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   February 14, 2013  
The Trash Company
Veronica Falls
Beat Mark
Stereolab (2 LP Reissues)
Harold Budd
Sekou Batourou Kouyate
Henri Guedon

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FEB Sun 10 Mon 11 Tues 12 Wed 13 Thurs 14 Fri 15 Sat 16

Photo Credit: Luis Ruiz

With their debut full-length, True Hallucinations, now out on Other Music Recording Co. and a new video just premiered, Ex Cops are ramping up for their tour which sees the Brooklyn band hopping in the van next week and heading west with a slew of dates before they hit Austin for SXSW. Come wish them well this Friday at the Mercury Lounge, where they'll be playing an early evening show along with Ski Lodge who are opening the bill. We're giving away one pair of tickets and to enter for your chance to win, email tickets@othermusic.com.

MERCURY LOUNGE: 217 E. Houston St. NYC

FEB Sun 17 Mon 18 Tues 19 Wed 20 Thurs 21 Fri 22 Sat 23

This Tuesday, Thrill Jockey will be releasing Total Folklore, the solo debut full-length from Dan Friel (of Parts & Labor). That night, Dan will be celebrating the new album in Brooklyn at the Knitting Factory performing some songs solo and also a number of songs with an all-star band featuring Patrick Stickles (Titus Andronicus), Greg Fox (Guardian Alien), Bernard Gann (Liturgy/Guardian Alien), BJ Warshaw (Parts & Labor), Shahin Motia (Oneida, Ex-Models), Grasshopper, and Karen Waltuch. It's going to be a great night and we've got one pair of tickets to give away, and the winner will also get a very special music box designed by Dan that plays "Thumper" off the album. To enter, just email giveaway@othermusic.com, and we'll notify the winner this Friday.

KNITTING FACTORY: 361 Metropolitan Ave, BKLN

FEB Sun 17 Mon 18 Tues 19 Wed 20 Thurs 21 Fri 22 Sat 23


Chrysta Bell
Our good friends at Le Poisson Rouge are offering Update readers a chance to win a pair of tickets to one of these upcoming shows. First up, on Tuesday, February 19, inc. are celebrating the release of their debut full-length, no world (out next week on 4AD), a truly soulful album of modern R&B-influenced electronic pop. It's a fantastic bill, with Zomby, Kelela and Total Freedom also performing. Two days later, Thursday, February 21, Bandshell brings the Juan MacLean for a DJ set, which you know is going to be killer. Sumsun opens the night plus there'll be a happy hour from 10 to 11 p.m., so you may want to just plan on taking Friday off! Speaking of Friday, that night (February 22) iconic filmaker David Lynch presents a special performance from his chanteuse protégée, Chrysta Bell, whose This Train collaboration was a store favorite last year. She Keeps Bees is also on the bill making for an unforgettable evening of music. To enter for your chance to win tickets to one of these LPR shows, email contest@othermusic.com and list what performance you would like to see in the subject line.

LE POISSON ROUGE: 158 Bleecker St. NYC





$17.99 LP


Earle Hotel Tapes 1979-1993
(Steady Sounds)

Completely inscrutable and incredible outsider bedroom synth-funk from the Trash Company, the project of a heretofore mostly well-kept secret of Richmond, VA resident Max Monroe. The Trash Company started as a Funkadelic/Hamilton Bohannon-influenced group in 1975(!), played their first gig in a local high school dance a couple years later, and even managed to record a lone single at a state of the art studio in 1979 before thoroughly dissolving as a group not long after. Monroe kept on churning out material for the next thirty years, however, little of which has ever been unleashed on the public until this archival release spanning the 1970s to the 1990s, put together by the awesome Richmond record shop Steady Sounds and up-and-coming Washington D.C. record label People's Potential Unlimited, who specialize in reissuing leftfield dance music.

