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   October 4, 2012  
       
   
 
 
OCT Sun 30 Mon 01 Tues 02 Wed 03 Thurs 04 Fri 05 Sat 06




  BROOKLYN FLEA RECORD FAIR THIS SATURDAY
The fall installment of the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair, curated by OM's own Amanda Colbenson, returns this Saturday inside its Smorgasburg food market. Sponsored by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery who will be serving up their rare seasonal "Bitches Brew," the cream of the crop of indie record labels (including Warp, Ghostly International, Merge and Mexican Summer who are all joining the vendor line-up for the first time), DJs, and vintage dealers will be offering a great range of rare and one-off items, dusty gems, old standbys and plenty of deals. There'll be DJ sets throughout the afternoon and Flying Lotus will also be hanging at the Flea all day for an on-site signing of his new album, Until the Quiet Comes. Look for us at the Other Music table, where we'll be selling a wide selection of both new and used vinyl all afternoon. Click here for full details and see you at the Brooklyn Flea this Saturday!

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6 - 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
INSIDE SMORGASBURG: 27 N. 6th St. (btw. Kent Ave. & East River) Williamsburg, Brooklyn

     
 
   
       
   
     
 
 
FEATURED NEW RELEASES
Flying Lotus
Melody's Echo Chamber
Moon Duo
Django Django
Taken by Trees
Holy Other
Ultraista
Aphex Twin (LP reissues)
The Mountain Goats
Chris Cohen
The Vaccines
Fabulous Diamonds
Yoko Ono/Kim Gordon/Thurston Moore
Cumbia Beat Vol. 2 (Various Artists)
 
ALSO AVAILABLE
Tim Maia
Mark Eitzel
Maserati
Matt & Kim
Balmorhea
Lavender Diamond
First Aid Kit

BACK IN PRINT ON LP
Loop

All of this week's new arrivals.
Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/othermusicnyc
Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/othermusic

 
         
   
   
   
   
   
       
   
 
 
OCT Sun 30 Mon 01 Tues 02 Wed 03 Thurs 04 Fri 05 Sat 06




  WIN TICKETS TO THE BUNKER: DEMDIKE STARE & ANDY STOTT + PETER VAN HOESEN
Incredible! This Friday, the Bunker crew is presenting a very special eight-hour long Modern Love showcase in the front room of Public Assembly, featuring live sets from Demdike Stare and Andy Stott, plus a live set from Demdike Stare's Miles (only the third time he's ever done this). In between performances, Andy, Miles and Demdike's Sean Canty will be DJing, and Andy and Miles will also play a collaborative set where they present Millie & Andrea and Hate material. Simultaneously in the back room, one of techno's best, Peter Van Hoesen (Time to Express, Berlin) will be spinning along with Bunker resident Eric Cloutier. Other Music is giving away two pairs of tickets and to enter, email contest@othermusic.com.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5
PUBLIC ASSEMBLY: 70 N. 6th Williamsburg, BKLN

     
 
   
   
 
 
OCT Sun 30 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


Nick Waterhouse

SBTRKT

  NICK WATERHOUSE, JENS LEKMAN & SBTRKT TICKET GIVEAWAYS
Our good friends at Bowery Presents are offering Other Music Update readers the chance to win tickets to these great upcoming shows. First up, this Saturday, October 6, Innovative Leisure flagship acts Nick Waterhouse and Allah-Lahs will be performing at the Bowery Ballroom along with a DJ set from Josh Styles. Then on Monday, October 8, Terminal 5 will be hosting a great double serving of Swedish pop with crooner Jens Lekman supported by Taken by Trees. Later that week, on Thursday, October 11, SBTRKT will be on the Terminal 5 stage, along with openers Kilo Kish, Koreless and Nick Hook. To enter for any of these shows, just email tickets@othermusic.com and make sure to list the concert you'd like to see in the subject line. We've got one pair of tickets to give away to each of these nights and will notify each winner via email.

