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   January 17, 2013  

Ex Cops

Nude Beach
Other Music Recording Co.'s third full-length album arrives this Tuesday, January 22 in the form of Ex Cops' shimmering pop confection, True Hallucinations, and the band has put together what is sure to be an awesome record release party that night at Glasslands. Email tickets@othermusic.com to enter to win a pair of tickets to the show and a copy of the album, and stay tuned for more Ex Cops news!


We also have a pair of tickets for a rare Manhattan performance from our own Nude Beach, who bring Brooklyn's best rock & roll to the Mercury Lounge tomorrow night, Friday January 18. Email enter@othermusic.com for your chance to win two spots on the guest list.


Yo La Tengo
Pantha du Prince & the Bell Laboratory
Christopher Owens
Solange & Blood Orange
The Everymen
Andrea Schiavelli
Coloured Balls
Parquet Courts
Chris Darrow
Lee Gamble
The Product

The National (The Virginia EP)

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JAN Sun 13 Mon 14 Tues 15 Wed 16 Thurs 17 Fri 18 Sat 19

It's been a while since we last heard from Mountains but their forthcoming record Centralia (out Tuesday, January 22 on Thrill Jockey) is certainly worth the wait, as it's another incredible set of pastoral works from the electro-acoustic duo of Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp. They'll be celebrating the album's release with a live performance this Saturday at Union Pool, with Mind Over Mirrors and Golden Retriever opening the show. Other Music is giving away one pair of tickets and you can enter to win by emailing giveaway@othermusic.com.

UNION POOL: 484 Union Ave, Brooklyn

JAN Sun 20 Mon 21 Tues 22 Wed 23 Thurs 24 Fri 25 Sat 26
  Sun 27 Mon 28 Tues 29 Wed 30 Thurs 31 Fri 01 Sat 02


Other Music is giving away a pair of tickets to each of these upcoming shows at Le Poisson Rouge (one winner per show). First up is to Ducktails (a/k/a Matt Mondanile), whose newest set of expansive and explorative pop comes out January 29 on Domino Records. Mondanile and his friends Future Shuttle, Chris Cohen, Jessa Farkas (of Future Shuttle), Madeline Follin (of Cults), Joel Ford (of Airbird, Ford and Lopatin), and Martin Courtney (of Real Estate) will be celebrating the release of The Flower Lane at LPR on Wednesday, January 23, and you can enter for your chance to hop on the guest list by emailing tickets@othermusic.com. We also are giving away a pair of tickets to catch Zammuto, the namesake of Nick Zammuto who turned the page on his much-loved Books for this equally genre-defying endeavor. Email enter@othermusic.com for your chance to win a pair of tickets to this show at Le Poisson Rouge on Tuesday, January 29.

LE POISSON ROUGE: 158 Bleecker St. NYC

JAN Sun 20 Mon 21 Tues 22 Wed 23 Thurs 24 Fri 25 Sat 26
  Sun 27 Mon 28 Tues 29 Wed 30 Thurs 31 Fri 01 Sat 02

Other Music returns to the gorgeous lobby of New York's Ace Hotel, with a different staff member DJing every Wednesday night throughout January. Come and grab a cocktail or two with us, and enjoy a wide array of tunes with our own Pam Garavano-Coolbaugh spinning next week. And while you're at the Ace, make sure to check out our new release display located next to the front desk, filled with Other Music's latest favorite albums and reissues. Here's the schedule for the rest of January:

January 23: Pam Garavano-Coolbaugh
January 30: Andreas Knutsen

ACE HOTEL: 20 W. 29th St. NYC





$13.99 CD



"Stupid Things"

As Yo La Tengo closes in on 30 years together, with well over a dozen full-lengths and innumerable singles and EPs in their catalog, what is there left for them to say -- or even for us to say about them? Aging gracefully is something that very few artists manage to pull off, but this group continues to do it with style. YLT are often called a critic's band, beloved by music writers, but moreover coming out of that world, with Ira Kaplan having made a name for himself as a music journalist and promoter before his own band pulled him out from working behind the scenes. Perhaps that critic's eye does have something to do with their longevity, giving the trio an unusual ability to step back and really consider their approach, but there is more behind their continued inspiration. YLT have kept their place at the forefront of indie rock's ever-shifting sound by constantly growing and pushing themselves as musicians (and as people, we imagine), gradually adding their combined new experiences into their sound. What was once straight-up indie jangle over the years has added psychedelic sprawl, raw power, percussive inventiveness and gorgeous acoustic abstraction in equal measure, and YLT's music is now a complex psych-pop concoction that builds on their past rather than abandoning it, yet rarely do they sit still for long.