Alright, so man, what the hell does this sound like? Very little else I must say, a true American original, with totally scorched sounding minimal rhythm machine backing tracks accompanying Monroe's dryly laconic and soulful crooning. Take the third cut, comprised of a few discrete elements; start with some low-key drum machine, add a wee bit of distorted bass, and then provide the deeply intoned lyrics, "It's not the time for taking it easy/It's not the time for being undone/It's time for unification/...And I like Electra Glide," which somehow has the effect of being the most seriously sick shit I have heard this year. Sometimes albums like this can get a little too insular and suffocating, but that's not the case here, as there's something in the funk of it that strangely invites you into Monroe's private sound world. If you were feeling that awesome Personal Space compilation from last year (not to mention other OM faves like Kenneth Higney, Tommy Jay, Tonetta, or hell, even Suicide and Iggy Pop), then this is a total no-brainer and completely essential follow-up purchase, and which will undoubtedly land on our top reissue list in about eleven months, so you may as well grab it now anyway!!! [MK]






Waiting for Something to Happen

"If You Still Want Me"
"Tell Me"

Veronica Falls' self-titled album debut from 2011 was one of the brighter spots in the C86 resurgence that's been jangling through countless indie-pop bands these past few years. Effortlessly picking up the torch from groups like the Vaselines, Pastels and Shop Assistants, this Scottish quartet added their own morose lyrical flavor to the fast reverbed guitar strums and melancholy girl/guy melodies, and created a new classic for the twee canon. Of course for a band whose young career was built on one of rock's most basic, time-tested formulas, the making of a second album must have been especially vexing, yet Veronica Falls have avoided the dreaded sophomore slump by sticking to their guns, for the most part at least. Noticeably scaled back, though, is the goth-tinged subject matter of their early singles and the first LP (a la "Found Love in a Graveyard"); not counting "Buried Alive," much of group's focus here is on navigating through real life relationships and a 20-something person's concerns of coming to grips with impending adulthood and responsibilities -- during "Everybody Changes, " Roxanne Clifford pines, "I don't know how old I am, but what do I care?" Working with Roy Atterwell (Male Bonding, Vaccines), Veronica Falls have also dialed back the reverb, opting for a slightly cleaner sound while injecting a little more '60s girl/psych-pop-influence into the mix, with songs like "Broken Toy" and the title track bringing to mind late-'80s-era Primitives, not to mention a little Velocity Girl thanks to the vocal interplay between Roxanne and Patrick Doyle and James Hoarse. Much like their debut, Veronica Falls aren't really breaking new ground here either, but the songs are great, with some subtle yet unexpected twists (check the "Marquee Moon"-cribbing guitar solo that comes out of nowhere during "Tell Me") to make a strong case for the old adage, if ain't broke, don't fix it. [GH]





Howls of Joy
(Ample Play)

"What I Want the Most"
"Am I Five"

Beat Mark are a new French band who offer up a wonderful slice of scrappy, catchy pop on their debut album, making a tuneful racket that blends garage-grown organ fuzz and drum stomp with a jangle-heavy wall-of-guitar sound and lovely male/female vocal harmonies. They take the anything-goes dilettante approach of bands like Swell Maps or Pastels, and fuse it to a sharp mastery of pop song craft; their songs sound loose and tattered on the surface, but underneath is a sweet, hook-filled center that puts them in the same camp as anything from the Captured Tracks or Slumberland stables. Their fusion of British beat with California sunshine takes a left turn somewhere; everything comes together beautifully, but something just seems slightly off in the best possible way, with Beach Boys-style harmonies straining to rise above the thick clouds of massive guitar distortion. It's tough to put a fresh face on a well-explored sound, but this young band pulls it off quite admirably with nonchalant energy and an eager sense of exploration that has them trying on different tempos and arrangement strategies with ease. I expect we'll start seeing and hearing more from this group in the coming months; these kids are sitting high on my list of favorite new pop bands, and fans of recent platters by DIIV, Allah-Lahs, and Ty Segall will most likely also appreciate the ragged sunshine conjured here. [IQ]






