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  October 31, 2013  

  RIP, Lou Reed, longtime Other Music customer, NYC icon and undisputed hero of the underground. We all miss you.

"This Halloween is something to be sure. Especially to be here without you."
- Lou Reed, "Halloween Parade"

Mutual Benefit
William Onyeabor
Arcade Fire
Vatican Shadow
The Stranger
Circuit Des Yeux
Eduard Artemiev
Roly Porter
Mind & Matter
Dean Wareham
Black Hearted Brother
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan
Livity Sound (Various)
Lucrecia Dalt
Jonathan Wilson

Butthole Surfers
Diane Coffee

Phosphorescent (Expanded Edition)
White Denim
Brad Laner
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Wire (Issue #357, November 2013)

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

Celebrating their new full-length, Antiphon, Midlake will be stopping by Other Music this Monday evening, and we're excited to hear this Denton, TX band's majestic, harmony-laden rock performed live in such an intimate setting!

OTHER MUSIC: 15 E. 4th St. New York, NY

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

This Monday, November 4, Son Lux is celebrating the release of his much-anticipated new album, Lanterns, at Joe's Pub, and Other Music is giving away a pair of tickets to this special night, along with a limited edition LP copy of the album pressed on black/clear vinyl. Email contest@othermusic.com for your chance to win!

JOE'S PUB: 425 Lafayette St. New York, NY

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

This Tuesday, genre-defying, Brooklyn-based rockers the Men take it to the Music Hall of Williamsburg stage with Purling Hiss opening. We're giving away a pair of tickets and you can enter for your chance to win by emailing tickets@othermusic.com.

NOV Sun 03 Mon 04 Tues 05 Wed 06 Thurs 07 Fri 08 Sat 09
NOV Sun 17 Mon 18 Tues 19 Wed 20 Thurs 21 Fri 22 Sat 23

James Blake

Mazzy Star

Our good friends at Bowery Presents are giving our Update subscribers a chance to win a pair of tickets to one of these great upcoming concerts. Next week, dubstep producer turned soulful troubadour James Blake will be performing two shows at Terminal 5 on Wednesday, November 6 and Thursday, November 7, and we're giving away a pair of tickets to each night. Enter by emailing giveaway@othermusic.com and make sure to list the date you'd like to see. Then, on Wednesday, November 20, Mazzy Star will fill Terminal 5 with their autumnal, cosmic folk-rock sounds, performing in support of Seasons of Your Day, their first album in 17 years. Brooklyn's own Psychic Ills are opening this one. Email enter@othermusic.com for your chance to win tickets!

TERMINAL 5: 610 W. 56th St. New York, NY




$13.99 LP


$6.93 MP3


Love's Crushing Diamond
(Other Music Recording Co.)

"I clear my mind of joy and sorrow / river doesn't know tomorrow / it rolls along with such simplicity." That tranquil mantra begins and ends Mutual Benefit's stunning debut LP Love's Crushing Diamond, and I've been trying to keep Jordan Lee's words in my head these last few crazy days as my life has been consumed by this band and a mad whirlwind of activity surrounding them. Fair warning this is going to be more of a story than a proper review, but considering we are a record store featuring an album that we don't even have for sale yet, except as a pre-order and download, all bets are off.

Jordan Lee has been performing as Mutual Benefit for several years now, writing dreamy, ethereal folk songs and forging an amorphous project that could be a one-man-band or a swelling collective depending on where he was and who was around that day. He bounced around from Ohio to Texas to Boston, and more recently Brooklyn, self-released a pair of cassette EPs and played scores of house shows in any living room that would have him. Mutual Benefit blends lush studio recordings with found sounds and field recordings, giving his songs an unusual depth and texture, and Love's Crushing Diamond features everything from keyboards, guitar, swooning violin and banjo to clattering percussion and layered ambient home recordings, but always at the center of these songs are Lee's fragile and beautiful voice and open-hearted, wonderful songwriting.

