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   March 7, 2013  
Jean-Claude Vannier
The Men (w/ bonus CD-EP)
Dean Blunt
Deutsche Elektronische Musik Vol. 2
Youth Lagoon
Dirty Beaches
Chelsea Light Moving
MCMXCI (1991)
John Foxx & the Maths
Neck Freund / The Search Party
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper
Dom La Nena
The Thing from the Crypt (Various)
Darwin Deez
The Cave Singers
Blue Hawaii
Sigur Ros DVD
Helado Negro
The Trash Company (Back in Stock)
Beat Mark (Back in Stock)
Laurie Spiegel (LP Back in Stock)


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Other Music is giving away an extremely limited vinyl test pressing of the much-anticipated new David Bowie full-length, The Next Day, which hits store shelves this coming Tuesday. To enter, just purchase the CD or LP from us in the shop or on-line here, and you'll automatically be entered into the raffle. We're taking pre-orders so the contest starts now and will run through to the end of the day, March 19th -- we'll pick the winner on March 20th. PLEASE NOTE: THE WINNER MUST BE LOCAL TO NYC AND AVAILABLE TO PICK UP THE TEST PRESSING IN PERSON AT OTHER MUSIC.

MAR Sun 10 Mon 11 Tues 12 Wed 13 Thurs 14 Fri 15 Sat 16
  Sun 17 Mon 18 Tues 19 Wed 20 Thurs 21 Fri 22 Sat 23

Discover gems of North African music on film in this series of rarities influenced by the aesthetic of film and record label Sublime Frequencies. BAMcinematek is offering 5 free pairs of tickets to our Update readers! Come see these extraordinary films, with special guests Olivia Wyatt, Robert Gardner, and Hisham Mayet. Email enter@othermusic.com for your chance to win, and make sure to list which film you'd like to see.

BAMCINEMATEK: Peter Jay Sharp Building 30 Lafayette Ave. BKLN

MAR Sun 24 Mon 25 Tues 26 Wed 27 Thurs 28 Fri 29 Sat 30

With an incredible new album, Push the Sky Away, just released, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds are coming to New York City performing three dates in late March at the Beacon Theatre with Sharon Van Etten opening! Other Music has a pair of tickets to give away to the Friday, March 29th performance, and you can enter for your chance to win by emailing tickets@othermusic.com.

BEACON THEATRE: 2124 Broadway (btw. W. 74th & 75th Streets) NYC







Interprete Les Musiques de Georges Brassens
(Universal France)

"Les Amoureux Des Bancs Publics"
"Je Me Suis Fait Tout Petit"

Oh man, YES!! I am absolutely thrilled to finally be able to offer up one of my favorite (and one of the most underrated) works by esteemed composer/arranger Jean-Claude Vannier, which has been long out-of-print, now remastered and reissued on CD. Jean-Claude Vannier Interprete Les Musiques De Georges Brassens is just that: twelve instrumental arrangements and reinterpretations of songs written and made famous by esteemed French songwriter Brassens, originally released in 1974 as the follow-up to Vannier's once forgotten (and now rightfully esteemed) solo masterpiece L'Enfant Assassin De Mouches. Where that LP upped the ante on his prog-funk musings that first blossomed on Serge Gainsbourg's Melody Nelson album, this record instead takes a more relaxed yet none less psychedelic approach, and in fact is one of the finest examples of his absolute genius as an arranger. Many of these pieces are slow-moving fusions of Vanier's trademark strings, orchestral percussion, and mind-warping microtonal accordion playing, with exotic strains of woodwinds and brass dancing around fragmented flourishes of harpsichord, bells, and music-box chimes. One doesn't have to be familiar with Brassens' original versions of these songs to appreciate the magic being conjured here, but hearing the differences between his solo voice-and-guitar versions and Vannier's kaleidoscopic through-the-looking-glass interpretations is simply astonishing, as Vannier gets intensely avant-garde via his usage of instrumental texture whilst never losing the integrity of the original melodies. This album has been long overdue for reappraisal, and anyone claiming to be a fan of Vannier's work absolutely needs this in their collection. There's sadly no vinyl available (and originals will set you back a pretty penny), but the new CD sounds fantastic, and (obviously) comes most highly recommended. [IQ]





New Moon
(Sacred Bones)

"I Saw Her Face"

