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   March 14, 2013  
Molly Drake
Theo Parrish
James Ferraro
David Bowie
Koen Holtkamp
Roberto Cacciapaglia
Devendra Banhart
Swamp Dogg
Dream 2 Science
Joseph Byrd
Toy Love
Lloyd Cole & Hans-Joachim Roedelius


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

This Friday's Bunker at 285 Kent is not to be missed, with Pete Swanson playing a live set in celebration of Punk Authority, his new 12" out on Software which finds the Brooklyn producer returning to his deformed warehouse techno sound. Silent Servant will also be on hand for the NYC debut of his very rare, live hardware set (!!), along with a live set from Philly's Metasplice, and resident Bunker DJ Bryan Kasenic. We've got two pairs of tickets up for grabs, so enter right now by emailing giveaway@othermusic.com.

285 KENT: 285 Kent Ave. Williamsburg, BKLN
10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

MAR Sun 17 Mon 18 Tues 19 Wed 20 Thurs 21 Fri 22 Sat 23
  Sun 24 Mon 25 Tues 26 Wed 27 Thurs 28 Fri 29 Sat 30

The Modern School of Film's FILM:ACOUSTIC series pairs special guests with their favorite movies, and this coming Tuesday, Shirley Manson will present the screening of Wong Kar-wai's classic In the Mood for Love, followed by a Q&A afterwards with the Garbage vocalist. The Strokes' own Albert Hammond Jr. will be on hand the next week (Thursday, March 28th) to introduce Woody Allen's Bananas along with a post-film discussion as well. We've got a pair of passes to each screening to give away and to enter, email contest@othermusic.com, and make sure to list which film showing you'd like to attend.

IFC CENTER: 323 6th Ave. NYC

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

Composer and former Battles frontman Tyondai Braxton premieres his new project, HIVE, at the Guggenheim Museum in New York on March 21st. Part installation/part band, HIVE is a multimedia project a long time in the making. Braxton will be joined by musician Ben Vida (Bird Show, Soft Circle, PAN Records) and three percussionists: Yuri Yamashita, Jared Soldiviero, and John Ostrowski -- each player perched a top their own HIVE pod (designed by Danish architect/carpenter Uffe Surland Van Tams.) Email enter@othermusic.com for your chance to win a pair of tickets. Commissioned by Works & Progress and presented in association with Wordless Music.


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

With their great new album, Miracle Temple, just released on Merge Records, North Carolina's Mount Moriah are coming through New York City, performing their timeless, Americana-tinged tales of desire and heartache at Mercury Lounge on Monday, March 25. Other Music is giving away a pair of tickets and you can enter for your chance to win by emailing tickets@othermusic.com.

MERCURY LOUNGE: 217 E. Houston St. NYC







Molly Drake
(Squirrel Thing)

"Never Pine for the Old Love"
"Little Weaver Bird"

NYC's own Squirrel Thing label does the world a solid via their stunning collection of music from Molly Drake -- yes, the mother of English folk musician Nick Drake. It was not widely known that Molly had been a poet and songwriter herself until the release of Family Tree in 2007, a compilation of recordings by Nick dating from before his debut album, but which also featured Molly performing two of her own songs. This eponymous collection at hand offers 19 more examples, and their intimacy is devastating and wholly engrossing. Molly sings and accompanies herself on piano throughout, and in her chordal phrasings and gentle delivery, one can hear the roots of Nick's own songwriting skill. Molly's music often reminds me of an alternate universe in which Emily Dickinson harbors Busby Berkeley dreams; her lyrics display an equally tempered tenderness and intelligence whose sweetness is anchored by a melancholy that obviously transferred into Nick's work, which he would then go on to further refine and intensify. One is also oft reminded of the gorgeous recordings of Connie Converse, another mysterious songstress whose music was brought new life in recent years and who shared the same gentle intimacy. This is a breathtaking archival release of great importance, and whose packaging is of equal beauty and care. One does not even need to be a fan of Nick's music in order to enjoy this; rather, the collection focuses solely on Molly's own artistic merit, the value of which cannot be overstated. Sure to be one of 2013's most important and treasured archival releases, it comes most highly recommended to those looking for something truly special and without comparative equal. [IQ]






