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  November 7, 2013  

Photo by Danny Dorsa

This Saturday, new Other Music Recording Co. signing Mutual Benefit is playing their first local show since all ears turned their way recently with the outpouring of blog love for Love's Crushing Diamond. It's their only performance in town before the album release party at Other on December 2, and it takes place at the great new Williamsburg club Baby's All Right. We have two pairs of tickets to give away to our readers (one pair per winner), which you can enter for by emailing giveaway@othermusic.com. Don't forget you can pre-order the LP or CD here, and stream the new single here.

BABY'S ALL RIGHT: 146 Broadway Williamsburg, BKLN


Other Music Recording Co.'s beloved Anna von Hausswolff is coming to town in a few weeks on her debut US tour, in support of the stunning Ceremony LP we released here over the summer. It's a rare chance to catch Anna and her full band live in the States, and we have a pair of tickets to offer for both the Union Hall show on Friday, December 6, and the Mercury Lounge show the following night on the 7th. Email enter@othermusic.com for a chance to win, and make sure to list which performance you'd like to see.

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

Laurel Halo
Guy Skornik
Trans 12"
I Am the Center (Various Artists)
Tuff Sherm (+ 3 more Reckno tapes)
DJ Rashad
Cut Copy
Matthew E. White
Son Lux
Milton Cardona
Lily & Madeleine

Mike Donovan
Lodro 7"

Eduardo Mateo (on vinyl)
Molly Drake (CD)

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NOV Sun 03 Mon 04 Tues 05 Wed 06 Thurs 07 Fri 08 Sat 09

Mick Turner

Other Music is giving away a pair of tickets to this excellent triple bill at Union Pool this Saturday, featuring these three great and original artists: Dirty Three's Mick Turner, Mike Wexler, and Matteah Baim. Email contest@othermusic.com for your chance to win!

UNION POOL: 484 Union Ave. Brooklyn, NY

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

Earlier this year, My Bloody Valentine returned with the excellent m b v album, the decades-long follow-up to their iconic Loveless LP, and next week the noise rock purveyors will be coming through New York City to perform two consecutive nights, Monday, November 11 and Tuesday, 12, at Hammerstein Ballroom, with Dumb Numbers opening both shows. Other Music is giving away one pair of tickets to the Monday performance and you can enter for your chance to win by emailing tickets@othermusic.com!

HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM: 311 W. 34th St. New York, NY





$14.99 CD

Chance of Rain

"Chance of Rain"

Few modern producers of electronic music have shown as striking an ability to pivot in their craft (and yet still maintain a consistent sonic identity) as Michigan's own Laurel Halo. Following up on a series of singles and EPs that documented a vibrant approach to rhythm-based music, Halo threw everyone a bit of a curve on her Hyperdub debut, Quarantine, building a set of tracks in the studio from the ground up that pushed her voice front and center. Now once again with her excellent follow-up, Chance of Rain, Halo tosses a changeup -- her voice downplayed as just another tool in her kit, the nine tracks here pursue relentless rhythms that undulate and sway through her pieces. For Halo, these tracks represent an entirely different approach from her last record, with each of these cuts starting out as material from her live set that gradually worked its way onto an album.

Given each of the tracks' origins in performative setting, it's hardly surprising Chance of Rain strikes as the most coherent and cohesive recording she's done. This is not to suggest that it loses anything in detail and intricacy. Quite the contrary, actually -- so assured is Halo's hand as a producer that the album's nine pieces glide by, with each rhythmic shift, fleeting scrape, and bare snatch of voice perfectly positioned to balance each song. While tracks like "Oneiroi" and "Serendip" both imbue their off-kilter polyrhythms with a nervous energy that ebbs and flows in tune with her sonic palette, the former favors a distinct sense of overload, while the latter allows for a more subtle approach. "Melt" breaks halfway through for the genteel, ushering in a downtrodden stab of strings and horns that cuts Halo's frenetic pace. Meanwhile, the title cut shifts into a more overt approach for the dancefloor, tucking away the old-school IDM flourishes of other tracks for a more straight ahead-beat, a trick she pulls just as capably on "Ainnome." All told, Chance of Rain bears the mark of a restlessly creative individual, as Halo effortlessly pushes her sound and compositions in propulsive and bold directions. [MC]