The Men return with a great new album, their fourth in four years, and it's arguably their finest offering to date. Overflowing with sun-bleached harmonies, wonderful instrumental fluidity, and a tight yet scrappy sound, the group delivers an upbeat blend of Athens, GA college jangle, Laurel Canyon wanderlust, and fuzzy Mary Chain/Dinosaur clouds of noisy guitar riffage, anchored by a tough, pumping rhythm section. The real treat and surprise here, though, is the lap steel playing by Kevin Faulkner, which adds substantial color and shade to the songs, bringing their sound to a deeper, more sophisticated sphere while giving the band a more liquid, silvery tone. As is tradition in the group, frontman duties are handled by all, and the variety displayed in the songs' arrangements and delivery is eclectic yet surprisingly consistent; it's to the Men's credit that they've honed their skills as performers and arrangers enough to give this lovely album a uniform vibe that never wavers. This is tailor-made to be primo sunset music, seemingly crafted for that moment where the last rays of daylight just wash over your body and you throw your head back, smiling with eyes squinted shut. Fans of the band's prior work will find much to love here, but if you've never picked anything up by the group in the past, I most highly recommend that you grab this post-haste. Includes a bonus five-song acoustic CD-EP, while supplies last. [IQ]




$19.99 LP


The Narcissist II
(Hippos in Tanks)

The Narcissist II is the latest offering from Dean Blunt, one half of the magically mysterious duo Hype Williams. Essentially a solo album, though partner-in-beats Inga Copeland does sing on one track, this collection of songs and sound pieces retains the soulful outsider nature of their group efforts, as Blunt in solo mode offers mood music with a rhythmic and bluesy through line. Referencing R&B and blues, as well as sound collage, and a little post-punk, this dark yet heartfelt excursion feels like little else around. Dialogue from the Hughes brothers' Dead Presidents is utilized to great and eerie effect throughout the album, creating a subtext for the themes of domestic violence and love longed for and lost. It's an intimate record full of moody moments that bring to mind Isaac Hayes as much as Howlin' Wolf. Unlike the Hype Williams material, this feels more complete, like their shadows-and-fog mystique is dissipating, leaving glimpses of warm-blooded humans underneath. That may the biggest difference between Hype Williams and Dean Blunt, one seems alien while the other more earthly. Originally self-released as a free download, the vinyl version feels much more immediate and real. It's an update of black outsider music from the '70s; this fits nicely next to brothers from other planets a la Lonnie Holley, Jeff Phelps, or Bobby Callender, yet this is not your dad's afro-folk-electro-psych album. Dean Blunt continues to display some nu-era, next level, organic-electronic blues shit, and as always keeps it oh so real. I just can't get enough. [DG]




$25.99 LPx2 - Vol A
$25.99 LPx2 - Vol B


Deutsche Elektronische Musik Vol 2
(Soul Jazz)

"Sundance Chant" Gila
"China" Electric Sandwich

From their long-running Studio One series of classic and forgotten Jamaican sounds to the recent three-CD Voguing collection anthologizing the underground world of NYC's house ballroom era (complemented by a coffee table book), Soul Jazz treats the oft-benign music compilation as an art form. Granted, we were a little skeptical a few years back, when the British label ventured into the world of Krautrock, an expansive yet particular strain of German psychedelia and experimental rock that's been pretty well documented, but Deutsche Elektronische Musik did not disappoint, balancing purveyors such as Tangerine Dream, Ashra Tempel, Can, Neu!, Popoul Vuh, and Amon Duul II with more obscure cuts from the likes of Gila, Michael Bundt, Ibliss, E.M.A.K., and Between. Now comes volume two, covering the same era, 1972-83, while also adding a second generation of acts like Asmus Tietchens, D.A.F., and Reichmann, who turned the page on the often grandiose explorations of the '70s, greeting the new decade with a sense of restraint via the burgeoning minimal synth, post-punk and avant-garde scenes. While the return of Can, Neu!, Faust, Conrad Schnitzler, Roedelius, Amon Duul II, and Popol Vuh ensures that this installment will serve as another excellent primer, there's also greater focus on lesser known names. A.R. & Machines (a/k/a Achim Reichel) kicks off both discs with his spaced-out echo-guitar wizardry while the early-'70s psychedelia that Peter Bursch's Broselmaschine conjures during the eight-minute "Nossa Bova" is more earthbound as 12-string guitars are picked and strummed alongside hand percussion and a lilting female singer that trades pastoral melodies with a recorder flute. Perhaps one of the best examples of the kosmische sound comes from Sergius Golowin, whose blissful "Die Weisse Alm" from 1973 is taken from an album-length collaboration (Lord Krishna von Goloka) with a team of German musicians that included Klaus Schulze, and finds the Swiss writer chanting atop improvised synths and acoustic guitars, while Niagara's "Gibli" from the year before is a percussion-heavy bongo-Kraut workout that brings to mind Liquid Liquid if they had come up before NY's post-punk scene and focused on deconstructing jazz-fusion.