Sound Sculptures Vol. 1
(Sound Signature)

This record went instantly out of print when this was first released in 2007. I sorely remember coming into OM to buy a vinyl copy of Sound Sculptures Vol. 1 and finding out that it had already sold out, just a mere two days after the original pressing had hit our shelves. While this might be normal in today's high-demand world of miniscule editions, that was like Beatlemania in '07. Instead of picking up the double-CD version (we had two left in stock that day), I foolishly waited in vain for the vinyl to return; meanwhile the CDs quickly disappeared too and I was just left with a download. Fast-forward six years and this triple-LP masterwork is available again. I will not be thwarted this time!

The material on Sound Sculptures Vol. 1 is from a specific time in Theo Parrish's development where he was both refined and raw. (He reaches this point cyclically in his productions, as he's always trying out new things while maintaining his certain Theo "je ne se quoi.") These tracks come from a rare turning point -- shortly after his exploratory Rotating Assembly period where he had collaborated with many local Detroit-based vocalists and musicians -- and here Theo brings choice bits of instrumental and live vocal elements into an unbridled yet polished house sound. It's somehow tighter and bigger; there's something more solid about the production, but he never sacrifices that intimate realness he's known for.

Now, the songs. To these ears "All Yours" could have been an epic title theme for a late-'70s/early-'80s blaxploitation film. It has grand, sweeping post "Orchestra Hall"-style violins, horns and synth, but still maintains a bit of that wonderfully imperfect quality in there via slappy beats and fragmented samples. "Soul Control" has to be one of my fave all-time vocal tracks from Theo, featuring throbby, stuttery synth blobs and Alena Waters' refrain of, "Do you want to control meEEEEeeee..." -- so awesome! (See also "They Say," featuring Monica Blair, for some more blurring of the lines between modern house, classic soul, acid jazz and classic vocal house -- it's just "music" in the end as they say.) Also, I cannot forget the closing MONSTER of a track, "Synthetic Flemm." Sheer, careening, rollercoaster, stereo panning, epic, deep, acid house INSANITY, it takes up an entire side and it STILL isn't long enough! This must have been remastered (and beautifully so) because as awesome as this cut is, I def do not remember this track sounding this amazing when it first came out. Essential Theo here!!! [SM]




$11.99 12"

Silver Cloud
(Werkdiscs / Ninja Tune)

Darren "Actress" Cunningham returns to the 12" format and his own Werkdiscs imprint with his latest three-track EP. Silver Cloud continues down the minimal path established on last year's R.I.P. full-length for Honest Jon's, all the while possessing a lot of the dark, grimy textures more associated with his Hazyville debut from 2008. Here, the lines between techno, bass, grime and minimalism are twisted and stretched into a slow-moving journey through gravel-filled construction sites. It's a similar terrain as Burial or Zomby, but where Burial is focused on the cinematic and Zomby burrows into the dark allure underneath the sludge, Actress fits somewhere in between, creating subtle yet tension-filled tracks that are picturesque and melancholy. The music here possesses the kind of beauty one would discover looking into a moonlit cave encrusted with black diamonds. Sparkling, sharp, reflective and engulfing, these tracks are perfect for cloudy days, deep headphone listening or, if your stereo system can handle it, an incense-filled bass womb. Actress continues to keep his productions interesting, forward moving, and as immersive as ever, so pick up a shovel and dig in. [DG]







"The Fall"
"Shed Some Blood"

I've got to go on record here stating that I'm very happy and excited that there's suddenly been a new crop of bands and artists mining the sounds of '80s and '90s quiet storm R&B for inspiration, from the xx to Jessie Ware, inc. to even the Weeknd. Add to that list Rhye, who made a minor splash last year with a few EPs and singles that slipped out under heavy anonymity; much speculation was made over their identities, their genders, their intentions, and with the release of their excellent debut album, Woman, one thing is clear: these are some smooth-ass white boys. The duo updates the sleek, jazzy, synthesized soul of obvious touchstones like Sade and Loose Ends (if you don't know Loose Ends, LOOK THEM UP -- you'll thank me later), and reworks the sound palette just enough with nods toward the skeletal modern-pop frameworks of the xx and Mount Kimbie.

