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   April 4, 2013  
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$11.99 CD
$23.99 LPx2


Stop by the shop this Saturday, April 6 from 2-3pm to hear a preview of James Blake's great new LP Overgrown, out next week on Universal Republic, and pick up some free posters, pins and other Blake goodies! And if you pre-order the new album at the store or online any time between now and Monday the 8th, you will be entered to win a framed lithograph signed by Blake. Join us!

OTHER MUSIC: 15 E. 4th St. NYC

Charles Bradley
DJ Koze
Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes
Spiritual Jazz 4 (Various)
Klaus Dinger + Japandorf
The 49 Americans
Bona Dish
Dur-Dur Band
A Hawk and a Hacksaw
The Besnard Lakes
Alex Calder
Jar Moff
Jazzactuel (Back in Print)
Beach House (LP Back in Print)
Grouper (LP Back in Print)

Theo Parrish

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APR Sun 31 Mon 01 Tues 02 Wed 03 Thurs 04 Fri 05 Sat 06

For this special night, the Bunker are teaming up with Colleen Nika of Nightvision, who'll be curating Public Assembly's front room with live sets from Black Rain (Blackest Ever Black | Brooklyn), Tropic of Cancer (Blackest Ever Black, Downwards | LA), Locust a/k/a Mark Van Hoen (eMego, R&S | Brooklyn), Goitia Dietz (Disc Error | Brooklyn), and Teloahqaal (Brooklyn), with DJ sets from Colleen in between the performances. In the back room, ADMX-71 a/k/a Adam X (Sonic Groove | Berlin) will be playing live along with DJ sets from Marco Shuttle (Eerie | London) and Bryan Kasenic (The Bunker | Brooklyn). The night will be starting early with doors at 8:00pm and going late, so rest up, and in the meantime email enter@othermusic.com for your chance to win a pair of tickets.

PUBLIC ASSEMBLY: 70 N. 6th St. Williamsburg, BKLN
APR Sun 07 Mon 08 Tues 09 Wed 10 Thurs 11 Fri 12 Sat 13
  Sun 14 Mon 15 Tues 16 Wed 17 Thurs 18 Fri 19 Sat 20

Our good friends at Le Poisson Rouge are offering our Update readers a pair of tickets to each of these upcoming shows. First up, on Monday, April 8th, the 2 Bears (featuring Raf Rundell and Joe Goddard of Hot Chip) are going to make the weekend last a little longer with their infectious house and disco grooves, along with a DJ set from Ladies Night. Make sure to get to the club at 8:00pm to enjoy some happy hour drink specials. Then on Saturday, April 20th, PopGun brings UK art-punk stalwarts Clinic to the Le Poisson Rouge stage, with the Cobbs coming up from Philly to open. Email tickets@othermusic.com for your chance to win a pair of tickets to either of these shows, and make sure to list which night you'd like to enter for.

LE POISSON ROUGE: 158 Bleecker St. NYC

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


This coming Wednesday, LA's Allah-las bring some much-needed warmth to Brooklyn with their sun-kissed Nuggets-inspired sounds, along with Texas psych-rockers the Black Angels, who will be performing in support of their brand new full-length, Indigo Meadow. Elephant Stone nicely rounds out this awesome bill and we've got a pair of tickets up for grabs! Email contest@othermusic.com for your chance to win.

THE BELL HOUSE: 149 7th St. Brooklyn
APR Sun 07 Mon 08 Tues 09 Wed 10 Thurs 11 Fri 12 Sat 13

With their new album Elegancia Tropical out on store shelves, Colombia's genre-smashing Bomba Estereo takes their raucous, cumbia-infused electro-pop to New York City's Stage 48 on Saturday, April 13, and Other Music is giving away five pairs of tickets! To enter for your chance to win, just email giveaway@othermusic.com, and get ready for a night of getting down.

STAGE 48: 605 W. 48th St. NYC





$16.99 LP+MP3


Totale Nite EP
(Night People)

"Who Are You?"
"Winter's Dream"

In our review of Merchandise's second LP, Children of Desire (Katorga Works/Jagjaguwar), we wrote that the hypnotic charm of songs like "Become What You Are" and "Time" grew from the powerful bond between Dave Vassalotti's "swirling, mesmerizing guitar" and singer Carson Cox's "soulful, swooning tenor." That special telekinetic sympathy between singer and guitarist became a defining characteristic of a lot of brilliant 1980s British pop music, resulting in such rich partnerships as Morrissey and Marr (the Smiths), Brown and Squire (Stone Roses), Chadwick and Bickers (House of Love), the brothers Jim and William Reid (Jesus and Mary Chain), Masters and Naysmith (Pale Saints), and McCulloch and Sergeant (Echo & the Bunnymen). On Merchandise's new Totale Nite EP, Cox's shimmering guitar work and Vassalotti's waterfall vocals precisely evoke the moody, melancholic romanticism of vintage 4AD and early Brit-pop bands.

