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  December 6, 2013  

December arrives each year full of many various meanings, holiday joy (or sorrow), year-end round-ups, cold snaps and warm tidings, but for us it's a particularly special month: Other Music's Anniversary. This week 18 years ago, we quietly opened our shop. While the city and the industry has changed a lot during that time, our goal hasn't: to sell and celebrate the music we love. To say thank you to our customers (not to mention help you with your holiday shopping), we are having an 18% Off Sale on all merchandise in the entire store, including on-line purchases off our mail order website -- use the code ANNIVERSARY at check out -- as well as all gift certificates. The sale runs from Friday, December 6 through Sunday, December 8. And once again, thank you for a great 18 years!


Earlier this week, Other Music Recording Co.'s beloved Anna von Hausswolff kicked off her North American tour, and tonight (Friday, December 6) she will be performing in Brooklyn at Union Hall, and then tomorrow in Manhattan for an early show at the Mercury Lounge before heading west. It's a rare chance to catch Anna and her full band live in the States and their performances are nothing less than captivating -- so don't miss her when she visits your town! Full tour schedule here.

UNION HALL: 702 Union St. Brooklyn, NY
MERCURY LOUNGE: 217 E. Houston St. New York, NY

Mutual Benefit
Huerco S.
The Verlaines
Rise & Fall of Paramount Records Box
Juana Molina
New Orleans Funk Vol. 3
Kyle MF Hall
In the Dark: Detroit Is Back
20 Years of Downwards Records
Ø (Mika Vainio)
For Against
The Servants

Dead Meadow
Los Campesinos!

Boards of Canada (EPs on Vinyl)
Ugly Things Issue #36

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DEC Sun 01 Mon 02 Tues 03 Wed 04 Thurs 05 Fri 06 Sat 07
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Our good friends over at Beyond Booking are ending 2013 out with a bang, presenting three Bunker events in December. Tonight (Friday, December 6), the Bunker will take over Output's adjacent Panther Room, welcoming former Panorama Bar resident Prosumer, who'll be making his seventh appearance at the party, along with resident Mike Servito.


The following night at 285 Kent, the Bunker, along with ISSUE Project Room, EMS and the Consulate General of Sweden NYC, present Swedish Energies: EMS in NYC, curated by Mats Lindstrom! It's an incredible line-up with live sets from TM 404, Frank Bretschneider, Peder Mannerfelt and Dungeon Acid, along with DJ sets from Van Rivers and Bunker resident Bryan Kasenic.

285 KENT: 285 Kent Ave, BKLN

Then, fast forward to Friday, December 20th, when the Bunker will be hosting an 8-hour collaborative set at Output, with Mathew Johnson (live), Hrdvsion (live), Midnight Operator (live) and Derek Plaslaiko, and Thema Nights with Elbee Bad, Dave Aju and Lenny Posso next door in the Panther Room.


To enter for a chance to win two guest list spots to one of these nights, email tickets@othermusic.com and list which event you're hoping to catch.

DEC Sun 08 Mon 09 Tues 10 Wed 11 Thurs 12 Fri 13 Sat 14

Enter to win tickets to see Vampire Weekend's Artists Den live show in NYC on December 10! Other Music is giving away one pair of passes, and to put your name in the hat to catch this exclusive set, email contest@othermusic.com. The winner will be notified of the location of the performance closer to the show date, and you must be 18 years of age or older to enter.





$13.99 LP (Pre-Order)


Love's Crushing Diamond
(Other Music Recording Co.)

