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   March 4, 2010  


We are very excited to announce the line-up for our third annual SXSW Lawn Party, which we'll be presenting with our friends, Dig for Fire and Babelgum. As you can see below, this year's line-up is extraordinary, so if you are in Austin for SXSW, please do join us on the Thursday and Friday afternoon of the music festival. And whether you can stop by or not, Dig For Fire will be filming the performances and you'll be able to see all the highlights on OtherMusic.com and Babelgum.com.

HILL STAGE: Califone (1PM), The Antlers (2PM), Real Estate (3PM), YellowFever (4PM), Dum Dum Girls (5PM), The xx (6PM)
VALLEY STAGE: Dylan LeBlanc (1:30PM), Zola Jesus (2:30PM), Sharon Van Etten (3:30PM), Julianna Barwick (4:30PM), Holly Miranda (5:30PM)
ON THE LAWN: Black Prairie (6:30PM)

HILL STAGE: Memory Tapes (1PM), Dengue Fever (2PM), Mayer Hawthorne & the County (3PM), Dam-Funk (4PM), Pierced Arrows (5PM), Thurston Moore (6PM)
VALLEY STAGE: First Aid Kit (1:30PM), Anni Rossi (2:30PM), Toro Y Moi (3:30PM), Woods (4:30PM), Talk Normal (5:30PM)
ON THE LAWN: Mariachi Relampago (6:30PM)

FRENCH LEGATION MUSEUM: 802 San Marcos Street Austin, TX
1PM to 7PM both days
Sponsored by:


Sky Burials
Next Stop Soweto (Various)
Modeselektor (Mix CD)
Yellow Swans
Fenn O'Berg
Nice Face
The Strange Boys
Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox (Various)
Nigeria Afrobeat Special (Various)
Harder Shade of Black (Various)
Dancehall 2 (Various)
Andrew Thomas
Mika Vainio (2CD & Book)
Brast Burn
Kings of Drum + Bass (Compiled by 4Hero & DJ Marky)
Lost and Found (Compiled by Keb Darge & Paul Weller)

Johnny Cash
These New Puritans
The Clogs
Ruby Suns
Golden Triangle

Julianna Barwick (OM Exclusive)
Beach House (Self-Titled LP)

All of this week's new arrivals.

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MAR Sun 28 Mon 01 Tues 02 Wed 03 Thurs 04 Fri 05 Sat 06

Win a pair of tickets to see Stones Throws' Motor City soul sensation Mayer Hawthorne, who'll be playing at New York's Webster Hall tonight (Thursday, March 4)! Songs like his "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out" have been hailed as equal parts Smokey Robinson and J Dilla, with fans such as Mark Ronson and Gilles Peterson all singing Mayer's praise. Enter right now by emailing giveaway@othermusic.com, and please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. These will be hard tickets, so the winner will need to be able to swing by Other Music for pick-up during store hours before the show begins.

WEBSTER HALL: 125 East 11th Street NYC
Doors at 7PM | Show at 7:30PM

Catch Mayer Hawthorne & the County at Other Music's two-day SXSW Lawn Party in Austin at the French Legation Museum on Friday, March 19. Click here for full-line-up.

MAR Sun 28 Mon 01 Tues 02 Wed 03 Thurs 04 Fri 05 Sat 06
  Sun 07 Mon 08 Tues 09 Wed 10 Thurs 11 Fri 12 Sat 13

The anticipated collaboration between the Shins' James Mercer and Brian Burton (known to most of us as Danger Mouse), Broken Bells' self-titled debut album finally hits stores next Tuesday, March 9, and to celebrate, Other Music is hosting not one, but two listening parties. The first one takes place this Friday, March 5 in the Lower East Side at Stanton Public, where we'll be playing the album from 9 to 10PM. The bar will be offering $2 off select beers while the record plays, and we'll be giving away stickers, posters and other goodies. And then on Monday, March 8, the eve of Broken Bells' album release, we'll be giving the record a couple of spins between 6PM and 8PM and serving up free beverages and pizza, not to mention raffling off a deluxe Broken Bells boxset. All you early birds will also be able to buy the album that night, between 8PM and 9PM. Hope to see you at one of these parties.

STANTON PUBLIC: 17 East Stanton Street NYC
9PM | Free Admission | 21+ w/ID

OTHER MUSIC: 15 East 4th Street NYC
6PM to 8PM | Free Admission

MAR Sun 07 Mon 08 Tues 09 Wed 10 Thurs 11 Fri 12 Sat 13

Next Wednesday, Cali's Dam-Funk will be serving up a set of sweaty robotic funk at the Bowery Ballroom, backed by a full live band! You'll be sure to see some Other Music staff getting down at the show, and we hope you will too. We've got two pairs of passes to give away and you can enter to win buy emailing tickets@othermusic.com. We'll notify the winners via email this Friday.

BOWERY BALLROOM: 6 Delancey Street NYC

Catch Dam-Funk at Other Music's two-day SXSW Lawn Party in Austin at the French Legation Museum on Friday, March 19. Click here for full-line-up.

MAR Sun 07 Mon 08 Tues 09 Wed 10 Thurs 11 Fri 12 Sat 13

On Friday, March 12, Other Music, Enabler Network and The Crucial Getdown are presenting Arms Around Haiti, a benefit concert for the Haitian relief effort. We've booked a great, eclectic line-up of bands and DJs, listed below, and the proceeds from the door will go to Doctors Without Borders and Gran Bwa's relief trip to the country. It will be a great night of music for a tremendous cause, we hope you can join us.