But don't get the idea that Merchandise is just a bunch of former straightedge punks with a bad case of new wave Anglophilia and a couple of Ministry records. While the opening bars of "Who Are You?" sound like something Ultra Vivid Scene pulled off 25 years ago, a bellowing howl of harmonica absolutely flattens everything else in the mix, then morphs into Cox's own mournful croon. It's a subtle brushstroke, as much indebted to American blues (and Bob Dylan's, uh, unique way of making his mouth harp yowl) as the guitar tones are indebted to Ride. The big single, "Anxiety's Door," finds a typical Cox character "walking the streets at night" arm in arm with a guitar line copped from Marquee Moon and some heart-stopping hooks from drummer Elsner Nino. "I'll Be Gone" is the lush, slow comedown from the galloping "Anxiety's Door," featuring swirling acoustic guitars and organs, and affecting lonely-man thoughts like "When my day is done/I sit and contemplate all the what-if's/I'm gonna plant myself in the sun/Just to be free from all you motherfuckers." Across five memorable songs and 33 minutes, the Total Nite EP trims the fluff away from their previous LP and builds songs around the formidable strengths of core duo Cox and Vasselotti. This is a must-hear! [MS]




$15.99 LP+MP3


Victim of Love

"Strictly Reserved for You"
"Where Do We Go from Here"

Charles Bradley's 2011 debut with the Menahan Street Band, the stunning No Time for Dreaming, was one of the best and most substantial soul revival albums in memory, maybe the absolute best. In a 50-year-old genre, Bradley was not really saying anything new, but his deeply expressive voice, the wonderful arrangements and performances from Menahan, and the deeply emotional set of songs that Bradley wrote with bandleader Tom Brenneck, added up to make for a great and enduring record, and Bradley became a star. More than just a great singer and riveting performer, Charles Bradley had a back story that was hard to resist: 60-plus years of a hardscrabble life, bouncing around the country alone since his early teens, struggling to survive through a series of life's cruel setbacks that somehow never robbed him of his deep and enduring love for humanity, and his undying desire to express himself through his music. Through happenstance and coincidence, Bradley was discovered by Gabe Roth from Daptone, who introduced him to Brenneck, and after several years of stop-start collaboration, they assembled a set of songs that focused on Bradley's struggles, from the murder of his brother to his quest for economic and emotional stability, and his inspirational love in the face of all that hardship.

Two years later, Charles Bradley is in a very different place; his debut album has brought him the success, both artistically and financially, that he struggled for his whole life, and he is now greeted by adoring fans the world over. So where to go next? Thankfully, though Brenneck and the full Menahan Street Band lineup have not consistently performed live with Bradley due to various other commitments of the players, many who also perform in various other Daptone-related productions, the songwriting collaboration between Bradley and Brenneck is in full effect again on Victim of Love, as is the wonderfully dynamic band. Though there is much overlap in the Brooklyn soul scene, the Menahan Street Band has always struck me as the most creative of the stable, pushing boundaries in ways that are most easily explained in the timeline of first-wave soul; where Sharon Jones or Lee Fields and their groups tend to focus on the hard-driving suit-and-tie soul of the mid-'60s, Menahan's music riffs on the mind-expanding sounds of the late-'60s or 1970s, and this new album is definitely a psych-soul affair, taking inspiration from the evolving sounds of artists like the Temptations, Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield. Lyrically, Bradley is now focused less on the hardships of his past than his quest for emotional love and connection, and along with some broader themes on personal responsibility, most of these tunes are some version of a love song, from a man who, now in his mid 60s, seems to finally be finding some of the love he has craved. On "Crying in the Chapel" Bradley sums up much of the emotion here with the closing line: "it's my turn to love again, it's my turn to feel love, and get love." It would be hard to duplicate the magic that was No Time for Dreaming, but with Victim of Love we hear Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band with less to prove, but plenty to say, and they have made a great record that any fan of soul music needs to hear. [JM]




$21.99 LPx2+7"+MP3



"Nices Wölkchen"
"My Plans"

That we've barely noticed that eight years have passed since DJ Koze's last full-length speaks to the prolificacy of this Hamburg producer, who's released countless 12" singles and remixes over the course of that time. Yet it's on the album format where listeners get to experience the full range of his productions both sonically speaking and personality wise, and at 80 minutes long, Amygdala is brimming with both. DJ Koze (real name: Stefan Kozalla), came up through the '90s as a skilled turntablist and rapper turned producer (a member of German hip-hop group Fischmob and later International Pony), soon putting his own diverse, funky stamp on minimal house (also using the name Adolf Noise) and becoming a stalwart on the Kompakt label during the early to mid 2000s, and more recently on his own Pampa imprint. Working with several collaborators here, including Apparat, Milosh (of Rhye), Caribou, Ada, and Matthew Dear, in many ways Amygdala plays out like a mix CD, even if the songs aren't beat-matched or fading into each another -- album opener "Track ID Anyone" begins with a short, strange collage of voices and then reveals a gentle, psychedelic swirl of afterhours techno-pop, with Dan Snaith's (Caribou) soulful croon often layered and dubbed out, floating atop a steady 4/4 pulse and vivid production that could be likened to staring into a slightly out-of-focus kaleidoscope.

On tracks like "Magical Boy," Koze continues to paint detailed pictures using his funky minimalist brush, as snippets of bass guitar and layers of electric piano and sampled horns and strings take their turns bouncing and swelling over a shuffling beat and jaw-harp, with Matthew Dear playing the part of a lovelorn shaman in his unmistakable creepy, effected voice. Elsewhere, with "Homesick," Koze shape-shifts his production into late-night modern R&B, with most of the focus on the ethereal vocals of Ada processed through a harmonizer, and he even channels Marvin Gaye during the pastoral lullaby of "Das Wort." Gaye's presence is felt again on the gorgeous abstract-house re-working of "Ich Schreib' dir ein Buch 2013," in which the clipped and treated chorus of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" weaves in and out of samples of the late German actress/singer Hildegard Knef singing her torch ballad. These are just a few highlights of so many from a rare electronic record that pushes boundaries without sacrificing melody or accessibility. The fact that Amygdala appears right when much of the genre has taken a grayer turn with the gritty, cavernous rhythms of producers like Andy Stott and Demdike Stare rumbling earbuds and dance floors not only makes DJ Koze's visceral, multi-hued productions an enjoyable palette cleanser, but even more so, necessary color therapy. [GH]





4 Original Albums
(Universal France)

"Roc Alpin"
"Un Jour... La Mort"