At this point, the band draws on a deep and varied skill set, with complex multi-part percussion, emotional orchestration, great piano work (from Kaplan, who can tickle the ivories as impressively as he shreds the six-string), and a nuanced understanding of the possibilities of the recording process that has grown out of the various soundtrack productions that the group has completed in their own practice space recording studio. Fade was produced by Tortoise's John McEntire in Chicago, a first time collaboration that is such a perfect fit you might wonder why these old friends have never tried it before. McEntire drew out the textures and surprises within these songs and added his own subtle instrumental flourishes, and he also left the group plenty of room to breathe. It's a mellow and introspective album, both musically and lyrically, full of quietly emotional songs about love and loss and -- perhaps -- growing older gracefully. There may not be a breakthrough single on here, but really, hits are for kids, and this is a thoroughly grown-up yet no less ambitious, thrilling and boundary-pushing record from a band that continues to earn our attention and affection, one great album at a time. [JM]






Elements of Light
(Rough Trade)


From his debut album Diamond Daze on through the minimal techno classic This Bliss and the genre-jumping Black Noise, Hendrik Weber has always astonished with his productions made as Pantha du Prince. And his latest is his most ambitious to date. After hearing a bell carillon ring throughout the city of Oslo in 2010, Weber composed Elements of Light in collaboration with the Bell Laboratory, a five-membered Norwegian percussion ensemble. Centered around a three-ton, 50-bell carillon, Elements first premiered in 2011 at Oslo's Oya Festival, with Weber and the ensemble performing the piece live to an enraptured crowd. Subsequent photographs and iPhone videos on the Internet showing the musicians cloaked in dark hooded robes and surrounded on stage by all sorts of bells, gongs and chimes only added to the mystery of this collaboration for those of us who weren't able to catch any of the European shows. For this studio recording of Elements, a bell carillon was shipped from Denmark to Germany, and the album reveals a monstrous modern classical piece of music, one closer to Steve Reich's epochal '70s work than the minimal techno scene. The first seven minutes of the record are beatless, just polyrhythmic layers of ringing bells and chimes eventually joined by Weber's evocative 4/4 kick, and throughout Elements, his always-restrained atmospheric production is sculpted with an even lighter touch than on past Pantha du Prince releases. It all makes for an amazing accomplishment from one of our favorite producers of recent years. (LP will available on January 29th, 2013.) [AB]




$14.99 LP


(Fat Possum)

"Here We Go"

Over the course of two full-lengths and a handful of EPs and singles, San Francisco's Girls did more in a couple of years than most musicians can dream of accomplishing in a lifetime. Their two albums were universally loved in the indie world (and acclaimed in mainstream music rags like Rolling Stone and SPIN) and the group toured the world over, their live performances generating almost as much buzz as their records. Of course, like any great band, it all boiled down to creative chemistry, and singer-songwriter Christopher Owens and multi-instrumentalist/producer JR White were no exception; the duo effortlessly traveled the rock landscape, touching on classic West Coast rock, AM gold, and druggy psychedelia, while somehow making these tried and true sounds feel fresh again, with lots of bittersweet harmonies, lo-fi jangle, and, as the French would say, je ne sais quoi. (More about France in a second.)

To the surprise of fans everywhere, Owens disbanded Girls last summer, expressing the desire to experiment with new sounds and styles, and to open up his creative process beyond the constraints of Girls' rock band setting, and he set out to record his first solo album, eschewing the reverb and sprawl of the group for more studio polish. Weaving between folk-pop ballads like "Here We Go" and the title track, complete with female harmonies and flourishes of a flute, and jaunty rockers like "Here We Go Again" and the Velvets meet prog-pop of "New York City," Owens details his love affair with a French woman named Lysandre that he had met during Girls' first tour, along with his own struggles with newfound success. It's a pretty ballsy move actually, as the spotlight shines bright here on his lyrics, which have always possessed a certain naiveté -- especially when compared to the cryptic wordplay and oddball stories of contemporaries like Ariel Pink, which seems to be the norm these days. Even as the arrangements often bring to mind the baroque pop of Zombies, Emmit Rhodes or the Left Banke, earnest pronouncements like "kissing and a hugging is the air that I breathe, I always make the time for love" conjure the innocence of sunshine poppers like Free Design -- granted more in spirit than in sound. Ultimately, with Lysandre Owens seems to have taken the prospects of his first solo album to heart, offering intimate details of his life experience with a charm that Girls fans may or may not have expected; that it may be head-scratching to some only confirms that this great songwriter has indeed turned the page and we can't wait to see where he goes next. [GH]