LIVE PERFORMANCES IN BOTH ROOMS: Elodie Lauten (8:30PM), Arthur's Landing (9:30PM featuring Arthur Russell collaborators performing his music), ARP (10:30PM), Versus (11PM), Xela (11:30PM), Reggie Watts (12AM), Gran Bwa (1AM Haitian Rara carnival band)

DJs:Cowboy Mark (Crucial Getdown | Enabler Network),
Gerald Hammill (Other Music), Duane Harriott (Other Music | Bim Marx), Andy Beta (Village Voice), Sal P (Liquid Liquid), Marcos Cabral (Runaway | DFA), Play It Loud DJs: Doug Gomez (Drrtyhaze), Henry Maldonado (Son of Sound), Darshan Jesrani (Metro Area), and a Neurotic Drum Band DJ set feat: John Selway & Ulysses

PUBLIC ASSEMBLY: 70 North 6th St. Brooklyn
Doors at 8PM | $10 minimum donation at door to go to Doctors Without Borders & Gran Bwa's Haitian Relief Effort




    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.







Sky Burials
(No Label)

"Juniper Burning"

Dense yet strangely soaring drone-ish project self-released by two guys going by the name of Sky Burials. At first I thought this was one of a seemingly never-ending line of navel-gazing drone records that have cropped up over the last few years, but the longer in I listened to it the more I discovered other things going on. For one, unlike a lot of cookie-cutter drone records, things actually seem to be happening here. Sometimes there's a pulse that will remind me of Gas, or there will be some really deep, subharmonic patterns that bring to mind Rhythm & Sound, but filtered trough a very American sensibility that isn't too timid to have the gall to lay a fractured guitar solo over the drone. I'm not trying to be nationalistic here or anything, but there really is this palpable rugged individualism at play that I don't really hear on, say, Type Records stuff, which I really love as well, but which strikes me as being very European. There seem to be many multiple layers to this music, to where the sounds almost start to feel brittle and fragile, yet still lived in and warm. A very engrossing listen, and far and away one of the better self-released albums I've heard in a long while. [MK]

Order CD by Texting "omcdskysky" to 767825






Next Stop Soweto

"Umkhovu" Mahlathini & the Queens
"Take Off" Tempo All Stars

As many of you know, I'm probably the biggest nerd in the store when it comes to international music, particularly from Africa, France, and Japan. The past few years have been a veritable treasure trove for Afro jams, and it finally feels like labels which float in a rather specific orbit of cool have started to think outside of the Nigerian and Ghanese boxes, looking to new regions for inspiration and credibility. South Africa was one of the first regions whose music broke past the confines of specialized audiences into a wider pop-conscious listener group, thanks to outside interest and efforts by Western stars like Paul Simon and his ubiquitous Graceland album. Malcolm McLaren made most of his classic Duck Rock album with a mixure of NYC hip-hop DJs and the cream of Soweto's Zulu Jive musicians, and before either of them set foot in the region, downtown NYC no wave siren Lizzy Mercier Descloux traveled to South Africa in 1983, during apartheid no less, to work with its musicians for her classic self-titled third album. Vampire Weekend picked up that torch conceptually, copping moves from a number of African guitarists but also bouncing to the Indestructible Beat of Soweto, and you can't read a single Other Music Update lately without one of us calling some band of milky-fleshed college kids "tropical" and citing African influences.

South Africa, to my ears, has some of the most joyous, propulsive, and melodic music ever made anywhere. I am a HUGE fan of what has alternately been called jive, township music, Mbaqanga, and a few other variations on these names. Jazz is a defining influence, but so is choral music, and the guitars in Joburg (that's Johannesburg, the cultural and musical epicenter for this sound) sound like no others. Soweto's beat is indeed indestructible, but even more indestructible is the joyous abandon with which this music is played. This is the sound of the streets, of the working man, of the people. Heavyweights like Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela got their start in township jive bands, and honestly recorded some of their most enthralling, soulful music during those early years. Much of Soweto's golden age of jive has been sorely unavailable on disc these past 20 years, and it wasn't particularly easy to find the stuff pre-Graceland, either. The township sound is much more raw than most of what has typically made it out of the region and found worldwide audiences, and it's an absolute delight to have this collection, and the two volumes that Strut have announced are to follow it, available.

You'd be hard-pressed to uncover more beautiful harmonies, more robust horns, and more surefooted a step than the grooves collected here, and if you've never heard the Earth-moving throat of Mahlathini, one of Soweto's most cherished and unique vocalists (imagine a South African Howlin' Wolf or Captain Beefheart and you're heading in the right direction), you're in for a treat. The transfers sound great, the tunes are for the most part all making their CD debut, and the liner notes are a fantastic primer on the history of this sound, completely overdue and ripe for rediscovery by a new generation of record buyers. This collection features 20 tracks of some of the best music on Earth. It's time for those five magic words you love to see me write in these emails: Afro Jam of the Week!! [IQ]

Order CD by Texting "omcdvariousnext" to 767825






Body Language 8
(Get Physical)

"Zig Zag" Rustie
"The Cricket Scores" Boy 8 Bit

For months I've been handing this Modeselektor mix to everyone from hardcore electronic(a) fans to neophytes asking for "something like Justice and M.I.A." We meant to review this back when it first came out, but we were having a hard time getting a decent quantity in stock (maybe because I've been selling so many); thankfully, the energy, variety and freshness of this mix remains unaffected by time. It's an altogether sick collection of digital hip-hop, dubstep, glitched-out techno and electronic dancehall. These guys have a way of consistently pulling the crowd together with a tried and true vocal snippet (Missy Elliot) or hip-hop radio hit (Busta Rhymes) when you least expect it, but then they tweak or pummel the f**k out of it with bass, techno or cut-up glitchy craziness. Hearing Rustie with Missy Elliot mutate into Gez Varley's "Quo Vadis" is a fun ride to be sure, and Horsepower Productions into Robert Hood kinda rules too! Their first mix CD that matches the fun and spontaneity of their unforgettable "Other Music Presents" appearance from way back! So fun and so f**ked -- get it!!! [SM]

Order CD by Texting "omcdmodeselektorbody" to 767825






$9.99 MP3


Going Places

"Limited Space"

In 2008, Pete Swanson and Gabriel Mindel Saloman announced they were dissolving their Portland, Oregon-based Yellow Swans project after a clutch of great full-lengths and a veritable pant-load of CD-Rs, splits and collaborations, and random slabs of vinyl. At the same time, the pair also heralded the imminent release of Going Places, their last-ever LP. It's taken a while to materialize, but now that it's here courtesy of the Type label, the music only serves to highlight what a loss this dissolution actually was, and is the final chapter in the group's transition from abrasive noise-niks into moodier, more contemplative beasts.

