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  September 12, 2013  
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We're very excited to welcome Brooklyn's Crystal Stilts, who will be performing a special in-store in the shop on Monday, September 16, at 8 p.m. They're supporting their forthcoming album, Nature Noir, out the following day via Sacred Bones Records.

OTHER MUSIC: 15 E. 4th St. NYC
Free | All Ages | Limited Capacity
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Factory Floor
Willis Earl Beal
Arctic Monkeys
Bruce Gilbert and BAW
Concrete Fence
Black Sites
Emiliana Torrini
The Dream Syndicate
The Weeknd
The Stepkids

Youth Code
Yves De Mey

Larry Gus
Jackson & His Computerband
Laura Veirs

Kirin J Callinan

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Glass Candy, Chromatics

Washed Out
Our good friends at Bowery Presents are offering our Update subscribers a chance to win a pair of tickets to one of these upcoming concerts at Terminal 5, starting with this Friday's must-see: the glamorous double bill of Italians Do It Better's slo-mo disco flagships, Glass Candy and Chromatics. Then, Wednesday, September 18, Washed Out (a/k/a Ernest Greene) brings his dreamy synth-pop with full band in tow to the Terminal 5 stage, supporting his great new album, Paracosm. And last but not least, we're offering a pair of tickets to catch London's always-thrilling post-punks Savages, whose show for tonight has been rescheduled for Wednesday, October 16. (Tickets for the original September 12th date will still be honored, and refunds are available at point of purchase.) To enter for a pair of tickets to any of these concerts, email giveaway@othermusic.com, and please list which event you'd like to see in the subject line. We'll pick one winner per show.

TERMINAL 5: 610 W. 56th St. NYC

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With a new album out now on Dead Oceans (and reviewed in this week's Update), Califone returns to New York this Sunday, September 15, performing in Brooklyn at Littlefield on a bill that also includes Richard Buckner. Other Music is giving away one pair of tickets to the show and to enter for your chance to win, simply email contest@othermusic.com.

LITTLEFIELD: 622 Degraw St. Gowanus, BKLN

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Vampire Weekend
Neither of these great bands needs an introduction, and Other Music has a pair of tickets to give way to each of their respective shows next week at the Barclays Center: Yeah Yeah Yeahs on Thursday, September 19, with Har Mar Superstar opening; and Vampire Weekend on Friday, September 20, with Solange and Sky Ferreira as support. (We'll also throw in an autographed Vampire Weekend LP for the lucky winner of that show.) Email enter@othermusic.com for your chance to win, and make sure to list which concert you'd like to see in the subject header.

BARCLAYS CENTER: 620 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn

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On the heels of their latest single, "What Can Ya Do" b/w "I'm Giving Up" (out now on Other Music Recording Co.), Nude Beach are kicking out the jams on Friday, September 20 at Mercury lounge, and we're offering up a pair of tickets to see them rock hard with Suspicious Beasts and Honey also on the bill. To enter for a chance to win, email tickets@othermusic.com.

MERCURY LOUNGE: 217 E. Houston St. NYC





$14.99 CD
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Factory Floor

"Turn It Up"
"Fall Back"

London sound-art trio Factory Floor have been establishing a solid reputation over the past few years thanks to a steady series of singles and EPs, and a blistering, powerful live act. Following releases and collaborations on Blast First, Optimo, and Mute, the group found a home with DFA Records, who issue their eagerly anticipated debut full-length, and it's easily one of the strongest, most gripping releases the label's ever pressed. While the trio have established themselves firmly amongst avant and experimental circles thanks to residencies at the ICA and Tate Modern, collaborations with Chris & Cosey and Peter Gordon, and a tendency to continually break down and degrade the borders between performance, research, development, and recording, they've managed with their eponymous debut to distill all of those qualities into an album that takes their jagged, noisy intensity and focuses it like a white-hot laser beam.

