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  August 1, 2013  

Film maker (and Other Music alum) Rob Hatch-Miller recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund Syl Johson: Any Way the Wind Blows, a documentary profiling the best soul singer many people have never heard of. It’s a true labor of love that Rob and his wife Puloma Basu, and Michael Slaboch (of Numero Group, the label behind the excellent, comprehensive Syl Johnson Complete Mythology box set) have been working on for a few years now, having already shot 50 hours worth of interviews along with another 50 hours of live performance and b-roll footage, and it’s a story that truly needs to be told. There are less than six days remaining in this campaign, so check out the Kickstarter page and if you’re a fan of Syl Johnson’s music like we are, please consider making a pledge to what is sure to be an amazing documentary about this nearly forgotten soul legend.

Alain Bashung
Fuck Buttons
The Clean
Bird Nest Roys
The Birthday Party (Live 2LP)
Tuff Sherm
Young Echo
The Cult

Missing Foundation
Dangerhouse: Complete Singles Collected 1977-79

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We've entered the last month of Other Music's Summer Monday residency at New York City's Ace Hotel! We hope that you'll come and join us as we cool off from the heat, with a different member of our staff DJing their favorite records and countless varieties of music inside the gorgeous lobby bar every Monday evening in August from 8pm to midnight. Here's the schedule:

8/05 - Amanda Chouette
8/12 - Chris Pappas
8/19 - Andreas Knutsen
8/26 - Ning Nong

ACE HOTEL: 20 W. 29th St. NYC
8:00pm to Midnight | Facebook Event Page

AUG Sun 04 Mon 05 Tues 06 Wed 07 Thurs 08 Fri 09 Sat 10

Crash Course in Science first formed in 1979 and with renewed interest via their inclusion on the Minimal Wave label's Found Tapes collection, Stones Throw's Minimal Wave comp, and their flawless Vinyl on Demand box set (which sold out almost immediately), these truly unique, American minimal synth-wave pioneers began performing live shows again in recent years. On Thursday, August 8th, the NYC/Philly-based group will be setting up their homemade synthesizers and laptops on the Le Poisson Rouge stage, joined by Xeno & Oaklander who are fresh off their European tour, and DJs Scott Mou (Other Music) and Joseph Quartana (Insomnia). It's an incredible bill that minimal synth fans won't want to miss and we're giving away a pair of tickets. To enter for your chance to win, just email giveaway@othermusic.com.

LE POISSON ROUGE: 158 Bleecker St. NYC





$18.99 CD

L'Homme a Tete de Chou
(Universal France)

 "L' Homme à Tête de Chou"

 "Meurtre à l'Extincteur"

French singer/songwriter Alain Bashung has been a longtime personal favorite and cultural hero of mine; I hold him in the same high regard as Serge Gainsbourg, and many faithful Update readers know how sacred a figure that man is in my world. Bashung sadly lost his fight with cancer in 2009, but before his passing, he'd recorded this incredible interpretation of Gainsbourg's 1976 album, L'Homme A Tête De Chou (The Cabbage-Headed Man), to soundtrack a contemporary dance performance by Jean-Claude Gallotta's company.

Bashung and Gainsbourg had collaborated in the early 1980s, making one of the darkest records in either artist's career. Bashung's tribute to Gainsbourg's album here is absolutely stunning and equally dark, emphasizing the ritualistic obsessions of the title character, and infusing the original's Afro-Brazilian psychedelic prog-rock with a slightly smoother flavor that mixes the same rhythmic hypnotism with touches of Miles Davis' 1970s electric period, some blistering psychedelic guitar, and beautiful, sensual electric piano and synth textures. Bashung's reading of the story throughout -- about a man who becomes obsessed with a French-African hairdresser, beds her, murders her, and then goes insane -- is gripping, sounding like Leonard Cohen in a dark alley in the Rive Gauche.