Pour Pawels
(Lion Productions)

"What Is Realite?"
"Je Vois Ce Que Je Crois"

All that I can say is, HELL YES. Lion have done us a solid with this limited, legit re-release of one of my favorite French psych-pop records of the early 1970s, a period that saw a mind-boggling number of similarly quintessential LPs by the likes of Serge Gainsbourg (Histoire De Melody Nelson), Bernard Ilous (Pele Mele, still WAY overdue for a reissue), and Gerard Manset (La Mort D'Orion). Pour Pauwels, by Guy Skornik, perhaps most well-known amongst psych aficionados as one of the freaks responsible for the mind-bending Popera Cosmic album, is an equally timeless blend of lush orchestration, searing psych-rock, baroque melodies, and deep funk fluidity that has remained sadly elusive for decades -- a surrealist song cycle based upon the writings of noted French writer, journalist, and counter-culturalist Louis Pauwels (also famously namechecked by Gainsbourg in his classic "Initials B.B."), particularly his writings on the teachings of noted controversial spiritualist G.I. Gurdjieff, with whom Pauwels studied before co-founding the influential Planète publication. Pour Pauwels plays as the tale of a man's struggle through existential crisis, searching for meaning and truth in a society of political turmoil and the youth movement's full embrace of the liberties of sexual, commercial, and cultural revolution. These ten songs are beautifully arranged by noted French jazzman, composer, and bandleader Ivan Jullien, who has worked with everyone from Francoise Hardy and Michel Legrand to Elton John and the Count Basie Orchestra, and who brings some heavy funk grooves and a big brassy horn section in to mingle with some dramatic orchestral strings and percussion, all of which was single-handedly written by Skornik. In other words, these guys are not screwing around, and if you dig this sort of thing, it goes without saying that this is a platter of top-quality art-pop, and Lion are to be commended for their beautiful package, including a thick booklet with new liner notes, an interview with Skornik, and a reproduction of the original liner notes, penned by Pauwels himself. I've never heard this album sound so good, and as sorry as I am to say this, the reissue is limited. It isn't likely to stay in print for very long, so do the right thing. [IQ]





$11.99 CD
$18.99 LP+MP3



"The Old and the Young"

When you're a band that's made one of the handful of sustaining classics of the modern era, the way that Midlake did with their second album The Trials of Van Occupanther, where do you go next? Particularly when the singer of your band goes his separate way? In the case of their latest effort, Antiphon, the beloved Texas rock group puts on its best face, doubles down on lush instrumentation, and manages to get close enough to a slightly different direction -- namely, the time-capsule production styles and scorching musicianship of Swedish bands like Dungen and the Amazing -- that the use of comparisons to their past is a misgiving. Antiphon still retains the musical depth of field of previous releases, as the rest of Midlake is hanging in there, with guitarist Eric Pulido taking over on vocals for departed bandleader Tim Smith. With this change, and a good octave or so drop in singing range, a more egalitarian vision seems to have overtaken them, finding their retro-sonic perfection intact against a stormier, less precious collection of songs. The moodiness of earlier releases is also present, if not the outright downer of 2010's The Courage of Others, making this as strong and rewarding an effort for Midlake Pt. 2 as one could hope to find. It's a beautifully austere record with ambition and reach, and presents a strong case for bands forced into the position of starting over. [DM]





$14.99 12"


(Rough Trade)

Trans is a new band comprised of Jackie McKeown (former frontman of the Yummy Fur and the 1990s), Igor Volk (no, not the 76-year-old Russian cosmonaut, but rather a former member of New Young Pony Club), one Paul Bircher (again, not the elderly former Olympic silver-medal rowing champion), and former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler. The four tracks of the group's odd and mysterious debut EP feature a hard-panned stereo separation of McKeown and Volk in the left channel, and Butler and Bircher in the right; over the course of these 28 minutes, they kick out some loose, driving tunes that fuse the motorik Apache pulse of Neu! with the obtuse, slippery fluidity of early Television. It's a peculiar mix to be sure but it surprisingly works, thanks in part to Butler's quicksilver guitar lines and a supple, symbiotic rhythm section. Allegedly recorded live in the studio with a hefty bit of improvisation (the band has backed none other than former Can frontman Damo Suzuki in the past, who is known for his totally improvised concerts), this EP features some great songs by a ragtag group of vets who hint at more great things to come. This was easily one of the most pleasant surprises to come out of my speakers in a while, and definitely recommended to the offbeat rock fans out there! [IQ]