NICK WATERHOUSE: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6
BOWERY BALLROOM: 311 W. 34th St. NYC

JENS LEKMAN: MONDAY, OCTOBER 8
TERMINAL 5: 610 W. 56th St. NYC

SBTRKT: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11
TERMINAL 5: 610 W. 56th St. NYC
     
 
   
   
 
 
OCT Sun 07 Mon 08 Tues 09 Wed 10 Thurs 11 Fri 12 Sat 13


  WIN TICKETS TO MICACHU & THE SHAPES!
This Monday, Mica Levy and her band will be hitting the stage at Le Poisson Rouge in support of their great new album, Never, out now on Rough Trade. Any performance from Micachu & the Shapes is not to be missed and we've two pairs of tickets up for grabs! To enter to win, email giveaway@othermusic.com, and we'll notify the two winners this Friday.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 8
LE POISSON ROUGE: 158 Bleecker St. NYC

     
 
   
   
   
   
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

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  FLYING LOTUS
Until the Quiet Comes
(Warp)

"See Thru to U"
"Putty Boy Strut"

Finally here, one of the most anticipated releases for beat heads, nu-jazz cats, indie dudes, hip chicks, and most of the electronic music listening world, really. The fourth album by man-of-the-moment Steve Ellison (a/k/a Flying Lotus), Until the Quiet Comes is a bit of a collage of his previous work, yet all the elements are brought into sharper focus, in a more expansive galaxy. Like many of his contemporaries (and endless imitators), FLyLo sculpts microtones of percussion, samples and synth chords that reference dance music, yet become something more open, more wonky. What was once called trip-hop and/or acid jazz would apply in describing the music of Flying Lotus 2012; his is a casual, drug assisted, jazz-lineage-embracing sound that he often refers to as "Pattern & Grid World" music. Much like on his previous epic release, Cosmogramma, here FlyLo shows off his imaginative ear and tight skills with a fusion of live instrumentation and a dizzying array of micro sounds. His now signature sonic palette of galloping percussion, ringtone sound banks, clunky and chunky samples, rich synth chords, and other intergalactic flavors creates a beautiful and interstellar suite of dreamlike sequences and cosmic lullaby disco.

If Cosmogramma felt wide open, like the birth of a new sonic solar system with shooting stars and black holes, UTQC is a microsystem, a close-knit world of swirling clusters, revolving planets, new moons, darting comets, and zero gravity atmosphere. Ellison has grown from a one-man bedroom producer to a director utilizing a core group of players to help his sound deepen, grow, and breathe. He shapes, dissects, and arranges keyboards (Austin Peralta, Dorian Concept, and Brandon Coleman), drums (Gene Coye), vocals (Erykah Badu, Thom Yorke, Laura Darlington, Niki Randa), strings (Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Rebekah Raff), and bass (mainstay Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner). It is Thundercat's contribution here, much like on Cosmogramma, that seems to ground the playful bouncing orbit. His elastic jazz and tight funk bass feels like an essential part of the 'sound' of FLyLo, and his voice fits effortlessly into the mix, like on his 'duet' with Lotus on "DMT Song." Together they seem to have a likeminded love for the soul-jazz fusion of the late 1970s; there are many moments here that have an air of that era, in the vocal styling, the jazz moods, and the overall feel, however, FlyLo takes all his references and sends them through a spin cycle, spiraling into the stars. At a high point in his career, Flying Lotus has made his most accessible album, and showcases some of the best elements of his creative talents. Overall, FLyLo creates a less cluttered yet no less rich world of sound, and begins to really flex his imagination to dream of and articulate music like no one else around. Highest recommendation! [DG]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  MELODY'S ECHO CHAMBER
Melody's Echo Chamber
(Fat Possum)

"Crystallized"
"You Won't Be Missing That Part of Me"

The eponymous debut by Paris-based psychedelic chanteuse Melody Prochet, who records as Melody's Echo Chamber, really caught me by surprise upon first listen. While it's no secret that I'm a fan of the sort of haunted, tuneful contemporary psychedelia practiced by the likes of Broadcast, Mordant Music, the Ghost Box stable, and recent upstarts like Tame Impala and the Sufis, I also don't tend to warm well toward new acts who attempt to tap into such a difficult sound to pull off. I'll admit to being hugely skeptical of this record upon first glance, but wow, it's quite stunning, especially for a debut -- Prochet worked with Tame Impala's Kevin Parker behind the boards, and he gives her vintage pop sounds the necessary retro-futuristic roughness and fade that they require, keeping the tunes intact but making the textures more blurred and swirled at the edges. Her vocals, delivered in both French and English, often evoke the wide-eyed wonder of Trish Keenan circa Broadcast's early singles, without the solemn gravitas that Keenan mastered in later years. Prochet has a delivery that's charmingly innocent and seemingly naive, yet with classical training that gives her full command of her powers.