"Golden Wake"
"'Let's Play'/Statue of a Man"

It's a little awkward to "review" a record we are releasing ourselves -- I mean, we might be a bit biased -- and in the case of Mutual Benefit, it seems largely unnecessary. Jordan Lee posted a Bandcamp self-release of his full-length debut, Love's Crushing Diamond, back in early October, and since then the press adulation for this special album has grown from a murmur into a full-fledged roar. It's an intimate, heartfelt set of dreamy, orchestrated folk that is built around Lee's beautiful songwriting and utterly engaging voice, and embellished with a lovely mix of great playing and slightly off-kilter field recordings and found sounds, giving the music unusual depth. Other Music Recording Co. is thrilled to be giving the album a proper worldwide release, rushed into production due to the unstoppable buzz, and while the LP is still a few weeks off, Love's Crushing Diamond is now available on CD and digital download. I'm not sure there is much more we need to say here, except that we love this record, and it seems we are not alone -- we hope you do too! First pressing of both CD and LP include a free download code for Mutual Benefit's Cowboy's Prayer EP. [JM]





$24.99 LPx2


Colonial Patterns

After some enjoyable yet fairly straightforward techno 12"s, Brooklyn's Huerco S has switched gears and created one of the most interesting and engaging full-length electronic records released this year. A short ambient intro track gives way to shuffling, off-kilter beats that often recall the most lo-fi entries in the Actress discography. The vibe is hazy and psychedelic, not unlike that achieved by Burial. Though this is certainly rhythmic music, and he's clearly capable of producing solid cuts aimed at the dance floor, it's refreshing that he has instead taken a more cerebral approach for his debut album. Elements are introduced that keep each track from sounding too repetitive, and there is a constant sense of motion. There are clanky beats that recall prime-era Warp Records, but they somehow have a more human touch. There are cuts reminiscent of Basic Channel's deep, dubby workouts, but they never sound like simple pastiche. Given the lo-fi nature of the LP, one could draw similarities between Huerco S and the L.I.E.S. crew, but where some of their records sound a bit too improvised, there's a masterful hand at work here -- composition has not suffered for the sake of being "outsider." So many of my favorite producers fail when they try to make the transition from singles to full-lengths, but Huerco S has delivered a cohesive and focused statement that vastly and unexpectedly improves on his initial run of 12"s. [NN]




$15.99 LP+MP3


Hallelujah All the Way Home


(Captured Tracks)

Hallelujah All the Way Home
(Captured Tracks)

"All Laid On"
"For the Love of Ash Grey"

Comfortably within the top three tracks of New Zealand's DIY pop renaissance of the early '80s, alongside the Chills' "Pink Frost" and any number of songs by the Clean (I'm going with "Getting Older"), the Verlaines' "Death and the Maiden" is a statement of purpose that an entire country rallied behind, a one-of-a-kind label (Flying Nun) drew strength from, and a song that slowly, carefully charmed the outside world. That beautiful song, that simple chorus, those longing, nagging sentiments ("You're just too obscure for me!"), even that weird carnival break in the middle ... all of it works towards being one of the most memorable debut singles in many histories. That's all thanks to guitarist/singer/primary songwriter Graeme Downes, an unsung genius of Kiwi pop who was more of a guitar hero than most in that scene, and whose songs really went the distance to bridge the merits of his country's music to a global audience. Hear "Death and the Maiden" or "Pyromaniac" or "Phil Too?" just once, and you'll remember them forever -- big, open, mindcrushingly brilliant pop owing a bit to the pub rock, mod revival and power pop movements of the '70s, tempered in folk and idiosyncratic moments but leading a charge of sentimental romanticism all its own. Abetted by a revolving cast of backing musicians (such as future Dead C. drummer Robbie Yeats, Jane Dodd from the Able Tasmans, Alan Haig from Snapper and the Chills, and several others), Downes stormed the studio to create a wonderful lineup of singles and comp tracks (collected on Juvenilia, one of the purest statements of purpose ever to come out of New Zealand music), and an equally-astounding series of albums for Flying Nun, Homestead and Slash, beginning with 1985's Hallelujah All the Way Home. Both have just been issued stateside for the first time in 20 years by Captured Tracks, and if you feel like the deluge of Kiwi music reissued in the last year or two is too much to deal with, the music of the Verlaines is as strong of an entry point as you could hope for, so jump right in. [DM]





$19.99 CD

Les Salauds (un film de Claire Denis)
(Lucky Dog)