French vocalist and actress Catherine Ribeiro has long been one of my favorite singers and songwriters, and I'm thrilled to finally be able to offer up this excellent collection of four of her most bewitching, mind-altering albums. Though she began as a yé-yé singer in the vein of Francoise Hardy, and is best known to many via her role in Jean-Luc Godard's Les Carabiniers, by the time Ribiero released her 1969 debut LP Catherine Ribeiro + 2Bis (not included here and never given a proper reissue) she had undergone a powerful transformation, crafting a haunting, alien soundworld that is definitely of its time, so to speak, while being starkly original and timeless. Her main collaborator on that debut was multi-instrumentalist, actor, and craftsman/inventor Patrice Moullet, and they went on to form Alpes, a revolving troupe of sonic alchemists who backed Ribiero on a series of varied albums that all fused blackened lyrical themes and solemn folk instrumentation with droning psychedelics and a bit of acid rock. Musically adventurous and sonically thrilling, this music is carried by Ribeiro's earth-moving voice -- a force to be reckoned with -- that sounds as though it can blast a hole through brick walls; she carries heavy emotion, and a lower register expressivity that in layman's comparative terms could be a splice of Grace Slick, Brigitte Fontaine, and Yoko Ono.

Alpes quickly moved from the droning acid rock of their 1970 debut, No 2, to something altogether more intriguing and bewitching on 1971's Ame Debout, with the arrival of Moullet's handmade instruments the cosmophone (a modified, custom-made viola da gamba crafted from aluminum and played with a bow, sounding like a blend of harp, bass, and guitar) and the percuphone, a steel-stringed instrument played via a mechanical motor which produces the unique, tuned rhythms that anchor their wild cosmic flights. Atop this bed are spiraling clouds of electric organ that evoke Terry Riley's A Rainbow in Curved Air, and long, spiraling passages of bass and guitar. Each instrumental element seems to dance alongside and in between the others, never touching or interlocking into a groove, but instead crafting a complex tapestry of texture and melody that is simply hypnotic. This album above all others gives ample showcase to the textural delights of Moullet's inventions, with a handful of instrumental showcases, and overall shorter average track length. This is the group at their most concise, yet while all players are in top form here, their best work was still to come.

By the time of Paix, released in 1972, they'd seemingly perfected the chemistry and formula, and distilled it into four incredible dispatches that many regard as their masterpiece statement. The album begins with two shorter pieces more rooted in rock modes, with opener "Roc Alpin" even featuring proper drums. After the echoing folk lullaby "Jusqu'a Ce Que La Force De T'Aimer Me Manque," they break out the big guns; the LP's title track enters on a scuttling percuphone rhythm and a slow-creeping organ melody that's mirrored by the guitar, until Ribeiro appears about six minutes in with a forceful spoken word declaration that evolves into wordless eerie cries that again mirror the memorable melody that haunts the 16-minute piece. The epic 25-minute closer "Un Jour... La Mort" begins on plectrum-plucked single bass notes and gently strummed guitar lines atop a shadowed organ drone, until Ribeiro delivers a spectral hymn that evolves into a sun-bleached beckoning of the heavens, as rhythms interlock and strings spiral upward, until the vision of Death whom she is describing enters the ballroom that she is currently haunting. She dances with Death and a choir of voices cry, scream, and moan with her as she reaches a higher plane; it's a trip like no other.

The collection is capped off with 1974's Le Rat Dèbile Et L'Homme Des Champs, which follows the four-song structure of Paix, but opts for an altogether more kinetic palette, with tempos somewhat accelerated and yet at the same time atmospheres feeling more gaseous and light in texture, despite the increase in percussion throughout. In many ways the album sounds like an encapsulated summation of the three that came before it, concentrating all of the key ingredients into a deep séance that haunts, yet bleeds.

It goes without saying that I consider this an essential cornerstone of any psychedelic music collection, yet what I love so much about Ribeiro and Moullet's work is the way that it refuses to slot easily into any one genre or category. This could easily be considered folk, psych, or experimental, and sits nicely next to works by Brigitte Fontaine, Scott Walker, Nico, Death in June or Current 93, even Antony and the Johnsons. Ribeiro has long been under-recognized outside of cult circles, and anyone who finds what I've described here even the slightest bit bewitching owes it to themselves to check this music out PRONTO. Her work has been sorely unavailable for decades, and these are the first legit, non-bootleg editions of many of these albums, so even if you have the old CD imports, you don't have them in sound quality this clean and undisturbed. It's also a steal of a deal, costing less than a single copy of one of the original LP pressings will set you back. What more do I need to say, folks? This is the essence of what an IQ 'highest recommendation' represents. [IQ]




$35.99 LPx3


Spiritual Jazz 4: Americans in Europe

"Mode for Trane" Billy Gault
"Five, Four and Three" Lee Konitz

As the title suggests, this meticulously curated compilation focuses on the music of a group of American ex-pats who either momentarily or permanently escaped to Europe due to the frustrating confines of poverty and racism in the United States during the 1960s. Although many of the artists featured on this comp (Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, etc.) are quite familiar to jazz aficionados, most of the recordings included here are rare, little heard tunes that were privately pressed in small quantities in Europe. The sprawling two-disc set is a fantastic document of the ideas and musical exchanges that were going on between the European and American jazz players on the scene, and there is a powerful influence of European musical tradition throughout. You hear traces of Strauss in the elegant 3/4 waltz of Sahib Shihab's "The Call," and the ghosts of Ravel haunt the proceedings of Eric Dolphy's sprawling 18-minute slow-burner, "Springtime," as well. A lot of this material is so rare, it's never been fully appreciated by jazz historians, simply because many couldn't find the stuff, so props to Jazzman Gerald for once again giving wider exposure to some incredible, little heard music. The beautiful package and layout features some thoughtful and fascinating liner notes as well -- recommended! [DH]