Lee finished this amazing record a few months ago and planned to self-release the album on cassette, but then his friends offered to start a label and press up 250 LPs. It seemed like a perfect way to get his music to a wider audience, that is until various blogs, including Stereogum and Pitchfork, started buzzing about the songs on the strength of a Soundcloud posting. That's where I first heard Mutual Benefit, from a track review for the single "Advanced Falconry," and I knew I needed to hear more. A week or two later, after playing the record on repeat for days on end, and seeing the band perform a stripped-down show as a duo at Muchmore's café during CMJ, Other Music Recording Co. offered to give Love's Crushing Diamond a proper worldwide release -- and not a moment too soon, as last Friday Pitchfork gave the Bandcamp download of the album their highest honor, naming it Best New Music and turning all of our worlds on end. Our planned release schedule was thrown out the window; we posted the download online immediately and rushed the record into production. You can buy the download now, the CD will be out on December 3 and the LP a few weeks later (CD and LP out in the UK and EU on January 13), but Love's Crushing Diamond is available for pre-order through our site, and if you pre-order either format from us, we'll send you a download code so you can start listening to the album now. Plus the first 200 LPs bought directly from our store or label site come in exclusive Coke-bottle green vinyl.

Jordan Lee has made one of the more engaging and singular albums we've heard in a long while, and it seems like we're not alone in that feeling -- it's a special record and we are thrilled to be a part of this ongoing story. [JM]

Stream "'Let's Play' / Statue of a Man" and "Advanced Falconry" on Soundcloud.
Check out Stereogum's recent "Band to Watch: Mutual Benefit" feature and interview.





$14.99 CD
$28.99 LPx3+MP3

World Psychedelic Classics 5
(Luaka Bop)

"Good Name"
"Heaven and Hell"

Literally years in the making, the esteemed Luaka Bop label have finally unleashed what may just be the crown jewel in their reissue catalogue with this epic overview and retrospective of the work of Nigerian synth wizard, Afro-futurist, and overall renaissance man William Onyeabor. The speculative myth and mystery surrounding Onyeabor, said to have run his own film production studio after allegedly working as a cinematographer in 1960s Russia, building synthesizer components and recording and self-releasing a series of incredibly forward-reaching music in the 1970s and '80s, being crowned a High Chief in Eastern Nigeria, becoming a flour tycoon with his own mill, and then converting to Christianity and absolutely refusing to discuss his past in any manner, already sets up enough of a wonderful backstory for the man. It's the music released on those eight mysterious LPs that tells us what we need to know, however.

Onyeabor was a total pioneer, a true innovator who took the polyrhythmic James Brown pulsations of Nigerian Afrobeat and shot them straight into the future, utilizing that indestructible beat and turbocharging it with layers of percolating keyboards and laser-guided synth and machine textures. At the heart of it all, though, is a warmth and immovable humanity that can sometimes go missing in such technological embrace. These recordings are raw, rough, and ready to move, and his lyrics cover many of the same socio-political topics that many Afrobeat bandleaders addressed during the period. That this music is often made by one man, alone in a home-built studio (save for the occasional female backing chorus), when many of his peers were rolling with bands a dozen or more strong, is just a further testament to the sheer power of these recordings in both sonic force and compositional prowess. Quite a few of these songs stretch into the ten-minute mark, but not a second feels superfluous or wasted here; these are grooves that you just want to grab firm hold of and ride for as long as possible. The CD version offers up nine key selections drawn from his discography, while the massive 3LP set includes an additional four tracks, providing an extra thirty-plus minutes of hot space funk. That's nearly two hours of some of the best music you're going to hear this year. Pardon my excitement, folks, but I've waited over five years for this to see the light of day, and I'll say without hesitation that it is, without question, one of the best, most essential reissues you're going to hear in 2013. This is the true definition of a highest recommendation, everyone. [IQ]


$15.99 CD
$23.99 LPx2+MP3



"Here Comes the Night Time"

What does Arcade Fire not have? With a seven-piece multi-instrumental wonder team, worldwide fame, loads of Grammy, Juno, and BRIT awards, unequivocal critical acclaim, the commercial success of a big-label pop group, and the refined authenticity of an underground garage startup band, Arcade Fire have all the bases covered. While Funeral and Neon Bible created the fundamental foundation for the group's indisputable success, 2010's The Suburbs was their real breakout. Now that Arcade Fire certainly has your undivided attention, the question is where they're going to go from here... and you can find the answer in every nook and cranny of Reflektor, the band's fourth, funkiest, and most outlandish album to date.

Producer James Murphy's guiding hand is strong here, as the band's anthemic songwriting, exploring modern communication and cynical love, is reflected though his percussive disco aesthetic, and then back through some sensual Haitian funk vibes. Meshing trotting electro-dance bass with rapid tribal drums, arena-fit shouts with subtle melodies, and Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice with Caribbean culture, Reflektor is a dynamic amalgamation of the band's past and the weird, exciting future. No longer willing to restrict themselves to a single theme per album, Arcade Fire stretch themselves on this legendary record. That said, there are as many hooks as ever, and the widening of range hasn't impeded their ability to write fun, stomping sing-alongs. Take a look at "Afterlife," arguably the standout of the whole LP, which approaches the simplest concept on the album in a distinctive manner that is just as heartbreaking as it is danceable. Win Butler and Regine Chassagne cry out, "Can we work it out? If we scream and shout 'til we work it out? When love is gone, where does it go?"

