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  March 31, 2011  

There are lots more videos from Other Music & Dig For Fire's recent Lawn Party at SXSW posted on the Youtube.com/SXSWLawnParty channel, many of the clips having just premiered over the past few days. Click on over and you'll find new highlights of our two-day event in Austin from the likes of Edwyn Collins, Lower Dens, Grass Widow, Sam Amidon, Lia Ices, John Vanderslice, Hanni El Khatib and Dead Gaze, along with the performance films we announced last week, which include James Blake, tUnE-yArDs, Twin Shadow, Cass McCombs and Sharon Van Etten, !!! (Chk Chk Chk), Low, and Cults. Whether you were one of the almost 10,000 people who joined us at the French Legation Museum during SXSW, or if you're bummed that you couldn't make it out to Austin for this great party, you'll certainly agree that Dig For Fire's stunning multi-camera HD video and multi-track audio productions are the next best thing to being there.


Panda Bear (7" Single)
Animal Collective + Keep Collection
Moon Duo (w/Limited Bonus Disc)
Burial (Limited 12")
Radiohead (w/Limited Poster)
The Mountain Goats
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Virgo Four
Robert Owens
FM BX Society Tape (Various LP)
Iceage (Limited LP Pressing)



Josh T. Pearson
Ed Askew LP
Peter Bjorn and John
Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra Vol. 1 (Limited LP Pressing)
Cult Cargo: Salsa Boricua de Chicago
Disco Love Vol. 2 (Various)
John Morales M+M Mix 2

All of this week's new arrivals.
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APR Sun 03 Mon 04 Tues 05 Wed 06 Thurs 07 Fri 08 Sat 09

Every Wednesday evening during the month of April, members of Other Music's staff will be DJing the gorgeous lobby of NYC's Ace Hotel. We'll kick off the series next week, April 6, when OM's Gerald Hammill and Duane Harriott will be packing their record bags full of '70s and '80s disco obscurities and all other things leftfield and funky, and will also be joined by special guest Sal Principato, of Liquid Liquid! We hope you can come by and join us -- here is the full schedule:

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6: Gerald Hammill, Duane Harriott & Sal Principato (Liquid Liquid)
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13: Daniel Givens & Mikey IQ Jones
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20: Amanda Colbenson & Andreas Knutsen w/Call the Doctor
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27: Scott Mou & Chris Pappas

ACE HOTEL: 20 West 29th Street NYC
8 p.m. to Midnight, every Wednesday in April

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

Next Wednesday, Celine Danhier's Blank City begins its run at NYC's IFC Center, the documentary telling the long-overdue tale of the motley crew of renegade filmmakers that emerged from an economically bankrupt and dangerous period of New York history. It's a fascinating look at the way this misfit cinema used the deserted, bombed-out Lower East Side landscapes to craft daring works that would go on to profoundly influence independent film today. Featured players include acclaimed directors Jim Jarmusch and John Waters, actor-writer-director Steve Buscemi, Debbie Harry, Fab 5 Freddy, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, photographer Richard Kern as well as Amos Poe, James Nares, Eric Mitchell, Susan Seidelman, Beth B, Scott B, Charlie Ahearn and Nick Zedd. Other Music is giving away one pair of passes good for the Blank City screening of your choice during the run of the engagement, along with a movie poster signed by key players in the film! To enter, email contest@othermusic.com. We'll notify the winner on Monday, April 4.

IFC CENTER: 323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street, NYC
Special Q&As, performances and intros at screenings TBA • Tickets and screening times will be available at ifccenter.com/films/blank-city

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

Poland's most adventurous electronic music festival returns to New York for its second year, featuring five days of performances that run the musical spectrum, from experimental, techno and dubstep nights in Brooklyn, to large scale events in Manhattan. Other Music is giving away a pair of passes to one winner, good for two of the festival's highlights: the opening night at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, starring the Polish group Sinfonietta Cracovia, paying tribute to Krzysztof Penderecki and Steve Reich before debuting a new piece titled "Music for Solaris," written by Ben Frost and Daniel Bjarnason, with film manipulations by Brian Eno and Nick Robertson. The following night, the winner will also be able to attend the Sinfonietta Cracovia's performance of Górecki's "3rd Symphony" at Judson Church, with Norwegian electro-acoustic duo Deaf Center opening. To enter, email tickets@othermusic.com. We'll notify the winner on Monday, April 4.