These tracks are rhythmically unrelenting, pulsating beasts that combine the rigid linearity of early Chicago house and acid's gurgling synth sequences and throbbing machine rhythms with a clattering, post-punk/no wave inspired commitment to raw instrumental texture via metal percussion and severely mutated guitar work. Nik Colk Void's detached vocals weave in and out of this chilly ice storm, delivering equally fragmented phrases and clusters that emphasize glottal texture over recognizable lyrical sentiment. Make no mistake, though; these are dance tracks, however, they're some of the most brutal, barbed bursts of beat you're likely to hear this year. For contextual reference points, look to Juan Atkins's work as Cybotron and Model 500, which provided one of the earliest blueprints for this combination of unrelenting rhythm and searing guitar abuse; I'm also consistently reminded of Eurythmics circa the under-regarded Savage album, on which Annie Lennox delivered schizophrenic character studies overtop a grid of thick, quasi-industrial blocks of sampled sound. Throbbing Gristle are also a key DNA strand, as though they've combined the rigid linearity and sensuality of "Hot on the Heels of Love" with the messy noise of "Discipline"; that both of those tracks are anchored by an unwavering pulse is no mistake. Chris & Cosey's post-TG work is also key to acknowledge here, as Nik Colk Void's collaboration with the duo last year produced one of 2012's best releases.

This is an altogether more "accessible" album than that creature, but one that also strips the songs down to core elements; to try to recreate their live sound on record would be a fruitless and pointless exercise, so they instead have found a way to integrate all of that into a document of further research. This dispatch stands as one of 2013's most visceral, intense, and just plain excellent releases; much like the artists who have given them inspiration, they manage to evolve and adapt whilst remaining precisely the group who set us alight in the first place. [IQ]





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Coming Apart


Named after Milton Moses Ginsberg's late '60s NYC static, voyeuristic underground cinema staple, Kim Gordon makes her post-Sonic Youth album debut with her new duo, Body/Head. If Lee's solo records captured the songwriting chops that drove SY through the '90s and beyond, and Thurston's Chelsea Light Moving the chaos, then Body/Head, a collaboration with Boston improv guitarist Bill Nace, fills in all the moments of abstraction, dread, and bombast -- no mean feat when you're only working with two guitars and vocals. An earlier EP that passed my way was interesting, kind of in a Dead C. sort of fashion, as in "nobody can make amp buzz sound more appealing," but on Coming Apart, huge strides have been made both in the concept and the breadth/depth of the sonic landscape covered by these two. Hard stereo panning separates Gordon from Nace, as the two trade off between patterns of repetitive play and peals of noise, both guitars coming across with a burned-in, meaty sound cultivated from years of similar activities. For a record with this much iconoclasm behind it, Body/Head have made it surprisingly listenable, warm and foreboding in equal fistfuls, an experimental record with real, emotional value at its core, and the strangest of all the post-SY projects to date. Ending with two sidelong epics -- the horrifying "Frontal" and a Patty Waters-style take on "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair" -- Coming Apart throws down a challenge for Gordon's former bandmates, and walks away with the heart and soul behind Sonic Youth firmly in her grasp. [DM]





$24.99 LPx2+MP3


Nobody Knows
(Hot Charity)

"Burning Bridges"
"Hole in the Roof"

From the start of Willis Earl Beal's sophomore album, it's clear that things are going to be much different than before. His 2012 debut, Acousmatic Sorcery, was a ragged, raw collection of home recordings made on a boombox in between a series of down-and-out jobs and despondent periods of life. It was an odd, intriguing set, but it's nothing compared to the bold declarations of its follow-up, Nobody Knows, which really plays like Beal's proper debut LP.

Recorded in a "real" studio and with a more precise focus in both overall sonic clarity and creative vision, Beal eschews the trappings of what led him to be pigeonholed in the same aesthetic breaths as Daniel Johnston and Ariel Pink. Instead, he presents his songs in contexts more fitting to the bloody hearts of soul singers like Solomon Burke, Bobby Womack, and Bill Withers, with lean yet muscular arrangements that pump, stomp, and tremble with an unwavering confidence. The songs quite impressively update and mutate classic blues and soul tropes into an aesthetic context that blends stripped-down, shadowed minimalism with lush sensuality; much of this could perhaps be attributed to the involvement of co-producer/mixer Rodaidh McDonald, one of contemporary pop's most talented producers and the man responsible for giving that same touch to recent efforts by the xx and King Krule, not to mention XL's Gil-Scott Heron and Bobby Womack albums, both of which share a similar emotional anchor of resigned sorrow and determined fortitude. What Beal adds to that, however, is a messy, wild-eyed awe and desire; his lyrics on Nobody Knows often deal with the carnal confusions of love and sex, delivered in a booming, powerful shout that commands and owns the physical space surrounding it.