Arcade Fire is the it-band right now, and they know it. Reflektor is an experiment as much as it is an album, testing their fans' reactions to an opus that steps just outside of the box. They certainly caught me on this record, and anyone who has stayed with the ensemble throughout the years will see this bizarre, entrancing album as a fantastic addition to their already impressive discography. [MM]





$15.99 CD
$22.99 LP


Remember Your Black Day

"Contractor Corpses Hung Over the Euphrates River"
"Tonight Saddam Walks Amidst Ruins"

After a pile of tapes and a few LP reissues of some of those cassettes, Dominick Fernow has released his first proper full-length as Vatican Shadow, and the eight tracks here do feel more like a fully formed album than any of the previous efforts. Since 2010, he has become a master at creating a mood of ominous tension, by slowly building layers of repetitive beats over sparse synth washes. There's a lot more variance between tracks on Remember Your Black Day, ranging from slow and menacing on "Tonight Saddam Walks Amidst Ruins" to propulsive and almost melodic on "Contractor Corpses Hung Over the Euphrates River." Here, the syncopated sixteenth-note rhythms are reminiscent of recent Regis or Ancient Methods. None of the tracks outstay their welcome, even the eight-minute title cut which approaches straight industrial techno. The set closes out with the somber "Jet Fumes Above the Reflecting Pool," which recalls fellow Hospital artist Christian Cosmos. With Remember Your Black Day, the strongest statement from the project thus far, it really feels like Vatican has come into its own and has shed the more obvious Muslimgauze-worshipping tendencies of some of the formative early releases. [MMo]





$18.99 CD
$21.99 LP

Watching Dead Empires in Decay
(Modern Love)

"Where Are Our Monsters Now, Where Are Our Friends?"
"Grey Day Drift"

It's been five long years since Leyland Kirby has released anything as the Stranger, but the wait has been worth it, as his new album for the always-stellar Modern Love imprint pulls no punches. Watching Dead Empires in Decay casts Kirby's trademark clouds of unsettled spectral ambience anchored by a more kinetic pulse; nearly every track here is pushed forward by layers of slowly creeping, pulsating tribal pulsations crafted on what seems like funeral drums and abandoned scrap metal. In fact, most of the sonic source material on the album sounds crafted from percussion of all sorts; as such, it's perhaps one of the most simultaneously visceral and eerie records of Kirby's career, and provides a lovely counterpoint to the more romantic explorations of melancholy undertaken via his Caretaker albums. There's little to no remorse to be found on Watching Dead Empires; instead, the listener is left fending for themselves in a desolate, treacherous landscape that seems as though it has taken on a life (or afterlife) of its own, devouring any and all who dare to enter it. Whether you dig the haunted spectrality of Kirby's past works, or are more of an industrial/cold wave fiend who needs some fresh klang and boom in their diet, this album fully delivers, and is arguably one of Kirby's best, under any of his many pseudonyms. [IQ]





$18.99 LP


(Ba Da Bing!)

"My Name Is Rune"

Haley Fohr's fourth album as Circuit Des Yeux continues the gradual unveiling of what had come previously -- from a background of collage and miraculous confusion, her first two LPs for Destiji manifested as the fascinating, maddening product of a musician, wise beyond her years, who presented a shocking new vocabulary for post-teen angst expression. 2011's Portrait offered more clarity, as did a recent 10" that brought the house down with a cover of Springsteen's "I'm on Fire," but with Overdue, new promise is realized. All of the stormy forces behind CDY's music are brought forth with stunning clarity, her voice torched and haunted in line with Zola Jesus facing the basement corner, maelstroms of guitar and curtains of strings raining down in stark resolution. It's nearly impossible to resolve this material with its older counterparts, in that there are tangible things to grab onto here, but what you're left with is a windswept cloudburst of rusted black emotion raining down on you the whole time, in a way that hasn't happened since Peter Jefferies' The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World buffeted your ears and your soul. Ms. Fohr is ready for her close-up. Recognize her. [DM]





$11.99 12" EP



"M39 Diffain"