UNSOUND FESTIVAL NEW YORK 2011: Various Locations in Manhattan & Brooklyn



    Many of our customers have been enjoying the ease of texting their orders with their mobile phone. To take advantage of this option with 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.






Surfer's Hymn

The final single leading up to Panda Bear's forthcoming Tomboy album comes forth via the esteemed Kompakt label, and it seems like Noah's saved the best for last. "Surfer's Hymn" opens with the sounds of crashing waves, a heartbeat pulse, and a skittering, uptempo loop of mallet percussion that could almost pass for Steve Reich's Drumming played at 78 speed. From there, Lennox's vocals enter -- a background web of woozy, queasy 'oohs' and 'aahs' that sound like kids on a rollercoaster, until that heavily reverberated lead vocal comes in... and there's no mistaking who you're listening to. This is probably the most sonically dense soundscape yet provided from the Tomboy sessions, and if the previous teaser singles may not have grabbed you the way Person Pitch perhaps did in the past, you should check this one post-haste, because it's honestly just a wicked, lovely little slice of avant-pop (and this is coming from a person who is not a hardcore Animal Collective/PB fan). If that weren't enough, they up the stakes a bit on the B-side with an absolutely wicked dub/remix by Actress, who takes over the A-side's carnival and turns it into a strobe-light mini-house jam, cutting up the wave samples and chopping Lennox's vocal harmonies into a popping, stuttering banger that wouldn't be out of place on Actress' own Splazsh LP from last year. It retains the pop miniaturism of the A-side while providing appropriate context for the Kompakt logo on the sleeve and label. I've also got to give a fist bump to Other Music's own Scott Mou for the lovely sleeve art; his not-so-subtle nod to a certain canonical ambient house artist via the cover design deserves mention. I'm still not sure what to expect with Panda's album, but I know that I'm jamming this 7" more than any of the others thus far, and that's noteworthy. Don't sleep, kids... this one's the killer. [IQ]

Order 45 by Texting "om45pandasurfers" to 767825

As of right now we have a full range of sizes available for the much-talked-about, limited edition line of shoes that Animal Collective's Avey Tare, Deakin, Geologist and Panda Bear designed for the Keep Company, every pair coming with a cassette tape featuring four previous unreleased solo tracks by each member of the band. Commemorative T-shirts featuring the cassette's artwork by longtime AC collaborator (and Avey's sister) Abby Portner are also available. All profits from this project will benefit the Socorro Island Conservation Fund, which protects the threatened marine biosphere off the coast of Baja, California.

Come by the store and check them out or if interested in mail order, email orders@othermusic.com to confirm availability of your size.






$16.99 LP+MP3


$9.99 MP3


(Sacred Bones)

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

The second great record of 2011 has arrived (Slug Guts' Howlin' Gang, also on Sacred Bones, was the first). Mazes is Ripley Johnson's most concise work to date, and whereas I'm a huge fan of the drifting, hazy qualities of Wooden Shjips and previous Moon Duo releases, those records always seemed more about the journey than actually getting there. The motorik Krautrock qualities are still present but Mazes has a sharper focus, with deceivingly catchy keyboard lines and sharp drum machine beats courtesy of Sanae Yamada, and Johnson's vocals sound less muddled and sit much higher in the mix (check the swagger of the title track and "When You Cut," the undeniable hit of the album). The guitar has a great, almost garagey, scuzztone reminiscent of Spacemen 3's "Revolution." Call it a pop format if you must. At times, it sounds like the perfect hybrid between Velvet Underground's three-minute songs and Alan Vega's first solo album. The thing with Ripley Johnson is, the dude just gets it. His influences are often pretty easy to spot but he knows how to extract all the right bits, and make something new and updated out of it. It's a certain intuition and magic touch that can't be learned or achieved by hammering away in a damp garage for hours on end. The men (and women) have been separated from the boys (and little girls) once again. Johnson's making a habit of it. And for a limited time, we're throwing in an exclusive bonus disc with remixes by Sonic Boom, Psychic Ills, Gary War, Cave, Purling Hiss and more. [AK]