I'll be honest, I wasn't terribly moved by Beal's home recordings; I found them intriguing, but nothing really grabbed me in a memorable way; Nobody Knows, on the other hand, has absolutely floored me. I say without hyperbole that this is one of the best records I've heard all year; it shines a brighter light upon Beal's talents as a songwriter and performer, and gives his singing voice a context that will help him connect to a much wider audience without compromising his unwavering commitment to his creative vision. It's a staggering achievement, an album filled with heart, soul, power, fear, and unrestrained emotion. That it's all framed in a production that is simultaneously beautiful and harrowingly dark is just icing on the cake -- I cannot recommend this record enough. [IQ]


$13.99 CD
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$27.99 LP+45+Booklet+MP3



"Do I Wanna Know?"

Arctic Monkeys' rocket-fueled early success was as a defiantly young band, brash, bratty, and very British -- not necessarily an easy style to age gracefully. Yet along with some expensive suits and slick hair, a decade into their career they have managed to forge a satisfying second act on this new LP, integrating the hard rock sounds they explored with Josh Homme on 2011's Suck It and See with the humor and swagger that made us love the group in the first place. As AM gets underway, from the opening guttural riff of "Do I Wanna Know?", the fuzzed-up blues-rock inevitably brings to mind the Black Keys, until Alex Turner's barbed lyrics fall into view. The northern whimsy brings us crashing back into familiar territory and "R U Mine" continues the theme of riff-heavy rock as a backdrop to a singular voice. Throughout AM, there are two shifts to highlight. The first is in the sonic scope; while my comparison to the Black Keys may sound like the Arctic Monkeys are painting onto a smaller canvas, it's quite the opposite. This is hugely impressive stuff, it's like listening to a band take on a dare, and then throw everything but the kitchen sink in to show that they're capable of hitting all the bases. It's not about tricks and wizardry -- this is an album genuinely rich in scope. Tender moments are tender. And, when it's time to cut loose, there are few finer.

And the second shift is lyrical. Now, the Arctic Monkeys are less about drunken nights out (though, they still play a distinctive part). They are also less about the thrill of the chase -- the flirtatious edge of the lyrics all but gone, and while nightclubs and lust still play a big role, it's all seen from a different vantage point. Now, we're into the world of grown-up relationships, the broken, the potential... and the drugs. A case in point, latest single "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High" is a perfect slice of Alex Turner's wry take on the world. The title kind of gives you all you need to know. On AM, we're checking in with a fully grown-up version of the Arctic Monkeys. It's a growth that has been kind. In maturing, the Arctic Monkeys have replaced the lyrical hijinx with a considered attitude, evolving into a commentary on the richness of relationships... and the thrill of rock and roll. This is where substance beats style. They have never sounded like they're having so much fun. Who'd have thought that growing up could be so liberating? [JP]





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(Captured Tracks)

"Flesh and Bone"

On first listen, I was prepared to rank the second LP from Stockholm’s Holograms as a spit-shined version of Iceage's excellent You're Nothing. Holograms singer Andreas Lagerstrom and Iceage's Elias Ronnenfelt both throw themselves bodily into their vocal performances, using anguished gasps and moans and bellows to communicate. I imagine Lagerstrom on bloodied knees in the studio as he prepares to belt the chorus of "A Sacred State," arms thrown skyward and looking for all the world like Willem Dafoe at the end of Platoon: "Silence in our hearts...foreeeevvveeer!" But repeat listens (of which there will be many, I assure you) put a lot of distance between Holograms and their Danish brothers, and reveal a band that has bested their catchy -- but a bit spotty -- debut record.

Forever brilliantly mixes the fervent romanticism of Joy Division with the angular physicality of early Wire and Magazine; the band deliberately establishes tightrope tension on songs like "Flesh and Bone" and "Attestupa" by dialing in the interplay between gauzy string synthesizers and glassy, ringing electric guitars. "Laughter Breaks the Silence" brings to mind a harder-edged version of anything from the Sound's Jeopardy album, with a couple of twisting rave-ups that also recalls the blasted blues of the Fall. Like the Peace LP that was released on Suicide Squeeze last year, Forever is a fantastic contemporary punk album that never comes off like a slavish tribute to yesterday's seminal sounds. [MS]

Note: Limited edition LP comes with a letterpress print and is pressed on colored vinyl.