Rob Brown and Sean Booth have always excelled when it comes to the EP format; their work as Autechre can at times stretch itself too thinly over the course of a full-length, yet their mini-albums have always been highly focused, visceral, and downright kinetic experiments that have brought forth some of their most classic cuts. Their new EP, L-event, continues the trend, offering four new tracks contextually related to their epic full-length, Exai, from earlier this year. Where that album was a sprawling yet continually satisfying expanse spread across two CDs (or four LPs!), L-event provides 26 minutes of deep, forceful rhythmic texture that, while not exactly mining any new ground at this point, continues the duo's grand tradition of constant sonic metamorphosis and evolution. Whether Exai seemed a bit too unwieldy for you, or if you found yourself fully enthralled by its expanse and crave more, this killer EP should ably manage to satiate both sides of their always-dichotomous fanbase. [IQ]





$21.99 LP


Solaris OST
(Superior Viaduct)

For those of us fascinated by the inherent spiritual beauty of Andrei Tarkovsky's cinema, as well as the adventurous electronic music that accompanies it, this beautiful reissue of Eduard Artemiev's 1972 soundtrack for Solaris should give way to internalized transcendental cheering. Solaris is somewhat of an exception in Tarkovsky's undoubtedly extraordinary oeuvre -- a philosophical science fiction film inspired by the writings of the popular Polish auteur Stanislaw Lem. In the hands of Tarkovsky, the cosmic references present in Lem's novel are strengthened to bring about a meditation on life and death, consciousness and resurrection, infused by the intergalactic theories of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the spiritual father of Russian space exploration. The soundtrack by Artemiev is appropriately mind-bending. An accomplished avant-garde composer of mostly electronic music, he rose to the occasion to establish a sound world that matched the engaging visual efforts of Tarkovsky's poetic film language.

Artemiev opens his score with Johan Sebastian Bach's somber "Chorale Prelude in F-Minor," after which he presents a number of electronic variations on this beautiful organ piece. The sounds are dissonant, formless, and unsettling. Throughout the record, Bach's original composition occasionally returns, expanded by Artemiev with thick electronic tapestries, to heightened eerie effect. An interesting reference point is Louis and Bebe Barron's astonishing soundtrack for Forbidden Planet or some of the more ambient-oriented compositions by the great Iannis Xenakis. Most of all, however, Artemiev's compositions are wholly incomparable, displaying a unique technique on the ANS synthesizer, for which he drafted sine waves on glass plates to interpret his compositions. Shortly after Solaris was completed, the only existing prototype of the ANS was destroyed, and Artemiev's score stands as a testament to this exceptional pioneering instrument. Regardless of such fascinating historical facts, the music is a real treasure of early electronic music that you should definitely hear and experience, even if you are unfamiliar with Tarkovsky's brilliant film. [NVT]







Life Cycle of a Massive Star

For his second full-length since leaving Vex'd, composer/producer/sound designer Roly Porter looks out into the cosmos for inspiration; Life Cycle of a Massive Star is Porter's interpretation of what the creation and death of a star might possibly sound like. Through five movements, he manages to forge a distance between the listener and the recording that offers a welcoming vantage point to engage with the music, developing sounds that rumble in the far and wide, quietly enough at first, and then elements begin to shift and energy grows and is released. Like his debut, Aftertime, Porter works in deconstruction and assemblage, yet here he uses his skills to sculpt a rich and cinematic landscape of not so much music as celestial cosmic sounds, more like slow and steady photosynthesis. Bass tones, strings, lower register synth drones, and otherworldly sounds suspend and drift in the deep and empty darkness. The industrial-meets-jungle aesthetic of Vex'd is referenced, yet this feels closer to their posthumous bass-ambient-experimentation collection, Cloud Seed, more than their rumble-in-the-jungle debut. As Porter continues to leave the dance floor as a distant memory and dreams of new sonic worlds of sound, his talents at design really shine. Music for Halloween? Well, if you play this loud enough, I'm sure you'll have those costumed sugar scavengers running up the block. Deep, rich, expansive, and spooky, Porter is a unique voice within the experimental scene, offering albums to get in lost in and a little freaked out by, both in a good way [DG]






1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement)
(Numero Group)

"The Wonder of It All"
"Would Be Mine"

In anticipation of their eagerly awaited Purple Snow box set, documenting the excellent unheralded bands of the early Minneapolis funk and soul scene, Numero Group unleashes this wonderful retrospective of music by Mind & Matter, one particular group featured in that forthcoming collection, and perhaps most recognized as the band that started the career of one James Harris III... though you know him as Jimmy Jam. This eleven-member-strong ensemble documents the first public forays into songwriting and performing by the famed producer, all dating from the mid-to-late 1970s, prior to his joining the Time and being drafted into the purple paisley universe of a certain Prince Rogers Nelson.