Tindersticks continue their long relationship with director Claire Denis with this score for Les Salauds. Soundtrack work has really allowed them to explore some areas they haven't attempted on their own records. The album opens with an impressive and unexpected cover of Hot Chocolate's "Put Your Love in Me"; the only vocal track on the record, it finds Stuart Staples intoning over a drum machine and synth figure that wouldn't sound out of place on an Arab Strap LP. This is quite unique in their catalog and a welcome new direction -- I'd love to hear a whole LP of it. This is followed by several short pieces made up of sparse, menacing atmospherics. The addition of Christine Ott playing ondes Martenot (an electronic instrument similar to a Theremin) adds an eerie presence to their palette. Side 2 begins with an instrumental that reintroduces the rhythm box and combines it with the sweeping atmospherics of the shorter pieces, creating a centerpiece that ties together these various elements and ensures that this LP is an engaging listen outside of its visual counterpart. [NN]





$499.99 6LP+BKs+MP3 Box Set

The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Volume 1- Wooden Box Set with 6 LPs, Books, Downloads & More
(Third Man / Revenant)

Billed as a "Cabinet of Wonder" by the tireless compilers at Third Man and Revenant, this is without a doubt one of the iconic sets of our -- or any -- time, a visually, musically, and financially stunning box of rare roots music from American icons and unknowns alike. The reviews of this thing have been universally triumphant, and frankly, in our limited update format I can't even try to unpack a set of this depth and range (in Pitchfork's recent Best New Reissue feature they waxed on for 17 paragraphs), but suffice it to say that this is an essential piece of musical history, a stunning work of design, and a great listen. Paramount Records was a classic music business from day one, a division of the Wisconsin Chair Company that was started to create product that would compliment their Vista Talking Machines -- kinda like how iTunes sells you downloads so you will stay hooked on their hardware. Beginning in the late teens, Paramount stumbled around, recording and releasing quickly and cheaply, working with both keystone artists and footnotes, an improbable percentage of whom cut classic sides for the label. After casting around for a bit they ended up focusing on "race" records, black artists singing for black record buyers, and as such this is largely a story of black music, which in turn is a story of American music. This gorgeous wooden case contains six LPs, multiple hardbound books, stacks of ephemera, and a fanciful brass flash drive with 800 amazing tracks. If you really love me, buy me this thing; if you only like me a lot, buy it from me! [JM]





$15.99 CD


Wed 21
(Crammed Discs)

Argentinean-born Juana Molina has been frequently described as an electro-folk singer-songwriter, a somewhat awkward descriptor that signified how, on her first few releases, she tended to fuse the acoustic with the mechanical. This genre stamp has been, for the most part, very fitting and accurate; however, on Molina's arty sixth full-length, Wed 21, any presence of tranquil strumming and humming has fallen victim to stronger experimentation. From the first deep bass smacks on opener "Eras," it's clear that this former comedy actress isn't fooling around much. It's certainly jazzy and smooth, never abandoning Molina's distinctive warm vocal style, but undeniably produces an eerie and off-putting aftertaste that flows right into the album's title track. Similarly both rhythmic and disturbing, it's also one of the most exciting and quintessential songs on the album. At this point, it's pretty clear that there's not going to be a "Salvese Quien Pueda," one of her typically distilled earlier hits. There have always been elements of this sound in Molina's music, and it isn't nearly as much of a drastic watershed as, let's say, Bjork's Homogenic or Radiohead's Kid A, and on several tracks the live instruments are still the most blatant tool. That said, even such guitar-based songs like "Bicho Auto" and "La Rata" are no longer subtle or stripped, but rather, vibrant, dynamic, and bouncy. As always, her style is quirky and disjointed, but this time it's really to the extreme (check out "El Oso de La Guarda," which concludes with two minutes of alien sounds). One of the most unique albums you'll hear in 2013 for sure, Wed 21 is a not-to-be-missed patchwork of colorful and eccentric tracks of and for the 21st century. [MM]





$12.99 12"+MP3


Five Spanish Songs

"Maria De Las Nieves"