While everyone loves swooning over Melody Nelson (deservedly so, don't get me wrong), L'Homme A Tête De Chou remains one of Gainsbourg's less-heralded masterpieces; I can honestly say that Bashung's interpretation is as equally stunning as the original, if not more so. He actually manages to present the album in a rather straightforward arrangement that's faithful to the original while adding emphasis to its most gripping elements; Gainsbourg's original at times can sound thin and a bit flat. Bashung adds sensual flesh to Gainsbourg's experimental skeleton, and creates one of my favorite records in both artists' discographies. There's much more to Bashung than this, but it's an excellent entry point into the work of an artist as equally daring, uncompromising, and even darker than Serge. This posthumous release is a lovely, fitting tribute to the work of two giants of French song. [IQ]







Dual EP
(Young Turks)

"Beneath the Tree"

Following his acclaimed keyboard and vocal work with SBTRKT, Jessie Ware, and Lil' Silva, Sampha Sisay finally releases a collection of his own material, Dual being his six-track debut EP out on Young Turks. A short and sweet grouping of songs that focus more on his vocals and playing than a dance beat, after first listen both Frank Ocean and James Blake come to mind, in a good way. Sampha's voice is youthful and soulful, skilled yet still natural. His lyrics and delivery are earnest and passionate, with the backdrops moving from open and bare to more sonically full moments. Bits of light electronics are used throughout, with glitchy and dubby outcomes, yet the production never overshadows the vocals. Over the last few years, Sampha has been a warm and welcome voice coming from the UK scene, and he's had his hands in a few minor hits. Now here's hoping that the same will come from his solo work. Fans of crossover acts like How to Dress Well deserve to get a dose of some magical soul from a real soul man. [DG]




$23.99 LPx2+MP3

Slow Focus



A lot of artists today know how to make noise. From TNGHT's blaring trumpets to Sleigh Bells' face-melting guitars, it's hard to compete in a realm of music in which every sound has been pushed to the extreme. On their third album, Slow Focus, Fuck Buttons prove that there is an entire world of untouched material in the galaxy of noise. Bristol-based duo Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power released their first two LPs in less than two years, and spent four years making this one, an abrasive and ostentatious exposition of crude and wordless electronica at its finest. With the undeniable success of 2009's ethereal Tarot Sport in mind, Slow Focus exudes confidence. From its flashy Watch the Throne-esque album cover to Hung and Power's complete self-production of the record, the two put forth an album that has as much attention to intricate detail as it does to their image as a whole. It is not only the wide variety, but also the arrangement of sounds on Slow Focus that the duo uses to assert their dominance; all of the songs feature heavily distorted synths and beats, but evoke their power through a journey rather than a punch. Slow Focus is certainly noisy, but it is by no means just noise. [MM]




$14.99 CD

Vehicle - Expanded Edition
(Captured Tracks)

"Bye Bye"
"Getting to You"

Breaking up led to one of the best things the Clean ever did. After effectively jumpstarting the Flying Nun label with their regional hit "Tally Ho!" in 1981 and releasing two EPs, brothers David and Hamish Kilgour watched while the other rotating members of their band pushed the "Dunedin Sound" far beyond the boundaries of words like "shambolic" and "jangly." Groups like the Bats, the Chills, Snapper, Look Blue Go Purple and Straitjacket Fits carried Flying Nun through its second wave of creativity; these acts polished some of the shopworn Velvet Underground impulses and imported the tones and mood of '80s shoegaze acts. Not to be upstaged by the bands that had formed in their wake, the Clean reformed for 1990's joyous comeback album, Vehicle, which is receiving the deluxe reissue treatment from Brooklyn's Captured Tracks.