Mind & Matter's music is a deep, beautiful blend of quartet vocal harmonies, and intricate, somewhat jazz-influenced funk; imagine if you will the O'Jays or Stylistics jamming with Steely Dan circa Katy Lied, and you've got a rough approximation of the magic being worked here. The vocals are absolute aural honey, and the band, led by Harris' clavinet, Rhodes, and Roland SH-1000 lines, balance sweet sentiment with some tough yet tender grooves. This is an interesting peek into the roots of one of soul and R&B's most innovative and influential producers, and to hear him without his future partner in crime, Terry Lewis, is a fascinating delight. Deep soul heads, jazzy funkers, and those just looking for some solid harmonies to throw a little sunshine into these grey autumn days should look no further; it'll hold you over and get you pumped for the Purple Snow box, which is going to blow your mind. Until then, savor the flavor of this tasty and important dish. [IQ]





$14.99 10" EP


Emancipated Hearts
(Double Feature)

"Love Is Colder Than Death"

Hands down, the best song on Emancipated Hearts is "The Ticking Is the Bomb." Like Dean Wareham's best work in Galaxie 500, it's a song composed of two chords that crash and recede like waves, his voice nothing more than a gloomy, bleating speak-sing. Drummer Anthony LaMarca does his best Damon Krukowski impression, pushing those chords from verse to chorus with swirling cymbal rolls and tom-toms that thump like a heartbeat. Gillian Rivers' droning violin imbues the whole affair with "Heroin" vibes, while a 12-string electric guitar shines a Byrds-y lightness through the fog. It's the kind of song where I simply don't care what comes before or after -- like "Tugboat," I could happily listen to "Ticking" on repeat, forever. That's not to say that the other five songs -- one of which is an excellent cover of the Incredible String Band's "Air" -- don't measure up. Emancipated Hearts often comes off like the male analog to the new Mazzy Star album: a melancholy exploration of folksy blues that is equal parts Velvet Underground (as on "The Deadliest Day Since the Invasion Began") and Pentangle (as on the title track). Speaking for myself, who has been on a steady diet of Jackson C. Frank, Mazzy Star, and Cass McCombs lately, Dean Wareham rounds out that world quite well. [MS]





$21.99 LPx2+MP3


Stars Are Our Home

"On Crust"

You may remember Neil Halstead as one of the founding members of shoegaze favorites Slowdive, from the brokedown desert psych wash of Mojave 3, or from his solo works. With Black Hearted Brother, Halstead gets back down to it, blasting the listener with shards of distortion and layers of space-drone textures, awakening a drug-laden beast of a double LP with sonic ties to Spacemen 3, Godspeed You Black Emperor, and most importantly his own musical history, to stunning effect. Stars Are Our Home reverberates brightly, filled with cascades of guitar and synth-driven bliss, echoing a late '90s utopia that fell to pieces in the wake of people rediscovering rock music a few years later. While there is no real way to reconcile the past in this regard, Black Hearted Brother makes a strong case for sticking to your guns. Beautiful stuff, highly recommended. [DM]





$13.99 CD
$14.99 LP


(Suicide Squeeze)


Yamantaka // Sonic Titan are not like anything you've heard before, I promise. While the Canadian experimental, art-rock group is a sextet, its most prominent members are multi-instrumentalist and drummer Alaska B and lead singer Ruby Kato Attwood. From the opening track of their second full-length Uzu, Attwood's opera-ready voice (that happens to uncannily resemble pre-Austra solo artist Katie Stelmanis) pierces through the music, fiercely shining. But the crisp, hymn-like "Atlanata" is just a deceptive intro for the metal-infused headbangers that are to boldly follow. The heaviest tracks here are ultimately the most successful, just because the group can so slay those heavy guitar meets airy vocals collision, on cuts like "Whalesong," "Lamia," and "One." That said, the wide range of styles on the second half of the album really reaffirms the group as an art-rock band that takes on all volumes, noises, and perspectives. The dual tracks of "Seasickness" explore both silence and an overpowering, growing monster of noise as the tense fun slowly approaches doom. The group's Asian influence adds a particularly eccentric aspect not only to their costume-filled live shows, but also to their music in general. The sparse and vivid lyrics often reflect Buddhist philosophy, and even Japanese Kabuki and Noh Theater. On Uzu, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan blend genres quite wonderfully, as psych/prog-rock, metal, electronica, and childlike warbling create an uncanny amalgamation of the unsettling and the badass. This group is really helping to extend the parameters of music, falling in the shadow of no predecessor whatsoever. [MM]