"It was 2013. The English language seemed spent, despicable, not easily singable," Dan Bejar told Consequence of Sound in an explanation of his newest EP, which consists only of five covers of songs written by Antonio Luque (frontman of the Spanish band Sr. Chinarro). "I guess I wanted to step outside myself for a little while. I wanted to see if I could sing other people's songs." Well, the answer is yes. Dan Bejar nails these compositions, and with longtime collaborators John Collins and David Carswell, Destroyer is back with a set of placid sunshine jams. The instrumentation and sound of Bejar's voice will be warm and familiar to any Destroyer fan, and the fact that it's in a different language won't change much -- aside from missing his brilliantly obtuse lyrics. From the swaying sea ballad "Maria de las Nieves" to the classic-rock influenced "El Rito," the EP transports the listener to a distant beach, where Destroyer is giving a private concert. Brief and lovely, Five Spanish Songs is a thoughtful step aside from Bejar and Co's accumulative discography, perhaps not essential, but definitely satisfying. [MM]





$28.99 LPx2


New Orleans Funk Volume 3
(Soul Jazz)

Soul Jazz released their first New Orleans Funk compilation back in 2000, which introduced a wholly unique musical melting pot that sounded simultaneously funky and exotic, making people dance for nights on end from New York to Brussels. Two volumes later, this original excitement may have worn off a bit, but the unearthing of essential New Orleans gems continues to inspire. What makes the musical worlds of these compilations so categorically distinct -- besides their irresistible mix of syncopated beats and mambo rhythms, downright dirty funk bass, and an inimitable brand of rhythmic piano playing -- are their somewhat hidden but equally important visual and social components, which are hinted at in the accompanying booklets and liner notes. Steeped in age-old local traditions such as second line parades and the secret rituals of Mardi Gras Indians, this music functions as a portal to an exceptionally rich cultural nexus in which a myriad of artistic expressions are inevitably linked to the city's fabric, intersecting with its remarkably festive yet often intimate community life.

Opening with that classic laidback beat and intricately juxtaposed acoustic guitars, Willie West and the Meters' "Fairchild" is a strong emotional starting point which makes us immediately forget the perhaps too hastily put together and notably less remarkable second compilation in this series. Professor Longhair's irresistible whistling on the carnival anthem "Go to the Mardi Gras" is indispensable New Orleans folklore, whereas Florida expat Betty Harris really shines here with two defiant love songs that celebrate her soulful vocals. Some of the tracks were produced under the auspices of the great Allen Toussaint and feature stars such as Lee Dorsey, but the strongest contributions are the long lost pearls rescued from local dustbins, such as Diamond Joe's "Gossip Gossip," whose studio simulation of a chattering crowd should be heard to be truly believed. It was an impossible task for Soul Jazz to top the sheer brilliance and exciting novelty of its first New Orleans Funk compilation, which remains a highlight of their impressive catalog, but this third part is excellent and full of nice surprises. [NVT]





$10.99 12"


The Boat Party Bonus EP
(Wild Oats)

 4 x DOPE! You'd probably expect an EP of "tracks that didn't make it to the album" would be of lesser quality, but Kyle Hall flies in the face of normality by giving us a vinyl grab bag of four different yet equally great cuts. I'd surmise these were most likely left off of his Boat Party full-length because they simply didn't fit in with the aesthetic of that LP. In fact, these songs, being a tad more flamboyant, might've outshined the rest of the record causing listeners to miss the restrained yet raw focus that was so well executed on The Boat Party. Sometimes a live, jammy track can capture some magic that is impossible to plan, and these four cuts do have that vibe and really deliver. Beyond essential modern day house music from Kyle Hall, do not miss!! (Preview "Skeeter!" off The Boat Party Bonus EP on Soundcloud.) [SM]





$17.99 CDx2
$26.99 LPx3

In the Dark: Detroit Is Back
(Still Music)