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(True Panther)

"Your Face"

The latest from this Spanish quartet brings together a similar batch of influences as on their much-loved 2010 floor-filler Subiza, but they have upped the human element, and thus Apar is less of a Balearic indie-house record, and more of a classic dream-pop excursion. The chopped-up vocal samples have been edged out by Ekhi Lopetegi's downcast drawl, the rhythms are a bit more subdued, and though these tracks will still bring their fans to the dance floor, it's really a thoughtful, deep listening album, as comfortable on headphones or at a dinner party as it is a banging club system. For Delorean, songwriting comes before production, and this is a break-up record, not wallowing in sadness -- it's actually pretty joyful at times -- but exploring the struggles of friendship, love, commitment and change, and written as the global economic crisis was buffeting Spain with record unemployment, there is an extra air of melancholy. The production is lush and meticulous, with precise rhythms, soaring synth melodies, and a dreamy sound that brings me back to classic '80s synth-pop -- it would be easy to imagine some of these tracks running over the closing credits in a John Hughes film. But, despite their band name, Delorean are not retro revivalists, and Apar is a modern album that looks forward, not back. [JM]








"Beasts of the Earth"

Many still know English musician Bruce Gilbert for the band he helped found, Wire, and for good reason: It's not easy shedding the seminal role he played in one of rock's all-time great groups, even if he left the art-punk outfit nine years ago. (Wire is still active and still releasing terrific music.) But Gilbert has been a busy electronic/avant-garde composer since the 1970s, releasing many great albums for Mute, Editions Mego and Table of the Elements. Now he's teamed up with the duo BAW (Beaconsfield Art Works) for a compelling new record for the Touch label, Diluvial, easily one of the year's best electronic releases. It's a concept album of sorts, a soundscape connecting the urgency of modern climate change with biblical themes of creation and the Great Flood. The music, as one could imagine, is intense and forbidding, with Gilbert's punishing synthesizer mixed with BAW's field recordings and additional laptop work. The seven pieces are musical counterparts to the Old Testament's seven days of creation, and the results are dazzling, alternately eerie, hypnotic and lovely. The first track, "The Void" opens quietly and builds to a crescendo of jagged rhythms and lush synths; "The Expanse" is 12 minutes of minimalist drips and drops; "Lights" has a crackly warmth that brings to mind the best work of Mountains; while "Beasts of the Earth" powerfully evokes images of swarming locusts and destruction. We've heard electronic music inspired by the sea and nature before, but nothing like what Gilbert & Co. have created here, a polemical soundtrack to the end times that makes ecological disaster and biblical plagues beautiful and haunting. I'll be playing Diluvial when the next hurricane hits. [JBr]









New Release (1)


The Pan label has been solidifying its reputation as one of the premier contemporary labels issuing quality experimental sonics, and they're back with two new documents that just add further bricks in their rock-solid wall.

Concrete Fence is a collaboration between electronic noise merchant Russell Haswell and Karl O'Connor, known for his exploratory techno excursions as Regis and British Murder Boys. The three cuts unleashed upon the world on New Release (1) are a focused, nuanced fusion of each man's respective sonic trademarks; they blend a solid, kinetic, forward rhythmic movement with oppressive textural grit and sheer sonic weight. The music on this record is dense, heavy, and appropriately powerful, yet given ample room to breathe and mature. Fans of either artist, not to mention the current crop of gnarled mutant techno producers like Vatican Shadow, Factory Floor, and Kassem Mosse, will find much to love here.