Livity Sound
(Livity Sound)

"More Games" Kowton
"Junked" Pev & Kowton

Just a few months ago we were blown away by the debut album from Bristol-based collective Young Echo; the album, Nexus, was a kind of rebirth of the Bristol sound circa '90s Massive Attack, yet also brought into the mix was a refreshing take on the dark bass/ambient trend of today. The three members of Young Echo also have a label (and project) called Livity Sound, which has released vinyl since 2011 from Kowton, Asusu, and Pev (formerly Perverlist, who runs the Punch Drunk label). On this two-CD collection, they have gathered all their singles along with just as many new exclusive tracks. Livity Sound can best be described as the next step in the lineage of the London-based Skull Disco label. The main producer from that crew, Shackleton, frequently comes to mind when listening to this lengthy collection. A sense of space is felt within the clanging and steady rhythms, and there is a subtle calmness throughout; it's more heady than ravey, although these tracks are made for dancing. The three members are presented in solo and duo form, where they create extended jams of ethno-techno, strutting house, and skeletal dubstep, all streamlined and just right. My favorite of the three producers is Kowton, whose brand of analogue flare brings edginess to the crew. Most tracks clock in around six minutes, leaving the producer(s) time to let the music resonate, percolate, and sink in, from your head to your feet. Fans of label collections from Hessle Audio, Keysound, or Tectonic, Livity Sound are the new kids on the block, paving new roads in the post-dubstep world. [DG]





$15.99 CD
$19.99 LP


(Human Ear Music)


Berlin-based experimental composer Lucrecia Dalt has been a more peripheral figure in the scene based around the California wing of the Human Ear roster; she's perhaps best-known to the OM-faithful as the female vocalist on James Pants' stellar eponymous album from a few years back, giving those songs a touch of funked-up Broadcast electronic psych flavor. She also has collaborated and been touring with Julia Holter, and Dalt's solo works have drawn consistent comparison to Holter's take on art-song. To be honest, though, I personally prefer Dalt's records; last year's excellent Commotus was a quietly kinetic journey through droning ambient torch song not dissimilar to the works of Angelo Badalamenti and Julee Cruise, but filtered through a more percolating stoned groove. Her latest, Syzygy, is an altogether different beast, and one which sees her maturing not only her compositional prowess, but her technical abilities as well; a suite of nine pieces that bring extreme dichotomies of high- and low-end frequencies, anchored by droning clouds of bass, ghostly layers of multi-tracked vocals, and sharply arpeggiating piano figures, this is NOT an album to be listened to on lousy computer speakers. On the contrary, the better the sound system, the more rich and fulfilling the details are able to display themselves, as everything here feels and sounds immaculately placed, yet still infused with a life force that prevents things from growing too sterile. If you've enjoyed recent albums by the likes of Holter, Holly Herndon, and more classically experimental sirens like Meredith Monk, Maja Ratkje, and Joan La Barbara, pick this up without hesitation; it's a calming, hypnotic work that slowly unfurls and wraps itself around you as you get lost in its deceptive textures. Play this loudly on the best stereo you can find... It's a subtle killer. [IQ]


$14.99 CD
$25.99 LPx2+MP3



"Future Vision"
"Love to Love"

After his critically acclaimed debut album, 2011's Gentle Spirit, Jonathan Wilson is back with Fanfare, displaying a wonder of sound and celebrating its dimension, while staying grounded in the magnificent sphere of rock. Wilson explores the components of psychedelic rock, blues, and folk, and finds commonalities in these styles to ultimately merge them seamlessly together. The sounds and moods vary broadly across each carefully crafted song, using soft snares at times and determined drumming during others, plucking at the guitar in the name of folk or strumming into steady, patterned grooves, using the dynamic pull of background singers ("Cecil Taylor") or the haunting solidarity of his voice alone ("New Mexico"). There is such a dense quality of tones in Fanfare, due in part to the many contributors Wilson was grateful to work with throughout the album, from Wilco's Patrick Sansone to Josh Tillman (Father John Misty) to folk legend Roy Harper, who co-wrote several tracks with Wilson. The musicality is deep and multidimensional; the use of instruments ranges immensely ("I was going for this sort of 'wide screen' sound, a blown out vista," says Wilson). "Dear Friend" is like a lullaby that slowly blooms into grander psychedelic billows. The song crescendos and builds in slight increments, until you eventually realize that the track has taken on a completely new level of vibrancy and dimension. It's safe to say that Jonathon Wilson's Fanfare is a must listen. [TL]