Celestial Music




Two Sides of Laraaji


Celestial Music 1978-2011
(All Saints)

"Lotus Collage"
"Vision Song Suite"

(All Saints)


Two Sides of Laraaji
(All Saints)

"How Time Flies (When You're Having None)"
"Space Choir"

Like it or not, there seems to be a serious rehabilitation of New Age music taking place in certain circles. Light in the Attic recently released I Am the Center: Private Issue New Age Music in America, 1950-1990 (reviewed below), which highlights the often alien and isolated sounds of a forgotten American avant-garde that built its reputation with psychedelic reverberations that were wholly self-published and distributed. Laraaji, uncrowned monarch of this New Age DIY underground who also features on this compilation, should be a familiar name to Other Music Update readers -- remember Soul Jazz Records' essential reissue of his 1978 debut Celestial Vibration under his birth name Edward Larry Gordon, and his timely collaboration with Blues Control in 2011. Other than those two records, and his initial "discovery" by Brian Eno on Ambient 3: Day of Radiance, not many Laraaji releases have been widely distributed, being originally released on limited private press or otherwise simply long out of print.

Luckily, the Eno-associated All Saints label has embarked on an effort to reissue some of Laraaji's highly sought-after releases. Celestial Music 1978-2011 is the kind of career retrospective we have been waiting for all along, as it truly highlights the man's outstanding musical trajectory and achievements, which often branch out into ambient and more experimental contexts. Inspired by Eastern mysticism, Laraaji claims hearing the sounds of the spheres, which leads him to explore ideas of "cosmic oneness" on his electronically modified zither. The music, then, is often transcendent and gorgeous while adding a sense of gritty experimentation to an otherwise dream-like musical palette, at all times bypassing New Age clichés such as syrupy synth lines or cringe-worthy pan flute mumblings. Highlights are the determinedly groovy and beat-driven "Staccato," or the revealing "Vision Song Suite," which finds him singing in Arthur Russell-esque mode, as well as early recordings such as the earthy "Lotus Collage." Essence/Universe explores perhaps more traditional New Age territory, but nevertheless truly convinces with two long and liquid modified zither passages, at times reminiscent of late-'70s Popol Vuh and On Land-era Brian Eno, whereas Two Sides of Laraaji combines two albums of which Flow Goes the Universe is really outstanding. Let's hope All Saints' reissue efforts will finally convince a broader audience of Laraaji's singular musical contribution, merging vital sound experiments with deep spiritual healing and a truly original artistic vision. [NVT]


$19.99 CDx2
$43.99 LPx3


I Am the Center: Private Issue New Age in America, 1950-1990
(Light in the Attic)

A few years ago we brought in copies of Claire Hamill's stunning Voices CD, positing on our Update that New Age music was beginning to enjoy a renaissance of sorts, with artists like Animal Collective, Emeralds, Oneohtrix Point Never, Julianna Barwick and more drawing on its dulcet tones while avoiding the spiritual baggage often associated with the genre. A few years on, in the midst of long-overdue reissue campaigns for New Age icons like Iasos and Laraaji, there couldn't be a more fitting overview of New Age music than this sublime 2CD/3LP set, put together by New Age aficionado Douglas Mcgowan (who also runs the excellent Yoga Records imprint) that will rehabilitate the form for a new generation of listeners.