Order CD by Texting "omcdmoondazes" to 767825
Order LP by Texting "omlpmoondazes" to 767825






A Street Halo

Following his instantly sold-out collaboration with Four Tet and Thom Yorke, the ever-mysterious Burial (a/k/a William Bevan) returns with a new three-track EP for Hyperdub. Much like his two excellent full-lengths, 2006's Burial and Untrue from 2007, the sonic palette utilizes mechanized rhythms, tinny hi hats, deep bass, darting, reverb-heavy snares, and ghostly pitch-shifted voices, sounding like a haunted retro-futuristic automotive factory churning away through the night. This is dubstep at its finest, clunky and tumbling, dark, cavernous, and ominous; Burial's distinct imprint is always deeply felt. My favorite of these three slices of urban futurism is the track "NYC;" on this cut his standard tempo is slowed down or maybe broken in half, giving a glimpse of what his take on hip-hop might sound like. It's a nice shift from the signature rhythmic stride. Burial is without a doubt one of the best electronic producers around, and this EP offers another reason why he's so well loved and sought out by his peers as a collaborator, remixer and producer. If you don't know Burial by now, you don't know what you're missing, and this is as good of a place as any to start. [DG]

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$13.99 LP


The King of Limbs + Limited Bonus Poster

"Lotus Flower"

While it's been well over a decade since Radiohead hit their creative peak with the one-two punch of 1997's OK Computer and 2000's Kid A, the group are still mainstream rock's most adventurous, forward-thinking group. These days though, their boundary-pushing has probably been more rooted in the actual business of how music is marketed and purchased, the band sidestepping traditional record company practices by offering 2007's In Rainbows as a pay-as-you-want download or with their latest, The King of Limbs, announcing the album's release mere days before it would be available on-line (and then releasing it a day sooner). Even writing this review feels to be a bit of an antiquated act. If you're reading this you're more than likely a fan and probably downloaded the record last month when it came out digitally, and your opinion is already formed -- but I digress.

Musically speaking, Radiohead's eighth studio full-length finds the group returning to the desolate worlds visited on OK Computer and Kid A, while forgoing either of those albums' lush textures for bare-boned minimalism. With longtime producer Nigel Godrich behind the board, an unsettling chill permeates across this record's 37-and-a-half minutes, as icy electronics and light skittering beats creep beneath circular guitars, loops of swelling piano and restrained drumming. Fittingly, there's a more subdued quality to Thom Yorke's falsetto melodies than we've heard in the past, seemingly wrenching up the tension as if he's resigned to the lonely fate of the songs. Even during "Morning Mr. Magpie" and "Lotus Flower," two of the album's few upbeat moments, Radiohead avoid any grandiose climaxes and the record stays shrouded in a dark cloud of intimacy. It's not until the closing "Separator" that there seems to be a glimmer of hope, Yorke singing, "Like I'm falling out of bed from a long and weary dream / Finally I'm free of all the weight I've been carrying," as a guitar sparkles behind him; soon after, the song quickly evaporates into the ether.