What I'm most reminded of, though, is Scritti Politti circa Songs to Remember and White Bread Black Beer, where tender, slightly effeminate/gender ambiguous vocals roll around under silken, sonic bed sheets. These tracks gently glide forward with beats that softly massage, anchoring vocal harmonies, strings that float like cirrus clouds, and quiet woodwind and brass interjections. Nothing is superfluous, and everything is arranged with a sophistication that firmly establishes a mood -- that of the euphoria of love -- and never lets it waver, only sway. Singer Mike Milosh frequently reminds me of Arto Lindsay in solo mode (there's absolutely none of the glottal sound poetry of his work with DNA or Ambitious Lovers), their gentle yet confident whispered croons making heads woozy, and the arrangements also lean at times toward a weightless bossa nova bounce that greatly benefits the summery vibes of the album on the whole. If you've been enjoying the recent debut by inc., consider this the sunny-side-up flipside to no world's shadowy afterhours goth soul. Both artists work in similar palettes of sensuality, and both are unafraid to swap the macho, alpha posturing of the Weeknd or Drake (in which they throw a designer jacket of hackneyed sensitivity over some pretty questionable and douchey behavior), yet both display an equal attention to atmosphere and subtlety in their song craft that may not sink in at first listen.

This is an album that gives greater rewards the longer you spend time with it; I've had this on steady repeat for a few weeks now, and it's giving me one of the most furious cases of spring fever I've felt since my teenage years. Don't be surprised if you hear this record everywhere upon the arrival of warmer climates; these guys have come strong with their debut, including all of the killer cuts from those prior EPs, as well as deeper tracks that flesh out their sound just enough without distracting from the whole. I'm in love with this album, and if like me you're down for some sweet, soulful, tender pop, you might just fall for it as well. [IQ]




$19.99 LP


(Hippos in Tanks)

"Baby Mitsubishi"
"Jumpshot Earth"

Through the years I've heard divergent stories and opinions about the music and live experience of James Ferraro, but needless to say these critiques never sparked my own investigation until now. Sushi is the title of his latest album and as the name suggests, these are tightly woven, tasty tidbits of chunky sonics. Unlike many of his previous releases, this one feels like he has worked out the combination between beats, atmosphere, groove and texture. It's an all-instrumental record that is closest perhaps to something that Hype Williams might concoct, or even new experiments in footwork's frenetic rhythms. Like a cracked reflection of contemporary club culture, Ferraro deconstructs house, trap-rap, and whatever else he dreams of, then reconstitutes the ingredients into more jagged and fractured memories of the original genre. It's a surprising listen that pulls you in; the sounds are inviting and playful, the bounce ever-present, and the stride consistent. Leaving behind the low-fi nature of his previous outings, the production on Sushi feels cleaned up and/or cleaned out, resulting in recordings that appear to have a high-definition sheen, even as he's throwing on-point curve balls. Though Ferraro's still living in the world of urban outsider electronics, he finally seems to have made an engaging album worthy of discussion, and listening. I was always curious and Sushi proves that sometimes the wait is indeed the best reward. [DG]




$13.99 CD
$15.99 CD - Deluxe Edition
$29.99 LPx2+CD


The Next Day

"The Next Day"
"I'd Rather Be High"