As mentioned earlier, there's a heavy concentration on the wave of music that followed what is usually associated as Krautrock. During "Himmelblau" we find Wolfgang Riechmann updating the motorik excursions of his good friend Michael Rother's bands Neu! and Harmonia into a chilly, early morning ride across the autobahn that Gary Numan fans might want to take. Elsewhere, one time Cosmic Joker and Klaus Schulze and Manuel Gottsching collaborator Harald Grosskopf (whose "Emphasis" is taken off of 1980's Synthesis reissued a few years back on RVNG), shakes off the excesses of the '70s with warm glowing synths and a lockstep groove, while You's "Electric Day" (which happens to be produced by Grosskopf) could be likened to E2-E4 played at 45rpm, with bubbling arpeggios pulsing atop some impressively tight, lightning speed jazz drumming. Add to the collection D.A.F.'s Neue Deutsche Welle classic "Coco Pino," "Base & Apex" by Brian Eno and Cluster's Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Agitation Free's "You Play Us for Today," two Gila tracks (featuring guitarist and one time Popul Vuh member Connny Veit with Popul Vuh bandmates Florian Fricke and Daniel Fichelscher, and vocalist Sabine Merbach), and Electric Sandwich's instrumental prog-rock monster "China" off their highly collectible self-titled LP, and you won't find a better selection of groundbreaking music from 1970s/early-'80s Germany in our racks. The big booklet featuring lots of photographs and liner notes written by Krautrock: Cosmic Rock and Its Legacy author David Stubbs makes this downright essential. [GH]

*Deutsche Elektronische Musik Vol 2 is available as a two-CD set or two separate double LPs.




$18.99 LPx2


Wondrous Bughouse
(Fat Possum)


Trevor Powers' 2011 debut as Youth Lagoon was a fairly stunning slice of DIY indie-pop perfection that was so much more than the sum of its parts; even at first listen you knew Powers was something special. We've all heard the sound a million times -- thin, warbly, hazy and childlike, The Year of Hibernation was the rare take on this approach that truly deserved to leave its bedroom lab, and upon release it immediately threw the young Idaho native into an international spotlight. Nearly two years later, Powers had the unenviable task of trying to follow that homespun hit, and again he's far exceeded any reasonable expectations, adding heft and depth to his music without turning his back on what made us love Youth Lagoon in the first place: earworm melodies, hallucinogenic washes of sound, and Powers' thoughtful and honest freak-child persona. If anything, Wondrous Bughouse is even more compelling than the debut, more mature and fully realized without ever growing up.

Produced by Ben H. Allen, whose previous work with bands like Animal Collective and Deerhunter is a clear precedent to Wondrous Bughouse, the first thing you'll notice are the live drums up in the mix, giving these songs both impact and rhythmic complexity that was somewhat absent from the older material. And the sound palette is broadened in other ways, with a physical bass presence, lots of great live instrumentation, and a more all-encompassing psychedelic sound that can remind of actual rock bands, like Flaming Lips or even Built to Spill, and evokes (if not really sounding like) icons from Barrett to the Beatles. And yet, along with retaining his penchant for effects and weird studio trickery, Powers has also managed to keep his own deeply engaging persona intact in this new widescreen presentation, still open-hearted, fragile and fiercely creative. Wondrous Bughouse is a great record from top to bottom, a definite must for anyone who liked the older stuff, and well worth a listen regardless, bringing the once lo-fi aesthetic into the now, and the future, without sacrificing an inch of its distinct personality and power. [JM]




$8.99 CD
$14.99 10" LP


Water Park OST
(A Recordings)

"Floating Underwater Watching Waves"
"Like the Wind"

"Dirty Beaches is the sound of waves against a picturesque and putrid shore." So read the liner notes to Solid State Gold, a Rose Mansion Analog cassette compilation of Alex Zhang Hungtai's songs as Dirty Beaches from 2010 -- today, in 2013, they are almost a prophecy for the unbelievably beautiful soundtrack he has created for Canadian filmmaker Evan Prosofsky's film, Water Park. The movie is comprised of poetic Super 16mm images of the six-acre World Water Park inside the West Edmonton Mall -- the second-largest indoor water playground on the planet.

Afloat underneath the meditative eye of the camera, Hungtai creates a burbling, enigmatic score using a Korg analog synthesizer, a loop and delay pedal, and only the barest hint of electric guitar. Waves slowly form and fade within the main theme and opening track "Water Park Theme," slowly submerging the listener into the pulsing "Floating Under the Water Watching Waves"; it's a subtle and brilliant sequencing move, creating a sense of drama and momentum across Side One. The rhythm of "Floating" is created by a mid-range pinging tone that recalls a recurring motif from another recent soundtrack favorite: the equally meditative and minimal Hired Hand soundtrack by Bruce Langhorne. While I'm a huge fan of the cig smokin', tattooed crooner of his Badlands LP, the analog experimentation side of Hungtai's Dirty Beaches persona is equally rewarding -- peeling away the gritty Martin Rev-inspired scuzz reveals a mature sound artist, whose cinematic sense of atmosphere and space make Water Park OST a gorgeous, must-hear record. [MS]






Chelsea Light Moving

"Frank O' Hara Hit"