$7.99 CD
$13.99 LP


True EP

Solange Knowles has been recording professionally since her early teens, she's toured the world and enjoyed some enviable chart success with a pair of major-label R&B albums, but it's been nearly impossible for her to step out of the shadow of her mega-star older sister Beyoncé. Now, recording for boutique indie Terrible (co-owned by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor), this six-track EP, produced by longtime collaborator Dev 'Blood Orange' Hynes, comes across like a debut reboot and a real coming out for a singular artist who can clearly stand on her own. The True EP is a perfect marriage of Hynes' funky songs and Knowles' innocent, tart, sultry and simplistic vocal delivery. It's harkens back to the electric R&B and pop sound of the '80s, yet is much more than a simple homage, with the duo capturing the overall feel of that era in the arrangements, textures and instruments, while presenting a distinctively contemporary sheen. Knowles is a natural in the electro-retro world, and like her previous work with Cee Lo Green or Mark Ronson, her affinity for musical nostalgia is on display in fine style here. Coming in at 28-minutes, the EP never overstays its welcome, and proves to be a great fusion of personalities and styles that seem made for one another. This is a nice alternative to many of the over-produced pop divas of late, with Knowles using restraint and ingenuity to sidestep the obvious and offer something more refreshing and special. Though this made it on my Best of 2012 list, the official release of True is a great way to kick-start 2013, and fans of any of the above mentioned as well as diverse current favorites like Twin Shadow, Jessie Ware or Toro Y Moi will want to add Solange's latest to their playlist, as it fits quite nicely in the likeminded then-is-now musical atmosphere. [DG]




$11.99 LP+CD


New Jersey Hardcore
(Killing Horse)

"Boss Johnny"
"Coney Island High"

The Everymen will not save rock & roll. New Jersey Hardcore will not shake the cobwebs from that stale genre and kick start a million three-chord dreams, and it's not hardcore either. But it is a pretty great bar rock album from a band whose only intentions seem to be the most primal and essential: having fun, drinking beer, and making the pretty girls dance and smile, for one night at least. And it's built on simple concepts: fuzzy guitars, swinging rhythms, handclaps, honking sax, and gruff boy-girl vocals singing about the hope and regret of love, about life's small escapes and triumphs. There are obvious touchstones from across the Garden State, Springsteen and Titus Andronicus included, but comparisons are pointless when you are approaching music like this; the Everymen laugh at you for trying to contextualize their sound. They sound like three beers into Saturday night, surrounded by good friends, with life's endless possibilities stretching in front of you, and nothing to fear except morning's harsh light. [JM]






Another Ugly Face

"Knowing It's Over"
"Who Will Break Your Heart"

Local multi-instrumentalist and songsmith Andrea Schiavelli split his early-20s between both US coasts, and it shows in the best way on his debut LP, Another Ugly Face, with elements of '70s California folk-rock sunshine crossed with downtown NYC grit. Warmly home-recorded, the album is a great example of how fun it can be to discover an up-and-coming artist developing their sound, yet it often comes across like a relic of the past, with baritone vocal nods to Lee Hazlewood, acoustic leads off of Buckingham Nicks, muted percussion, carefully plucked soft synth, and rhythmic stylings not unlike Tusk-era Fleetwood Mac as well. Or since we live in 2013, maybe imagine a less 'sophisti-pop' version of Destroyer jamming with Kill the Moonlight-era Spoon. Either way, it's well worth your time and there's something for everyone here in these beautiful songs, lovingly arranged and performed almost entirely by Schiavelli on piano, organ, guitar, drum machine and vocals. It's one of the most exciting records we've heard from a new artist in a while and we highly recommend you take a chance! [RN]






Ball Power
(Sing Sing)