While New Age attained platinum status in the 1980s, this set starts way back in the 1950s with a recording of some of G.E. Gurdjieff's curious piano pieces and proceeds forward from there. While certain tropes of such spiritual music are here (think sustained piano in soft focus, strummed harp, acoustic guitar, the human voice as layered and airy as a croissant), the set certainly has some teeth. There's a bit of psychedelic guitar on Aeoliah's "Tien Fu," some buzzing analog synth drones from the likes of J D Emmanuel and Michael Stearns, and a soaring violin piece from Daniel Kobialka. Titans like Steven Halpern and Iasos are represented, as is the underappreciated Peter Davison. But there are plenty of rare artists as well, and the vocal pieces from Constance Demby and Alice Damon are transcendent pieces of minimal music at its most ineffable. Highest recommendation. [AB]





$12.99 CD

Half Machine from the Sun: The Lost Tracks '79-80
(King of Spades)

"Something Rhythmic (I Can't Wait)"

Has there ever been another band quite like Chrome? The San Francisco futurists rolled through the prime cut of 20th century post-modern rock expression, from art rock through punk and into new wave, leaving a wet stain across all three with a defiantly uncompromising and often uncategorizable sound. Half Machine from the Sun collects 18 never-before-released tracks from a period where the duo of Damon Edge and Helios Creed was running hot. Full songs, extended jams and snippets create a mood more suited towards their early-'80s works than the tangle of genre-defying, never-sitting-still releases like Alien Soundtracks and Half Machine Lip Moves, at times sounding like less-obvious takes on the sort of rock Helios Creed would pursue on his solo LPs for Amrep. Stern beats, heavily-processed guitars, textures and grumblings from another dimension: this one's got 'em, and in quantity. It's a fascinating release that pulls back the veil a bit on one of the more challenging and complex outfits of the era. [DM]







Alabaster Falcons


Street Thunder


Attack Bear


Struggle Smell - Cassette


I'm absolutely thrilled to be able to offer up a batch of limited edition cassette-only releases by a small UK-based tape label called Reckno, the most prominent of which is an absolutely KILLER 40-minute tape by Tuff Sherm, the Sydney-based producer who also records as Dro Carey. After a handful of limited 12"s for the Trilogy Tapes, and an excellent full-length on Merok that disappeared rather quickly upon its blink-and-miss-it release earlier this year, the new Struggle Smell cassette may actually be his finest offering to date. These six tracks find Sherm on a deep, dirty, yet soulful vibe that combines serrated bass synths with chugging polyrhythms, thumping house beats, some jazzy keyboard work, and a wonderful pinch of abstraction that keeps these cuts evolving over the course of their extended runtimes. There are moments where one could be reminded of Actress' cubist Afro-futurism, the stripped-down raw synthesis of Theo Parrish circa Sketches, or even Zomby's more subdued triplet neon shadows, but Sherm's mining his own vibe here, flipping a beat and folding it in upon itself like an origami rendering of a Moebius strip as textures rub together and granulate like glass and sandpaper in a mud puddle. This is most brilliantly evident on the tape's epic closer, "Strugglemining," which freaks and tweaks a beat cribbed from a certain Nina Simone song (no spoilers here, kids!), and retrofits it with musty, smoky bass drones and a bit of industrial clatter over the course of thirteen minutes. He never lets the proceedings comfortably coast or sit still, though, and the same goes for the rest of this excellent release. If you've been a fan of the man's past works, or any of the aforementioned artists, I strongly urge you to grip this while you can; only 100 tapes were made for the world, and I've got to say, they're absolutely beautiful, with full-color inserts and two-color cassettes. Every tape on the label also includes a free MP3 download, so you've got no excuses.

I need to shine some light on some of the other recent Reckno tapes as well, which are all killer in totally different ways. The eponymous tape by Alabaster Falcons is a lovely, hypnotic blend of field recordings of flowing water streams, thick electric organ drones, and gently arpeggiating cycles of twinkling synthesizer, coming off like a soothing, haunted new age record released on the Ghost Box label.

Street Thunder's excellent Bonfire Gecko Hex features two sidelong pieces that come across like extended soundscapes by Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch, but fused to the clouded murk of Hype Williams or Leyland Kirby. This shit is supremely creepy and totally stunning, and definitely highly recommended for the heads who dig stuff like Tim Hecker, assorted Mego drone, and dark ambient sounds of the spectral/ghostly variety.