Though they started life on the more gristle-y side of things, Swanson and Saloman have evolved gracefully over the course of their myriad of releases, incorporating more pensive, drone-based elements into the mix as they've progressed. Following up on the promises of 2007's At All Ends, Going Places, the duo frontloads subtle melodies into each track and runs them through layers of static and distortion to make for some truly moving emotional signifiers. Pieces like "Sovereign" and "New Life" deal in a cautious ebb and flow, giving guitars room to breathe alongside electronics and hazy percussive thumps as darkening clouds move in from the coast. Ever mindful of their origins, the pair crank it up one last time on the title track as well, closing out on gauzy swells that show just how far Yellow Swans came in a few short years. [MC]

Order CD by Texting "omcdyellowgoing" to 767825






$9.99 MP3


Endless Falls

"Lake Orchard"

Endless Falls is Scott Morgan's fifth album as Loscil, and it's a large, expansive work of ambient dub orchestration. The record deepens Loscil's glimmering oscillations and drones by expanding the breadth of the instrumentation; strings, piano, field recordings, clicks and pops and low-end hum are equally employed for an active and dynamic effect. Following a thoughtful thematic arc, the record is book-ended by contemplative and subduing sounds of rainfall, with the opening dissolving into grippingly bowed strings. With a clinician's touch, Morgan supplants rhythm and repetitive chords that maintain a semblance of water, dripping or washing over other sounds. The result is a contemplative and meditative recording, full of loops that eventually fade into chords that wash under more loops and glitches.

Environment always influences ambient musicians, and Morgan's Vancouver home resonates through the speakers. Music at once dark and healing, critical and childlike, Endless Falls has been my favorite soundtrack to the tail end of this dark, cold, and white winter in the Northeast. Dan Bejar (Destroyer) provides a spoken work piece for "The Making of Grief Point," the final track of the album. His words function as a metacognitive narrative, deconstructing ambient music and rebuilding it for new intentions. For an album of this magnitude, comparisons are limitless but will never fully hit their mark; fans of Tim Hecker, Murcof, Pole, and myriad other musicians will find a lot to get lost in here. [BCa]

Order CD by Texting "omcdloscilendless" to 767825






In Stereo
(Editions Mego)

"Part IV"
"Part VII"

When they first convened back in the late '90s, Christian Fennesz, Jim O'Rourke, and Peter Rehberg probably had the distinction of forming the first ever laptop-based supergroup. As Fenn O'Berg, the trio released a pair of great albums that documented their surprisingly focused and effortlessly appealing live sets, with a sound that managed to retain easily identifiable hallmarks of each participant while still contributing to something much more than just the sum of its parts. The three haven't worked together in quite a few years, but, thankfully, a string of sets in 2009 provided the impetus for In Stereo, the group's latest studio album for Editions Mego.

If Fenn O'Berg's previous albums reveled in the sometimes-rough juxtapositions of each of the players' sounds, then In Stereo definitely switches up the attack a bit. Far more understated and restrained than anything these folks have tried in a group setting, the album delights in slow, tension-building drones, with each musician's distinct voice gradually swallowed up whole. While "Part III" introduces the album on familiar ground, with distant cymbals eking out space amongst drowsy guitar lines and encroaching rumbles, "Part V" gradually works its way towards a carefully considered overload, as a mass of shifting tons fight across a lengthy, distended melody at the track's climax. Better still, "Part I" punctuates such developments with explosive percussion, a surprisingly aggressive blast that works well in the context of an otherwise confidently assured and welcome return. [MC]

Order CD by Texting "omcdfennin" to 767825






$9.99 MP3


Immer Etwas
(Sacred Bones)

"I Want Your Damage"

New York's Nice Face, the one-man bedroom-recording project of Ian McGee, has been constantly churning out singles and cassettes over the past couple of years. Now, on his first ever full-length, McGee has created 13 tracks of fuzzed-out, drum machine-laden punk rock. And the format suits him well, allowing him the breadth to funnel his old-school influences -- Factory Records, Chrome, Suicide, etc. -- into a well-suited marriage of the distorted vocals, unwavering synth and effects-heavy guitar sound of Blank Dogs with the succinct and hook-heavy pop songwriting of the late, great Jay Reatard. Immer Etwas has everything, from straight up guitar-driven tracks like "Invective" to the quirky synth opener "Decipher" and "I Want Your Damage," where sounds battle against, and blend into, one another, creating an almost palpable sonic texture. Another great release with beautiful silk-screened packaging by Brooklyn's Sacred Bones Records, a local favorite to watch. [PG]

Order LP by Texting "omlpniceimmer" to 767825

Also out this week on Sacred Bones is Pink Noise's remastered Birdland LP, previously only available on cassette.