The album's massive, fuzzy, blown-out low end gives the songs a warm, woolen cushion upon which they weave together elements of prime shoegaze/dreampop guitars (I'm often reminded of Pale Saints and Lush when listening -- always a good thing!), not to mention a bit of the warped synth tones and subtle baroque flourishes of acts like Boards of Canada, Plone, and the Ghost Box crew. It succeeds because it feels nicely familiar yet still fresh, and Prochet's sweet, soothing melodies elevate the proceedings well above mere pastiche, more directly into higher-tier pop artistry. It's not a flawless record -- it at times does sulk too comfortably into places where a bit of grit, tension, and darkness really could push the material even further -- but it's one of the best, most promising debut albums I've heard in a long while, and with a bit of time, Melody's Echo Chamber could become a heavy contender. This album gets my highest recommendation, and its autumnal haze is perfectly timed for the crisp, cool weather we're finally beginning to feel. Fans of any of the aforementioned artists who are looking for a sweet, fuzzy dream-pop fix need look no further; this is one of the best contemporary examples you're going to find, and it's been in constant personal rotation for over a week straight now. It's a stunning ray of warm light on a cold, gray day. Pick this up post-haste and bask in its glow! [IQ]

 
         
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  MOON DUO
Circles
(Sacred Bones)

"Trails"
"I Can See"

Of last year's totally excellent and mind-blowing Mazes, we said of Moon Duo songwriter Ripley Johnson, "The dude just gets it." That "It" is any number of qualities and influences that make Moon Duo one of our favorite current bands at Other Music: the muscular psychedelia of early Spacemen 3, the growling two-chord rumble of Suicide, and the opium-smoke atmosphere are all present inside of Johnson and Sanae Yamada's compositions. So everybody who is just now piecing their brains back together after the churning brilliance of Mazes -- Circles will destroy you.

Johnson and Yamada's vocals have never sounded better, and that's just because both sets of pipes are stuck firmly atop their signature mix of bone-crunching guitar and eye-melting synthesizers. Not that they are saying anything particularly groundbreaking: "I feel so high now" is definitely the first discernible lyric in opener "Sleepwalker," but it's appropriate considering how enveloping and wave-like the song is. I certainly feel altered when I hear "Circles," maybe the "poppiest" track that the duo has created. The guitar that hits your gut is there, but it's joined by a one-finger keyboard lick that is, dare I say it, sweet -- a perfect sonic partner to the slippery guitar solo that follows it. Moon Duo's releases thrill me the same way that Stereolab's Switched On and Spacemen 3's Recurring do. There's an "It" in all of those records, and you can't explain why the combination of distorted guitar, hypnotic keys, and relentless drum programming hit that "It," but they do. It's the wonderful, stoner-ific nature of psychedelic rock, and "It" is all over Circles. [MS]

 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  DJANGO DJANGO
Django Django + Bonus Tracks
(Ribbon Music)

"Hail Bop"
"Skies Over Cairo"

Ribbon Music brings to the States what Europe's been enjoying for months now, the debut full-length by Scottish quartet Django Django, one of those kinds of records that sounds like everything and nothing more than its own self at once. It's an electronically embellished, rhythm-driven pop quartet sound that lists hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of influences on the album's insert, and meshes them together so well that you just might believe it. Pulling back a bit, however, you get the big picture: a pleasant, rousing, often wonderful collection of songs that play like a Stone Roses reunion in the universe of The Mighty Boosh, with inventive, sometimes whimsical moves and some manner of inherent drive to unite the rhythms of the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe into some sort of pandemic of grooves and computer funk. All throughout, the hollow, choirboy sound of Django Django's harmonic vocalisms and the zing of synthesizer in-jokes take things to another level. This is a hard record to classify properly, but it makes for a fun and fulfilling experience, one with luster that doesn't fade after the first few spins. [DM]

 
         
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  TAKEN BY TREES
Other Worlds
(Secretly Canadian)