For a group who was bemoaning the album-recording process just a few years ago in interviews, and even hinting that they might abandon the full-length format altogether, the darkness of The King of Limbs seems to have reinvigorated the band in new, albeit restrained ways. Groundbreaking days behind them, never before has Radiohead sounded this comfortable in their homesick alien skin. (Limited posters available with album purchase, while supplies last.) [GH]

Order CD by Texting "omcdradioheadking" to 767825
Order LP by Texting "omlpradioheadking" to 767825






$21.99 LPx2


$9.99 MP3


Mind Bokeh

"Light Sleep"
"Anything New"

The gauzy, pastoral, folk-infused electronic cut-n-paste sound of Stephen Wilkinson's Bibio project finally came together on his 2009 breakthrough, Ambivalence Avenue. With that album, Wilkinson upped the ante, injecting his hazy, acoustic found-sound collages with a hefty dose of skilled songwriting, singing, and a newfound love of the Dilla boom bap. A year and a half later Bibio returns with Mind Bokeh, an aptly titled album that references a term in photography ("bokeh") that's used to describe the aesthetic qualities of the blurriness that occurs outside the depth of field of a photo -- the beauty of the background blur.

This is probably Wilkinson's most varied (and beat-driven) record to date, and it just sounds like his influences are still expanding. The folk and '60s-psych inspirations that defined earlier albums aren't as prevalent here; instead you hear traces of wobbly wonky rhythms, '90s R&B, glam rock, and a more obvious nod to the melodic sensibilities of his Boards of Canada mentors. Somehow he's able to balance all of these influences and make it work, sometimes all within the same song ("Pretentious," "Excuses"). Elsewhere, "Take Off Your Shirt" is a head-scratching foray into power rock, complete with Thin Lizzy-styled dueling guitar lines and Phoenix-styled shout-along vocals that is most surprising because it actually works. But it's the title track and album closer "Saint Christopher" that remind you of why Bibio got all of the attention in the first place. The former is a brief, rain-swept and warbly instrumental lullaby, and the latter is a gently pulsing track featuring expanding duel guitar lines that weave in and out of each other, leaving one excited to hear what's next to come from this talented producer. Recommended! [DH]

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Order LP by Texting "omlpbibiomind" to 767825






$21.99 LP+MP3
180 Gram Vinyl


$9.99 MP3


All Eternals Decks

"Damn These Vampires"
"Beautiful Gas Mask"

John Darnielle's journey, from a DIY icon making hiss (and emotion) filled cassettes on his home four-track to a hugely successful songwriter and bandleader, is one of the more surprising in indie music. It's not that Darnielle was not always a dynamic songwriter and performer, but after years of diligently avoiding any whiff of the commercial in his presentation, to see the Mountain Goats shaking hands with David Letterman after a triumphant Late Show performance, or selling out top-tier clubs around the world, is just unexpected. Yet despite what some of his longtime fans might say, he has made the transition without a whiff of compromise, and the new Mountain Goats album, All Eternals Deck, out now on Merge, is his finest record of the current "rock band" phase of his career, and surely a career high-water mark by any standard.

Darnielle is a storyteller as much as he is a songwriter, and rather than relying on a sweeping vocal presentation or a groundbreaking instrumental sound, the Mountain Goats' songs are built around his intimate stories, offbeat character studies that seem to highlight the larger sadness and joy in life's little moments, and the small emotions of some big events. He likes to reach inside the heads of pop culture icons too, drawing out the human connections between all of us with heartfelt songs here about Charles Bronson struggling to keep his career together, and Liza Minnelli struggling too. And while the stories are the focus, the Mountain Goats trio that has been recording and touring with Darnielle of late, including Superchunk's Jon Wurster on drums, and bassist Peter Hughes, sounds better than ever here, relaxed and dynamic throughout. And when Darnielle abandons them on a couple of tracks, replacing them with string orchestration or the vocal harmonies of the North Mountain Singers, he shows himself to be a dynamic arranger with depth that those hissy cassettes only hinted at. [JM]

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$15.99 LP+MP3


$9.99 MP3





"Heaven's Gonna Happen Now"
"Even in Dreams"

Ah, the pressure of recording your second album. Especially for a group whose debut full-length not only played like a love letter to all their favorite records, but was also released by the same label that put out many of those said albums. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have deservedly been the poster children for this noisy indie pop revival that's reached full boil these past few years, and what the Brooklyn band may have been lacking in originality -- really, how much wiggle room is there to tweak the time-tested formula of jangly and distorted guitars and twee vocals -- they certainly made up for with great pop songs. After long tours, countless blog mentions and several late night television appearances, there were only two places for the group to go: follow Black Tambourine's lead and fade into obscurity, or set their sights high for a breakthrough, like the Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and Ride did before them.