Last but not least are the sun-warped etudes of Attack Bear's Finish Ships tape, which play like a live ensemble interpreting the interludes of Boards of Canada; the warbling, bleached synths are buffeted by gentle percussion, throbbing bass and guitar notes, and occasional machine beats. These twelve tracks are excellent, combining the magic ingredients of classic BoC with some interesting remnants of industrial proto-technology, creating a stunning document of eerie beatsmithery that deserves your attention. The Reckno crew is doing great work here, and you'd be wise to pay attention. As I mentioned, these are all extremely limited, so buy now or cry later. You have been warned! [IQ]







Double Cup


UK producers had a big hand in bringing Chicago's footwork music to the forefront of the electronic world, and for good reason -- the British scene has always embraced the new and next, and they like a good breakbeat. One of the more consistent producers from that homegrown scene has been DJ Rashad. Mainly releasing his music via netlabels like Ghettophiles and Juke Trax, he has also done work with Planet Mu and Honest Jon's, and it's on one of the leading electronic imprints from London, Hyperdub, where he lands for his "official" full-length debut. Footwork is constructed primarily of sampled vocals, synths and drums, so a given track is really only as good as the sample(s) and how the producer freaks it. And DJ Rashad has always shown a flare for picking melodic, humorous, soulful, and catchy sound bytes. On Double Cup, he's on top of his game as he takes on acid, contemporary R&B, hip-hop, jazz, vintage soul, Chicago house and jungle to ill effect.

Footwork full-lengths have been a spotty bunch, though the excellent have managed to outweigh the mediocre, and DJ Rashad has made one of the rare greats. Relying less on the dizzying and staggering choppiness that can cause your ears and head to spasm, Rashad plays with melody and timing, at times creating beautiful and dreamy soulful re-edits. A perfect example is "Let U No," where he samples the vocals from Floetry's "Say Yes," pitches it up, and spins it into a gooey, slippery slice of post-modern pop. The thing is, he does that over and over, with Larry Heard, Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers, Case, and many more, some not so obvious. Maybe in reference to the album title, Double Cup, Rashad collaborates throughout, and of the 16 tracks, eight feature his main partner, DJ Spinn, while Earl, Manny, DJ Phil, Taso, and Addison Groove are also on board. On one of his solo tracks, the lead single "I Don't Give a Fuck," Rashad deconstructs 2-Pac's monologue from the '90s hip-hop film, Juice, to create an eerie and hard-edged scenario. This is urgent, urban and ultra, a bit hyperactive and profane, so not for everyone, but for those that can catch the vibe, Double Cup is ripe and ready. If you buy only one footwork or just adventurous electronic music album this year, you'd be hard pressed to find anything more immediate. [DG]





$11.99 LP


Free Your Mind

"We Are Explorers"
"In Memory Capsule"

Cut Copy's latest electro-pop manifesto solidifies the Australian band's evolution from disco-inspired synth jams to full-on ballads of epic euphoria. Largely influenced by lead singer Dan Whitford's experiences in the Melbourne club scene, Free Your Mind is a straight-up club-hippy party freakout, as funky as ever, maintaining the lusty fun on songs like "We Are Explorers" and "Let Me Show You Love." But the group tries to do a little bit more with their music this time, incorporating a general free-flowing carpe diem mentality that pervades a bunch of tracks. This works both to their benefit and disadvantage, as some of these lyrics fall flat, even on housey pop numbers like "Free Your Mind," where Whitford vaguely advises, "All you gotta do is hold on, If your head is heavy just stand up straight." It can be a little hard to take seriously, but that said, I don't think that's really the point. The songs are more dreamy and hazy than usual, and really do evoke something of a free-spirit aura throughout the album as a whole. While the once-infectious melodies and hooks are arguably not as tight as they have been on previous releases, the groovy synths and unequivocal club heat that exudes from as blazing of a record as Free Your Mind are well worth the ride. It's ultimately a step forward in the evolution of the band; its progression really exceeds its hindrances. Cut Copy's fourth LP can simultaneously incarcerate a listener in a dark, sensual club scene and free him or her from any inhibitions that might ground them there; for that, the group deserves some serious praise. [MM]




Big Inner / Outer Face EP


Outer Face EP

Big Inner / Outer Face EP

 "Eyes Like the Rest"

 "Signature Move"