As you've certainly heard, David Bowie is back. After suffering a heart attack in 2004 and essentially going on a recording/performing sabbatical (mostly to spend more time with his then-newborn child), the man suddenly returns with The Next Day, perhaps one of Bowie's most interesting releases to date. It also happens to be his most consistent and viscerally thrilling albums in decades, overflowing with a tension and nervous energy that acknowledges and slyly winks at his past triumphs and experiments without offering direct self-pastiche. From the cover art, a hilarious and crass skewering of the iconic Heroes sleeve, to longtime collaborator Tony Visconti's crisply barbed production, on down into the songs and arrangements themselves, there's excitingly a heavy nod to Bowie's darkest yet arguably most influential period, still, he's offering no "Son of Heroes" or "Back to Lodger" types of nostalgia trips.

The album I'm most frequently reminded of is actually 1980's Scary Monsters, the first where Visconti's involvement truly shined, and in which Bowie's songs displayed equal parts gripping paranoia and gallows humor. This is a recurring theme here as well, with Bowie singing about an overall more macabre and sobering subject matter, backed by a band that delivers dense, pummeling clouds of art-rock riffage and spindly, serpentine rhythms that keep the energy level high and the songs engrossing. It's without a doubt the most direct album that Bowie has made in some time, and while it may not be any kind of revolutionary creative redefinition, it shows him simply taking a breath, closing his eyes, and cutting loose... and when was the last time that you've ever been able to say that about the man? He's reached a point where he could easily have just coasted through 60-odd minutes of self-indulgence (lord knows he's done it to us in the past), yet his energy here remains inspiring, and the material offers serious replay value and very little novelty. I speak as someone who resolutely does NOT worship heavily at the cult of the Thin White Duke when I tell you that this is an excellent album, well worth your attention and arguably one of the year's best rock records to date. And if by chance this did turn out to be his final album, as some have speculated, he'd certainly be retiring in fine form. [IQ]

Other Music is giving away an extremely limited vinyl test pressing of Bowie's The Next Day and a press sheet of the art for the 7" single, "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)"! To enter, just purchase the CD or LP from us in the shop or on-line, and you'll automatically be entered into the raffle. The contest 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.




$16.99 LP


Liquid Light Forms
(Barge Recordings)

Liquid Light Forms is new solo material from Mountains member Koen Holtkamp on NY-based Barge Recordings and, I have to say, it's some of his best material yet. A newfound glistening, melodic quality exists here, mainly via the introduction of modular synth. This melds with his intimate-yet-grand, inorganic-yet-natural atmospheres perfectly while also pushing the music into unchartered territory for him. The aforementioned melodic layer is reminiscent of Nuno Canavarro/Oval (as if projected onto a drive-in movie screen in a pasture), and yet this somewhat familiar sound is effortlessly presented in an entirely different feel and context: completely organic analog, open field, non-machine like, yet modern (as in "present"). It's worth mentioning that the introduction of modular synth here bears no resemblance to the common pitfall of merely sounding like a gear demonstration or genre exercise so prevalent at the moment. As you'd imagine from the description, these new layers of sound mesh perfectly into Koen's musical world while adding dimension and vastness to his palette. It brings a freshness to the music that feels like it's always been there.

It is interesting to note that this work was also intended for presentation alongside a video shot and edited by the artist himself, of pastoral yet subtly impossible/surreal scenes found in the natural environment where he collects many of his field recordings. Having attended a screening of this film last October (with live accompaniment from Koen), I can attest that the visual element blends beautifully with the music. But, listening to this record on its own, I can thankfully say that indeed, the music does not depend on a video projection to produce gorgeous imagery. [SM]





Sei Note in Logica

"First Part"
"Second Part"

Italian composer Roberto Cacciapaglia has finally been getting some well-deserved and long overdue recognition and reevaluation in the past year or so, with his classic albums Ann Steel and Sonanze receiving new vinyl editions that place him firmly in a camp of inspired and innovative creators like Terry Riley, Philip Glass, Michael Nyman, and even Moondog. Sei Note in Logica is a systems music piece that takes a six-note melodic phrase and permutates it into every possible combination via the usage of tuned percussion (marimba, xylophone, etc.), strings, woodwinds, computer-derived electronics, and a choir of vocalists (including recitation by Ann Steel). The piece has a hypnotic fluidity that swirls and tumbles in cyclical motions, with the orchestra gently rising and falling in intensity as the percussion taps out Morse code rhythms and the choir chirps overtop; all the while, the computer overlays buzz, whir and twinkle with texture that never distracts, but instead subtly shades Sei Note in Logica as each 17-minute movement progresses.