It was only apropos then that Flood and Alan Moulder -- two names synonymous with so many watershed '90s alt-rock recordings -- would be enlisted as producer and mixer respectively for the Pains' sophomore album, and their fingerprints are immediately apparent. Belong's opening title track comes in like Siamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins, as huge, cascading walls of fuzz guitars trade places with Kip Berman's soft-sung melodies. While it's a great kick-off, the group soon settles in with what they do best, propulsive, noisy indie pop, and songs like "Heaven's Gonna Happen Now," "Heart in Your Heartbreak" and "Even in Dreams" are quintessential Pains tracks, albeit the group sounding bigger than ever. Throw in "My Terrible Friend," which is almost as anthemic as the Cure's "In Between Days, complete with jangling acoustic guitars and Peggy Wang's hooky synth lead, and the feedback-driven JAMC-stomp of "Girl of 1,000 Dreams," and you can't help but imagine that the next stop for this band is an arena full of hearts waiting to be broken.

Not only are we offering the Pains of Being Pure at Heart's new record in the traditional CD, LP and download formats, we also have Belong available as a Playbutton, which turns the old-school rock pin (featuring Belong's cover art) into a mini, wearable mp3 player pre-loaded with the album, allowing you to plug in your earbuds and play, skip and pause the album, with volume control and a rechargeable lithium battery. It's a brilliant little conversation piece that lets you wear your allegiance on your favorite cardigan -- and listen to it too. (We also have Playbuttons from Mount Eerie and Bubbles.) [GH]

Order CD by Texting "omcdpainsbelong" to 767825
Order LP by Texting "omlppainsbelong" to 767825
Order Playbutton by Texting "ompbpainsbelong" to 767825






(Rush Hour)


Rush Hour's reissue of Chicago house veterans Virgo Four's first two EPs on a 1989 LP simply titled Virgo was a banner release last year, a document shining light on one of the most important yet overlooked dance music innovators of its era. It seems that Virgo was just a teaser for the real prize, as they've followed that up with something that just seems too good to be true: Resurrection, a 15-track CD compiling previously unreleased cuts dating from 1984 to 1990, assembled, mixed and mastered in 2010, and sounding like a Rosetta stone of dark, gritty dance experimentation. As much as I love the aforementioned Virgo reissue, this set (I'm not gonna front, I bit my lower lip and splurged on the limited edition 5LP box, which is currently out of stock) has been in constant rotation in my home, on my iPod, at the shop... it is, quite simply, astonishing.

What I love so much about this set compared to the Virgo album is how much more weird, dark, and loose this stuff is; most of these tracks were finished but shelved due to record label indifference and ignorance, and a few play out as recorded experiments or demos, but even those exude a vibe of worth that just blows me away. Eric Lewis and Merwyn Sanders exude a raw, gritty sweat and propulsion that equals the magic conjured by Martin Rev and Alan Vega in Suicide's first two albums, combined with the deft jazz touch of someone like Larry "Mr Fingers" Heard. This collection tones down much of the "take me higher," hands-in-the-air righteousness of some classic house recordings, though, and it's precisely that late-night, introspective quality that makes this set more timeless to these ears than the previous album's reissue. There are so many tangents you can tie to these recordings -- the way "Crayon Box" and "Boing" foreshadow the bleep-and-thump of early Warp Records classics like "Tricky Disco" and "LFO," or the tongue-in-cheek "It's a Crime," which somehow manages to combine the theatrics of both Alan Vega and Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys with surprising aplomb. "The Mop" swirls and slaps around like classic Mr Fingers tracks like "Beyond the Clouds" or "Washing Machine," while the stone-cold classic "Sex" and the bedroom jam "Forever Yours" display a mix of subtle humor, melancholic introspection, and near-uncomfortable sincerity currently rocked by folks like Dam-Funk. It's pretty clear, too, that most of these jams were performed live to tape; this is definitely the sound of machines breathing, not some heavily sequenced gridwork, and that real-time funk is the key ingredient to most of the magic of these tracks. This set plays like a hazy fever dream, your heartbeat keeping time as your head throbs and your ass moves.