$22.99 LPx2



"Swallowing Smoke"

The latest release from Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder imprint comes from the label's first British producer. I first heard the charming work of 25-year-old Stuart "Lapalux" Howard on his chopped, screwed, and smeared version of Gwen Stefani's "Luxurious," which took the original pop/R&B song and turned it into a little sparkling gem of modern manipulation. Since then, Howard has released two great EPs and a handful of official remixes over the last year, which has led way to this new full-length, Nostalchic. His name is shorthand for "lap of luxury," and that's a nice description of his overall cushy sound. Combining a thick bed of samples, homemade sounds, field recordings, lots of pitch shifting, rich synths, ticking and thumbing percussion, and a rubber-band man sense of timing, Howard creates a psychedelic sound self-described as "synaesthesia." Layering digitally manipulated elements on top of the original analogue versions of the sounds, he creates an intriguing triple reality where what's real, what's imagined, and what's virtual all come together in a unique fusion that few of his contemporaries have mastered (that is the key sonic connection that Howard shares with label boss FlyLo). Throughout Nostalchic, guest vocalists are incorporated into the framework, yet their presence is effected in various ways that touch on vocal techniques reminiscent of Balam Acab or Holy Other, though the overall result is brighter and more vibrant. With a young love of R&B, beats, melody and psychedelia, similar to the hyperactivity of Hudson Mohawke or Rustie, Howard has created a solid technique of slicing, dicing, and assemblage that results in a beautifully soft and gooey musical journey. An accomplished debut from an always forward-reaching label, and a young artist overflowing with imagination and inspiration. [DG]




$22.99 LPx2



GODLIKE quality found in a deep techno album! A beyond-flawless full-length debut that marries texture and mood to create a distinct, primal, deep and slightly menacing sound. So strange to hear something so distilled yet so fulfilling at the same time, this sits well with the atmosphere and general structure of faves like Marcel Dettman or the Frozen Borders comp Moments in Ice, but Tiamat actually pulls ahead of these references by being more stripped down, while having more defined primal/emotive tension. (Perhaps T++ is closer, but still not quite the same.) These tracks are more sensitive and soft, but with a focused intensity that's "fuller" than its predecessors. The tempos are pulled back just enough to immerse the listener, but when the dull, scraping highs come in, they just blow the tracks into another zone -- so simple yet so effective. Throbby, deep and subterranean while also being expansive and room-filling. This fulfills the promise made by the Killekill release "Primal" by Cassegrain/Tinman in SPADES. Every track kills it -- BELIEVE IT! Another early entry in the "best of the year" derby! [SM]






Through the Window

"Through the Window"
"Terracotta Spine"

As Prurient, Dominick Fernow has spent more than a decade pursuing every manner of power electronics possible, veering from brutal high-end assaults to occasional forays into dark ambient. Over the past few years, though, he has shown a considerable range in various other projects, often eschewing screeching maelstroms in favor of a more nuanced approach. He's touched on rock via black metal as part of Ash Pool, gone pop as a member of Cold Cave (for a few minutes), and even managed to work some mildly more conventional structures into the 2010 Prurient release, Bermuda Drain. Perhaps more interesting than all of these, though, have been Fernow's forays into techno under his Vatican Shadow guise, culminating in a string of releases that ditch the piercing wail in favor of a sound that sits comfortably enough near Demdike Stare and Andy Stott to have found a release on the Modern Love label.

Given that Fernow has kept his various impulses reasonably stratified in different projects, it's surprising then that his latest under the Prurient moniker seems almost misnamed at first. Bereft of any screams or shouts, the three tracks here pulse like Vatican Shadow's much darker twin, placing Through the Window in the same ideological/modal class as more recent Blackest Ever Black releases from the likes of Cut Hands and Raime. As the album's title track wastes no time in establishing, the man's fascinations are still every bit as grim as they ever were, only instead of launching them into distorted overdrive, he favors slow-building, eerie synths and whispered vocals. Fernow takes his time with this track, in the process creating one of his most haunting and yet still approachable pieces of music. While the brief "Terracotta Spine" examines more distinctly industrial flavors, album closer "You Show Great Spirit" works a similar trick as the opener. Here the drums pulse and the synths drone thick, evidencing beyond the shadow of a doubt that Fernow has moved Prurient beyond just a strict sonic interpretation of the project's name and into more distinctly nuanced and foreboding territory. [MC]




$14.99 CD
$22.99 LPx2+MP3


The North Borders
(Ninja Tune)

"Ten Tigers"

Simon Green continues his unique hybrid of electronic/acoustic/jazz/soul/chill-out with his fourth Bonobo full-length for Ninja Tune; The North Borders nicely picks up where 2010's Black Sands left us, with the producer/musician/DJ creating lush, layered, and at times quite lovely songs that update and move beyond the tried-and-true downtempo genre. The BPMs here are raised a notch or two, yet the intricate layers of Green's machines and instruments are still tastefully intact. On five songs he enlists vocals by Erykah Badu, Grey Reverend, Szjerdene, and Cornelia to add some silky soul atop his self-made yet fully realized arrangements. Throughout, echoes of the earlier, sweeter days of Little Dragon come to mind, but the organic/programmed mood and thump of Pantha du Prince, Four Tet, or Jamie xx is also faintly present across the eight instrumentals. Bonobo has always crafted solid records filled with sophisticated, elegant arrangements and musicianship, and each album is always better than the one before, which is saying a lot. If you aren't familiar with the beauty that Bonobo can create, The North Borders is definitely a great place to start. [DG]