$9.99 MP3


(Captured Tracks)

"Lower Leg"
"Tidy Up Your Bathroom"

Originally released in the UK late last year on Angular (These New Puritans, Long Blondes), London's Wetdog are fittingly brought to the States via Brooklyn's Captured Tracks. A trio of females who must have discovered Kleenex/LiLiPUT, early Slits, the Raincoats and the Fall during their formative years, Wetdog's second full-length, Frauhaus!, is a concise take on post-punk/no/new wave revivalism. Full of simple melodies, heady, upfront bass lines and the spry, acerbic yips and curiously pleasant harmonies of guitarist and lead singer Rivka Gillieron, Frauhaus! zips through 14 jaunty tracks in 30 minutes. Leading off is the single "Lower Leg," a catchy, yet charmingly rickety pop song that will be stuck in your head for days. Followed up by the ooh-aah heavy "Tidy Up Your Bedroom," and the slower "Long Long Time to Go," Frauhaus is nothing if not spiky and varied. Sure, there is a stigma of tedium that always follows music that has no qualms about being flippant, strident and off-key, but Wetdog aren't trying to be pioneers nor do they care how they are labeled. They're just breathing fresh life into a genre full of re-treads. [PG]

Order LP by Texting "omlpwetdogfrauhaus" to 767825







Be Brave
(In the Red)

"I See"
"Night Might"

In an unexpected turn of events, the Strange Boys deign to Be Brave, by releasing a sophomore album that marks a definitive step away from the post-Black Lips garage-pop revivalism that marked their debut. In a genre where artistic growth is not only a non-issue, but also often something to be scorned, there's bound to be a sizable contingent of fans for whom this will come as disheartening news. But with no lack of bands already working the plow over this fallow field, surely someone will gladly take up any defectors left in the wake of the Strange Boys' artistic shift. As much fun as their infectious debut was, there was little to indicate that things might take such a turn; this kind of record tends to draw a line in the sand, and the band's move into more considered, brooding territory is exactly the kind of second record that I love to hear.

Be Brave largely abandons the unbridled romps of their debut in favor of a mellower -- dare I say more mature -- approach. The bouncy bravado is replaced by a shift towards slower, reflective numbers, taking their nascent nods towards the blues and transferring them to a more skeletal acoustic template. References have been made to mid-period Dylan, and those aren't entirely off the mark; the appearance of harmonica, organ, and sax mirrors a Dylanesque restlessness and desire to evade being pigeonholed with a sound or scene. While some of the buoyant immediacy has been replaced by a more subtle, stripped-down intimacy, the songwriting remains just as vital, with hooks that manage to insinuate their way into your skull, albeit it in a much more haunted way than before. It's exciting to hear a band taking some chances, adding a few new plays to their book as they grow out of the old ones, and into themselves. One of the first real surprises of the year, and hopefully a sign that these guys are in it for the long haul. [JTr]

Order CD by Texting "omcdstrangebe" to 767825






$13.99 MP3


Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

Chris Knox is probably the most important figure not only in the iconic New Zealand punk/post-punk/indie-pop scene, but also by extension perhaps, the keystone to the worldwide lo-fi movement. With his heart-rending solo work and essential NZ bands the Enemy, Toy Love, and the beloved Tall Dwarfs, Knox's extensive catalog and relentless spirit is at the core of so much of the music we love. His songs are characterized by earnestness and raw honesty, and his passion for his own country's independent music scene resembles a DIY mania that has successfully brought groups like the Verlaines, the Chills, and Mint Chicks to international notoriety. Chris Knox is the freaking man.

So when he suffered a devastating stroke last June that left him speechless, Merge enlisted the help of 36 artists from around the world to put together a compilation of Knox's songs, with the proceeds going towards the expenses of his recovery. The roster is incredible to say the least, including the sorely missed Jay Reatard, Mountain Goats, Lou Barlow, Yo La Tengo, A.C. Newman, Stephin Merritt, Bill Callahan, Will Oldham, and Jeff (holyshitohmygod) Mangum, as well as many of the best from the New Zealand scene Knox helped kick start. It's a blazing good compilation that surprises and delights at every turn, powered by the goodwill and enthusiasm of all the artists involved as well as the warm brilliance of Knox's songwriting.

Reatard starts things off right, with his version of Toy Love's "Pull Down the Shades," which Reatard said was, "Recorded in a bathroom in Demark/Sweden." The clattery percussion, water closet dynamics, and tuneful '60s teen-pop exuberance of the song are an aching reminder that one of Knox's disciples died shortly after the recording. Reatard is followed by the two-three punches of the Checks doing a fantastic "Rebel" and the Bleeding Allstars power-popper "Ain't it Nice." Buried halfway through the compilation are the first words we've heard from Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum since he contributed the incredible "Engine" to the Merge 10 compilation, performing a haunted and appropriately tapey version of "Sign the Dotted Line." Even better than Mangum's track are the New Zealand acts, like the Verlaines' epic take on "Driftwood" and Boh Runga's brutally sweet "Not Given Lightly." Will Oldham keens out the heartbreaker "My Only Friend," and John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats speaks a little prayer before his rendition of "Brave" ("Chris, this is John Darnielle, sending you all the power...I know you've got it, because I watched you every night in 1995, in the back of the van together, and I thought, 'This guy's got some power'"). But nothing tops the final two tracks, new material from Knox himself with his bands the Nothings and Tall Dwarfs. Knox and company bang out two perfect pop songs without any words at all, just singing "dees" and "dahs" throughout over spare arrangements. Sounds like Knox has got the power yet. [MS]

Order CD by Texting "omcdvariousstroke" to 767825






$9.99 MP3


Nigeria Afrobeat Special

"Otachikpokpo" Bongo Ikwue & the Groovies
"Do the Afro Shuffle" Godwin Omabuwa & His Casanova Dandies