This is, in my book, one of the best and most important reissues to come out in 2011, and pretty much one of the best house albums ever released, filled with equal parts heart, soul, brain, and brawn. Anyone interested in house, IDM, early Warp, the synth-heavy boogie-funk of Dam and Tony Cook, and just plain old good dance music needs to hear this ASAP. It's absolutely essential. [IQ]

Order CD by Texting "omcdvirgoresurrection" to 767825







"Ancestral History"

If you want to talk about vocal house music, one name that will always begin a great dialogue would be Robert Owens. Owens is a master of the genre, and his musical relationship with producer Larry Heard was one of the classic pairings of modern dance music. Born in Ohio, Owens spent time in Chicago and New York during the ripe, rich and raw '80s, creating independent 12" singles that grew to become dance music masterpieces and anthems like "Bring Down the Walls," "I'm Strong," and "Can You Feel It." He produced his debut full-length with another house music icon, Frankie Knuckles, but Owens basically disappeared to Europe by the late 1990s, and was largely silent, except for some interesting one-off collaborations with the likes of Photek and Coldcut, until 2008's great "comeback" LP, Night-Time Stories. Now, the voice of the most fertile generation of house returns with another excellent album for the Compost label.

Art reconnects Owens with Larry Heard for half of the 19 songs on this epic two-CD journey, as well as featuring production from his new European brethren, Atjazz, Show-B, and Beanfield. Split between the bedroom and dance floor motifs, Art showcases Owens' virtuosity, range, and diversity as a songwriter and performer. He has always worked within a soulful, inspirational, and loving framework, and across an array of tempos here he's able to move effortlessly from R&B's quiet-storm sensuality to big-room dancefloor bangers with a great delivery and a rare sense of melody. His voice remains strong, passionate and consistent; never one to put on airs, Owens is in top form and truly authentic, once again making timeless music for his age group to enjoy and a new generation to discover. Bringing back a pure love of songwriting and mature production lacking in much of the contemporary house scene, the title Art is appropriate. The two discs are split according to the pacing, but both can be appreciated by those that like a warm and soulful voice, solid songs, and immaculate production -- if the down-tempo tracks don't move you, the up-tempo numbers will more than make up for it (I recommend listening to it on shuffle for a richer experience). So here's one for the real music lovers out there, music for the soul, from the soul. [DG]

Order CD by Texting "omcdrobertart" to 767825






It's Cosy Inside

Ooh, warehouse find! We're lucky enough to offer up dirt-cheap copies of this classic album by underground UK pop-ambient forefathers Woo. Woo who, you ask? Woo were (and remain, as they are allegedly still active) a duo of brothers Mark and Clive Ives, who started recording during the halcyon days of the UK post-punk/indie underground ("It was cheap, it was easy, go and do it!...") and first pressed up a debut, Whichever Way You Are Going, You Are Going Wrong in 1982. That LP sketched out their modus of burbling synth lullabies and tape loop divination mixed with soft acoustic flourishes from guitar, clarinet, and violin, but it is on the follow-up, 1989's It's Cosy Inside, where the group really delivers.