"Free Your Mind" Mike 'Agent X' Clark
"Cash Neutral" Alex Israel

Detroit has been appearing in and out of the media spotlight lately, for reasons variously discomforting and inspiring; months before this storied American city officially declared itself financially bankrupt, writer Mark Binelli published Detroit Is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an American Metropolis, convincingly defining the city as a laboratory of innovation instead of a symbol of urban decay. Throughout his book, Binelli traces a set of inventive initiatives, from a school for pregnant teenagers to artists reclaiming abandoned car factories to the activities of experimental urban planners and city activists. The idea of a Detroit renaissance might not sound too alien to those of us invested in the ongoing developments of electronic music; the town's unbridled sense of experimentation is perhaps best exemplified by its steady techno and house traditions, which emerged at a moment when its socio-economic structure was already irrevocably crumbling. Paradoxically, techno pioneer Jeff Mills' description of these genres as "futurist energy" is enhanced by techno and house's radical sense of stasis, its refusal to actually go somewhere, which creates not so much an alternative for the future as a "safe space where binaries of sound, and hierarchies of race, gender, and sexuality melt away," to quote music journalist Joe Muggs. Techno and house's radical nature, in other words, might not lie in the act of abandoning a space and steadily moving forward, but in more intensely reimagining the space one already inhabits and inevitably belongs to.

A follow-up to 2005's excellent In The Dark: The Soul of Detroit (which received a well-deserved reissue in 2012), Still Music's Detroit Is Back picks up where the previous compilation left off, occupying a space where deep techno, soulful house, and permutations of both happily intersect. Opening strongly with Craig Huckabee's "The Answer," a Moodymann-esque space jazz exploration, the tone is set for a robust selection of heady body music. Highlights are plenty and diverse, from Patrice Scott's percussive and sensual "Cosmic Rituals" to Delano Smith feat. Diamondancer's "A Message for the DJ," a deep house anthem whose irresistible lines "So here's a message for the DJ that's in the club tonight / Play a sexy deep hot house track so I can move my body right" should be enough reason to incite a resurgence of the genre. Some of the best tracks are of the most reductionist kind, such as Marcellus Pitmann's languid "Make It Work," in which loose synth lines run free across a steady beat, and Terence Dixon's "The Fall Guy Pt.1" and "Pt.2," which sees the master further building upon the brilliant material of last year's From the Far Future Pt.2 album with two tracks that seem to end at the exact same point of repetition at which they started. As Detroit is involved in an ongoing struggle to reimagine itself, the music on these discs is testimony to its indestructible spirit -- not so much inventing something anew as repeatedly and powerfully repurposing what's left of the rubble. The results are vivid and full of possibilities, not merely for the future but for the here and now. [NVT]






20 Years of Downwards Records

From the sublime depth of the Substance remix of Regis' "Cold Water" to the muffled, soul-freeing, pummel-bashing of Fret's (a/k/a MJ Harris of Napalm Death, Scorn, Lull, etc.) "Untitled" to the dropped-out bottom, dungeon dub of Talker's "Cute the Weight" to the screaming legions of downed-fighter-planes atmosphere of Samuel Kerridge's "A Shadow Cast"... I'm almost speechless. How often can a 20-year retrospective techno compilation reveal its position at the forefront of techno both informed by industrial pioneers as well as a forerunner of the current new wave? And with such class and beauty! This does not sound like a retrospective at ALL, much less one that spans two decades. Timeless music here, which I think has always been the point with these guys. Absolutely great. [SM] 





$24.99 12"x2


Necklace of Bites

Maybe it's weird to say this about a record that starts off with a Jim Jones monologue, but this has to be the most wonderfully listenable Regis album I've ever laid ears on. And by that I mean it being the most worthy of repeated listens in one sitting. (How often does that happen with a techno LP?) It's almost puzzling how pleasant it is to engage in this very pure, uplifting record. Blissful, wondrously efficient, stark/euphoric walls of repetition rise, shed elements, reveal unseen layers and rise again. There are no harsh industrial snares/breaks or crashes, no stupid buildups and breakdowns -- just pure rising, enveloping, continuing, transcendent, pummeling energy. This music is so incredibly complete in a way that does not ask for another track to mix in to make it whole. As a matter of fact, while listening to it in the shop one cut ended in a loop and it was so perfectly good that we just let it play for two or three minutes before taking it off. Which points out how this album is full of tracks that could play on for 15-plus-minutes (at least for me!). So pure, elevating and blissful, it's my fave collection of Regis material by far! [SM]