Soundway continues its winning streak as one of the premier world music reissue labels with yet another superlative offering in their Nigeria Special series, this time focusing solely on the Afrobeat sound that has grown to be nearly synonymous with Nigeria when considering its musical heritage. I'll be the first to admit that I was a bit skeptical about this set -- there are so many collections of African, and especially Afrobeat music making the rounds these days, I thought to myself, "Really? ANOTHER one!?" The vibe here is surprisingly fresh, though, avoiding obvious recycling of countless tracks oft-compiled, and instead goes a little deeper, even when representing for heavyweights like Orlando Julius, Segun Bucknor and, of course, Fela. The Black President himself opens the set with a rare edit of one of Afrika 70's best, tightest jams, "Who're You?," and from there, things get deeper, funkier, and more eclectic while still retaining the post-JB's bounce and strut, the thick, wooly tenor sax lines, and the soulful call-and-response vocal chants that are core strands in Afrobeat's DNA. Other personal faves include "Otachikpopo" by Bongos Ikwue & the Groovies, and the insanely infectious "Do the Afro Shuffle" by Godwin Omabuwa & His Casanova Dandies (what a band name!!). If you're already a fan of this sound, this comp is a no-brainer; if you're new to the Afro-train, this is one hell of a car on which to hitch a ride. As usual, killer liner notes and photos aplenty -- you know how this works -- it's a Soundway comp and it rules!! [IQ]

Order CD by Texting "omcdvariousnigeria" to 767825






Harder Shade of Black
(Pressure Sounds)

"I'll Be Around" Gregory Isaacs
"Problems" Horace Andy

Although Harder Shade of Black is one of the more vibrant-sounding new releases we are offering this week, it's actually the third edition of a classic compilation that originally dropped in the early '70s, collecting a series of Jamaican youth-oriented reggae seven-inches produced by Leonard "Santic" Chin. With a string of Jamaican hits from several artists then barely known outside of their homeland, like Augustus Pablo, Horace Andy, Gregory Isaacs, I Roy, and King Tubby, Chin's self-released collection was long out of print and a much sought-after comp when it was reissued by the fledgling Pressure Sounds label as their debut release in 1995. Pete Holdsworth, with the assistance of Adrian Sherwood, launched his great label with an extended version of that hard to find collection, tiled An Even Harder Shade of Black. Pressure Sounds has gone on to compile several more collections of Santic's essential productions over the years, but this one is where it all began, and showcases the young studio wizard at his history-making best. One of Chin's infectious lead rhythms would become the backbone to numerous songs; a variation of a Joe Gibbs-produced steel pan rocksteady song morphed into "Children of Israel," voiced by Horace Andy, as well as "Pablo in Dub," featuring the melodica of Augustus Pablo, both included here. That version, according to the excellent liner notes (which include a nice long interview with Chin), appeared when the 16-year-old producer struck an impromptu deal, bartering some herb and a few Red Stripes for Pablo's services.

Soulful and bubbly with a nice mix of vocals, instrumentals, and dubs, the listening experience remains varied and fresh even with the many versions of repeated rhythms throughout. And you get numerous standout vocal performances from the varied singers, including a couple of the best from lesser-known performers; Roman Stewart's "Peace in the Valley" is a heartfelt song of world peace, while Paul Whiteman's "I Don't Want to Lose You" is a powerful "down on his knees" lover's plea. The two show the range of emotions and themes in reggae, and Leonard Chin is another name in the lineage of this music that all should know. These editions are newly remastered -- the vinyl version is an exact facsimile of the original Santic edition, the CD has six bonus cuts: "Columbo" from Augustus Pablo; "Special Branch," "Hell Boat" and "Mexican Rocking" from the Santic All Stars; "Shouldn't Say No" from Jah Woosh and its vocal version, the aforementioned "I Don't Want To Lose You" from Paul Whiteman. Highly recommended. [DG]

Order CD by Texting "omcdvariousharder" to 767825






Dancehall 2
(Soul Jazz)

"Barnabas Collins" Lone Ranger
"Collie Man" Triston Palma

It's hard to deny the influence that Jamaican dancehall has had on many factions of the current international dance scene, and particularly on the most forward-looking productions. The second coming of Soul Jazz's excavation of the '80s and early '90s roots of this music, Dancehall Volume 2: The Rise of Jamaican Dancehall Culture picks up where Volume 1 left off, giving us a window into the beginnings of this now massively influential heavyweight style. Compiled by Steve Barrow, reggae historian, author and co-founder of the Blood & Fire imprint, who provides a deep selection and fantastic, informative liners, as on its predecessor we get many of the heaviest, most infectious 45 numbers from the era. Whether they be sexed-up or roots conscious, particular jams include "When" by Tiger, "Everything So So So So" by General Trees, "Strictly Rub a Dub" by Anthony Johnson, "Ina De Bus" by Professor Nutes, and "Massa God World a Run" by Buju Banton. And like the previous installment, Beth Lesser's photographic documentation is not to be outdone. Mixing hits and rarities in equal measure, this is the perfect mixtape for lovers and the perfect introduction for the uninitiated. [AG]

Order CD by Texting "omcdvariousdancehall" to 767825






$12.99 MP3


Between Buildings and Trees

"A Dream of a Spider"
"Net to Catch a Ghost"

Seven years later, and a second full-length from this Pop Ambient regular, Andrew Thomas. Upon first listen I couldn't help but think of some other ambient favorites: Dettinger? William Basinski? Harold Budd? I was always reminded in the smallest way and I couldn't immediately say why, as Thomas' tracks definitely have a their own distinct personality: some with gentle clusters of piano like Klimek, but less stark and less moody; some with warm clicks, bumps and mesmerizing repetition like Dettinger; some with slowly arching layers of emotive synth a la Loscil but with more of a sense of open air. Then I heard "One Thousand Pinholes in a Black Paper Sky," with its layered voices in the distance, and thought to myself, "Wait, now it sounds like minimal M83?" It was at that point I realized the thing about Andrew Thomas is that he takes elements we're used to hearing in a more abstract context and places them in his own personal setting. It makes for an album that is user-friendly while still remaining unique. As they say, the proof is in the pudding; it comes on sweet and goes down easy, but is still rich and satisfying. [SM]