On It's Cosy Inside, the Ives brothers create a hypnotic fusion of what can most easily be described as a mixture of Cluster jamming with Jimmy Giuffre circa Free Fall, or perhaps the Penguin Cafe Orchestra overrun by a cyborg cult; light rhythm beds anchor gentle, spectral clouds of electronically treated acoustic instruments, creating soft etudes akin to recent reissues like Roedelius's two Selbstportrait volumes, or even a bit of Durutti Column at times. This LP has been namechecked by Nite Jewel as one of her all-time favorite instrumental electronic albums, and it's easy to hear why; the mix of German synthetic expressionism with a post-hippy new age sensibility is pretty much the core of what makes Nite Jewel's own albums so distinct, and this is probably the most pure, distilled document of that modus you're bound to hear. One can also hear the roots of Kompakt's Pop Ambient series taking effect, not to mention the odd bit of Eno, and a hint of chillwave, if you still care about that sort of thing. It's remarkable how much this record has seemed to preface quite a lot of independent pop music from the past year or two that has received high accolades; do yourself a favor and pick up this key document at a price that's pretty damn hard to refuse. It's one of the most dreamy, intoxicating albums you'll discover this year, I guarantee you that. [IQ]

Order CD by Texting "omcdwoocosy" to 767825






FM BX Society Tape 001 LP
(S.S. Records)

Originally released as a cassette by a Belgian radio station in 1981, the FM-BX Society Tape 001 compiles tracks from Belgian post-punk bands Isolation Ward and Unit 4, and the Scottish group the Topplers. How the Topplers ended on this comp is documented on the LP sleeve (I'm coming to understand that apparently everyone met at either a Sex Pistols or Fall show way back when), but historic details aside, what we have here is a solid collection of DIY post-punk from a scene that is only beginning to show its rich history.

Isolation Ward are perhaps the only band here that many people (including myself) are going to be familiar with; in fact, the chance to hear some early recordings from this group was what originally made me so excited about this LP. While the three Isolation Ward tracks are certainly no "Lamina Christus," it's a great document of their early sound, with the particularly upbeat "Dangerous" coming across like a lost track off of the Transportation EP from the then teenaged Chandra (which featured accompaniment by funky NYC art-punks the Dance). The Topplers change things up a bit, offering some classic DIY pseudo-punk that anyone with a Messthetics compilation will appreciate immediately: lo-fi production, bright guitar sounds à la the Desperate Bicycles, and a healthy bit of punk swagger.

The real gem on here, though, is the all-female group Unit 4. Yes, the Raincoats or Liliput/Kleenex are definitely points of reference, but Unit 4 remove the inherent artiness of either group and keep this a strictly punk affair. With their dry, monotone vocal delivery and playing with such fantastic DIY blasé energy, I'm amazed that I'm only hearing of this band now. From the start-stop, bass-heavy opener "Hidden Faces" to the shambolic, lo-fi take on early Siouxsie and the Banshees on "Rules" and "Growing Up," every one of these tracks are truly killer. Apparently this is Unit 4's only recorded material, which on the one hand is certainly a bummer, but on the other makes FM-BX an essential post-punk release. To put it bluntly, Isolation Ward and the Topplers are worth the price of admission, while Unit 4 is going to keep you coming back to this record again and again. [CPa]

Order LP by Texting "omlpvariousfm" to 767825






New Brigade

"White Rune"
"New Brigade"

It doesn't happen every day, but every couple of years, someone does something in the context of punk rock that sounds as vital, desperate and important as the best examples of what we know in the genre; the four Danish teens (ages 16 through 18) in Iceage have done just that. Their debut album New Brigade is 28 minutes of icy, bracing noise with confident riffs, piercing feedback and a big blast of energy that can only come from youth. Comparisons to Warsaw, the Sods/Sort Sol, Rudimentary Peni, the Lurkers and the Damned are inevitable, so let's just mention them and move on. There is no modern competition for Iceage; they white-knuckled New Brigade as a model for what you'll be doing when you bring this one home and play it again and again, loud. This is the US vinyl version on Dais, which features two bonus tracks not on the blink-and-you-missed-it Danish pressing. There are 500 copies in the first edition, so you'd better hurry. (Digital and CD versions are coming soon). An early highlight of 2011, the sound of teen revolution ripping your ears apart. [DM]

Order LP by Texting "omlpiceagenew" to 767825






$22.99 LP


Last of the Country Gentlemen

"Woman When I've Raised Hell"
"Sorry with a Song"