$15.99 LP+MP3


Ride Your Heart
(Dead Oceans)

"Looking for a Fight"
"Dreaming Without You"

The sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin found some measure of indie fame a few years back with the beloved Los Angeles band Mika Miko, whose frenetic high-velocity music was a thrill ride of teen girl aggression and abandon, a skronky, danceable mash-up of hardcore punk, no wave, and more modern DIY sounds. When the sisters began to perform and record as Bleached, their new songs retained some of the amped-up energy of Mika Miko, in the context of more classic two-minute rock and roll songs, drawing on garage rock and girl-group pop more than art-punk mayhem, and through a series of hook-filled lo-fi singles and near-constant touring, the band built a significant fan base in advance of their debut LP release on Dead Oceans. And while Ride Your Heart is sure to connect with most anyone who has been keeping up with the group, it is not simply a collection of their buzzing singles. Bleached have cleaned up the fuzz of those singles and the bar chord bombast of the live shows, with a more controlled sound that highlights the '60s pop elements of their songs rather than the raw power, without losing the energy and loose-limbed excitement they deliver on stage. Adding dynamics that the group has not shown before, they can sustain the listener for an album-long joyride, and while at times Ride Your Heart can come off a little thin -- not in sound so much as emotion, with many tracks falling back on well-worn "boys/cars/broken hearts" imagery -- as the weather is finally turning, I won't complain about the first solid beach party record of the year. [JM]




$18.99 LP+MP3



"Power Lines"
"Ghosts and Creatures"

Named after the street which producer (and Spoon drummer) Jim Eno's Austin, TX studio is located on, Michael Benjamin Lerner returns with his third Telekinesis full-length. Surely the change of scenery must have been invigorating for Lerner (whose last two albums were recorded in his hometown of Seattle with Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla), but for much of the record he does stay the course, delivering infectious power pop-inspired indie rock, with driving tracks like "Power Lines," "Empathetic People" and "Dark to Light" effortlessly connecting the dots between Guided by Voices, Weezer and Matthew Sweet, while also being among some of the best he's written. The guitars do, however, pack a louder crunch and his vocals are more charged than ever, not to mention Eno seems to have enabled Lerner to take a few detours from his time-tested playbook. "Wires," for example, is a taut, post-punk workout with buzzing synthesizers and a chiming guitar that Interpol would pay good money for, while nary a guitar can be found on "Ever True," with Lerner's catchy tenor working surprisingly well in the context of straight-up synth-pop. And during the saturnine "Ghost and Creatures," his yearning choruses are downright cathartic as they ride the cresting keyboards and a pulsing 4/4 beat. It's moments like these that you get the idea that Lerner might already be thinking ahead and testing the water for his next Telekinesis record, and perhaps a year or two from now Dormarion may be viewed as a pivot point in his discography. Even if so, transitional albums are rarely this good and fans will not be disappointed in the least. (Customers who purchase Domarion will also receive a translucent red Telekinesis flexi-disc, while supplies last.) [GH]






(Fat Possum)

"In the City"

While Caveman's 2011 debut was originally self-released (and thus self-financed) by the dreamy low-key Brooklyn band, they were eventually picked up by our friends at Fat Possum, and with a little muscle behind them now, the group's eponymous new record shows subtle yet marked refinement on their well-honed sound. Despite a name perhaps more evocative of heavy stoner rock than beach pop, Caveman write breezy, sun-drenched songs that pit front man Matthew Iwanusa's sweetly melancholy melodies against the band's subtle yet surprisingly complex arrangements. Guitars shimmer, lush keyboards swoon, and a pair of drummers deliver swinging tribal rhythms that give these songs, perhaps most obviously suited to an acoustic guitar strum, depth and heft. Again produced by French Kicks' Nick Stumpf, Caveman manages to out-haze the group's already Vaseline-lensed debut, with a seamless production sound that approaches the folky vocal melodies of Fleet Foxes without that band's rootsy flourishes, the soaring pop of the Shins with lazier yet more rhythmic arrangements, and the shimmer of vintage synth-pop without a whiff of retro posing. It's not like they have reinvented the wheel -- or would 'discovered fire' be the phrase I'm looking for? -- but Caveman have managed to craft a beautiful record that evokes many classic pop groups from the 1970s through today, while only sounding more than ever like Caveman. [JM]




$16.99 CD



"Sketch No 4"

When Klaus Dinger suddenly passed away five years ago, he left behind three albums that he had been working on between 2000 and early 2008, including this one at hand, his last production made with Japandorf, a group of Japanese musicians and artists living in Dusseldorf, which counted his partner Miki Yui as a member. It also happens to be the first of this trilogy of records to see release, with pre-Japandorf and VIVA Rimix 2010 promised to come. Compared to the cosmic Olympian sound of Dinger's late-'70s work as La Dusseldorf, there's a far more loose, homegrown feel to these recordings, while still retaining the experimental touchstones that he helped pioneer going back to the early '70s with Neu!. Tracks like "Udon" can be traced to the motorik proto-punk of songs like "Hero" off Neu! 75, here fleshed out with male and female vocalists trading Japanese-sung verses that build from mantra-like refrains repeating the word "udon" to joyful choir-like choruses. The band even revisits La Dusseldorf's "Cha Cha 2000" (titled "Cha Cha 2008"), dialing back the original's sprawling 20 minutes to a more economical 12:36, with the majestic piano line replaced by a distorted flanged guitar. Album opener "Immermannstrabe," however, is a short, driving blast of exotic guitar-and organ-fueled indie pop while the instrumental "Sketch No. 1_B" comes across as a frenzied reworking of Brian Eno's "Here Come the Warm Jets" (the song), with the band jamming out the four-chord progression as synths creak and swoosh atop. While Neu! and La Dusseldorf's music could be described as alien sounding -- no surprise that David Bowie's Berlin trilogy of Heroes, Low and Lodger were heavily influenced by both groups -- Japandorf is altogether more approachable, the sound of collaborators as friends. "Osenbe," which closes out the album, is an of-the-moment performance recorded next to an outdoor fireplace in a garden, featuring nothing more than a gentle round-robin sung melody and the strums of Dinger's unplugged electric guitar. Fittingly, what follows next is a field recording of church bells ringing -- a short, touching epitaph of sorts emanating from the very church in Dusseldorf that Dinger had been a choir member of during his youth. [GH]