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$9.99 MP3
(Music Only)


Tiime Examined

Mika Vainio has been a crucial splinter of the contemporary experimental set for some time now. I first came across his work as a jaded, rock-addled teenager, taking home his essential band Pan Sonic's albums on Blast First simply because the label was home to Sonic Youth. What greeted me was an inexplicable barrage of noise and static -- this wasn't the squealing avant-rock I might have been expecting, but after repeated listening (back then we bought records without hearing them, and then actually played them more than once no matter what we thought of them), I was dragged kicking and screaming into the Vainio mode. The sprawling noisescapes and pulsing technoid belches of Pan Sonic (or Panasonic, pre-litigation) over time gave way to Vainio's crucial solo work, and over the last fifteen years or more he has contributed more to electronic music than you might imagine. He set a standard which others simply had to adhere to, as influential as (and clearly influential on) much-lauded contemporaries like Autechre and Aphex Twin.

Time Examined collects the Finnish artist's installation work, and coming bundled in a gorgeously covet-worthy book and with a bonus CD of his collaboration with Carsten Nicolai as Mikro Makro, it should already be something you're tempted to buy on sight. The book contains various essays and photographs dissecting Vainio's music and the installations to which it was connected, but for me as a music fan, it's the sound itself that remains the most important part. And what sound -- we are getting the opportunity to peek in at a master at work, hearing him twist and bend layer upon layer of corrupted noise and foggy drone. The sound won't be a surprise to regular followers of Vainio or indeed Pan Sonic, but its stark minimalism is a refreshing tempering of his form. It seems in the context of gallery work he is happy to let his pieces build and evolve at the most measured pace, and this freedom is a refreshing addendum to his better-known body of work. I could detail every piece separately and go into the specifics of each installation but it's really not important -- fans of industrial drones, lower case noise, avant-garde electronics or all of the above really need to grab hold of this package without any further ado. And remember, play it loud -- everyone knows even the quietest music sounds much better when it's shaking the doorframes. [JT]

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"Debon Part 1"
"Debon Part 2"

A timely reissue of one of the best examples in recorded history of a truly stand-alone effort, Debon was created by a collective that is unknown to this day, though it is widely believed that they existed in Japan in the mid-'70s. From the opening minutes of "Part One," it's clear that Brast Burn did not subscribe to any known rulebook. Searing guitar wails away over a shimmering, reverb-laden backdrop that sounds like a Hitchcock thriller's dream sequence. This quickly gives way to a steady mantra anchored by a skeletal bass guitar vamp and sleigh bells. Chanting vocalists intone repetitive, unknown phrases while a lead vocalist eggs them on, as if they're testifying. It's probable that these folks heard some of the more prevalent Krautrock groups of the time, but they've come up with something utterly alien and unique in musical history. Unlike a lot of long-form experiments in rock music, this piece retains a sense of focus even in its abstraction. Repetitive to the point of becoming hypnotic, the clearly marked sections flow into one another almost unnoticed. Somewhat like The Faust Tapes, there are segments of pure formless ambience that provide contrast to the longer, vaguely songlike parts. A break in the action featuring only the sound of waves connects two of the main sections of "Part One." The use of percussion, rather than a drum kit, sets this group apart from classic units like Guru Guru or Can. There's no powerhouse musicianship on display, no Liebezeit or Gottsching to pull the focus away from the general vibe that defines this. Instead, everyone involved seems to be surrendering identity to the greater whole, creating a primitive work that doesn't succumb to being "lo-fi" at any time. Even the lead guitar that screams skyward 15 minutes into "Part Two" seems to be serving the whole affair, and doesn't come across as an act of machismo.

Swirling synthesizer, rolling toms and chiming guitar figures all suggest that this gang was in touch with nature, and weather cycles in particular. "Part One" ends with a loud bang that could be thunder, or something more ominous. Dulcimer accents dot "Part Two" like falling rain or snow. Yes, the name of this band is included on the famous Nurse With Wound list, but I suspect Ghost has been more directly influenced by Brast Burn's approach. Though there are common elements with many classic psychedelic touchstones, there's nothing even remotely similar to Debon. It's a great relief to see such a vital document of freethinking creativity back in circulation. Especially in a time when many artists release several albums a year, it's really necessary to be reminded that just one major statement can be strong enough to sustain a legacy. [MM]

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Kings of Drum + Bass: Compiled & Mixed by 4Hero and DJ Marky

"Inside Outside" Manix
"Find a Way" Internal Affairs

From our comfortable vantage point a decade into the 21st century, it can be rewarding to look back on the 20th with a critical, curatorial eye. BBE's The Kings of series has been doing that to great effect, exploring the major dance floor genres like disco, house, techno, funk and hip-hop with essential collections compiled and/or mixed by one of said movement's legends. This newest release is a bit of a surprise, yet a welcome one; The Kings of Drum + Bass, compiled by 4Hero's Marc Mac and the Brazilian DJ Marky, explores in depth the skittering breakbeats and pulsing sub-bass that defined an era. From the early 1990s jungle sound, the bass heavy, fresh new music brewing in the pubs and raves of England was by mid-decade well known around the world as drum 'n' bass. An accelerated polyrhythm that began as sped-up James Brown breaks, that stuttering drum pattern would soon morph, duplicated and manipulated with the emergence of consumer software.