Psychic... Powerless... Another Man's Sac
$16.99 LP


Rembrandt Pussyhorse
$16.99 LP


Locust Abortion Technician
$16.99 LP


Hairway to Steven
$16.99 LP


Psychic...Powerless...Another Man's Sac
(Latino Bugger Veil)

Rembrandt Pussyhorse
(Latino Bugger Veil)

Locust Abortion Technician
(Latino Bugger Veil)

Hairway to Steven
(Latino Bugger Veil)

Whoa! Latino Bugger Veil reissues the first four full-length albums of the mighty (filthy) Butthole Surfers on vinyl. For those unfamiliar with the band, or those who only know them from their more rock-oriented mainstream 1990s period, which saw them -- in a totally surprising move -- hitting the charts, this series of albums, originally released between 1984-88, are extreme and, indeed, extremely disturbing. After years of matured listening experiences and advancing musical taste, the Butthole Surfers' steady development on their first four albums is the one that stands out most decisively between all of their contemporaries in the US post-punk underground, at least to this reviewer's ears.

Displaying an unusually weird sense of humor, these Texas-grown extremists present quite an acquired taste, merging punk aesthetics with -- at the time -- musical "taboos" as blues, Black Sabbath, and psychedelia. Psychic...Powerless...Another Man's Sac remains for many fans of the early hours their highlight and introduced the band's trademark drugged-out sound with droney guitars and huge amounts of noisy and wild idiocy. Rembrandt Pussyhorse, on the other hand, opens more conventionally with "Creep in the Cellar," a "pop" song about a creep hiding in the basement while taking off his skin, after which things get once again more psychedelic, yet more artsy and subtle than in their previous effort.

And then there is Locust Abortion Technician, a singular highlight of the '80s underground and one of the most difficult albums to wrap one's brain around. There is really nothing out there to prepare oneself for its alienating, sickening, and slightly schizophrenic weirdness, not even the Surfers' own remarkable trajectory. Front man Gibby Haynes' verbal wizardry and his introduction of demented vocal effects, opens up an engrossingly perverse acidic universe. The music is a grandiose and experimental mess, ranging from sludgy Black Sabbath parody, to progressive tape loop effects, heavily slowed-down guitar distortion, and even world music in the druggy appropriation and détournement of a Thai pop song on "Kuntz." It's quite logical that things couldn't keep intensifying after this effort, and thus Hairway to Steven introduces a more conventional framework, paving the way for the Butthole Surfers' later mainstream success while still containing some of their kaleidoscopic insanity. [NVT]





$9.99 CD
$13.99 LP

My Friend Fish
(Western Vinyl)

"Wwwoman Is a Sin"

Shaun Fleming, drummer of Foxygen, takes on an alter-persona stage name, Diane Coffee, in his solo debut album. My Friend Fish is like a fall into the psychedelic '60s daydreams of a neo-soul musician. The album carries the listener into a dizzying dance of rolling rhythms and drowsy lyricism; "I think you're cool, I catch a cold with you," Fleming sweetly pours in the opening track "Hymn." He shows a powerful vocal range, and My Friend Fish continually impresses, shifting from garage-rock undertones ("That Stupid Girl Who Runs a Lot") to gospel-esque sounds without missing a beat. Diane Coffee has soul and there is no doubt about it. [TL]





$16.99 LP


Muchacho De Lujo
(Dead Oceans)

"Song for Zula"
"Quotidian Beasts"

An album sure to land on more than a few "Best of 2013" lists, Phosphorescent's Muchacho now sees an expanded edition re-release as Muchacho De Lujo. The extra disc of bonus material here is taken from a stripped-down live show, recorded at St. Pancras Church in London. The set, performed as a two-piece of guitar and piano, includes songs from Phosphorescent's entire catalog along with a cover of Waylon Jennings' "Storms Never Last." Here's what we said about the record earlier this year when it was first released:

Matthew Houck is a lout. A poet and a lout, burned out, beat down, bowed but not broken, wronged, but more often just plain wrong, Houck has built a musical persona around his own contradictions and shortcomings: full of confidence, drowning in doubt, the Alabama boy in Brooklyn, the country purist playing indie rock, the lying philanderer looking for love and redemption. Houck is flawed... like all of us, right? He is flawed and fragile, and on Muchacho, his fairly stunning new album on Dead Oceans, Houck stares down his own demons, and while you might not be able to sing your way to redemption, Houck has made a truly emotional album trying. "I been fucked up, I been a fool. Like the shepherd to the lamb, like the wave onto the sand, fix myself up and come and be with you" (from "Muchacho's Tune"). You don't quite believe him, but you want to, nearly as much as he wants to himself.