Matthew E. White knocked my socks off last year with his debut album, Big Inner, a lush platter of orchestral Southern soul that combined some of the best elements of Randy Newman, Jim O'Rourke, and the Meters. He's followed that up with Outer Face, a new five-song, 27-minute EP that's arguably even better, stripping things down to just bass, drums, horns, and vocals, and in the process creating a stunning work that often sounds like a freaky collaboration between early Dr. John (think Gris-Gris and Babylon) and Jean-Claude Vannier. The interplay between bass and drums creates a fluid, sensual, serpentine groove that anchors the vocals of White and a choir of female backup singers who remind me of the Swingle Singers performing a Meredith Monk piece while horns get tweaked with subtle dub-inspired delay effects. It's a wonderful companion to Big Inner, and as such has been packaged with the album in a 2CD set; with that being said, it's also more than strong enough to stand on its own, and thankfully the fine folks at Domino and Hometapes have issued a limited standalone 12" for the EP that includes a download and a lovely sleeve. This guy is on a hot streak; he's very quickly become one of my favorite contemporary songwriters, setting his own path and offering up a unique blend of sonics that are at once familiar, yet combined in brilliant, offbeat mixtures. I've got nothing but love for this guy. Highest recommendation on this one, folks! [IQ]





$15.99 LP


(Joyful Noise)

"Alternate World"
"No Crimes"

Lanterns is the third full-length release for Son Lux (a/k/a Ryan Lott), and the album is a clear highpoint in his career thus far, pushing his futuristic pop to new heights. Lott's songs are grounded in stark, beautiful songwriting, but the electro-synth composer and producer dabbles in the musical sphere without worry for convention. His album is an anomaly; a plethora of rich sounds and colorful tones juxtapose the austere and at times desolate lyricism within. Fans of Son Lux are familiar with Lott's engaging and original vocals, but the warmth of the choruses throughout Lanterns takes his music to a new level and feeling of awe -- the sound is emphatic and full, the beats insistent and raw. This soul seeps through the futuristic track "Lost It to Trying," as the chorus repetitively asks, "What will we do now? We lost it to trying." The energy also bleeds into "No Crime," which reminds of Arcade Fire's thrilling dynamics, and Lott often dexterously juggles levels of loud and soft, shown also in the poignant track "Enough of Our Machines." The album is ironic in its intentional effortlessness. Jolts of energy are always maturely developed; dimensional harmonies rise from shallow beginnings; Lanterns is a striking musical journey. [TL]







(American Clave)

We scored some copies of this breathtaking, long-out-of-print document of the Santeria "Bembe" ritual, featuring absolutely stunning studio recordings of traditional chants and drum rhythms used to celebrate Santeria's orishas, and to invite those orishas to join in with group ceremonies. It is, in essence, as pure and truly DEEP a recording of Yoruba chants and proper Santeria ceremonial music as you're likely to hear; the rhythms are hypnotic, powerful, and crisp, while the group chants are soulful, passionate, and completely moving. This album has retained a reputation over the years as one of THE quintessential documents of this music, and anyone with even a passing interest in Afro/Cuban, Latin, percussive, or religious music absolutely NEEDS to hear this at least once before they die. Yes, it's that good, and yes, it's that cheap. Beautifully recorded and packaged by Kip Hanrahan, consider this essential, folks. Listening doesn't get any deeper than this. [IQ]





$14.99 LP


Lily & Madeleine
(Asthmatic Kitty)

"Sounds Like Somewhere"
"Goodbye to Anyone"

It's hard not to want to compare Lily & Madeleine to that other recent breakout duo of young harmonizing sisters, First Aid Kit, and these Midwestern girls do have more than a passing resemblance to the Swedish siblings. Both groups first made waves with unadorned YouTube clips that cut through the static with plainspoken harmonies, and after a great debut EP over the summer, Lily & Madeleine's self-titled debut proves that they have the songwriting and poise to realize that early promise on the same level. But to say they are following in First Aid Kit's footsteps is more than a little disingenuous, as really both acts fall into a long line of wonderful family singing groups that span back to the earliest days of pop music, really taking hold on the national psyche in the 1940s and '50s. This music isn't willfully retro or old-timey, but it hearkens back to a simpler era in pop and country, with spare, open production that leaves plenty of room for these beautiful melodies to shine, and sweet, emotional songwriting that lets in equal doses of joy and sorrow. At Other we tend to always look for the new and the next, but this is just great, classic music that is hard to ignore. [JM]





$18.99 LP


(Drag City)

"Lost Wot"
"MP3 Farm"

Within a week of the breakup of Bay Area garage rockers Sic Alps, ex-lead singer Mike Donovan had lessened the blow by releasing a single off of his first solo album, Wot. Like that single, the debut full-length finds Donovan honing in on a bluesy "man with a guitar on a back porch" vibe (granted, his voice is drenched in reverb and there's some shambolic percussion), and it makes for great solo effort that pays off in its effective simplicity.