That is the template the genre is based on, yet many have created their own variation on the blueprint. Alongside techno, drum 'n' bass is mainly a digitally created medium: synths and software, midi controllers and joysticks. It can go from simplistic to highly intricate, with mathematically precise interlocking rhythms on the surface buoyed by rumbling halftime dub bass as the main definers. Various producers and DJs helped create a new vision of the sonic future; 4Hero were such an entity. Marc Mac and his partner Dego released some of the more lush, musical, jazz-influenced tracks of the genre, helping pave the way for these sounds to be incorporated into wider dance and pop cultures, and across Mac's disc as well as Marky's, the focus tends to be on the jazzier side of the genre, with a great mix of the old and the new.

Despite popular belief, as with hip-hop, drum 'n' bass is still alive; this comp proves that not only is the UK still producing some fresh DnB, the movement has also blossomed globally (and a track like "Temperance" by Marcus Intalex could easily work in a cutting-edge set of dubstep or UK funky). DJ Marky focuses more on the current sound, including lots of his own productions, several from Intalex, and an oldie by Roni Size & Krust. 4Hero's set includes nice selections from legends of the '90s scene: A Guy Called Gerald, Lemon D, Aquasky, and Goldie's alias Rufige Kru. This fine collection is one part time capsule, one part re-cap, and one part reminder that even if the media looks away, it doesn't mean the music does, or is any less powerful. Don't be afraid of the drum 'n' bass. [DG]

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Kep Darge and Paul Weller Present Lost and Found: Real R&B and Soul

"Rhythm" Major Lance
"Call Me" Emmitt Long

Keb Darge and Paul Weller are both legendary for their soulboy allegiances, so it makes perfect sense that the funky Scotsman and the "Modfather" would be personal friends and colleagues. They've often spun records together at the long-running Lost & Found soul parties in London, and this compilation of their personal hit list reflects the relatively open-ended nature of these retro dance nights. It could be bluebeat ska, soaring northern soul or '50s rock-n-roll, just as long as it's gritty, classic sounding and authentic.

With Keb Darge selecting on the first disc and Weller on the second, you hear the DJs' similarities as well as their differences. Darge, well known for his influential Deep Funk collections for BBE, stretches out his scope here. As of late, he's has been enamored with obscure '40s and '50s R&B/proto rock-n-roll jump-n-jive tunes, and there's plenty of that era represented here. Highlights include the Louie Jordan-sounding big beat stomp of Daddy Cleanhead's "Something's Going On in My Room" and the cheaters' anthem "Tippin" by Elise Wheat. There are also some choice northern soul drivers represented by the harmony and string-drenched "Countdown Here I Come" by the Tempos and the swing-influenced "Don't Forget to Remember" by the Great Experience.

The Modfather disc, as expected, is dominated by big, emotive voices and post-WWII electric blues, and kudos to Weller for including the lovely original version of "All I Do Is Think About You," by the great Tammi Terrell. One of the most underrated tunes in the Motown catalog, it's an aching mid-tempo ballad, penned by a teenaged Stevie Wonder, allegedly as a confessional to Terrell who was his first crush. Stevie would eventually re-record the composition some years later, but Terrell's version languished in the vaults for ages, and is one my favorite R&B recordings of that era. Weller also includes a rare early tune from OM fave Margie Joseph, as well as an amazing electric blues tune from Slim Harpo. Both Darge and Weller live and breathe this music, so quality abounds in spades here. This hasn't left my player since I got it last weekend and it's guaranteed to keep your mood up 'til the hazy shade of winter melts away. [DH]

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Skip Bifferty

"Reason to Live"
"Inside the Secret"

While not many today are familiar with Skip Bifferty (a band, not a person), they were primed to be one of the contenders on the 1960s English scene. They had substantial amounts of press in the pop weeklies, top management and radio airplay. Yet, and it's a familiar story in the music industry, it never quite came together. Chalk it up to timing, bad luck, or whatever else, it's certainly not for a lack of talent and great tunes. Skip Bifferty come across quite a bit like Ogden's Nut-era Small Faces on their self-titled LP from 1967 (a $300-400 rarity, and the backbone of this CD reissue), with the soulful vocals of Graham Bell sounding not unlike Steve Marriott at times, and a similar whimsical playfulness. The overall mood is a bit more psychedelic though, with effects and extended passages and freak-out excursions. Someone described Skip Bifferty as Georgie Fame on LSD, which is not too far off the mark either. What it definitely is, though, is a perfect document of an era right after mod began to dwindle, when the hair got a little longer, kids started wearing beads and floral patters, and took trips on magic carpets -- the subterranean side of Swinging London. In addition to the album, we get both sides of the brilliant "On Love" 45 (perhaps their best two songs, period) and a bunch of unreleased studio recordings, making this an essential package for any discerning UK psych aficionado. [PG]

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American VI: Ain't No Grave
(American Recordings)

"Ain't no grave, can hold me down." The words to Brother Claude Ely's spiritual "Ain't No Grave" may have never rung more true than when hearing Johnny Cash sing them here, on the final installment of American Recordings, a series Cash started with producer Rick Rubin back in 1994. While many may have guessed that 2006's American V: A Hundred Highways would have been the closing chapter, these 10 unheard songs were put to tape during those same sessions, just months before the country legend died, a time when Cash was coming to grips with the death of his beloved wife June and his own failing health. As such, it's a truly emotional and equally powerful listen, Cash knowing that his final days were upon him. Performing songs by the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Jack Rhodes and Red Hayes, and Ed McCurdy, as well as "I Corinthians 15:55," reported to be the last song he ever wrote, Cash is joined by Scott and Seth Avett (Avett Brothers), Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers), Smokey Hormel, Matt Sweeney and Jonny Polonsky. But this is Johnny Cash's show right on through to the album's end, when he sings Queen Lili'uokalani's Hawaiian ballad "Aloha Oe;" it's impossible to imagine a more sweeter, wonderful goodbye.