$19.99 LPx2


(Ghostly International)



The eerie chill of winter is upon us, and soon it'll be impossible to think about much else. Rather than committing to denial, let us try to bask in the frost and its effects. Hinterland, a true manifestation of the unsettling and bitter emotional byproducts of a December evening, can help. While Lorenz Brunner made his career as Recondite in Berlin, he was born and raised for many years in a rural part of southern Bavaria. This small-town origin was much of the inspiration for Recondite's sophomore LP, and it's pretty clear when listening to the tracks that they were born from some natural environment. The opening songs ("Rise," "Leafs," "Still") are cold and somber. The synths evoke a ghostly setting and internal, inward tension. Brunner exerts his dense emotion through near-silence. Such subtlety is Recondite's strongest tool on this album, and what has brought him success in the past. On his first EPs and debut LP, the best tracks were always the most minimalist, and it seems that Brunner has refined his skill on this quasi-concept record. The music will ostracize the listener from the outside world, slowly penetrating deeper into Brunner's psyche. As the album opens up and the songs begin to blend into one icy trek, Recondite's work really flourishes. So during this depressing winter, try welcoming the cold; Hinterland can help you see the beauty in the dark. [MM]







We finally managed to find copies of this most recent Sahko release from Mika Vainio and it was worth the effort, as Vainio's releases on the stalwart Finnish label have always managed to impress. Side A is a desolate, slightly brooding, almost doom-laden take on the slow, minimal hip-hop breaks found on Pan-Sonic's excellent Aaltopiiri LP or Vainio's Happi 12", also under his Ø guise -- sparse, cold and a bit sinister, yet with a surprising hint of swing while being accented with deep, shiny submarine pings and distant drones. Side B explores a similar atmosphere to the previous Sahko EP, Heijastuva, with its sub-sub-sub aquatic/angler fish depths, but it manages to be even more huge, vast and mysterious, consisting solely of rising bleeps and swells at various distances and intervals that give the impression of a featureless, limitless black sea. [SM]





$75.99 LPx3 Box Set


Echelons, December & In the Marshes - Box Set
(Captured Tracks)


Go to the top of the Capitol Building in Lincoln, Nebraska and you can see precisely where the paved roads end and continue on in dirt, where trees demarcate the divide between the city limits and the endless expanses of corn and wheat fields beyond, that point where you can't find a Runza in any direction. Such a sight informs the music of For Against, who played music out of there from the mid '80s onward, creating a sound of lush, clean, dour post-punk more informed by Goth and ethereal beauty than of any American notions of where the music should go. Musically they had a good bit in common with groups like the Chameleons UK and the Icicle Works, and you can hear similar dividing lines as existed around their town which defined their sound as a rigid antidote to the college football goons and hayseed mentalities that surrounded them. This is music for the wind, ghostly and minted and meticulous, male voices soaring across reverbed, flanged guitars, and a confident, stark rhythm section. For Against's glory years were spent on the Independent Project label, run by Savage Republic's Bruce Licher, whose tastes and design sensibilities matched the sound of the group to a tee. Captured Tracks returns For Against to the world with new reissues of their first two albums and the In the Marshes EP all contained in this limited box set, along with ephemera and the full story of the band's history. [DM]


$23.99 LPx2


Small Time + Hey Hey, We're the Manques
(Captured Tracks)

"People Going Places"
"She Grew and She Grew"