Ball Power, the 1973 debut Coloured Balls LP, has been talked about in slowly-widening circles for the past few decades; copies have been imported all over the globe from its native Australia, where the band recorded for the local branch of EMI; artists as diverse as Steve Malkmus, Kurt Cobain and Henry Rollins have paid homage to the guitar genius of the late, great Lobby Loyde (also a member of Wild Cherries, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, and briefly, Rose Tattoo). Now it's time to hear for yourself what the big deal is, on vinyl, without breaking the bank (OGs are fetching several hundred dollars at this point). This one is a corker for sure, a raw and invigorating blast of heavy blues, hard rock and booze-soaked mayhem. "Why Don't You Make Up Your Mind" and several other slightly-less-manic tracks on here predate the anti-everything vibe of '77, and keep small company alongside Crushed Butler's "Factory Grime," Hackamore Brick's "Zip Gun Woman," Third World War's "Preaching Violence," and Rotomagus's "Fighting Cock" as the true progenitors of what we now understand as punk rock. Loyde and his crew run roughshod all over this thing, all searing guitar tone, nimble, working-class rhythm section and skinhead aggression (which the band wholly disavowed, as seen in the change of direction on its follow-up, the misleadingly-titled Heavy Metal Kid, and the group's hasty dissolution in the wake of real violence in their homeland, for which some claimed their music served as an influence). Ball Power -- what a name -- stands as a truly powerful, thick slab of everything good rock 'n' roll should be, and even in its excessive moments, like Loyde's guitar-through-modular synth solo that rips up the front half of epic album closer "That's What Mama Said," it respects the basic tenets of the genre and, within them, creates a classic, one of the finest Australian rock albums ever made. Sing Sing has done a bang-up job in reissuing this one on vinyl for the first time, right down to the textured electric-blue gatefold sleeve. Buy two because one is gonna get wrecked at your next house party. [DM]




$13.99 LP


Light Up Gold
(What's Your Rupture?)

"Borrowed Thyme"
"Careers in Combat"

Light Up Gold is Texas/New York pop-punk trio Parquet Court's debut LP and it rules! Not only do they make the '90s-worship-vibe seem totally fresh, but they give the sound of so many tired college radio rockers a real kick in the ass. Parquet Courts tread similar territory to bands like Superchunk, Archers of Loaf and Goo-era Sonic Youth, as well as current rock revivalists like Milk Music or Call of the Wild. Light Up Gold has hooks and catchy guitar lines and that just right half-spoken-sung vocal drawl that's hard not to love. The steady Feelies rhythm grooves, Wire-y guitar lines and overall Jonathan Richmond careless vibe make the band feel instantly familiar, yet rarely tired or trite. Stay cool, grab the LP and catch 'em live! [RN]



Black Vinyl Shoes


Present Tense: Demos 1978-1979


One in Versailles




Black Vinyl Shoes
(Numero Group)

"Do You Wanna Get Lucky?"
"Captiol Gain"

Present Tense: Demos 1978-1979
(Numero Group)

"Cruel You"
"Every Girl"

In last week's Update, we featured One in Versailles and Bazooka from the Numero Group's great Shoes reissue series. And as promised, here are the next two. Released in 1977, Black Vinyl Shoes finds our favorite power-pop trailblazers firing on all cylinders. They had perfected the buzz-saw twin-guitar punch that the band utilized throughout their career (later influencing groups like Jesus & Mary Chain, and now an indie rock calling card), and album openers "Boys Don't Lie" and "Do You Wanna Get Lucky?" are prime examples of that approach. Pop classics "Tragedy" and "Writing a Postcard" are lean, sophisticated melodic wonders that placed this band firmly in the league of their idols Alex Chilton, Eric Carmen, and local heroes Cheap Trick, but Shoes were definitely playing their own game. Their streamlined DIY marketing approach, quirky homespun production and unfiltered earnestness and youth found them a receptive audience in the burgeoning punk/new wave underground that was taking place worlds away from their insular life in Zion, Illinois. Though self-recorded in Jeff Murphy's living room, self-released on their own Black Vinyl Records label and barely distributed, this is the LP that kick-started the band's career, landing them a single on Bomp! and eventually an album deal with Elektra. Five years prior to this release no one in Shoes had ever picked up an instrument, and soon they were counting Seymour Stein, Joey Ramone and Gene Simmons (!) as fans. Not bad for a band that began recording music before they knew how to "play," spent their early years together writing, recording and self-releasing their music in near-total isolation, and didn't perform a single show for the first three years of their existence. Maybe Shoes are a lot more punk than we thought.

By 1978, there was a major label bidding war for these power-pop masters and Elektra Records finally won out. But before Shoes headed to London to record their major label debut, Present Tense, the band tracked out the whole album in their four-track home studio in Zion, and the original demos are collected here. Present Tense was where most fans first heard Shoes, and while that album clearly stands out from their earlier home-recorded releases for its expansive sound, it's downright shocking to hear how accomplished and polished these songs sound as demos. The set kicks off with "Tomorrow Night," a sumptuous soundtrack for teenage fast-time action, with rich multi-tracked harmonies built around a riff reminiscent of the Kinks' "Tired of Waiting," while the heartfelt lyrics tell the story of not-so innocent intentions: "What do you say/ Wait 'til tomorrow night/How can I wait 'til tomorrow night?" Perhaps even more exciting for fans, this collection includes some previously unreleased gems that didn't make the final album, like the punchy stomper "Jet Set" and "Take you Away." It's all letter-perfect guitar pop for the ages, and if you love the classic sounds of bands like the Replacements or Nude Beach, you'll love this. [DH]