With Sonic Youth's future uncertain at best, the arrival of Thurston Moore's new band Chelsea Light Moving probably carries with it a little more expectation for fans who are long used to the noise-rock luminary's outpouring of side projects and solo outings between SY album releases. Thurston, on the other hand, seems to be letting his hair down with this one, assembling a group of friends and regular collaborators including Samara Lubelski, Keith Wood (Hush Arbors, Wooden Wand), and John Moloney (Sunburned Hand of the Man), and delivering a nicely varied, band-rocking-in-a-room kind of set -- true to how they sounded last Sunday during their Other Music in-store. While this eponymous album bares closer resemblance to his iconic group than most anything else he's released that doesn't carry the Sonic Youth name, Chelsea Light Moving (named after Philip Glass' pre-fame man-with-van business) often traipse into much heavier territory with Moore and Wood's dissonant guitars frequently melting together into a boiling, tube-heated sludge -- "Alighted" conjures Bleach-era Nirvana while "Empires of Time" rams the low-frequency stoner rumble of Black Sabbath through Thurston's art-rock pedigree.

Tracks like "Sleeping Where I Fall," however, tow closer to early-'90s Sonic Youth, sans the byzantine counter fretwork of Lee Ranaldo, while opener "Heavenmetal" manages to distill some of the hallucinatory grace of Washing Machine's "The Diamond Sea" into a two-minute pop song. Indeed, Chelsea Light Moving seem to be having fun for much of the album, careening through "Lip" like a young hardcore band whose parents took away their distortion pedals, and later closing out with a pretty faithful cover of the Germs' "Communist Eyes." Speaking of, Darby Crash gets a shout-out during "Mohawk" from Thurston as he unabashedly channels his inner William S. Burroughs, reciting a gravely voiced monologue over the hypnotic thrum of guitars. (Burroughs also has a whole song named after him here, as does New York School poet Frank O'Hara.) Whether Chelsea Light Moving turns into Moore's next fulltime gig is anyone's guess, but this debut is far, far better than any mere stopgap. Kill yr idols? Not this one. [GH]






Skogen, Flickan och Flaskan
(Opal Tapes)

MCMXCI is an alias of Swedish producer Axel Backman, who has built a buzz via a series of digital and cassette-only releases over the past year, and recently stepped into the vinyl arena. His High Tech High Life LP (released under his 1991 guise) is unfortunately long gone and this one probably won't last much longer either. Compared to the aquatic ambiance of High Tech High Life, however, Skogen, Flickan och Flaskan is an altogether more direct affair; here we find Backman stepping into a dark, brimstone-saturated dance club, throwing its weight around with jagged, fuzz-encrusted beats and a less cluttered atmosphere. While the atmospheric haze of High Tech is missing, these six tracks are no less dense; where the other LP relied on weightless textures, this one is all weight and rhythm, sounding comparable in its grittiness to recent mutant techno platters by Silent Servant, Vatican Shadow, or classic Regis. That ugly dirtiness is anchored by a solid, jacking bass foundation and a diseased funk groove that nods in the direction of Theo Parrish at his most brutally abstract (I'm talking circa Sketches), or even Hieroglyphic Being. This record is gnarly and nasty, blending hefty doses of industrial weight, house hypnotics, and a bit of classic Warp IDM abstraction into an album that bludgeons you upon first listen, but then slowly grows on you with each successive spin, as the beats give way to more subdued hints of the slurred synthesis displayed on Backman's other releases. Keep a sharp eye on this guy; if he keeps up this solid winning streak, we're in for some serious tunes in the future. I'll even go so far as to label this 'essential' for the abstract techno fans out there. Don't say that I didn't warn you! [IQ]







"T Ess Xi"

After a solid decade of releases that pushed their experimental tendencies (and their fanbase) to all possible extremes, Rob Booth and Sean Brown deliver a sharp return to their classic form with one of their most balanced yet eclectic albums since Chiastic Slide and LP5. Their love and emphasis on texture remains as powerful as ever, balancing crystalline synthetics with a naturalist fluidity that helps even the most dense and claustrophobic pieces breathe. What's most satisfying here is their returned embrace of knotted rhythmic complexity. While not as nostalgic or straightforward in its kineticism as 2010's excellent Move of Ten, the duo tips its cap to everything from house and industrial techno to more hip-hop oriented fare like footwork and electro; the results are powerful, yet like any Autechre album, it delivers in both quality AND quantity, stretching things across two lengthy CDs, never offering a direct line from points A to B. Personally, Exai feels as though it's meant to be ingested in small doses rather than in marathon sessions, but however one chooses to enjoy and process the record, one thing is for certain: the duo remains as enigmatic and in control as ever, crafting yet another impressive feast that caters to both the complex beatheads in their fanbase as well as those who enjoy the more intellectual ambient texture compositions in their catalogue, while simultaneously throwing them curveballs and surprises at the same time. That they remain so captivating and challenging after over twenty years of recording is to be commended. Even if you've been thrown off by some of their past few albums, this one is not to be missed. [IQ]




$15.99 LP


Images Du Futur
(Secretly Canadian)

"Edie's Dream"

Suuns singer Ben Shemie snarls his vocals in a manner that recalls Ade Blackburn of Clinic -- oftentimes, the words on songs like "2020," "Holocene City," and "Bambi" sound dipped in acid and spat through one of Blackburn's surgical masks. Few singers today can pull off Alan Vega's percussive style of vocalizing, but those who do -- in particular, Alex Zhang Hungtai of Dirty Beaches, Luis Vasquez of the Soft Moon, and Shemie himself -- succeed because of the brooding and percussive nature of the music that surrounds them. While Clinic is an obvious influence on Suuns, the band also does an excellent job of (unwittingly) bringing Chicago house "oomph" and just a little bit of throbbing funk to the table, too.