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

To a large degree, Victoria Bergsman has fully embraced the freedom she earned when the singular singer left the Concretes in 2006; her restless nature could not be contained by the conventions of even that unconventional Swedish collective, and after charming so many pop fans with the band, her solo Taken by Trees project has wandered the globe, literally, seeking direction and inspiration in the wide open world around her. While her 2007 debut was a low-key pop affair produced at home by Peter Bjorn & John's Bjorn Vittling, for East of Eden, Bergsman traveled to Pakistan, recording with musicians she met there, adding a healthy dose of Sufi spirituality and tradition into her hazy pop. And now, with Other Worlds, Bergsman, inspired by a vacation in Hawaii and a pair of seemingly unrelated vintage instrumental tracks -- the Beach Boys' "Diamond Head" from 1968, and Augustus Pablo's "AP Special" from a decade later -- has crafted a truly moving and thoroughly original beach-pop travelogue. Somewhat unbelievably, the album is truly wonderful, a shimmering Swedish-Hawaiian-dub-pop masterpiece if there ever was one. Recorded with Beachwood Sparks' Farmer Dave Scher and produced by Tough Alliance's Henning F├╝rst, the record bubbles and grooves, with deep pulsing bass, layered percussion, vintage electronics, static-filled loops, swaying steel guitars intertwined with the hoot of melodica, crashing waves and gently falling rain, and Bergsman's always-enchanting vocals. I'd call it groundbreaking if these tracks did not sound so natural and positively effortless -- like a lazy afternoon on the sandy shore. [JM]

 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  HOLY OTHER
Held
(Tri Angle)

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

Though Tri Angle Records has been a little quiet in recent months, the new full-length from Manchester-based producer Holy Other picks up where the label left us (and where Holy Other left us after his 2011 EP). Like most of what we've heard from Tri Angle, Held is another haunting listening experience, and all the noir elements are here again, only they feel more elegant, sensual, intimate, less forbidding and more inviting. R&B referenced vocals are chopped, snipped, screwed, looped and smeared into delicate whispers of emotions. Small sounds and melodic passages move at a snail's pace, crawling and burrowing into your subconscious, much like the earworms of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Yet here the sonic earworms create a soundtrack for freeze frame images of foggy abandoned city streets, the departing whispers of lovers in the early a.m., or magic hour drives into the sunset. His lock grooves create a hypnotic, almost drone atmosphere that feels open and wide, but extremely intimate as well. The producer, known only by his pseudonym and reclusive due to his "shyness," uses his sounds to create quiet worlds both human and alien, devoid of blood, yet still with a heartbeat. He continues to deconstruct and re-imagine the affection of lovelorn R&B, resulting in moody pieces that are not too dissimilar to the music backing the Weeknd's pleas or Clams Casino's syrupy and melodic instrumentals. Imagine the eeriness of Leyland Kirby/Caretaker, the emotive textures of How to Dress Well or Balam Acab (minus the falsetto cooing, and up-pitched crooning), or even the dirgy, druggy, dubby terrain of electronic groove minimalist Andy Stott, and you can begin to enter the ghost world known as Holy Other. His tracks are both familiar and completely foreign, in the best possible way, seemingly bare yet deep and rich in their abstraction. This comes just in time for the descending spirits that color the current season and is music that will fit nicely in your ghost-in-the-love-machine playlist. [DG]

 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  ULTRAISTA
Ultraista
(Temporary Residence)

"Small Talk"
"Wash It Over"

If you aren't familiar with Nigel Godrich's name, you've certainly heard his work; the English producer's CV features an impressive range of artists, his name appearing in the credits of countless records from the likes of Paul McCartney, Beck, Air, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and of course, Radiohead, a longtime affiliation in which Godrich's role parallels George Martin's with the Beatles. His new project, Ultraista, however, is a different proposition, with Godrich contributing as a bona fide member of a trio that also includes LA session drummer/multi-instrumentalist Joey Waronker and London singer Laura Bettinson. Not surprising, the carefully sculpted layers of precision electronics that one would find in tracks like Radiohead's "Lotus Flower" or Thom Yorke's Atoms for Peace project (that both Godrich and Waronker perform in) are here in spades as well, but arranged in a far more vivid, dreamy fashion. Throughout, exotic polyrhythms bustle and pulse in Teutonic lockstep underneath aching synths, low and mid frequency buzzes, and occasional live percussion, piano and bass, all coming together to form chimerical electro-scapes for Bettinson's yearning croon. It's her hypnotic, beguiling melodies in particular that give Ultraista's machine music its soul, allowing the trio to find a striking middle ground between the sultry late-'90s electronica of Lamb, Zero 7, and at times even Broadcast, and the alien dream worlds conjured from contemporary artists like the Knife (though not as unsettling) and Little Dragon. [GH]