The vinyl is an officially sanctioned reproduction of the original Philips LP release, and the bonus CD included actually reproduces the long-out-of-print Italian CD reissue from 12-odd years ago, which features the original LP's music as well as a then previously unheard alternate performance of the piece which is entirely acoustic, removing the computer overlays and the spoken recitation from Steel, instead focusing solely around the piano/orchestra/choral interplay. This is the only way to get this album in any form now, and originals cost serious currency, so if what I've written here tickles your fancy, snap it up post-haste. It's arguably one of the most stunning and engrossing examples of systems music in minimalist composition, displaying a sophistication that is oft imitated yet seldom duplicated. You know where this goes next, folks: Highest recommendation!! [IQ]







"Golden Girls"
"Never Seen Such Good Things"

Has it really been almost four years since we last heard from Devendra Banhart? Needless to say, the OG freak folker is far removed from the stripped-back lo-fi of recordings like Oh Me Oh My... that first put him on everyone's radar way back in the early 2000s. His last several albums have featured a full band and an expanded musical palette with Banhart and his crew dabbling in genres like tropicalia and soul, and, with 2009's major label debut, What Will Be, even flirting with the mainstream. Though his soft-spoken hippie T-Rex cadence remained intact, things were admittedly getting a little safe and, while he might not be digging out his old trusty 4-track for Mala, it seems like he's got his freak flag unfurled again. Tracks like opener "Golden Girls" and "A Gain" are creepily intimate, Banhart's mellow melodies captured up close on the mic and sung with a cult-like delivery that's hypnotizing. While he's reeled things in a little on Mala, he does continue his globe-trotting with a copacetic group of musicians in tow, dipping into a bit of mysterious, dubby pop ("Fur Hildegard Von Bingen") and returning to island music again for the gorgeously somnambulant "Never Seen Such Good Things" and, later, the little weirdo bedroom electronic ditty, "Won't You Come Over," which features a cheap synth line that sounds lifted from "Uptown Top Ranking." Throw in some trippy, laidback doo-wop via the effortlessly catchy "Your Fine Petting Duck" and the spacious slow burn of "Won't You Come Home, and it all makes for one of Banhart's best in years. [GH]




Total Destruction to Your Mind


Rat On!
$17.99 LP


Total Destruction to Your Mind

"Total Destruction to Your Mind"

Rat On!

"Predicament #2"
"Remember I Said Tomorrow"

Everyone get down on your knees and give thanks, for these two magnificent albums are back on store shelves once again. Swamp Dogg is one of my personal favorite soul singers and songwriters, a man who has written for and worked with such luminaries as Irma Thomas, Doris Duke, and Gary U.S. Bonds, and who has repeatedly over the years been given a bum deal thanks to his absolutely wicked early material getting bootlegged and illegally distributed countless times over. These official reissues of his first two solo albums, 1970's Total Destruction to Your Mind and '71's Rat On!, are a godsend. The Dogg, born Jerry Williams Jr., takes the slinky groove of Sly Stone or Invictus-era Parliament and combines it with the biting wit and fiery guitar burn of Frank Zappa, cemented together by a vibe that blends country soul with bayou musk. His albums sound like no one else yet ring oddly familiar, pulling no punches yet serenading you with tender platitudes. He straddles the line between commercial promise and cult obscurity, never letting one side win out over the other, and it's precisely that extreme dedication to his craft and creative voice that has made his LPs highly desirable amongst diggers worldwide. Fans of everything from Betty Davis to last year's Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters electric reissues owe it to themselves to pick these up PRONTO. The man is an icon who places trash and treasure in equal measure, and if the idea of Bobby Womack fronting the Mothers of Invention sounds like a good time to you (and trust me, it should sound good to all of you), I cannot recommend these two albums enough. I say get them both at the same time, because if you dig one, you're going to want a hit of the other one right away. Trust me on this one... you need some Swamp Dogg in your life. Destroy your mind! [IQ]