The house thing comes through most on the aforementioned "2020," which is driven by a righteous four-on-the-floor beat and a badass "thrumming" sound that pulses at exactly the intensity to turn a brain positioned between the headphones to jelly. Some vicious Wire-esque guitars do a great job of aping sirens, and every so often some poor set of wind chimes gets smacked to imitate breaking glass. When he's not anxiously gritting his teeth, Shemie sounds like Thom Yorke's understudy, a la "Minor Work" and the kite-high dabble in dub, "Edie's Dream." On Images Du Futur, as on the Soft Moon's recent Zeroes (Zeroes also coincidentally being Suuns' original band name), the groups behind the singers keep the songs tightly coiled through motorik precision, hypnotic repetition, and sheer volume, while the vocalists heighten the anxious energy tenfold. [MS]







"Neon Vertigo"

Highly influential songwriter and analogue synthesist John Foxx returns with another strong album of material that nods to his classic early Metamatic era while simultaneously acknowledging recent revivalist trends in sounds which he helped popularize and pioneer. Evidence sees Foxx working in tandem with a number of newer talents, among them the Soft Moon, Matthew Dear, and Xeno & Oaklander; the results are often captivating, with Foxx delivering one of his most stripped down, no frills productions yet. His collaborators often share vocal duties, and Foxx himself frequently obscures his own voice via vocoders and other effects processing. It's one of his most dark records, yet also features a bit of sly, winking lyrical humor. Longtime fans will find much to love here, and newbies should get on board not only for the excellent collabs, but for the overall consistency and attention to detail. His last few albums with the Maths have been excellent, and this one just continues the trend. Excellent sounds all around. [IQ]





The News Is You: The Sacred & Secular Music of Nick Freund
(Lion Productions)

"Mr. Elvira"
"You & I"

"People go through life from day to day, getting up, going to work, coming home, eating, going to bed. There's more to life and it's the artist's job to make people see it. Some people say the record is depressing; it's not depressing, it's deep. It quiets you down and makes you think." - Father Nick Freund

Nick Freund is like the Sister Wendy of underground music -- a deeply religious person who saw art as a window into spirituality and a bridge between the church and the secular world. As a young Catholic priest in the 1950s and '60s, Freund was inspired by the restless nature of his generation's philosophical search for depth, mind expansion, and meaning in a world that was moving at the speed of sound. Inspired by the teenagers around him, Freund commissioned a private press recording of his seminary choir performing an avant-garde mass based around the first 12 chapters of the New Testament book Acts of the Apostles. Released in 1968, Each One Heard in His Own Language opens with "Pentecost Sunday, Double Alleluia," punctuated by an eerie spoken word biblical chant electrified by piercing electronic sounds from burgeoning avant-garde composer and Stockhausen student Dary John Mizelle. It's as jarring and spooky as any David Axelrod or United States of America composition... but weirder, simply because it was recorded live before a Sunday parish at the St. Pius X Seminary where Freund taught! The rest of the album is a dark choral ride that sounds like a teenaged Langley School choir unwittingly spiked with acid-laced holy water. In other words, it's pretty badass!!

Yet, as bizarre and wonderful as this record is, Freund wasn't done yet. The following year his students urged him to check out the exploding acid rock scene going on in San Francisco; on a whim he went to the Fillmore and caught a bill featuring Janis Joplin, Cream and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Suffice it to say, he was blown away, and decided to form a psychedelic Christian folk-rock band with a few of his students, including the young guitarist and soloist from the Each One session, Peter Apps. Freund also found an enchanting young female folk vocalist named Joanie Goff, and with Freund as chief songwriter, rhythm guitarist and organist, the nucleus of the group was in place. They called themselves the Search Party and self-released the wonderful Montgomery Chapel in an edition of 600. It's since become a holy grail for collectors of private press psychedelic rock, and for good reasons. If you can imagine a lo-fi United States of America/Jefferson Airplane hybrid, you've almost got an idea of how cool this band's sound was.