 
         
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  APHEX TWIN
...I Care Because You Do
(1972)

APHEX TWIN
Richard D. James Album
(1972)

When EDM/dubstep poster boy Skrillex recently namedropped Aphex Twin as a primary influence on his own music, it might have caused a few head scratches about musical paternity, but at the same time, it all but cemented Richard James's status as the true Godfather of Electronic Dance Music for yet another generation. James probably earned that title back in 1995 when electronic music's own enfant terrible released his third album, ...I Care Because You Do, a pisstake of a title featuring a disturbing acid-drenched self-portrait of the man on the cover, with the titles scrawled in marker on the back. The music within, however, was quicksilver, abrasive, throbbing, pleasurable, and mischievous. From the adenoidal frequencies of "Ventolin" to the playful rhythms of "Alberto Balsalm," James pushed at all the boundaries of electronic music of the early-'90s, primarily by foregrounding his own personality in a previously anonymous genre. That cult of personality would only grow when he followed it up with Richard D. James Album the following year, his sinister face now smiling on the cover. For a career of strange releases, RDJ remains one the quirkiest albums in the man's catalog, wormy and wiggly and whiplash-fast. It's also highly melodic, full of twisting strings, children voices, his own parents, and Kraftwerk-esque ditties to the snapping point. The roots of Autechre, Four Tet and Boards of Canada (icons in their own right) can also be found here, and it makes a certain kind of sense that an entirely new generation of musicians continue to find inspiration and their own sound within these two albums. They've been unavailable on LP for well over a decade and these reissues are a must. Highly recommended. [AB]

 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  THE MOUNTAIN GOATS
Transcendental Youth
(Merge)

"Night Light"
"Harlem Roulette"

This is album number 14 for the Mountain Goats, and it's been a decade since John Darnielle turned his home recording project into a real rock band. We've been here before, but even if you are one of those know-it-all fans who think he should have never left the bedroom, it's just sour grapes if you try to deny that Transcendental Youth is one of the better sounding, most expansive records the Mountain Goats have ever made. Darnielle's taut acoustic guitar strum is joined again by best-in-class Jon Wurster's powerhouse drumming, but the album is full of little sonic surprises: haunting piano lines, swooping, jazzy bass, and most enticing, several lovely horn interludes arranged by our new favorite up-and-comer Matthew E. White, whose symphonic jazz arrangements add color and depth to Darnielle's often stark compositions. This is not one of the Mountain Goats "theme" albums, it's a series of seemingly unrelated character portraits, all delivered with the highly specific insight and intensity that still makes us wonder where Darneielle fits into his own stories. You don't need to be a pop culture critic to recognize that "Amy aka Spent Gladiator 1" is about Amy Winehouse, and all the Amy Winehouses out there, and when he snarls "Do every stupid thing that makes you feel alive, do every stupid thing to try to drive the dark away," you can feel Darnielle's heart expand and contract with the pathos of it all, and you know he really does mean it -- he wants us to live life, no matter what. He ends the verse with "Stay alive, just stay alive," but of course sometimes even the most sage advice falls on dead ears. [JM]

 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  CHRIS COHEN
Overgrown Path
(Captured Tracks)

"Optimist High"
"Heart Beat"