$18.99 LP


$18.99 LP


E Pluribus Unum

We Know Nonsense

Staubgold's reissue campaign of excellent and under-recognized artifacts from the brief but vital fusion of UK post-punk and the experimental underground continues with a rather unlikely yet delightful duo of releases by the 49 Americans. This ragtag group is quintessentially the most distilled example of the anything-goes, tear-up-the-rulebook fire of the DIY era that was sparked by the punks, yet ultimately fanned by a cross-section of youths, scholars, and intellectuals who sought to truly create something fresh. The 49 Americans was the brainchild of Andrew Brenner, an American expat in London who ended up assembling the ensemble from members of the city's underground rock community (including members of the Slits and Alternative TV) as well as the London Musicians Collective, a group who counted among their ranks some of the London area's most talented, innovative, and controversial experimental musicians. Brenner also included a number of his close non-musician friends, and the 'band' set out to simply record for fun; with such a wide stylistic net, they could literally attempt anything, and their enthusiasm and joy is what makes their discography so special -- it sounds unlike anything else of its era, though its closest contextual ancestors would probably be the Flying Lizards, mainly due to the key involvement of Steve Beresford and David Toop, both of whom played in the Lizards, as well as their General Strike bedroom dub project.

The Americans' debut album, E Pluribus Unum, is somewhat in line with the extreme DIY cassette/Messthetics culture of the era; recorded in Brenner's living room, it features the collective in ad hoc combinations literally banging on pots, pans, and bric-a-brac alongside traditional percussion, piano, guitar, bass, melodica, toys, and a brass section. The whole thing sounds like a punk school play, and that's essentially the point; Side B of the LP is actually a live performance, recorded at the LMC's headquarters, of a weird musical written by Brenner. It's a hilarious, intelligent, and wholly left-of-center romp that fuses punk aesthetics with avant-garde experimentation, all illuminated by a beam of light focused through Brenner's brilliant lyrical examinations of social and political issues. As the sticker on the LP's front reads, "these guys make Swell Maps sound like Led Zeppelin." Bingo.

As great as their debut is, it's the follow-up that is truly special to me. We Know Nonsense was recorded in a proper studio, and shows, in a more focused context, the true musical and emotional power of which this most unlikely collective was capable. The group creates a travelogue of pop music styles from across the globe, dipping their hands into everything from funk and disco grooves to rockabilly, South African kwela jive, doo-wop, surf, zydeco, Caribbean mento and calypso, and even balladry. The participants from the LMC really shine here, anchoring the proceedings with their in-depth knowledge of so many musical styles (and the chops with which to pull them off), yet these seasoned vets found themselves constantly surprised by the innovative contributions by the more autodidact players. The drumming and percussion work by Else Watts in particular is astounding, as are the charming and often touching vocal contributions by a rotating cast that includes Brenner, Vivien Goldman, Peter Cusack, and Etta and Eddie Saunders, the latter two in particular providing a blend of booming jazz vocals and sweet soulfulness that much of the DIY scene never touched. The music on the whole is sunny, cheerful, and catchy as hell, and it's the mantra on "It's Time" that really stands out in particular: "Happy music doesn't have to be dumb." This is happy music that most certainly taps into a deeper philosophical and social understanding than most, being witty, complex, and intelligent enough for educated adults, despite the fact that you could play these records for children and have them digging the tunes' innate simplicity without question. One can find the group to be antecedents to artists as diverse as the Pastels, Beat Happening, and even Vampire Weekend, though one can easily enjoy this band's discography without being a fan of any of these aforementioned groups. It's that undiluted spirit of discovery and exploration that makes these two LPs so refreshing and inspiring; these records are the sound of friends coming together and making sound simply for the fun of it. [IQ]




$15.99 LP+MP3


Zaragoza Tapes 1981-1982
(Captured Tracks)

"8 AM"

Bona Dish were a short-lived four-piece from Hertfordshire, UK, releasing music at, arguably, the height of the UK DIY-era. The story of Bona Dish is as follows: two best mates (Steve and Bill) in art school -- of course -- wanted to start a band and, thus, recruited their girlfriends (Jo and Julie) of the time. During the span of 1981 to 1982, the band released two cassettes to some attention ("Actress" was played on John Peel's radio show in '81) before going four separate ways.