Following last year's enchanting Youth Club Disco release, Captured Tracks continues to document the history of London's articulate pop merchants, the Servants. Capitulated into the spotlight during the days of C86, group leader David Westlake and a cast of several others (including Luke Haines, soon to be of the Auteurs and Black Box Recorder) crafted a very careful, off-kilter brand of guitar pop that built off the minimalism and hyper-structured formality of Young Marble Giants and spoke to the times they played in, channeling the exuberance of groups like the June Brides and the Wedding Present in their own cautious, spidery ways. These 26 songs have a unique energy, galloping rhythms mostly supplied by drum machine, and passion turned inward on itself, making for a rediscovery not quite like any other band you'll find around these days. Strange, wonderful and intriguing -- once you work your way into this record, you'll want to stay there a while. [DM]







Preparations EP
(Tri Angle)

Like Tri Angle label mates Clams Casino, Evian Christ, and the Haxan Cloak, New Zealand producer Olly Peryman a/k/a Fis is pushing sonic limits left and right. On his debut EP, there's no rhythm in the way its conventionally defined, and finding a melody is a difficult task. It is this unfamiliarity and discomfort on Preparations that makes the record such a captivating listen, and one of Tri Angle's most promising releases to date. Fis falls on the doomier side of electronic music and here he manages to polish the truly creepy environment of his previous singles without ever coming across as campy. The distorted breeze on "Magister Nunns" and shivering lurches on "DMT Usher" that sound so foreign are really Fis' finest craft. While "Mildew Swoosh" can arguably be drawn back to the skittering work of someone like Machinedrum, there's something about Fis' touch that is so much more ominous than other productions in the electronic scene today. It could be the offbeat loops that deteriorate over time, or maybe the pounding thunder that pervades through most of the cuts; whatever it is, it works. While Fis might stay under the radar for a while, he proves that there's infinite space in the sonic universe, and Preparations is his unknown, thrilling, vibrant species. [MM]





$14.99 CD
$26.99 LPx2+MP3


Warble Womb

It's been more than six years since the last Dead Meadow studio album, and twice that since the original lineup, including drummer Mark Laughlin, recorded, but with Warble Womb, they are back. If you are a longtime fan who blissed out and banged your head to the sludgy sonic overload this trio churned out on the early 2000s -- as many of us did -- you will be thrilled to hear the news, and this epic double-LP does indeed deliver on expectations, but not without caveat. As evidenced by their more recent releases, as well as front man Jason Simon's 2010 solo record, these guys have mellowed a bit with age. Thick guitars and swirling leads still form the backbone of the sound here, but the Black Sabbath comparisons that defined the group's early career are a little harder to justify, as the tracks have spaced out and lightened up a bit. It's the same formula that always worked so well for Dead Meadow, but skewing a little more towards Pink Floyd's hazy dreamscapes and away from the crushing guitars of their youth. That said, the record still packs a pretty hefty wallop, and if you've been missing these guys, don't hesitate. [JM]


$12.99 CD
$18.99 LP+MP3


No Blues

"Avocado, Baby"
"What Death Leaves Behind"

This rabble-rousing group of pop hooligans from Wales has been around since the mid-to-late 2000s, releasing album after album, each just as solid as its predecessor. While No Blues does fall into the band's consistent discography of great indie pop/rock, it's more than just another good Los Campesinos! record; it's their Modern Vampires of the City, meaning, this is the moment when you realize that the Welsh sextet is growing up, creating something other than just "fun." In between the sanguine hooks, screamed by any Campesino, there's real emotion. Building on their previous release, 2011's Hello Sadness, it's no longer all about the witty lines and instrumental chaos, as there's some real depth to the overall production. Lyrically, the band has gotten much gloomier; on tracks like "As Lucerne/The Low" and "Cemetery Gaits," Gareth Paisey laments life in a variety of forms, and contradicts the seemingly optimistic album title, not to mention delivering a slew of direct and indirect death metaphors throughout the record. However, it's impossible for LC! to rid themselves of their gleaming spirit fully, as they rock out on "For Flotsam" and such. No Blues is a step forth in the band's evolution, and is pretty quintessential in terms of their work as a whole, so it's bound to appeal to almost every indie rock fan. Odds are there won't be a song that you won't like. [MM]





$13.99 CD
$17.99 LP+MP3

Fellow Travelers
(Sub Pop)

"I Luv the Valley Oh!!"