Probably the closest living sonic relative to songwriter Chris Cohen is Dan Snaith, a/k/a Caribou. Both drape their music in the textures and tones of the '60s, plenty of chiming guitars, dry drum sounds, and a laid-back feel that belies the subtlety of the arrangements. Both are also meticulous sculptors of harmony and counter-melody. A song like "Heart Beat," from Cohen's excellent debut LP, begins from almost nothing -- a wisp of a vocal melody, a mellow bass pulse -- and blooms into dazzling Byrds-like beauty. But where Snaith often gallops his compositions over a cliff, continually adding layers until the songs have nothing else to do but collapse, Cohen never seems to suffer from kitchen-sink-psychedelia sickness. In spirit, Cohen is much more closely connected to Emitt Rhodes, and on Overgrown Path, Cohen plays nearly every instrument himself, just as Rhodes did on his recordings. You can hear the connection on "Rollercoaster Rider," a song that gallops through the memory of a county fair. A bright keyboard flies past, jumps onto a carousel, where it is joined by a crunchy electric guitar lick that Paul McCartney might have written for Ram. No instrument ever seems to vie for the same airspace -- perhaps years of performing with spazzy art rockers Deerhoof (he also played with Ariel Pink and Cass McCombs) helped Cohen develop the ability to dovetail his arrangements instead of just piling on the sounds. "There's nothing there below you," sings Cohen on "Don't Look Down," a line which sums up the spirit of a record that only floats higher and higher with each listen, with no comedown in sight. [MS]

 
         
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  THE VACCINES
Come of Age
(Sony)

"Bad Mood"
"All in Vain"

The Vaccines' follow-up to last year's heavily hyped debut is a more refined and glossy record full of charm, poise and relentless hooks. Produced by Ethan Johns, Come of Age somewhat lives up to its name and indeed marks a progression for the London band, who exchange the one-minute pop-punk wonders of their first album for more fleshed-out songs without changing their basic M.O. Their music is still punk on a heart string: Ramones licks with added Jesus & Mary Chain fuzz; 1950's rock 'n' roll swagger meets hardcore and good old fashioned pop dreamscapes. And while this formula is certainly not new, the results can still be a lot of fun. On the first single, "No Hope," vocalist Justin Young does his best Bob Dylan impersonation delivering lines like, "I could make an observation / If you are the voice of a generation / but I'm too self-absorbed to give it clout" atop a backdrop of Johnny Marr-esque guitar jangle -- though silly, the band is young and boisterous enough to make it work. The group taps into a little bit of nostalgia on "Teenage Icon," Young declaring "I'm no Frankie Avalon / I'm nobody's hero," and then offers up some time-tested rock 'n' roll gender play on "I Wish I Was a Girl," in which the singer imagines himself as "bewitching and enthralling all the boys" over winding rhythms and little spikes of guitar notes. Will the Vaccines usher in a new rock revolution like the Strokes almost did some 11 years ago? No, but I don't think that's the point. They are carrying the same torch that bands like Libertines and the Arctic Monkeys once held, and for now, it is burning bright. [MF]

Includes a bonus 3-song CD-EP, while supplies last.

 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  FABULOUS DIAMONDS
Commercial Music
(Chapter Music)

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

For the past five or six years, Melbourne's Fabulous Diamonds have hung in there with a strict, minimal lineup (Nisa Venerosa plays drums, Jarrod Zlatic plays synths), generating a rather large and imposing sound, reliant on repetition, delay, and a shamanistic presence of rhythms that illuminate their song-sigils from the forest floor. Their past two albums on Siltbreeze have evidenced moments of greatness which are fully realized on Commercial Music, a record that seems to be their most accessible -- this is relative, I suppose -- and definitely their most focused to date. Long, brooding, circular tracks drone on with a formidable weight, tribal drumming and booming tom hits pushing an army of keyboards and effects over a mountain, Fitzcarraldo style. This mood is experienced with a lighter touch that recalls Nite Jewel fronting Dead Can Dance on a few tracks, moves towards Ashra/Gottsching levels of psychic awakening on others, and closes each side with an ominous, prog-minded, filmic loop of nightmare aesthetics, which wouldn't be out of place on a Zombi record, or most releases on Pre-Cert. This one's a big leap forward for the band, who we all hope will be gracing American shores again very soon. Totally decadent, ponderous sound for an uncertain age. [DM]

 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  YOKO ONO / KIM GORDON / THURSTON MOORE
YOKOKIMTHURSTON
(Chimera)

"I Missed You Listening"
"Early in the Morning"