$17.99 LP


(Drag City)

"Sweaty Fingers"
"Arrow's Myth"

Cave releases their excellent third album, delving into '70s psychedelic grooves and visceral Krautrock vibes. Within the structure of minimalist rhythms and loops exists a deep understanding of beats and composition, the Chicago-based group masterfully exerting a sense of restraint as they effortlessly experiment with various styles and stoned atmospheres.







If Life Was Like a Movie
(Tracer Sounds)

Brooklyn's Lodro is Jeremy Cox, Jigmae Baer (formerly of Royal Baths) and Lesley Hann (former bassist of Friends). As a trio, they make dark, entrancing, psych-tinged rock music -- think Psychic Ills meets the Cramps. Both sides lay it on thick with a heavy, ominous atmosphere and deep, deep grooves. The first release on Tracer Sounds, this 7" is limited to 300 copies, so grab one before they're gone. And, if you get a chance, go see them live. They'll blow you away.





$14.99 LP


Butter Knife
(Suicide Sueeze)

"Couldn't Hold a Candle"
"Hole in the Sky"

Audacity are back with their third full-length, Butter Knife, which finds these scruffy Southern Cali garage-pop punks tightening up on their already catchy hooks. The playing is loud, the lyrics are punchy, and the record is chock full of summery party anthems that will be sure to get you through the cold winter days ahead.





$14.99 LP


Lava Diviner (True Story)
(Western Vinyl)


The nom de plume of Spencer Stephenson, Botany's debut full-length is wonderfully layered and textured, with Stephenson integrating boom-bap beats, ambient synthesizers and a healthy dose of tribal rhythms. The music grows and resolves itself, and is all at once meditative and personal yet also hard-hitting. Lava Diviner (True Story) is a solid entry point to a hopefully exciting musical career ahead for this up-and-coming producer.





$19.99 LP


Mateo Solo Bien Se Lame
(Lion Productions)

Awesome and limited vinyl version of an all-time Other Music fave, here's what we said about the CD when it was originally reissued...

By all accounts Eduardo Mateo was a mythic figure, full of contradictions, alternately kind and emotionally unhinged. He was a man unwilling or unable to operate within the expectations of his social scene, let alone those of society. He first gained notoriety as the principle force in El Kinto, a groundbreaking Uruguayan act that was enormously influential despite their seeming indifference towards securing a recording contract. That band ultimately collapsed in 1970, largely due to Mateo's increasing unreliability, drug use, and evolving artistic sensibility. He spent the next two years busking around and smoking enormous amounts of hash, while immersing himself in Hindu spirituality and the musics of Africa, Arabia, Spain, and the Caribbean. In late '71 he was coaxed into traveling to Argentina to record his first solo album, Mateo Solo Bien Se Lame. The recording was done sporadically over two months, with Mateo's free spirited behavior being a major impediment to getting the job done, a guard eventually had to be stationed outside his hotel simply to escort him to the studio without any detours! Thankfully, his producer was eventually able to coax from him a work of rare and astonishing beauty. It is subdued without being explicitly melancholy and filled with syncopated rhythms, unusual phrasing, and poetic idiosyncrasies. I think I can say without any hyperbole that it is one of the finest folk albums I've ever heard; if you love the mellow side of Caetano, Pep Laguarda, Gilberto Gil, and Congregacion, you will absolutely be freaking out over this. I've even read Juana Molina saying that Eduardo Mateo has been her number one inspiration. [MK]







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]
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[AB] Adrian Burkholder
[MC] Michael Crumsho
[DG] Daniel Givens
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[MK] Michael Klausman
[TL] Taylor Law
[JM] Josh Madell
[MM] Matthew Malone
[DM] Doug Mosurock
[NVT] Niels Van Tomme

- all of us at Other Music

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