Though it's considered an early example of Christian rock, Montgomery Chapel is quite dark and introspective lyrically, and downright eerie sounding at times. Tracks like "You and I" and the ominous nine-minute drifter "So Many Things Have Got Me Down" tackle the very human dilemmas of an unfulfilled married life, depression and spiritual apathy. It's not exactly peace, love and Pentecostal posturing, and it's all the better for it. The album plays out like a Christian therapy session, with tons of leftfield acid-fuzz primitive rockers, and this band had a vision and a sound that was all their own. The group only performed once, before disbanding but the legend of this recording has remained. The album has been bootlegged for years and artists as disparate as Current 93's David Tibet and Sonic Boom have heaped praise on it. Thankfully this lost classic has now gotten a proper reissue. Any fans of the aforementioned, or those into weirdo countercultural phenomenon, should definitely check this collection out. [DH]




$21.99 LPx2+MP3


Ripley Pine
(Ba Da Bing!)

"Bird Balloons"

Aly Spaltro a/k/a Lady Lamb the Beekeeper has been bouncing around the East Coast folk and indie scenes for a few years now, first making waves in and around her hometown of Portland, Maine, and eventually building a loyal following in the Boston area before relocating to Brooklyn. Spaltro's earliest recordings were mostly made at home alone, copied onto CD-R and dropped off without warning in lovely handmade packages on the counter of Brunswick, Maine's Bullmoose Records. Her spare, deeply personal songs were presented there unvarnished, with stripped-down instrumentation, powerful and deeply expressive singing, and a deep well of youthful heartbreak and emotion; Spaltro's allure is as simple as that -- an incredibly soulful voice, tasteful songwriting that manages to explore the most basic human emotions while rarely wallowing in them, presented with little pretense or adornment. On Lady Lamb the Beekeeper's proper debut album, Ripley Pine, the now 23-year-old Spaltro took the best from her catalog of self-released music, and revisited the songs in a real studio with a great group behind her, adding polish and power without ever lessening the raw impact of her music.

If you've heard the earlier tapes, the album will be a welcome surprise, injecting majesty and crunch where it's needed, with a full band (even horns or strings at times) fleshing out these heartbreaking tales without ever overpowering their subtleties, and Spaltro's voice is more expressive and commanding than ever before. The most ready comparison is probably fellow Ba Da Bing! associate Sharon Van Etten, who has a similar presence, simultaneously intimate and powerfully commanding, and while Spaltro comes from a slightly more "folkie" place, with instrumental touches like the finger-picked banjo in "Regarding Ascending the Stairs" giving her away (coming off like a more assertive Gillian Welch), this record has the same clear-eyed elegance as Van Etten's recent stuff. But really, all you can say about music this pure is that it's good -- really quite good. Spaltro lets her emotions soar here, seemingly emboldened by the band behind her, going from a whisper to a growl with such ease and honestly it is positively invigorating. Ripley Pine feels like Lady Lamb the Beekeeper's coming out party, and I think many of you should relish the invite. [JM]




$12.99 CD


(Six Degrees)

"Anjo Gabriel"

Brazilian singer/composer Dom La Nena began as a classical cellist who studied with American master Christine Walevska and has backed esteemed French vocalists like Jane Birkin and Jeanne Moreau. She recently connected with French singer-songwriter Piers Faccini for Ela, her debut album, and it's a lovely blend of classically-infused chamber pop, gentle bossa nova flourishes, and hypnotic waltz rhythms, held together by La Nena's delicate, charming vocals and lyrical cello playing, and layers of intertwining percussive miniatures. Her songs are rich with an intimacy that never feels precious (never an easy feat), and the production and arrangements enhance the proceedings by being lush and eclectic enough to elevate the melodies without ever veering into distraction. If you've ever enjoyed an album by Juana Molina, Yann Tiersen, Nara Leao, or even Hope Sandoval (not to mention Faccini's own work as a solo artist), this will be very much up your alley. Those looking for a slice of gorgeous, haunting, sophisticated majesty should also grab this; it's a promising debut for La Nena, and I'm very curious to see where she goes next. [IQ]






The Thing from the Crypt
(Dark Entries)

Dark Entries are kings at uncovering forgotten gems in DIY/synth/new wave/post-punk history, and staying true to their streak of excellent reissues we can now get our hands on The Thing from the Crypt, a 16-track collection showcasing music from the early-'80s post-punk scene of Watford, England. If you enjoyed the Lives of Angels record (reissued on Dark Entries a few months back), this comp features the very beginnings of a handful of groups also experimenting on the cusp of disparate genres, mostly post-punk but with a smattering of minimal synth, coldwave, and shambling DIY pop. Originally released in 1981, the album contains two tracks from each of the eight bands, rare and demo versions by youngsters who eventually blossomed into a few legendary, but still underground groups.