Released on Sean Lennon's Chimera Music label, this collaboration between Yoko Ono, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore marks the first new material from Sonic Youth's influential and iconic couple since they separated last fall, after 27 years of marriage. Recorded just months before Kim and Thurston announced their break-up, Yoko described the one-day session as "an incredible moment that happened between us three." Though here the scrapes, screeches and plucks of guitar will be familiar, as will Yoko's coos, groans and squeals, YOKOKIMTHURSTON is by no means intended for the casual Sonic Youth fan, these six tracks closer to the avant experimentations that you'd find on the SYR series. The most accessible piece, "Mirror, Mirror," is part spoken-word, part folky noise-rock, with Yoko and Kim singing softly amidst the swaying guitars and peaks of white noise. Elsewhere "Running the Risk" opens with each taking turns reading supposed newspaper headlines -- "Your calls are taped," "The biggest fish face little risk of being cooked" -- before dissolving into a screaming meltdown of rapid babble. It's an intriguing collaboration for sure, and while YOKOKIMTHURSTON is far from essential, any time vanguards from two generations of the avant-garde are together in the same room and the tape is rolling, you certainly want to hear the outcome. [MF]

 
         
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  VARIOUS ARTISTS
Cumbia Beat 2: Tropical Sounds from Peru 1966-83
(Vampi Soul)

"Sabor a Cana" Los Orientales da Paramonga
"Llanto en la Selva" Los Mirlos

The second volume of Vampi Soul's Cumbia Beat stands right next to The Roots of Chicha as an essential history of the consistently electrifying cumbia scene that emerged in the late 1960s in Peru. As detailed in the extensive liner notes that accompany this two-disc set, the cumbia scene was a fertile breeding ground of rapid-fire instrumental experimentation and genre collision. Groups continually shared members and traded sounds and styles back and forth like they were playing a game of hot potato. Hard funk, Amazonian folklore, salsa, Colombian cumbia and wicked psychedelic guitar work melt together into a potent and extremely danceable style that evades easy classification.

At the heart of this set is some of the best guitar playing I have ever heard. The foundation of many of these cumbias, such as "Ven a Bailar con Juaneco," by chicha legends Juaneco y Su Combo, is the hypnotic playing of very clean, sparkling electric guitars. More than just a flavor or a texture, I love how the musicians also emphasize the percussive qualities of the instrument: the click and chick-a-chack of the pick against the strings lend extra urgency and energy to the bubbling hand percussion that drives the song forward. Listen to the way the guitarist elicits every possible sound from his axe on "Cumbia Para un Viejito," by Los Pecos, working the highest notes on the fret board to moments of frenzy. The liberal and fluid nature of the cumbia helps keep the set from getting stale at 34 tracks -- you never for a second feel as though you're hearing the same songs over the course of two hours, and when it's over, you'll likely just want some more. [MS]
 
         
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

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  TIM MAIA
World Psychedelic Classics 4 - Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Soul of Tim Maia
(Luaka Bop)

"Ela Partiv"
"Over Again"

The fourth installment of Luaka Bop's great World Psychedelic Classics series highlights Brazilian legend Tim Maia who, along with the likes of Banda Black Rio and Jorge Ben, brought American soul music and its burgeoning political consciousness into the mix of his homeland's popular music. Along the way, however, he married five times, served time in prison and embraced the unusual teachings of a sci-fi based cult -- suffice to say, Maia not only created some of Brazil's most soulful sounds, but also some of the most excitingly original. Full review next week.

 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  MARK EITZEL
Don't Be a Stranger
(Merge)

"Why Are You with Me"
"All My Love"

Mark Eitzel watched American Music Club break up and survived a heart attack before arriving at Don't Be a Stranger. Well, true love and great music travels a gravel road, right? With the help of a friend who won the lottery, Eitzel was able to take his self-confessed "shitty demos" into a studio and record with a proper band (including original AMC guitarist Vudi) and a string section, and out came his best album in recent memory. While accessorized with Spanish guitar flourishes, orchestral swirls and piano and congas, Don't Be a Stranger is primarily an acoustic record with Eitzel at his storytelling (and sometimes self-deprecating) best. He might sound a little torn and frayed but that's when he's always been at his most inspired anyway.