For Vehicle, the brothers Kilgour enlisted the help of Alan Moulder, who had previously worked the boards for My Bloody Valentine, Ride, and the Smiths. The rhythms and mood of the songs are still undeniably the work of the Clean. Each song is sharp, brief, and lyrically snappy -- and despite having ten years to practice, the Kilgours still had only one drum fill between them. But the guitars are less prone to bouts of feedback sickness, and each ringing riff tumbles effortlessly alongside lyrics that are opaque enough to fuel repeat listens. "People tell me they've seen you walk by here/I look outside but the view is far from clear" is a favorite from "I Wait Around," as is the way ocean waves become sand dunes in "Dunes." Though the first, prickliest songs by the Clean are the ones that sparked the sonic revolution in New Zealand, Vehicle is the delivery of the group's early promise. And, for the fans of the vamping, jam-prone version of the Clean, the Captured Tracks reissue includes a replica of the rare In-A-Live EP, recorded in 1988 in London at the Fulholm Greyhound. Turn that one up too loud and you might just get every dog in the neighborhood howling. [MS]





(Captured Tracks)


The fifth entry in Captured Tracks' ongoing exploration of the Flying Nun catalog is also its first truly wonderful surprise. Bird Nest Roys is not the first band that comes to mind when anybody thinks of Flying Nun, but their sole self-titled album for the label from 1987 sounds in itself like a compilation of the group's peers as well as a game of one-upmanship with them. With harder jangle than the Clean and moodier minor key rocking than Straitjacket Fits, Bird Nest Roys sounds like the Weather Prophets, if they hailed from Auckland and were better at playing their instruments. The rhythm section deserves special praise, as Peter Moerenhout's drums and Deborah Shadbolt's bass lock in beautifully on the lovely "Alien" and "Who Is the Silliest Rossi." Singers Ross Williams and Ross Hollands reveal a fervent love of the Go-Betweens on "Me Want Me Get Me Need Me Have Me Love," which may emerge as the definitive song for the lonely-hearted with the lyric, "I thought you didn't like me/even despised me, don't recognize me." The group never seems to overreach when grasping at new sounds, like the blasted cowpunk of "Bided" or the neon growl of "Joringel."

Included with the Captured Tracks reissue is the excellent Whack Me Down EP from 1985, which is more subdued and closer in spirit to the Bats' Daddy's Highway, or a Feelies album at half speed. [MS]








"Celebration, FL"

San Francisco's Weekend released their debut LP Sports back in 2010, a pretty heavy album in which the noisier side of My Bloody Valentine came through as one of the band's bigger influences, while also being peppered with an occasional tinge of pop in the mix. Now based in Brooklyn and expanded from a trio to quartet, they've redefined their sound greatly with their sophomore full-length, Jinx. The new album is not necessarily more optimistic than its predecessor, but it's undeniably more polished, as demonstrated via the prominent, enjoyable hooks on cuts like "Celebration, FL" and "Oubliette." Nevertheless, Jinx is no upbeat bundle of bubblegum songs; the absence of Sports' shoegazing left Weekend room for gloomy and emotional tracks like "Scream Queen" and opener "Mirrors," on which Durkan wails, "I feel sick, sick, sick, sick in my heart." The second half of the album finds the group making reference to their earlier work with fuzzy anthems like "Adelaide" and "Just Drive." On the whole, however, the band has certainly dropped the distinct sound of their previous recordings, while honing in on song craft in the process. If you found their debut too focused on noise, and sought smoother grooves with the same echo-laden undertones, Jinx is bound to please. [MM]






Live 1981-82

First time on vinyl for this stunning set, originally released on CD in 1999. The only band-approved live document of the Birthday Party, the double LP includes tracks culled from shows in London in 1981 and Bremen in 1982, plus a stellar version of the Stooges' "Funhouse," with Jim Thirlwell guesting on sax, recorded in Athens, Greece. "Junkyard" is an intense opener, and the set never lets up. Many of the high points of their catalog thus far are represented, including excellent performances of "Big-Jesus-Trash-Can," "Release the Bats" and "Nick the Stripper." Also notable is the inclusion of a few songs that were regulars in their live sets but never made it onto any record besides Peel Sessions comps, namely "Bully Bones" and "(Sometimes) Pleasure Heads Must Burn." The Birthday Party are a rare example of a band that didn't outstay its welcome, only existing for five years, and this set is an essential part of their story. [NN]

$19.99 12"


Burglar Loops EP
(Trilogy Tapes)