Pearson used to front the little-known (but much acclaimed) Texas band Lift to Experience. He's since relocated to Paris, where we imagine his epic beard, black cowboy hat and longhorn belt-buckle draw a few admiring ooh-la-la's, and he's already found some success overseas. His solo debut is a stark, quiet affair, with rambling yet virtuosic acoustic guitar and forlorn vocals, singing of love gone south, and it's often mesmerizing. Seven songs clock in at close to an hour, taking unexpected detours and own wallowing in their own sadness and beauty, with an off-the cuff presentation that is heartfelt and endearing.

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Order LP by Texting "omlpjoshlast" to 767825






(Drag City)

Vinyl-only release of this early-'80s cassette from the psych-folk legend. Recorded direct to two-track with just a harpsichord, acoustic guitar and Askew's wonderfully wounded singing, this is a powerful record that is much deserving of reissue. Hugely relevant to today's indie DIY/folk/Americana scene, this is great stuff.

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$19.99 LP+CD


Gimme Some
(Startime / Almost Gold)

This Swedish trio has been trying to simultaneously shrug off and live up to the huge international success of their 2006 breakthrough album Writer's Block from the moment "Young Folks" stormed the charts. Both before and after that record they have released enjoyable and eclectic albums that bore just a passing resemblance to that near-perfect pop confection, and in their pantheon, Gimme Some comes closer than most anything they've done to recreating the mellow magic. Truth be told, there is no smash single here, and the record sometimes sags, but it's a solid effort and fans of their hookier stuff should enjoy it.

Order CD by Texting "omcdpetergimme" to 767825
Order LP by Texting "omlppetergimme" to 767825






Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra Vol. 1
(Sublime Frequencies)

The first release ever issued on Sun City Girl Alan Bishop's Sublime Frequencies imprint, Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra Vol. 1 is now pressed in a limited, gatefold-sleeve vinyl edition. Culled from old cassette tapes, this collection features a wide array of unthinkable combinations of traditional and hybrid styles that until this comp's release in late 2003, had only been heard by a handful of outsiders.







Cult Cargo: Salsa Boricua de Chicago
(The Numero Group)

"Ano Nuevo Y Reyes" Juvented Tipica '78
"Guaguanco Coroco" La Justicia

When you think of salsa, you probably think of New York or Miami -- which is part of what makes this collection of Chicago groups on Carlos Ruiz's Ebirac label from the '70s sound so vibrant. Less concerned with commercial appeal than their coastal counterparts, these guys were shredding the West Side just for the fun of it.

Order CD by Texting "omcdvariouscult" to 767825






$19.99 LPx2


Disco Love 2

Another collection of awesome and obscure disco nuggets compiled by Al Kent for BBE. The CD comes both mixed (by Kent) and unmixed, and features blazing tracks by the likes of Plazza Suite, Nasty City, and Spooky & Sue.

Order CD by Texting "omcdvariousdisco2" to 767825
Order LP by Texting "omlpvariousdisco2" to 767825






M+M Mixes Vol. 2

More classic disco mixes from John Morales, from his M+M years with Sergio Munzibal. One disc of classic boogie, including hits from Inner Life, Teddy Pendergrass, War and Candi Staton, and another disc of unreleased gems from the Salsoul catalog.

Order CD by Texting "omcdjohnm2" to 767825






$17.99 LP+MP3


Moody, Standard and Poor
(Sub Pop)

"New August"

Obits second full-length will not disappoint fans who have followed Rick Froberg from the Hot Snakes/Drive Like Jehu days -- this album is perhaps a bit less caustic than the band's debut, but it is fierce, fiery, and a lot of fun. Intense bluesy punk rock, with wiry bass, tightly interlocking guitars, and Froberg's yowling lead vocals.

Order CD by Texting "omcdobitsmoody" to 767825
Order LP by Texting "omlpobitsmoody" to 767825
  All of this week's new arrivals.

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