Exhibit A were the earliest incarnation of Solid Space and 12 Cubic Feet (who at times shared members with Television Personalities). The remarkable Sad Lovers and Giants (who went on to be a very successful underground goth/new wave group) make their debut appearance here with two tracks unavailable elsewhere. One of the standout tracks, though, is the homemade synth lullaby "Functioning Fripp Girls" by Mex (a nom de plume for The Thing from the Crypt's original label head, Paul Mex) who went on to produce records for Wham! and George Michael. Each LP includes a reproduction of the original 12-page booklet, housed in a full-color printed jacket using the original silk-screened artwork. This '80s UK DIY collection makes a perfect companion piece to the similar Rupert Preaching at a Picnic comp, which also deserves reissue treatment, in addition to the cassette-only precursor Bouquet of Barbed Wire. [ACo]




$18.99 LP+CD


Songs for Imaginative People
(Lucky Number)

"You Can't Be My Girl"

The second long player from Darwin Smith, a/k/a Darwin Deez, is a major leap forward from the oddball, at times Strokesy sounding home recordings that he showcased on his eponymous debut album from 2009. The Chapel Hill-bred Smith recently relocated from NYC back down to NC (Asheville this time) where he wrote and tracked Songs for Imaginative People, which is sonically night and day from his first record. The licks from his four-stringed guitar have been turned up and are all at once crystalline and funky, and it's as if he upgraded his old hand-me-down tower PC with wannabe GarageBand software to a fully loaded MacBook Pro. All said though, the mustached and hippie-curled Darwin still lives in his weirdo world, immediately apparent with album opener "(800) Human," a catchy slice of indietronica on steroids in which he teeters between over-annunciated sing-speak and playful falsetto, offering coy observations like, "'Cause all anybody ever knows is how the jingle goes" over skittering Aphex Twin-like beats and snaky guitars. Elsewhere, "Can't Be My Girl" plays like an unrequited 8-bit love story, where tight barre chords strum atop a steady drum-sample rhythm and then unexpectedly detour into a Beck-esque refrain of electronic squelches and robot breaks, and later we find Darwin quoting Nietzsche atop the bedroom-punk-pop stomp of "Free (The Editorial Me)" before winding down into a bucolic refrain of chiming guitars and a lulling downbeat. From start to finish, Songs for Imaginative People is infectious ennui coming from this self-professed lover of Meher Baba, who's simply trying to make sense of the toll that technology has taken on the human condition -- and perhaps make you dance a little too. [MF]







"No Tomorrow"

Now expanded into a quartet, the Cave Singers seem to have an added layer of depth on their fourth full length. They are just a bunch of punk kids gone roots -- a dicey proposal for sure -- but the band always had a knack with airy, seemingly effortless arrangements and hauntingly quiet acoustic performances that still had teeth and seething power. This expanded lineup enables them to add even more subtle texture and rhythm to the songs, alluding at times to anything from African hi-life to New Orleans swagger without sacrificing their Cave Singer heart.




$13.99 CD
$16.99 LP



"Yours to Keep"

The Canadia duo of Ralph Standell-Preston (also of Braids) and Alexander Cowan bring us their debut full-length and follow-up to 2010's Blooming Summer EP. It's a chillier turn for the band, the earlier cheerful pop sounds mostly eschewed for something more beguiling, as Cowan's rich, lulling voice is layered and gently looped atop light, ethereal electronics and rhythms; even during the more beat-driven moments, you're dancing with your eyes wide shut. Think of a more somnambulant Grimes meets His Name Is Alive and you're partway there.




$16.99 LP+MP3


Lesser Evil

"Holographic Sand Castles"

Doldrums (a/k/a Airick Woodhead) travels in many different directions with his avant-electronic pop, sometimes steering into the dark abyss that you might find on a Tri Angle release, and then touching the sky with psychedelic sunkissed electro before heading into an abstract, Bjork-esque pop-scape. Still, it all fits together nicely, the music lingering in your mind like a dream and making for one of the more ambitious and exciting albums coming from the same Montreal scene that birthed Grimes and the above-mentioned Blue Hawaii.






Valtari Film Experiment
(XL Recordings)

To help promote their 2012 LP, Valtari, Sigur Ros ran a sort of contest which resulted in these 16 fan films, short video pieces that are inspired by the band's music, without any actual direct input from the group. As such it's a mixed bag, but with Sigur Ros' moody soundtrack as the starting point, most of these films have a similar dark beauty, and narrowed down from more than 800 submissions, there is consistent quality and inspiration throughout.




$9.99 CD
$15.99 LP


White Mountain
(Western Vinyl)

"Black Shore"
"Water Memory"

Ulfur Hansson is best known as a sometime Jonsi collaborator, and White Mountain is his lovely "solo" debut, a warm studio creation that combines a host of natural field recordings, building percussion from stones dropping into an Icelandic pond, or birds on the wing, coupled with his own subtle instrumentation, and contributions from Mountain Man vocalist Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Björk collaborator Sigrún Jónsdóttir. Slow-moving ambiance that manages to have both the loopy hypnotic qualities of great sample-based productions and the airy sense of place that comes from great field recordings, it's a wonderful listen for fans of both true ambient music, and hazy downtempo stuff like Morr Music is known for.