What's special about Bona Dish is that this group of pretty fashionable kids actually had a knack for writing some clever, catchy tracks -- they looked very, very cool and had raw talent, the whole package. With scrappy, melodic bass lines by Julie, angular, scratchy, metallic guitars provided by Steve and vocals mostly by Jo, songs like "8 AM" and "Normal Day" sound like instant DIY classics to my ears. There's a perfect sense of song economy, yet some great pop sensibilities lurk underneath the band's new wave/post-punk edges. The music is simple and fragile; the group sounds like it could fall apart at any second, but they don't; this rare tension adds a little complexity to their songs along with a whole lot of appeal. I have no reservations comparing Bona Dish to the likes of Delta 5, Dolly Mixture, Marine Girls and Kleenex/Liliput and, to me, that's some of the highest praise I can give to a record. This is a real surprise gem from Brooklyn's Captured Tracks. Both cassettes are compiled in full, remastered and now on vinyl for the first time; do yourself a favor and pick this one up. [PG]




$18.99 LP


Volume 5
(Awesome Tapes from Africa)


Somalia's Dur-Dur Band were sort of an Afro-pop super group in the 1980s, and though there was plenty of hardship in the East African country during the last days of the dictatorship of Mohamed Siad Barre, this was before crippling civil war ravaged the nation, and there was still a vibrant cultural scene in Mogadishu. Dur-Dur Band were part of the capital port city's cosmopolitan nightlife and were highly regarded by locals, yet little of their music made it off the Horn of Africa, and it's been almost impossible for Westerners to get access to much of the group's material, until Awesome Tapes from Africa made a few Dur-Dur Band discoveries available through their blog, and issued some of their original cassette albums on CD and LP in the US for the first time ever.

With influences ranging far and wide, the group adopted the big band model of James Brown, accompanied by pop synths and tinny drum machines of the '80s, but they also drew from various African music giants at the time. Dur-Dur explored the sounds of neighboring Kenya's benga beat, the big band rumba styles of Papa Wemba of D.R. Congo (formerly Zaire), and the jangly guitars of Nigeria's Prince Nico Mbarga, while their modal vocal and horn styles somewhat reflected Ethiopian jazz, a musical movement occurring on the other side of Africa's vast landmass. As with Fela Kuti's reclamation of African rhythms and sounds from the new world, the Dur-Dur Band did the same, borrowing back rhythmic elements of bass-heavy funk and synth-pop.

At the peak of their career, the group were huge stars in their region; in one interview some of the members self-describe themselves to have been on the same level of popularity as Michael Jackson and Phil Collins. Unlike most government-sponsored bands of their time, Dur-Dur refrained from touching on political and patriotic topics lyrically, instead devoting themselves to more personal and cultural considerations. Sadly, the group were forced to disband after the Somali civil war broke out in 1991 and most of the band members fled the country. Volume 5 is a wonderful original album, and while we would generally prefer to have a reissue mastered from the reel-to-reel studio tapes rather than a 1987 consumer cassette, as was done here -- understandably the masters were impossible to track down -- the sound and production are high quality and completely appropriate for the source material, and this is another 'Awesome' collection for any fan of Afro-pop, funk, synth-pop and Bollywood styles of music. [ACo]




$14.99 CD
$18.99 LP

You Have Already Gone to the Other World
(L.m. Dupli-cation)

"You Have Already Gone to the Other World"
"Where No Horse Neighs, and No Crow Flies"

The duo of Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel) and Heather Trost present their sixth album as a Hawk and a Hacksaw. Known for performing music that's steeped in Eastern European folk traditions, these sixteen tracks feature seven of their own compositions along with nine Ukrainian, Hungarian and Romanian traditional songs, re-imagined and arranged with inspiration taken from the legendary 1964 film, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, by Russian filmmaker Sergey Parajanov. Produced by John Dieterich of Deerhoof, this is the first a Hawk and a Hacksaw album in some time to feature only its two primary members but the instrumentation is not minimal. Dieterich's sense of musical experimentation has driven the group into new territories of folk psychedelia that explodes with rich ornamentation. It's also the band's most dynamic album since they began their Eastern European adventure, with the thundering percussion and dramatic arcs of violin on the title track counterpointed by majestic solo pieces for Persian santur, and piano, stately organ-led processionals and original sound and melodies from the film woven throughout.




$13.99 CD
$15.99 LP+MP3

Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO

"46 Satires"
"The Specter"

Recorded at the band's own Breakglass Studios in Montreal, Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO is the fourth album by husband/wife duo Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas. Here, the Besnard Lakes stay the course, embracing their beautiful, dramatic, soft rock sensibilities. With nods to bands like Mercury Rev and Spiritualized, there are dense moments of heavy guitars set against ghostly washes of hazy, lush strings, and the songs progress in such a natural yet cinematic way that it's hard not to get swept away by the music again and again. Meticulously crafted and touching (Goreas' father passed away during album sessions), this record is another great addition to the Besnard Lakes catalogue.




$10.99 LP


Time EP
(Captured Tracks)

"Suki & Me"
"Light Leaves Your Eyes"

The debut by Montreal native Alex Calder (formerly of the Mac DeMarco-fronted band, Makeout Videotapes), Time is an EP of seven off-kilter pop tunes, all done in a succinct 20 minutes. Calder often mines similar territory as DeMarco, creating some cool, melodic, psych/folk-adjacent nuggets. On tracks like "Suki and Me," it's his strong hooks that are his biggest accomplishment; they compensate for as well as complement Calder's thinner voice and "lo-fi" recording techniques. A promising start for this young musician.




$26.99 LP

Commercial Mouth

The first LP of 2013 on the venerable Pan label is a deep, dizzying electroacoustic collage by Jar Moff, who rose to attention via a release on Leaving Records not to mention also contributing one of the better remixes on RVNG's expanded reissue of Harald Grosskopf's Synthesist. On Commercial Mouth, he creates a dense, hypnotic soundworld of electronic lightning zaps, gurgling synthesized funk licks, free jazz horn flurries, and manipulated field recordings, and slices, stretches, and reconfigures them into unlikely yet engrossing clusters. The resulting album sounds like something akin to Flying Lotus or Actress working in collaboration with Luc Ferrari, where the former parties' trippy electronic soul and stuttering bass mechanics get layered, spliced, and subtly tweaked like an INA GRM acousmatic laboratory experiment. It's a great start for the label's new year, and proves to be one of their best, most satisfying releases to date.






