Me"), respectively. We also get oddities by the likes of Los Lobos (handling the slow-burning ballad "I'm Sorry" with aplomb in a great live recording), and early recordings from Captain Beefheart (whose tear through "Diddy Wah Diddy" is easily one of my favorite tracks ever) and even Iggy Pop, whose first band the Iguanas are repped here by a Stonesy cover of "(Mona) I Need You Baby," featuring a young Jim Osterberg on drums!

While it may not be as stylistically diverse as recent songwriter comps by Randy Newman or Neil Diamond, that's kind of the point here; the collection shows Diddley's chops while also highlighting the unique signature of his "Bo Diddley beat." It's a testament to his influence in how few tracks deviate from that unstoppable rhythm template, and while listening to the comp, I thought of a dozen or so other tracks that could easily fit right in with the quality on display here. It's also a great piece of evidence to any detractor yapping about how rock 'n' roll and the blues is just a bunch of noise pollution, there's no craft, bleeding out my ears, etc. etc. -- these tunes are somewhat simple, yes, but they're catchy as hell, and after all these years, just as powerful and influential and lasting as when the tunes were first let out into the world. Diddley wields these songs like silver bullets, and he hits the bullseye every time. Outstanding. [IQ]

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BBC Radio: 1968 to 1976

"I Don't Know If I Can Take It"
"Ask Me No Questions"

Whoa, this is amazing -- two discs and forty songs from Bridget St. John's BBC and Peel session recordings spanning 1968-1976! St. John is easily one of our favorite British folk singers of the era, having cut a handful of classic, intimate albums that rank with the very best of Nick Drake, Roy Harper, Vashti Bunyan, or John Martyn. Just beautiful, beautiful stuff, and if you don't have them already go buy them right now, you won't be sorry you did. As if those LPs weren't intimate enough, for a great number of these tracks we have St. John mostly shorn of all superfluous arrangements, with just her finger-picked guitar and dark-hued voice. She turns in great performances of all her classic songs, does three great duets with her chum Kevin Ayers, and on the more rockin' songs is backed by the likes of David Bedford and Mike Oldfield. She does killer versions of songs by John Martyn and Joni Mitchell, as well as a devastating turn on Buffy Saint-Marie's "Lazarus," a song I've seen her do live and which is always one of the high points of her sets. What a gift, highly recommended! [MK]

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Be Yourself: A Tribute to Graham Nash's "Songs for Beginners"
(Grass Roots)

"Military Madness" Port O'Brien/Papercuts
"Used to Be King" Vetiver

Out of the hallowed folk-rock quartet of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young -- that rather dominated the turn of 1960s rock from anarchic blues to early-'70s mellow twang -- Graham Nash, the lone Englishman of the gang, tends to remain the most underrated artist even now. So this lovingly detailed and reverent spotlight on his debut solo album of 1971 (originally recorded for Atlantic) may seem puzzling -- if you hadn't received the recent reissues of Songs for Beginners and Wild Tales a few years back as salve for acute suffering (like I did). Or wondered at the marvelous transference that saw Nash's fellow complex colonial and mid-Atlantic man Barack Obama adopt the core theme of his sonic forebear's "Chicago / We Can Change the World" as his campaign slogan. If it has taken you some years to appreciate Mr. Nash's unique gifts, Be Yourself is a good place to reckon with his legacy, carefully curated as it is by his daughter, Nile Nash, who herself covers "Wounded Bird" and "We Can Change the World (Reprise)" -- the latter having always been such a weighty fragment of sound due to its rare status amongst the canyon rock oeuvre of sharply gazing out (as far as black rebels like Brotha Bobby Seale and beyond) instead of wallowing perpetually within.

If there is an obvious critique of this project, it's of course inherent to such an undertaking: too much reverence. Unlike the body of great soul-folk interpretations of music from Neil Young that appeared at the turn-of-the-'70s and during the subsequent decade, the efforts of the young acts gathered herein are somewhat confined by the rosy haze of distance, surprisingly laidback considering the shape America is in (and the miasma of its imperialist moves abroad). "Military Madness," as undertaken by Port O'Brien/Papercuts, sounds rather like the barbershop quartet sent to the U.S.O. tour, considering (if the aim was to keep this local, perhaps a ring to Boots Riley would've done the trick?). Only the ever-chameleonic Bonnie "Prince" Billy approaches the material with a markedly distinct sensibility, taking "Simple Man" below the border as "Hombre Sencillo" (and hopefully eyeing the hearts and minds of them 1,200 troops Obama done sent down there). With their take on "Chicago," Sleepy Sun brings some much-needed funk if not entirely enough urgency until the closure of the tune. Is it just that these younger (male) artists come of age in an era without the draft cannot place their souls in such highs and lows? When my slightly older peers have voiced disdain for Nash, I usually offer up his "I Used to Be a King" as exhibit A of deep blues (and I still aspire to write a song equivalent to that cave where he mined such brilliance). The man was operating under a triple threat when he produced this work of art -- the pressing need to establish his own artistic voice (after the then near implosion of his former group, the Hollies, and ongoing uncivil war that was CSNY), the loss of love, and horrors on the American scene witnessed by a clear-eyed and recent ex-pat -- and was fortunate enough to hitch such masters as Jerry Garcia, Dave Mason, and a choir featuring Clydie King to his vision. Let Be Yourself cause you to not only count your blessings, but also guide you back to the well. [KCH]

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Soca Objection Tour Cassette

Brooklyn's indie electronica duo Javelin made some waves last year with a pair of soulful, endlessly groovy 12"s on Thrill Jockey, and while their debut album (on Luaka Bop) will be around for many moons, those singles disappeared fast. For vinyl, try eBay, but the band has compiled the both of 'em on the current retro format of choice, cassette! This was a tour-only item, but we snagged a few, and you can too.

Order Cassette by Texting "omcsjavelinsoca" to 767825







Fingered DVDzine #6 is in stock, the video magazine shining its spotlight on music and artwork from folks living in Philly, including Tickley Feather, U.S. Girls, Mincemeat or Tenspeed, Carz Will Burn, Emily Glaubinger, Andrew Jeffrey Wright and more.

Order DVD by Texting "omdvdfingered6" to 767825






FREE SONG: Nine O'Clock in Paris
(Friendly Fire Recordings)

Free song download of "Nine O'Clock in France," off Elk City's brand new album, House of Tongues, out now on Friendly Fire Recordings. The New York band's latest plays like a love letter to '70s-era FM pop music, the group delivering their most nuanced set yet, and providing a perfect backdrop for singer Renée LoBue's seductive, timeless melodies.
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[AG] Alexis Georgopoulos
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[KCH] Kandia Crazy Horse
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[MK] Michael Klausman
[SM] Scott Mou
[KS] Karen Soskin
[MS] Michael Stasiak

- all of us at Other Music

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