Phosphorescent is a fluid thing, and Muchacho spins together the many strands of the band's sound, from the quiet solitude of the early records to the swagger of Here's to Taking It Easy to the classic swing of Houck's breakthrough Willie Nelson tribute, gilded with a refreshing irreverence to the touchstones of "country," adding programmed rhythms and synths as easily as it does quietly brushed drums or honky-tonk piano, a gospel chorus, an aching fiddle, a mariachi trumpet echoing in the distance. The recording is stoned and gritty, echoing with reverb, full of warm room tone and natural ambiance but utterly unvarnished, spare yet lushly beautiful. And at the center, of course, is Houck's beat-up voice, cracked, faltering, raw and rough; it's the sound of a man singing for his life. Like many icons of the genre -- say, Hank Williams (or even Lucinda Williams) -- Matthew Houck has made powerful and deeply affecting art out of his own pain, his shame, and his heartbreak. Full of hurt, full of hope, Muchacho is one of the more affecting albums I've heard in a long while; it's easily the best record Phosphorescent has ever made, and while the man behind the music may be sinking in eternal struggle, the music behind the man is soaring high. [JM]

Note: LP version includes a download code for bonus material. It does not include an extra CD or an extra LP.





$18.99 LP+MP3


Corsicana Lemonade
(Downtown Music)

"At Night in Dreams"
"New Blue Feeling"

Described by the band as a love letter to their home state of Texas, White Denim's Corsicana Lemonade is an easygoing album of revivalist Southern rock by way of the Black Keys and White Stripes. Expanding their sound as well as their line-up, the now four-piece has exchanged some of their more aggressive garage rock tendencies for music that's a little more funky and accessible. Incidentally, Jeff Tweedy, a fan who invited the band to open on a leg of Wilco's 2012 tour, produced and mixed two of the strongest songs on the album, including the persistent, bluesy "Pretty Green." This isn't music that will change your life, but it is music that will change your mood and, sometimes, that's more than enough.





$13.99 LP


Swamps EP
(Captured Tracks)

"Smoke and Mirrors"
"Brass Bed"

Following their sophomore album, Almanac, from earlier this year, Widowspeak bring us a new EP that may offer up some clues for what's in store with their next full-length. The Brooklyn duo's folksy dream-pop has an added Southern, bluesy tinge, while still informed by Molly Hamilton's gorgeous, lulling melodies and Robert Earl Thomas' shimmering guitar work.







Nearest Suns

The industrious front man of (the recently reformed) Medicine releases his third solo album on Hometapes. Nearest Suns is yet another enjoyable off-kilter pop record from Brad Laner, and his brand of shoegaze mixed with sometimes noisy, always interesting psychedelic textures resonates poignantly when compared to today's current crop of indie bands mining similar territory. Recorded at his California home, the album is at its best when Laner's warm, psychedelic guitar lines match his mystical, whimsical melodies -- see track "Be Gone." We also appreciate the great album art, something not always easy to come by these days.








The first single off the upcoming album, Blue Film, from classically trained, Los Angeles-based producer Matthew Hemerlein, a/k/a Lo-Fang. "#88" is a lush, orchestrated offering, with strings, piano and synths layered and filtered through modern pop production and Hemerlein's rich, soulful falsetto leading the way. Also includes a great cover of Boy's "Boris."







Blue Record

To follow up their lauded sophomore album, II, Unknown Mortal Orchestra release Blue Record, an acoustic EP where ringleader Ruban Nielson explores different, acoustic versions of UMO songs plus a cover or two. Citing Arthur Lee as an influence, Nielson lets the band's psychedelic tendencies fall by the wayside with these bare-boned versions, taking a chance to see if his songwriting can stand on its own legs. And indeed, it mostly succeeds, the EP showcasing some lovely fretwork, and the takes on Beck and Dirty Projectors are worth the price of admission.







Issue #357, November 2013
(Wire Magazine)

November's issue of Wire is on our shelf, featuring Laurel Halo discussing, "techno utopias, digital identity, and making electronic music in the surveillance age." Also inside: Invisible Jukebox with Archie Shepp; Sam Shalabi; Californian sound ecologist and composer David Dunn; Athens collagist Jar Moff; Majik Markers; and much more including a 20-track CD.

Previous Other Music Updates.

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