Back in print! Subtitled "A Collection of Avant Garde/Free Jazz/Psychedelia from the BYG/Actuel Catalogue of 1969-1971," this is easily the most fully realized compilation of out music ever assembled. Features: Sunny Murray, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, Daevid Allen, Sonny Sharrock, Grachan Moncur III, Clifford Thornton, Sun Ra & His Solar-Myth Arkestra, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Andrew Cyrille, Don Cherry, Anthony Braxton, Paul Bley, Dewey Redman, Musica Elettronica Viva, Jimmy Lyons, and many, many others! You also get entire LP sides from Frank Wright, Kenneth Terroade, Dave Burrell and Alan Silva's Celestrial Communication Orchestra.




$16.99 LP

Beach House

The debut album from this Charm City duo is finally back in print on LP format, courtesy of Heartbreakbeat. Beach House's eponymous record still sounds as stunning as the day it dropped in 2006, Alex Scally and Victoria LeGrande's dreamy, lethargic pop fully formed as they craft 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 yet casually lo-fi, the band effortlessly draws a line between the ethereal qualities of groups like Mazzy Star and the classic baroque pop sounds of the '60s, which we described in our original review as "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."




$15.99 LP


The Man Who Died in His Boat

"The Man Who Died in His Boat"
"The Long Way"

Back in print on vinyl. Recorded around the same time as 2008's incendiary Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, but unreleased until now, The Man Who Died in His Boat could almost be that album's companion piece, yet it also stands alone as a great single work from Liz Harris. Her releases as Grouper often make me think of the earliest days of His Name Is Alive, and while no one could ever confuse one artist for the other, both can take you to a similar place, where the opaque apparitions of a song flicker in the corner of a dark, cavernous room, coming in and out of focus like a ghost wavering between the living world and the hereafter. The title of this album calls upon an old memory in which a young Harris and her father came across a sailboat that had washed ashore, its captain missing and never to be found. Like that boat, Grouper's music often feels unpiloted, her songs drifting along rippling aquatic textures that emanate to the surface of her sparse arrangements through the misty brume of reverb, delay and tape hiss. The Man Who Died, however, finds Harris almost as uncloaked as Dragging a Dead Deer, the fog still present but lifted just enough, allowing the skeletal strums of her acoustic guitar and ethereal melodies to come into clearer focus.

While moments like "Cloud in Places" filter dream-pop to a bare essence of jangling open-chords and overlapping layers of her dulcet vocals, the music throughout this album remains purely impressionistic -- from the gorgeous lull of the melancholic "Vital" to the mysterious "Being Her Shadow," in which Harris' voice practically melts over slow, circular finger-picking of her six-string which is rendered almost unrecognizable, enveloped in the droning resonance of the room. In the context of The Man Who Died, the handful of abstract interludes like the spectral piano minimalism of "Vanishing Point" or the haunting drowned ambience of the instrumentals that bookend the album seem to mirror the fateful voyage of that sailboat -- each piece eerie and amorphous, floating as the final remnants of songs that can only be imagined yet never truly heard, like the captain's stories of that day, never told and forever swallowed by the sea. The reason that The Man Who Died in His Boat remained in the vaults for this long is anyone's guess; it stands among Grouper's best work and is a fantastic entry point into the stunning, beguiling sound world that Liz Harris has made her own. [GH]






Sound Sculptures Vol. 1
(Sound Signature)

This record went instantly out of print when this was first released in 2007. I sorely remember coming into OM to buy a vinyl copy of Sound Sculptures Vol. 1 and finding out that it had already sold out, just a mere two days after the original pressing had hit our shelves. While this might be normal in today's high-demand world of miniscule editions, that was like Beatlemania in '07. Instead of picking up the double-CD version (we had two left in stock that day), I foolishly waited in vain for the vinyl to return; meanwhile the CDs quickly disappeared too and I was just left with a download. Fast-forward six years and this triple-LP masterwork is available again. I will not be thwarted this time!

The material on Sound Sculptures Vol. 1 is from a specific time in Theo Parrish's development where he was both refined and raw. (He reaches this point cyclically in his productions, as he's always trying out new things while maintaining his certain Theo "je ne se quoi.") These tracks come from a rare turning point -- shortly after his exploratory Rotating Assembly period where he had collaborated with many local Detroit-based vocalists and musicians -- and here Theo brings choice bits of instrumental and live vocal elements into an unbridled yet polished house sound. It's somehow tighter and bigger; there's something more solid about the production, but he never sacrifices that intimate realness he's known for.

Now, the songs. To these ears "All Yours" could have been an epic title theme for a late-'70s/early-'80s blaxploitation film. It has grand, sweeping post "Orchestra Hall"-style violins, horns and synth, but still maintains a bit of that wonderfully imperfect quality in there via slappy beats and fragmented samples. "Soul Control" has to be one of my fave all-time vocal tracks from Theo, featuring throbby, stuttery synth blobs and Alena Waters' refrain of, "Do you want to control meEEEEeeee..." -- so awesome! (See also "They Say," featuring Monica Blair, for some more blurring of the lines between modern house, classic soul, acid jazz and classic vocal house -- it's just "music" in the end as they say.) Also, I cannot forget the closing MONSTER of a track, "Synthetic Flemm." Sheer, careening, rollercoaster, stereo panning, epic, deep, acid house INSANITY, it takes up an entire side and it STILL isn't long enough! This must have been remastered (and beautifully so) because as awesome as this cut is, I def do not remember this track sounding this amazing when it first came out. Essential Theo here!!! [SM]
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[ACo] Anastasia Cohen
[MC] Michael Crumsho
[PG] Pamela Garavano-Coolbaugh
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[DH] Duane Harriott
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou
[MS] Michael Stasiak

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