Also available on Pan is this nasty little slice of degraded, barbed house by Black Sites, which offers two extended cuts of brutal, jacking warehouse beats and synthesizers that seem as though they're gurgling their last breaths. This is the sound of Detroit dunked repeatedly in a vat of thick, pungent tar; machines spark, whirr, and splutter as heavy industrial-strength beats thud underneath them, anchoring the proceedings and creating some absolutely KILLER sonic damage in the process. Do not sleep on this; it's an absolute beast of a record that gives extra weight and viscera to your DJ bag. Top marks all around once again to Pan for keeping their quality-controlled freak flag flying high. [IQ]





$18.99 LP+CD

Tales of Us


Goldfrapp has never been an easy band to pin down, as the duo has explored everything from dark cabaret to sparkling disco over the course of a half-a-dozen albums. Their latest, Tales of Us, finds Allison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory stepping back from some of the glamour of their recent releases and making a spare and dark record that hearkens back to their well-loved debut, or the quiet confessional of 2008's Seventh Tree. With hushed instrumentation that focuses on acoustic guitar and string orchestration, subtle electronic flourishes, and a batch of harrowing personal portraits of loves lost or discarded -- all but one of these tracks is titled with an unadorned Christian name, the odd man out called simply "Stranger" -- it's a stark and emotional journey that might surprise some recent fans, but will remind many of why they loved this band in the first place. Allison Goldfrapp's haunting voice is the star here; soft but never frail, lush but never showy, you can feel her turning herself inside out on a harrowing emotional journey. Yet despite the pain, these songs are full of beauty and truth, and Tales of Us shows once again that Goldfrapp are artists before pop stars. [JM]







(Rough Trade)


Emiliana Torrini's sixth album, Tookah, sees the singer flirting with a more melancholy environment than her previous critical smash, Me and Armini. Throughout here she's exploring a blend of gentle folk acoustics and slowly percolating Brazilian percussion, augmented by dreamy, pillowy synth textures and a bit of fuzzy beat and bass programming. It's a subtle suite of domesticity that offers a sonic transition similarly explored by Bjork on her Vespertine album; both artists keep their misadventures walled in the confines of their own homes after recently mothering children, and while the subtlety may at first seem quaint and quiet, after repeated listens these songs begin to reveal a darker menace at heart. All in all, it's a beautiful album that offers an offbeat look at the rhythms of motherhood similar to one of my favorite albums of the past few years, the criminally underrated Hardships by Jenny Wilson. Don't sleep on this one. [IQ]





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(Dead Oceans)

"Frosted Tips"

After a few quiet years where it seemed that Califone may have faded into the ether after a decade-plus run making some of the most intriguingly weird blues/folk of the modern era, Tim Rutili has returned, with a new stripped-back sound (and lineup), on the enjoyable Stitches LP. Recorded far from Rutili's home base in Chicago, at various locations throughout the Southwest, it seems that he was trying to make a conscious break with his past on Stitches, with more direct lyrics and a streamlined sound that strips away much of the textural exploration that has long filled out Califone's studio recordings. On the one hand, not much has changed -- the guitars strum, the piano chords ripple and crash like waves on the beach, and Rutili's smoked-out soulful vocals are, as always, mesmerizing. On the other hand, Stitches is a far less dense and layered affair than most anything this band has done -- it's nobody's idea of "straightforward," but it's guided by a newfound simplicity that makes this the most clear-headed Califone album we've heard yet. Perhaps lucidity is not what we all look to this group for, but Stitches is a great record that should be welcomed by most any fan. [JM]





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The Day Before Wine and Roses

Reissued a few times since its recording, this 1982 live session for radio station KPFA marks the first time on vinyl for this revelatory work by the Dream Syndicate, the group that transcended its Paisley Underground trappings and, based on the album that followed, became the Best American Rock Band of the '80s. Captured just days before they would record their first full-length (which if you don't have, you should really think about acquiring), this was the original lineup, before they'd fracture and falter -- Steve Wynn and Karl Precoda on guitars, Kendra Smith on bass (who'd go onto Clay Allison and then Opal with a pre-Mazzy Star David Roback), and LAFMS associate/Human Hands drummer Dennis Duck. Days Before proves every bit as exciting and revelatory as the album that followed, a pitch-perfect distillation of years of psych, garage and studio pop storytelling that, in many ways, reads like the blueprint followed and expanded upon by Yo La Tengo. Great covers of Buffalo Springfield, Dylan and Donovan inform songs that initially appeared on the band's EP, extended to fill the space. I always remembered the group talking to the small studio audience, placing bets on who'd sign them for the album -- someone says "Slash," and Wynn cannily replies, "Laff? Laff Records? We're labelmates with Redd Foxx!" If you don't know The Days of Wine and Roses proper, you need to fix that, pronto (especially because autumn is approaching, and their "Halloween" is best heard in this season, in the magic hour), but if you do, this is going to be a very welcoming surprise. [DM]