$21.99 LP


Artist Proof
(Drag City)

The first thing you should know about Chris Darrow is that he was a prominent member of the LA country rock, singer/songwriter and soft-psych scene of the late-'60s, recording with and/or backing up Leonard Cohen, John Fahey, Gram Parsons and countless others, as well as leading his own group, Kaleidoscope. The second thing you should know is that Darrow, during this time, released a number of solo records to little critical acclaim, many of which have slowly gained 'cult' status among country-rock enthusiasts. Thankfully, Drag City has resurrected Darrow's first proper LP from 1972, Artist Proof, and the album showcases his knack for writing absolutely perfect, melancholic hits. Artist Proof is a portrait of session guy as band leader, with Darrow singing heartily over a killer rockin' rhythm section which not only recalls Beacon from Mars-era Kaleidoscope, but also the best moments of the Burritos, CCR, Townes, Higgins, Kristofferson, etc. It's a must-hear classic with plenty of great percussion, fiddle, slide-guitar and finger-pickin' goodness to please country, folk and classic-rock fans alike. Artist Proof is a long-forgotten slice of 1970s California sunshine, a great road album, and one that hasn't been heard to death, chock full of brilliant and heartfelt songs of love and hate, drugs and women, country livin' and movin' on down the line (AND a cover of Jimmy Newman's "Alligator Man," popularized by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band as well as the late, great Alex Chilton). You think you've heard it all before, but rarely has it sounded so refreshing! [RN]




$26.99 LP

Dutch Tvashar Plumes

Following quickly on the heels of producer Lee Gamble's breakout EP Diversions 1994-1996 (and a rather successful 2012 overall) comes this new album from the man who somehow straddles the worlds between jungle and Carl Michael Von Hausswolff. Much like its predecessor (which was built from the interludes and breakdowns of old jungle tracks), Gamble finds realms within the minute, dilating such spaces. At times, he evokes the blips of AFX and Lithops, the harsher frequencies of Florian Hecker and Actress, somewhere between electroacoustic alchemy and braindance. His approach to processing occasionally recalls the melancholia inherent in post-rave events, and a few moments here have much in common with Mark Leckey's "Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore," but Gamble is a singular talent in the electronic field at the moment. [AB]






$9.99 MP3


Alive Again
(Dark Entries)

Alive Again, from this short-lived Danish duo, was recorded live to tape and released on cassette in a limited edition of 50 copies in 1983. The Product took obvious inspiration from the British post-punk and synth-pop underground of the time, while aiming toward the more refined sound of the new wave mainstream -- think New Order, OMD, et al. While they don't quite pull off the proficiency or technical dexterity of those bigger groups (thankfully!), Alive Again contains some nice, dark synth melodies and ambitious bedroom-studio trickery that belies the tape's humble micro-edition release. Sounding at times like a lo-fi OMD or a Cure cover band cutting out on their own to record an album with cheap synthesizers, Alive Again features all the brooding, electronic existentialism one could hope for from an obscure European synth group. They aren't breaking any new ground here, but the duo's downtrodden, do-it-yourself take on the classic synth-pop sound should please the more diehard minimal synth fans out there. [CPa]






The Virginia EP
(Beggars Banquet)

For the first time since its original release in 2008, The Virginia EP is getting the vinyl treatment, now available on black-and-yellow splattered 180 gram vinyl. The collection compiles b-sides, demos, covers and a few live performances which were recorded around the same time the band was recording and promoting their 2007 breakthrough Boxer; the first three tracks, including "You've Done It Again, Virginia," echo the same signature slow and elegant style the National perfected on that album. An alternate version of "Slow Show" shimmers and charms in spite of its minimal production quality and offers a rare glimpse into the group's writing process, while a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Mansion on the Hill" demonstrates the band's versatility. Yet perhaps the highlights here are the three live tracks that close the set, most notably "Fake Empire" and "About Today," showcasing what the National does best -- delivering flawless, emotionally vulnerable live performances. [KB]
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[KB] Kari Boston
[AB] Adrian Burkholder
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[DH] Duane Harriott
[JM] Josh Madell
[DM] Doug Mosurock
[RN] Ryan Naideau
[CPa] Chris Pappas

- all of us at Other Music

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