So get this: Shearwater, that band of cold and steely brilliance from Austin, Texas, has been on the road for a number of years to promote various releases, for the chance to play for larger audiences, for the chance to expose audiences to new and bright talents. Fellow Travelers is a tribute to the road, and to the things that happen behind the scenes that audiences never get to see. To tell these stories, they present an album almost entirely comprised of covers of acts they've toured with (Coldplay, Clinic, Xiu Xiu, St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Folk Implosion, the Baptist Generals, Wye Oak, Jesca Hoop, and David Thomas Broughton), with contributions from as many of those artists as possible, with one caveat: none of the artists could play on their own material. As a result, these recombinant tracks are blown somewhat out of the frame; apart from the sole album original "A Wake for the Minotaur" and Folk Implosion's '90s hit "Natural One," very few of the songs survive easy categorization, Jonathan Meiburg's distinctive voice remaining the one thing that ties some of this material to Shearwater. However, this opens up new vistas of sound for the band, particularly in their ability to explore and contort Americana tropes to their own devices. I didn't think I would feel anything from listening to Coldplay's "Hurts Like Heaven" in its original form, but Shearwater have redesigned it into something warm and desperate at the same time, revealing a side of Chris Martin's songwriting that might have never appealed to me before. Many of the bands represented here are not ones I'd listen to for enjoyment, but Shearwater's abilities to reinterpret and imbue the material with new experiences is noteworthy and nothing short of miraculous. [DM] 







Past Is Prologue
(Ghostly International)

Past Is Prologue has quite the history, a debut album that can't stop debuting! San Francisco label Gammaphone Records originally released the record in 2004 with the title Sunrise Projector. Two years later, Scott Hansen (a/k/a Tycho) signed to Merck, re-ordering and expanding his debut with some remixes, and re-releasing under the new name Past Is Prologue. That version was again expanded with a new remix when Tycho signed to Ghostly International in 2010, and now for the first time it is available on vinyl in 2013. Though it has suffered a myriad of label changes and restructuring, Past Is Prologue continues to show its magic nearly a decade after its initial release.

Like Boards of Canada, Tycho fuses bits of human speech into warm ambient textures to create an engaging and distinct sound. The songs vary in length and weight, but are for the most part very hazy and ethereal. While the composition of the tracks is complex and very mechanic and electronic, the effect is very organic. As the album cover might suggest, the songs are fit for something wholesome and natural. The record was a raw precursor to Tycho's 2011 breakout album, Dive, but it's no less enjoyable. Less glossy and definite than its successor, Past Is Prologue gets to the roots of Tycho as an artist, and is really essential for any modern ambient fan. [MM]




12" EP +MP3


In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country
12" EP +MP3


Trans Canada Highway
12" EP +MP3

Twoism EP

In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country EP

Trans Canada Highway EP

Continuing in their BoC LP reissue series, Warp drops some classic 12" from the duo; these guys don't even know what filler is, and their EPs are all just as important and enjoyable as the full-lengths. Great to see the tracks on wax!





(Ghostly International)


On their third full-length, KILN deliver their most melodic LP yet, fusing the mechanical with the organic in beautiful new ways. Percussive and futuristic, with shimmering guitar textures that evoke Krautrock and its more recent followers while still looking forward.





$9.95 MG

Issue #36
(Ugly Things Magazine)

File the new issue of Ugly Things under 'Must Read,' featuring an incredible interview with Immediate Records honcho and Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham, as well as an extensive piece on loner psych visionary Craig Smith a/k/a Maitreya Kali that's so strange that it's not to be missed. Also inside: the second parts to the stories of the Haunted and the Radiators from Space; freakbeat purveyors Sands and Sundragon; the Dream from Holland; the Motions; Manzanita Jungle; a great interview with the UK's 'King of the Beatniks,' Royston Elis; and lots more.

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[JM] Josh Madell
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