$15.99 CD


Kiss Land

"Live For"

Ever since Abel Tesfaye quietly released his House of Balloons mixtape as the Weeknd back in 2010, his fame has steadily grown, and the young Canadian singer, rapper and producer has become one of the most buzzed-about new personalities on the international R&B scene. What began as eerie and soulful compositions regarding little else but sex and drugs have now exploded into full-fledged pop R&B hits, and after an epic trilogy of contrasting but cohesive mixtapes, Tesfaye signed to a major label, and he's made sure to reap the benefits of highly paid engineers and hi-fi technology on his proper debut LP. The crude creepiness that worked so well on the mixtapes has certainly been replaced by fuller sounds on Kiss Land, and while there is much to enjoy, overall it seems that some of the magic of the Weeknd's early work is gone. Take "Belong to the World," which interjects the industrial banging of Portishead's "Machine Gun" into the Weeknd's harmonies and alluring melodies. Such sampling could and probably would succeed with many artists, but when we've heard the impact of the dry and dark beauty that Tesfaye can create, it just doesn't live up. That's not to say there's nothing to appreciate here, there undoubtedly is -- "Adaptation" sounds like a bonus track from one of the Weeknd's first releases, with a reverberated drum and muted, distant voices backing Tesfaye's passionate moans. "Live For" similarly maintains the simplicity of his previous work, and even features a very fitting verse from Drake. Nevertheless, over the hour-long production, the tracks begin to blend and blur together, and after so much hype, I had just hoped for a little more from his debut album. Evolution is often admirable, but it's hard not to feel like this is too much too soon. And yet, while Kiss Land's glossier progression loses the distinct and mysterious identity that Abel Tesfaye once maintained, certain cuts from the album are not to be missed, and any fan of the Weeknd's striking first records needs to hear this themselves. [MM]





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(Stones Throw)

"Moving Pictures"
"Bitter Bug"

The Stepkids are full of contradictions: successful session musicians in a low-key indie band; nerdy white-boy record collectors who make deeply soulful and original music; groove merchants whose new one is a cerebral concept album deeply indebted to both Funkadelic and Steely Dan; oh yeah, and a great group from Connecticut! The trio makes perfect sense in the context of Stones Throw's crate-digger aesthetic, like a young suburban Dam-Funk or a boundary-pushing Mayer Hawthorne, but despite their obvious influences nobody really sounds like these guys, though in light of the recent trend towards smooth retro soul in the mainstream pop world, they are frightfully current -- another contradiction. Troubadour is a loose concept album about a shy and introverted singer finding his way in the world, and while this band will always be better known for their great playing than they will their songwriting, there are some genuine pop hits here, like the Marvin Gaye-indebted "Moving Pictures" or the dubby funk jam, "Bitter Bug." It's a nice step forward for an always-interesting group, well worth the time if you are a fan of any of the above, and don't miss these guys live, they kill it every time. [JM]





$21.99 LP

Youth Code

When I was a teenager, the music that Youth Code plays -- EBM, electronic body music, club-industrial -- was a dominant form of countercultural expression, pounded out like violent manifestos by groups like Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly and Nitzer Ebb. It's a moment in music so dyed black, so stylized, so imbued with specific imagery that it was essentially cast in amber; you can still hear this music, somewhere, in many cities around the world, usually with like-minded individuals styled in the same manner as denizens of this particular scene some 20-25 years ago. Whether Youth Code will be able to penetrate the evergreen Goth-industrial populace, or will solely appeal to the new fans who've sprung up over the last few years, remains to be seen, but the co-ed Los Angeles duo does a bang-up job of recreating the menacing synths, pulsing rhythms, political soundbites, hyperactive sample triggering, and screamed, tortured vocals of the original wave of these artists. Whether Youth Code, who debuts with an album on outsider/fringe interest label Dais (Genesis P-Orridge, Psychic TV, Iceage, Dangerous Boys Club, Missing Foundation), can meet with the parts of this scene that have never gone away, remains to be seen, but I'd love to see them sandwiched between a vintage Lords of Acid/My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult performance, whipping heads of black hair into a frenzy. [DM]







(Opal Tapes)