Australian producer Dro Carey (a/k/a Tuff Sherm) debuted with his Venus Knock EP in 2010 at age 19, after which he delivered a track for influential UK DJ Ben UFO's killer Rinse mix-CD. Following this impressive start, Carey has continued to release a number of adventurous 12"s, which have made him a favorite among leftfield dance circles. Producing a daringly different aesthetic, his signature sound starts off from classic house and techno, but gets messed up by a wide range of influences, ranging from R'n'B to juke to bass music. On Burglar Loops, his latest as Tuff Sherm, he delivers another satisfying statement geared to the dance floor while continuing to embrace experimentation. Think of Actress' hazy disjointedness at its most danceable, but providing a more euphoric psychedelia. Opening track "Cleric" pulls you in with a throbbing motorik beat, offering competing multilayered industrial and melodic sounds, while "Groin Boils" suggests an exhausted, yet seductive take on techno with its deep and pounding rhythm. It's on the record's flipside that things become passionately warped, with Carey reaching new synthetic highs. "Burglar Loops" bends a seriously ill vocal sample, while playing with revamped sax snippets and moody synth chords -- the template is house music but it gets injected with a dark outsider-hip hop attitude. Closing track "Drakkhen & Bley" is more linear, but its polyrhythmic interventions, sunken bass lines and mysterious archival soundbyte discussing microtonality in jazz, make this an unusual dance track that unfurls horizontally rather than climactically, a most remarkable approach expertly executed on this EP as a whole. [NVT]






 "Blood Sugar"

 "Untitled No.7"

Bristol has a long musical history that continues to explore the depths of bass, atmosphere, soul, and breaks, and it makes sense that many in its current wave of young producers would begin collaborating together and forging alliances. The collective known as Young Echo features many heavy up-and-coming talents from within this city's limits. These producers have all floated around the sonic airwaves together through their Young Echo radio podcasts, and separately under various guises: Amos Childs (Jabu, Killing Sound, Zhou), Chris Ebdon (Ishan Sound, Zhou), Sebastian Gainsborough (Baba Yaga, Killing Sound, Rei, Vessel, Flexible Ape, Panther Modern), Sam Kidel (El Kid, Killing Sound), Joseph McGann (Baba Yaga, Gorgon Sound, Kahn) and Alex Rendall (Jabu, Killing Sound). Their collective album, Nexus, for the Ramp label, is a perfect combination of all the talents involved and plays out like a deep and richly constructed journey through earthy dub, cosmic atmosphere, and netherworld drone. At times it can feel like an ode to Bristol's history, especially the 1990s heyday, though this is by no means merely an update of trip-hop, as the scope is more intimate, and definitely creepier.

Young Echo combine the melancholy vibe from that past era with more recent sonic developments in bass ambiance, haunting textures, crumbling fractured dub, and the shuffling rhythm of UK garage. Imagine the dubby, bass-heavy, and soulful atmosphere of early Massive Attack, the haunting nature of the Tri Angle label (which Vessel also records for) or Blackest Ever Black, with bits of Burial's urban decay, and that gets you close to what's in store. The individual members created each track separately (a track-by-track producers credit is purposely absent), yet the album flows like one heart, one mind. Vocals are sparse throughout, with both singers and rappers taking the mic, with atmosphere and vibe being the main focus. Sometimes "supergroups" suffer from too many cooks syndrome, yet Young Echo offer a fluid and enveloping aesthetic that really works as a whole, and flows from front to back. Delicate and fragile, brittle and textural, this is a quite mesmerizing listen. Recommended. [DG]





$12.99 12"