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$9.99 MP3



"Fire - Power"
"Three Thousand"

From the somber brass piece that opens Hidden, it's immediately apparent that These New Puritans are moving beyond their wiry, art-punk pedigree and heading into entirely new territory. With former Bark Psychosis frontman Graham Sutton sitting in the co-producer chair, the terse blasts of guitar a la Wire and the Fall are barely there, all but replaced by synthesizers, electronic beats, grand piano, wind instruments and even a choir. But the young British band hasn't exactly gone Owen Pallett or late-period Talk Talk on us, as Jack Barnett's song-speak refrains and the band's angular edges and rhythms ensure that this is nothing but a TNP album, albeit an exciting, giant leap forward for the group.

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Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton

"Adages of Cleansing"

It's been four years since the Clogs released their last proper full-length, Lantern, which isn't surprising if you've been following the upward trajectory of the career of the National, a band which shares the Clogs' Bryce Dessner and Padma Newsome. Composed entirely by Newsome, Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton is this ensemble's most accomplished album to date and a unique one in their discography, the classically trained group's fusion of avant composition, folk music and indie relying heavily on vocal melodies from guests like Sufjuan Stevens, the National's Matt Dessner, and six contributions from My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden (who also sung on the Clog's Veil Waltz EP from last month).

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Fight Softly
(Sub Pop)

"Sun Lake Rinsed"
"Closet Astrologer"

Ryan McPhun goes it alone on the latest Ruby Suns album and comes up with a pretty dramatic shift from his New Zealand band's last album. In many ways Fight Softly could mirror Yeasayer's recent transformation, as McPhun's psychedelic fusion of indie pop and world music is filtered through a digital lens. Not to worry -- though his voice is cradled by spacey synths and beats, the melodies are as gorgeous as ever.

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Double Jointer
(Hardly Art)

"Cinco De Mayo"
"I Want to Know"

It would be easy for Golden Triangle to get lost in the seemingly bottomless well of noisy garage rock records coming out of Brooklyn and beyond if they weren't so damn good at it. Girl group melodies, fuzzy, Jesus and Mary Chain guitars, primal drumming and barely-there production are all present in spades, but the songs on Double Jointer are simply infectious, these three gals and three guys moving through punky Shop Assistants-styled rave-ups as well as reverb-drenched mid-'60s psych-rock like the album closer (and standout) "Arson Wells."

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"Sunlight, Heaven"

Other Music has a handful of limited/numbered copies of Julianna Barwick's Florine EP on WHITE VINYL, while supplies last, which needless to say, won't be long. If you're unfamiliar with her work, you can read the original review that we ran last summer when we first carried the EP below. Julianna will also be performing this year at our SXSW Lawn Party -- full details are listed at the top of this Update.

Julianna Barwick's Sanguine CD was a favorite here in the shop when it came out in late 2007, and I haven't heard anything quite like it before or since, a hallucinogenic journey of loopy electronics and hazy reverbed vocal acrobatics. I've been extremely excited to check out new work from such a talented local artist, and with Florine, I'm anything but disappointed. While Sanguine featured thirteen songs over the course of about 25 minutes, the new EP clocks in at roughly the same time with only six tracks; this means that those morsels of sonic sculpture have evolved into four- and five-minute orchestrations. Using samplers and loops, Barwick constructs vocal cathedrals of hypnotic and enchanting sounds. Yes, the comparisons to Panda Bear are still valid, particularly on the tracks with live instrumentation, but that comparison is not a bad thing, just a leaping-off point for this highly original performer. Barwick's work takes on a textural intensity where the layers grow so architecturally integrated that it reminds me of the vocal equivalent of Phillip Jeck's work on Touch records. Okay, maybe I'm getting carried away, but you will too when you play Florine. [BCa]

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Beach House
(Heart Break Beat)

Beach House's Sub Pop-released Teen Dream is surely one of the breaktout records of 2010, and with the duo heading towards household name status (even TIME Magazine glowed about the band a few weeks ago), Heart Break Beat Records have seen fit to reissue their debut full-length on vinyl. Here's what we wrote when we first covered the self-titled record in these pages:

Comprised of multi-instrumentalists Alex Scally and Victoria LeGrande, Beach House have been toiling away in Charm City over the past couple of years, crafting dense, moody tracks that blend lazy keys, slide guitar, and LeGrande's airy vocals into a sweet, syrup-thick mixture of gauzy melody and hazy harmonies. Richly textured and yet still casually lo-fi, the band's first and only album bounds carefully along gentle percussion and interwoven voices, affecting one of the more gorgeously understated pop debuts to arrive in all of 2006.

Though Beach House have received quite a few comparisons to Mazzy Star, that analogy falls short of describing just what these two are all about. Sure, Scally and LeGrande seem to have taken a pointer or two from David Roback and Hope Sandoval's dreamy tracks, but outside of their lethargic tempos and beguiling vocals, Beach House doesn't have too much in common with those paragons of the Paisley Underground. Instead, their songs are more indebted to the classic baroque pop sounds of yesterday, coming off like a modern re-up of the Zombies' Odyssey & Oracle, played at half-speed and with the orchestral moves rendered in Technicolor Casio chords, soaked through with shimmering reverb and generous tremolo. They even manage to drop a slight nod or two to the work of classic balladeers like Roy Orbison, whose ghost seems to hang ever so slightly over LeGrande's voice on tracks like the stately waltz of "Auburn and Ivory." Far from being a half-hearted pop rehash, however, Beach House manage to take these subtle hints and update them seamlessly, arriving at a sound that, while easily recognizable, is still distinctive enough to call their own. [MC]

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[BCa] Brian Cassidy
[MC] Michael Crumsho
[PG] Pamela Garavano-Coolbaugh
[DG] Daniel Givens
[DH] Duane Harriott
[AG] Alexis Georgopoulos
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[MK] Michael Klausman
[MM] Marc Moeller
[SM] Scott Mou
[MS] Michael Stasiak
[JT] John Twells

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