Man & Buffalo
(Strawberry Rain)

"Track 2"
"Track 8"

Caravan were a 1970s Thai folk group comprised of students who helped lead the opposition to their homeland's then corrupt and brutal military dictatorship, who for a brief time at least, beginning in 1973, managed to depose the dictatorship's leader, Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn. Between then and late 1976, when Kittikachorn returned to power in a military coup and declared martial law, and in the process massacred one hundred students and imprisoned several thousand more, the group had coalesced around four activist musicians influenced equally by the Western protest music of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, as well as the songs and musical heritage of Thailand's peasant working class. Touring widely across the countryside and often appearing at political rallies, they wrote and performed songs with a deep political conscience sympathetic to the poverty of peasants, and which continued to courageously confront the corruptness of the lingering regime, in addition to American imperialism. Kon Gap Kwai (Man & Buffalo), recorded in 1975, was the group's debut, and it brilliantly melds Western folk music forms and melodies with indigenous Thai instruments like the phin, saw, and wut. Primarily acoustic, with intertwining layers of acoustic guitars and dirge-like percussive rhythms, the combination proved hugely influential and established the band as the leaders of the Songs for Life movement, with its opening and most famous track having been written by a poet and a militant farmer and which supplied the protest generation's anthem with these lines:

Here is the song of death,
The death of our humanity
The rich eat our labor,
Set one against the other,
As we peasants sink deeper in debt.
And they call us Savages!
We must destroy this system!

It's a beguiling, richly shaded listen of plaintive anthems whose purpose and conviction I think seems clear to whomever the listener. In 1976, upon installation of martial law, the junta declared these tunes and anyone singing them illegal and the band was forced to flee to Laos where they lived in exile for several years, while their songs nevertheless lived on clandestinely in the prison camps and farmer's field thereafter. [MK]




Emperor Tomato Ketchup


Dots and Loops


Emperor Tomato Ketchup
(1972 Recordings)

Dots and Loops
(1972 Recordings)

Vinyl reissues of two of the 'Lab's very best -- this deeply influential indie band may have fallen off the radar a bit over the past few years, but they are a keystone to the Other Music story and there are a lot of you who need these classic albums on wax, whether or not you know it yet!

Arriving in 1996, Emperor Tomato Ketchup finds Stereolab at their creative peak, several albums into a career that began as a DIY, drone-heavy cross between '50s easy listening, '60s sunshine pop, and Krautrock's rhythmic intensity, but soon became something far more complex and refined. The band added more pop as well as more experimental impulses, and this is a multi-layered production of vintage keyboards, dubby soulful grooves and heavy percussive explorations, and swelling string orchestration, all as a bed for the truly spellbinding multi-part vocal harmonies that defined the 'groop'. This record won them legions of new fans not just in the indie world, but across the mainstream too, from influential hip-hop producers to more open-minded pop fans, while still pushing the boundaries of one of the more daring bands ever to grace a major label in the US. Plus, it sounds great on LP!

The 1997 follow-up, Dots and Loops, scaled back on some of the funk and the heavier, more experimental side of Emperor Tomato Ketchup, with the band exploring more deeply the bossa nova grooves and lighter '60s pop, while continuing to refine the orchestration and songwriting. Perhaps not as immediate as its predecessor, Dots and Loops nonetheless may well be Stereolab's most accomplished and sophisticated album, with a jazzy approach to the compositions that allows the listener to go deeper and deeper into the record with each successive listen.