Although newly signed to 4AD, mysterious London/Vienna-based Sohn still remains quite under the radar, with only one previous 12" EP, two songs available on Soundcloud, and a seductive and subdued remix of "Open" by Rhye, the LA band with whom he shares a hybrid electronic/soul sound. From his Bloodflows EP, however, charismatic R&B/pop emanates out of every texture of the three tracks. "Bloodflows," the lead single on the album, opens with Sohn's buttery smooth voice over a few distant analog keyboard chords. Slowly, synths appear and about two minutes in, a force of cut R&B beats accompany Sohn as his own voice begins to be severed into a tuned-down Purity Ring-style love song. He repeats the one-line, heart-wrenching chorus of "My love, my love, my love don't love me" until it sinks in and the beats fade into nothing. "Oscillate" and "Warnings" similarly utilize a range of pops and clicks, glued together by soothing synths in the style of James Blake. Sohn never struggles with accessibility; with clear vocals and a familiar soulful take on electronic music, Bloodflows is an easy listen, but not a wasted one. The three tracks on the 12" are relaxing, occasionally haunting, and a great representation of the current crop of genre-fusing young artists presently making music. [MM]




$21.99 LPx2


Electric Peace
(Beggars Banquet)

"Wild Flower"
"Electric Ocean"

Newly re-mastered edition of the Cult's classic 1987 album, Electric, which features a bonus disc with the original scrapped sessions of a never-before-issued version of the full-length. Riding on the success of their Love LP, the band returned to the studio in 1986 with producer Steve Brown to record the follow up. Over a dozen songs were put to tape, but the group was ultimately unhappy with the recording, and they traveled to NYC to meet with Rick Rubin. Though only asked to remix the first single, "Love Removal Machine," Rubin insisted on starting from scratch with the song and the rest is history. The entire full-length would be re-recorded with Rubin at the helm, and this decision would push the Cult's career in an entirely new direction. The video for "Love Removal Machine" featured a wall of Marshall stacks and multiple wardrobe changes, and the album captured the attention of a wide swath of hard rock, metal and punk fans, and soon elevated the band to stadium status in the UK, and eventually the US.

I had never heard of the original Peace sessions before this re-master, but at the age of 10 I fell in love with the Cult by way of that very first riff on "Love Removal Machine," and Electric's second single, "Wild Flower." I became transfixed with the grit of the guitars and the prominent bass lines, and after hearing these alternate original versions I can only imagine what might have been. Peace sounds like an entirely different record -- think the Troy Tate sessions of the Smiths debut for comparison. Sonically it is fuller and less raw; I would not consider it overproduced, but it's safe to say that these sessions would not have propelled the Cult to their breakthrough ascent. Nonetheless, this is a great listen for any fan as part of their sonic history, and now you can hear both albums in their original form and track order. [MF]








Missing Foundation

1933 Your House Is Mine

Missing Foundation, a hardcore punk/industrial band initially formed in Hamburg by Peter Missing in 1984 but soon relocated to NYC's then artist/squatter friendly East Village, rerelease their self-titled debut and sophomore full-length, 1933 Your House Is Mine. The group took cues from Einsturzende Neubauten and Throbbing Gristle, with their notorious, rhythm-less banging and occasional guitar and bass jabs, and the anarchist outfit would be banned from playing venues in several cities after setting fire to CBGB during a 1988 performance -- they were also famously blamed for sparking the 1988 riot in New York's Tompkins Square Park. Vehement screaming and heavy percussion dominates the band's sound, and although the second album has slightly more flow and tempo to the tracks, there still isn't very much of either. It doesn't get much more intense than this.




$28.99 CDx2
$162.99 14x7"


Dangerhouse: Complete Singles Collected 1977-79

Dangerhouse Records was a small Los Angeles-based label that may have only lasted a few years, but its roster included a variety of punk icons, such as the Avengers, the Dils, Bags, the Deadbeats, and X. This excellent double CD features the 14 seven-inches released on the imprint between '77 and '79, including most notably Bags' "Babylonian Gorgon," Randoms' "ABCD," and X's "Adult Books." Comes with a 36-page booklet containing lots of never-before-published photos and an interview with Dangerhouse honcho David Brown.
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[MF] Michael Fellows
[DG] Daniel Givens
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[MM] Matthew Malone
[NN] Ning Nong
[MS] Michael Stasiak
[NVT] Niels Van Tomme

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