Dream 2 Science

"My Love Turns to Liquid"
"Mystery of Love"

As with so many Rush Hour releases, go ahead and file this under Essential Listening already. Though the aforementioned label reissued Dream 2 Science's original 12" EP, Dizkotek has stepped in to release this deep house classic on CD for the first time ever. Dream 2 Science was the creation of NYC-based producer Ben Cenac (also of early-'80s hip-hop/electro outfit Newcleus), who recorded this one-off album in 1990 for the local independent house label, Power Move. With a flare for melody and mood that brings to mind the jazzier side of Larry "Mr. Fingers" Heard or Bobby Konders, classic, deep vocal house is on display here and in excellent form, with lots of male and female singing throughout, as well as a few instrumentals. While the record is more slow-burning than "hands in the air," it's still a great example of the vibe and sound of the early-'90s underground. Recommended. [DG]






Noi No

A killer LP on Finland's esteemed Sahko label (home of early Mika Vainio, Mike Ink, etc.), Noi No is an insular world explored through various warm, grey tones, textures and bits of disembodied voice. This enigmatic record defies description as its relatively simple, subtle and intimate elements meld and take on a much more menacing feel. It is reminiscent of the stellar, also enigmatic Scared and Wasteland releases by Tinman, however, finding other touchstones besides those records is pretty difficult as Noi No actually proves to be more grave, braver and unhinged of its ilk. (This balance/intensity brings it into the family of recent offerings of releases as disparate as Raime's new LP, Kyle Hall's "Zug Island" and M. Vanio's Heijastuva.) This is Madteo stretching beyond his usual reference points, letting go of the handrail and capping off a great year by pushing even more into his singular territory. He's truly coming into his own and shows no sign of stopping now. [SM]




$15.99 CD


NYC 1960-1963
(New World)

"Prelude to 'The Mystery Cheese Ball'"

American composer Joseph Byrd has a wild, impressive pedigree matched by very few peers; while perhaps best known as the principle songwriter for influential psychedelic groups the United States of America and the Field Hippies, Byrd has also written theme music for the CBS Evening News, arranged and produced recordings of Civil War music, and was a part of the NYC faction of the Fluxus multidisciplinary art movement of the 1960s. He was an early synthesizer pioneer, studied with Morton Feldman, and ran in creative circles with John Fahey, Don Ellis, and La Monte Young. What's astonishing is that, save for his work as a 1960s underground rock icon, few people know of his talents beyond electronically modified rock instrumentation. New World Records finally puts a stop to that with this important collection of compositions by Byrd during his formative years.

The pieces compiled here were composed between 1960 and 1963 and are given fresh performances by the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. Ranging from prepared piano sonatas to string trios, sound poetry works for vocal ensemble to viola solos with accompaniment, and even a piece composed for deflating balloons, the work here is deeply engrossing, and displays a facet of Byrd's creative mind that has heretofore essentially gone undocumented. These works are very much in tune with the Fluxus spirit yet simultaneously display a deep respect for Feldman and Cage, who seem to have played a key role in Byrd's artistic development as a composer. While this CD perhaps would not appeal to fans of the United States or Field Hippies (but hey, you never know), listeners in tune to the outer fringes of modern composition and acoustic minimalism will find some serious meat upon which to chew. It's a key document from an important creative figure, and to finally have proper documentation of his "New York" phase, before he moved to Los Angeles and immersed himself in psychedelia, is a godsend. Give many thanks to New World for this valuable piece of music history. [IQ]