$16.99 LP


Invisible Life
(Asthmatic Kitty)

"Llumina Vos"

Roberto Lange's Helado Negro has been slowly morphing into an atmospheric post-disco project, and on Invisible Life he really finds his groove, with a set of weirdly infectious tracks that sound like a Spanish Arthur Russell (actually Lange sings a bit in English here as well), an indie Eno/Byrne or perhaps a sun-drenched John Maus. Smoky, loopy, and beautiful. Guest appearances from Bear in Heaven's Jon Philpot, Mouse on Mars' Jan St. Werner, and Devendra Banhart.




$19.99 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]





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]




$19.99 LP


The Expanding Universe
(Unseen Worlds)


There is a wonderful disclaimer in the liner notes to this lovely expanded edition of electronic music pioneer Laurie Spiegel's 1980 masterpiece, The Expanding Universe. Working from the original master tapes, Spiegel writes, "I have intentionally left in bits of tape hiss, distortion or buzz from a leaking sampling rate oscillator," because she believes that, sometime in the near future, a sonic "touch-up" program will be invented that can thoroughly polish such annoyances out of the music. As a scientist at Bell Laboratories in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, Spiegel pioneered the application of algorithms and computers in electronic music, and helped create the first affordable, consumer music-making software programs. For her, the technological universe is the same ever-expanding playground that she titled her record after -- there are only improvements to be made.

The notes to this set are essential, as they are packed with the technical specs of the equipment at Bell (the phrase most often used to describe the computers of the mid-1970s is "room-sized"), a confrontational interview Spiegel conducted with herself, as well as notes on every piece and the technological obstacles that were hurdled over. Of the music, she writes, "This is not ambient music...this is music for concentrated attention." Spiegel strikes many moods across the nine tracks that make up the original LP -- on "Patchwork," several different synthesizer tones bloom from one another as the song progresses, and I promise that what Spiegel says is true: this record rewards concentrated study. What strikes me is the physicality of the sounds and the way you can hear Spiegel opening and closing gates, adjusting tones. Her compositions are never frantic and the changes are never abrupt; notes and themes glide into existence and glide out. She also strikes gloomy, unpredictable energy into pieces like "Pentachrome," which features impressively out-of-step percussion taps that bounce around the soundscape like the echoes of falling water droplets in a cave. The second disc is filled with songs from the same period, but whose nature is more of a leisurely, beautiful wander through untamed gardens. Every piece on the second disc is essential listening, and I return to "East River Dawn" and both parts of "The Dirge" regularly for their haunted fragility.

This is one of the best reissues of the past year, and a must-have for fans of the recent Suzanne Ciani retrospectives, or followers of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and psychedelic composers like Manuel Gottsching. Highly recommended listening! [MS]




$13.99 CD
$17.99 LP

Terra Firma

Stornoway's sophomore album refines their already highly refined pop productions, pushing boundaries both sonically and lyrically, pining for adventure while looking deeply inside one's own heart and soul; heavy, heady stuff, it's a great new album, and you can pre-order your copy now! (Will be shipped to arrive at your door on or near its March 19th release date.)

How long have you shopped at Other Music? 
Since I was a kid, growing up on Long Island, coming into the city to buy clothes and music ... but I've been shopping with gusto for the past year.

Favorite bands/genres:
My music taste runs rampant over all genres. I can listen to Autechre one minute and Elvis the next. I fell in love with electronic beats young -- Depeche Mode, Erasure, and whatnot. That carried over into drum and bass, trip hop, and IDM -- now it's dubstep.

Favorite record cover artwork:
This is harder than I thought it would be. I think I need to go back to my tape buying days and say Primus. I always loved their covers. Kind of on the flipside, I always like what Warp did. Anything geometric usually gets my attention.

Favorite sections at Other Music:
Definitely electronic. I always find something obscure and leave with more than I planned.

Top 3 albums/bands you were turned onto at Other Music:
I could ramble off my whole 2012-2013 collection here. So many. But let's go with Modeselektor, Pantha du Prince, and -- I'm going to cheat a bit -- those Rinse collections have never steered me wrong.

Why record stores over online shopping?
The same reason why I love bookstores: the people who work in these stores are into what they're selling. They know what's good, they have personalities, and they recommend things that an algorithm wouldn't. I could never find the music I find at Other Music on a website. Even if everything were to go digital, I'd still want a record store in my neighborhood.

I'm DJing the biggest, awesome-est music fest of the century. I have to be sure to drop "_________" in my set:
Another hard one. I keep wanting to say DJ Shadow but that's only because he spun the craziest set at Brooklyn Bowl a few weeks ago and I wish it was him answering this question. Anyway, probably "Berlin" by Modeselektor. It's hard not to at least move your head when it comes on.

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[ACo] Anastasia Cohen
[MF] Michael Fellows
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[DH] Duane Harriott
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[MK] Michael Klausman
[JM] Josh Madell
[MS] Michael Stasiak

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