A pair of essential LPs finally available again in their obvious intended format -- get these while you can in this lovely new 1972 Recordings edition (in conjunction with Elektra). [JM]






Bandits of Stature

"From the Sea of Changes"
"Claude Lorrain Avoids the Cinder Block Motel"

Although the newest album by renowned composer and pianist Harold Budd is his first release of string quartets and contains very little piano playing, it's a stunner just the same. To my ears, these recordings are closest in spirit to his 2004 masterpiece, Avalon Sutra, but where that album was lush, with its melancholy strings rooted in perfumed pools of liquid piano chording, here those strings are left to fend for themselves, and the effect is both lovely and disconcerting. On the surface, there is beauty, but under the skin, these pieces have a cyclical menace that slowly breathes cold air. It's fitting that there is a track on this album entitled "Perfume Doesn't Dance," as these pieces, in contrast to those on Avalon Sutra, do not either; there is little to no romance on Bandits of Stature, very much unlike anything Budd has previously released, and while it's somewhat odd at first, the gentle repetition of the string movements will envelop you and draw you in. Budd punctuates these slow movements with quiet pauses and gentle silences, but the rests offer no respite; it is only when Budd's piano finally does make a brief appearance three-quarters into the album that we come up for air. This is a deep, beautiful record rooted in dark, solemn emotions, but its strengths cannot be ignored. While some may find difficulty in a Harold Budd album without his signature piano ambiance, this is a bold, naked step in a new direction that proves there is more to this man than we perhaps expected. [IQ]






Et Sa Cora


A stunning performance from Malian griot and master kora player Sekou Batourou Kouyate captured on record and originally released in 1976, Et Sa Cora is all instrumental, impossibly beautiful, and filled with jagged, tingling explosions of cascading strings that impeccably bring forth ancient melodies and moods. The kora is one of those rare instruments where as it is played it literally seems like you've been given access to the inner workings of the performer's creative genius, with every syncopated pluck and virtuosic run manifesting the tangibly sublime. This is one of those albums that after you play it, well, it just sort of renders the rest of your collection useless for the rest of the day, so be sure to use sparingly if you intend to maintain any kind of balanced listening. Apparently after a performance in Los Angeles in 1978, Stevie Wonder sent Kouyate this message: "Stevie sends his greetings to the master... keeper of Black musical traditions." Master, indeed. [MK]




$31.99 LP


Cosmozouk Percussion

"Tou Patou Feme"

Henri Guedon was a brilliant percussionist and bandleader from Martinique whose records and performances sought to fuse the French Caribbean/Antillean music of his homeland with tough Latin and Afro rhythmic concepts and the orchestration of American jazz. He is often credited with being the man who brought Latin music to French audiences in a manner than transcended the faddy embraces of the 1950s, educating listeners beyond the mambos and cha-chas they so loved during that period into more complex styles like descarga, guaguanco, and boogaloo. Guedon's music was always complex and always compositionally rich, but it was his emphasis on the percussive line that made waves in France; he was one of the first performers to place the percussionists at the front of his band, and his legendary Cosmozouk Percussion album is not only one of the most brilliant examples of his sound, but easily one of the best, most jaw-dropping Latin/Afro records of the 1970s. Original copies regularly fetch three-figure prices for good reason -- these songs have a lovely, weightless melodic top layer, where the tunes float and dance above supple, hard-edged percussive percolation. Guedon leads his bands into catchy vocal chants and verses that weave through the layers of hand drums, syncopated piano riffs, funky clavinet lines, and a fiery brass section; the resulting sounds were revolutionary, and one of the finest examples of French Caribbean zouk music ever put to tape -- zouk is now a big commercial sound in the Antillean region, but this is the music at its rough, raw best. Fans of the Soundway label's stunning Tumbele compilation need this, as it is an equally important (and straight-up KILLER) sonic relative to the sounds documented there; for me personally, this is one of my all time favorite albums, a desert island disc that gets constant airplay both at home and in DJ sets. This gorgeous reissue is pressed on 180-gram vinyl, remastered from the tapes, and packaged in a lovely, heavy cardstock tip-on sleeve replicating the original artwork. This pressing is also limited to just 1000 copies for the world, and gets my absolute top recommendation for lovers of indestructible international beats. [IQ]
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[GH] Gerald Hammill
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[MK] Michael Klausman
[JM] Josh Madell

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