Toy Love
(Flying Nun / Captured Tracks)

"I'm Not Bored"

Earlier this year, Brooklyn's Captured Tracks announced their partnership with Flying Nun Records, the two teaming up to release a series of reissues from the New Zealand label's diverse and rich roster. Although Toy Love was never technically on Flying Nun, they undoubtedly ushered in the Dunedin Sound -- a brilliant movement in NZ's independent music scene, inspired by post-punk, new wave and '60s pop -- and they helped shape and inspire the label's style and aesthetic. After their split in 1980, singer Chris Knox went on to form Tall Dwarfs along with guitarist Alec Bathgate, while bassist Paul Kean conceived the Bats and contributed his live sound engineering skills to fellow Flying Nun roster acts such as the Clean, the Chills, the Verlaines, the Stones, and Sneaky Feelings.

Although they didn't last past two years as a band, Toy Love managed to play almost 500 shows (some of their final live performances can be heard on their Live at Gluepot LP, issued on Goner a few months back). Until now, most of Toy Love's recordings have not been readily available (unless you want to shell out some cash for originals on eBay or Discogs), but a whole new generation of fans can now discover the band thanks to this great collection, not to mention the group's recent induction into New Zealand's Music Hall of Fame. The compilation features the A & B sides to all their singles, demos from 1979, as well as a live track and radio jingle (you'll still have to scour used record bins and the internet for their hard-to-find self-titled full-length). The tracks on this double LP have been mastered for vinyl from the original analogue tapes and sound great -- no dodgy digital sources on this one. You'll want to grab this one for sure, the first of many gems to come in this welcomed reissue series. [ACo]




$22.99 LP+CD


Selected Studies Vol. 1
(Bureau B)

"Fehmarn F/O"

Now here's a pairing I'd never even think to consider, yet one who has managed to deliver a gorgeous album of pop ambient that has been keeping me sane on the hectic, rainy morning that I'm writing this. OM faithful will know of my deep, deep love for Lloyd Cole & the Commotions' debut LP, Rattlesnakes; his whip-smart lyricism and tight, blue-eyed soul approach to guitar pop has made that record a firm contender on my desert island list, and over the years, he's released numerous albums that took that formula and damn near perfected it, ranking him up there with Edwyn Collins as one of Scotland's best, most sharp songwriters. What many people perhaps don't know is that Cole is also a deep fan of Krautrock and Cluster, and at some point in the past ten years, Cole struck up correspondence and friendship with Cluster's Hans-Joachim Roedelius, and their initial collaborative fruits are released here as Selected Studies Volume 1.

It's an album of instrumental miniatures, with none of Cole's trademark vocals or guitar playing, and while I was initially disappointed upon my discovery of such, the resulting album ends up being a gorgeous palette of electronic instrumentals that nod heavily in the styles of classic Roedelius material like Cluster's Zuckerzeit and his solo Selbstportrait LPs (it's fitting that one of the pieces here is actually named after those albums). Roedelius is definitely working in a comfort zone but never rests upon his past laurels; likewise, Cole never seems out of place or lost working in this framework, instead delivering equal subtle ingenuity in crafting pieces that blend quiet aquatic drift with more nervous, agitated analogue textures. Gentle keyboard etudes anchor fluctuating waveforms and processed feedback, and squelching, low-end synth gurgles dance around hypnotic tick-tocking rhythm box patterns; everything nods toward pop framework and melodic stability, yet each piece is often built around an ingredient that creates an unpredictable wild card effect which keeps the album refreshing. While perhaps not being a huge leap forward or great departure for either party, it is nevertheless a gorgeous and rewarding record that is most highly recommended to fans of classic synth Kraut and Enocentric ambient albums like Music for Films or Apollo. Here's hoping that Cole and Roedelius continue this inspired partnership! [IQ]



$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.)
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[ACo] Anastasia Cohen
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[SM] Scott Mou

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