 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  MASERATI
Maserati VII
(Temporary Residence)

"Martin Rev"
"Solar Exodus"

When drummer Jerry Fuchs joined Maserati in 2004, the band's sound underwent a few significant changes: the pace of their rhythms quickened, the beats became more danceable and direct, and a heavier amount of psychedelia soaked into their post-rock textures. Eight years later, we have Maserati VII, the first album the group has made following Fuchs' tragic death in 2009. Yet, here, the band continues where they started with him, still creating their own brazen version of dance-y, though heavy prog rock. The beat is the center of almost every track, the motorik tempos and sequencers are snappy and the guitars are hooky. The tracks vary from straightforward metallic Krautrock to spaced-out synthscapes and the overall effect is an album with many, many epic sounds. Here's to Maserati moving forward while honoring their past.
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  MATT AND KIM
Lightning
(Fader)

"Now"
"Tonight"

Hugely successful Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim drop their fourth album of energetic, party-starting indie pop. On the surface, Lightning appears to be more of the same but after a few listens the songwriting reveals itself to be a little more complex (and synth-heavy) and the lyrics more introspective. This is all relative of course, this is Matt & Kim after all, and there's plenty of dance floor action (see "Let's Go") to be had as well.

 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  BALMORHEA
Stranger
(Western Vinyl)

Preview Songs on Other Music's Download Store

On their third album, Austin, TX instrumentalists Balmorhea continue to explore the limitless sonic palettes offered by tape and electric guitar loops, synthesizers, ukulele and steel pan drums. On Stranger, the six-piece collective crafts compositions that feel organic and natural rather than overtly electronic or mechanical; melodies and forms twist and turn, constantly moving and interplaying with one another. And, although the music Balmorhea plays is technically complex, the soundscapes don't come across as overloaded and overdone. As a result, Stranger is full of texture and the various feelings that creating not only a song, but a mood can provide.

 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  LAVENDER DIAMOND
Incorruptible Heart
(Paracadute)

"I Don't Recall"
"Light My Way"

The last time we saw Lavender Diamond, front woman Becky Stark was almost overly love-y and cutesy -- as in very pastel pink, big taffeta dresses love-y, cutesy. We don't say that to decry the band's past merits (of which there are plenty), but Incorruptible Heart is a very different album than 2007's Imagine Our Love. While the group is still creating music largely centered around the concept of love, on this record, it's more ethereal, exquisite and existential. There's a nakedness and sparse beauty that quietly permeates through the air of the entire album, making it sound big even when the instrumentation is spare. In that vein, the backdrop behind Stark's openhearted, mellifluous vocal melodies is beautifully simple here: slow ripples of percussion, pretty tinges of piano, music box-like electronics and washes of guitar. With producers Damian Kulash Jr. (OK Go) and Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips collaborate) at the helm, the wide-eyed beauty of Stark's vocals are the focus, making for a set of uniquely compelling pop songs.

 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

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  FIRST AID KIT
Drunken Trees EP
(Wichita)

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First Aid Kit (Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg) broke through early this year with their sophomore full-length, The Lion's Roar, a record that showcased their beautiful and unique take on folk and country. Their debut EP from 2009 is finally reissued by Wichita and features eight wonderfully melancholy songs including live favorites "Tangerine" and "You're Not Coming Home Tonight." Highly recommended for fans of Sharon van Etten, Head & the Heart, Fleet Foxes etc.

 
         
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

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  LOOP
Heaven's End
(Reactor)

"Heaven's End"

Now available on vinyl for the first time in two decades, Heaven's End was Loop's 1987 debut album and it is surprising how current it sounds. These mighty British drone rockers turned the guitars up to 11 with walls of fuzz, wah-wah and feedback that blew minds in the late-'80s and are sure to do the same today. A song like "Straight to Your Heart" is a shoegaze anthem and is just as essential as any My Bloody Valentine track. At the time, however, Loop never got their due and were overshadowed by the likes of Spacemen 3, but while somewhat forgotten in recent years, Heaven's End is an absolutely essential album of the scene and era.
 
         
   
   
   
       
   
         
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THIS WEEK'S CONTRIBUTORS

[AB] Adrian Burkholder
[MF] Michael Fellows
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[JM] Josh Madell
[DM] Doug Mosurock
[MS] Michael Stasiak



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- all of us at Other Music

 
         
   
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