With two previous releases for Sandwell District and Line, Belgian producer Yves De Mey arrives at Opal Tapes with his most concise recording statement thus far. To call the range of Metrics cinematic is perhaps a tiresome cliché, but in the case of De Mey it might actually be the most precise way to describe his particular brand of electronic music. One of Belgium's most in-demand sound designers for films and commercials, De Mey's clinical process and technical expertise allows a captivating dramatic sound world to come to the fore, somewhere in between ambient, experimental, and IDM. De Mey is at his best when he turns the mechanics of techno upside down, as in the murky drones of opening track "Box Caisson" or the meticulously constructed tensions of "Metrics." The B-side offers a more abstract and narrative approach, with two tracks that combine noisy tape hiss with fragile beauty and eerie effects, "Eye Splice" enhancing this process by a meandering dub exposé. Although Metrics might be a bit too controlled and calculated to make this reviewer go wild, Yves De Mey nevertheless impresses deeply with his efficient hi-res sound designs, which explore rich textures and an excellent use of space. [NVT]







Years Not Living

"The Night Patrols (A Man Asleep)"
"Merely Today"

DFA has unleashed a new full-length by up-and-coming Greek multi-instrumentalist and producer Panagiotis Melidis, alias Larry Gus. Years Not Living is a kaleidoscopic psych-pop gem that recasts Prince's Around the World in a Day as an excursion through Mediterranean harems, blending funk grooves, multi-tracked falsetto vocal harmonies, polyrhythmic hand drums, and a bevy of Middle Eastern strings and melodies into a multicolored wet dream. Fans of everything from the aforementioned Purple One to James Pants, Erkin Koray, and the sort of psych-funk heralded by the folks at Finders Keepers Records shouldn't hesitate to check this out; it's a fun, funky, and freaky trip that hits a seldom-tapped sweet spot.





$15.99 LP

No Better Time Than Now
(Ghostly International)

"Detroit Part 1"
"Miss U"

While this Ann Arbor-born producer and drummer has resided in Brooklyn and currently Detroit, his music bares more resemblance to West Coast cosmic beat makers like Flying Lotus. Like FlyLo, Shigeto (real name: Zach Shigeto Saginaw) creates soulful, jazz-inflected productions, filled with shimmering and chiming synths, lush electric piano melodies, subtle bleeps of electronics, and polyrhythmic percussion that effortlessly float atop heady hip-hop and house beats. Fans of FlyLos' Los Angeles as well as Four Tet shouldn't hesitate.





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"G.I. Jane (Fill Me Up)"

An eight-year gap between full-lengths might as well be an eternity in the electronic world, but Jackson & His Computerband (a/k/a Jackson Fourgeaud) is finally back with a follow-up to Smash, his 2005 debut album. With Glow, the Paris-based producer pretty much eschews any of the IDM stylings of the predecessor, here putting his own signature on EDM, electro-bangers, dance music, and vintage synth-pop. It's a very diverse, sonically vivid offering yet it all hangs together nicely and Fourgeaud's attention to detail continues to be impressive.







Warp and Weft
(Raven Marching Band)

"Sun Song"
"Dorothy of the Island"

After a couple of acoustic-based outings, Laura Veirs' ninth full-length finds this talented singer-songwriter picking up her electric guitar again and delivering a richly textured set, offering poignant reflections on the world, as well as odes to Alice Coltrane and folk artist Howard Finster. Produced by her husband, Tucker Martine, and joined by an all-star cast of musicians that include bassist Karl Blau and My Morning Jacket's Carl Broemel on guitar, and cameos from MMJ's Jim James, Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Nate Query (Decemberists), the record moves through spirited rockers to quiet folk, and even some modal jazz, yet Veirs' crystalline, heartfelt voice still remains the main attraction here, and Warp & Weft is one of her best albums to date.





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$17.99 LP


 "Stretch It Out"

Controversial Australian performance artist and songwriter Kirin J Callinan is an odd bird who combines the offbeat, one-man-band DIY pop sensibilities of Ariel Pink with the dark, twisted skag blues of Nick Cave and the Birthday Party. The songs on Embracism are tough, brutal examinations of bodily politics; in Callinan's eyes, humans are awkward, bungling creatures continually toppling over, kicking, yelling, and breaking anything and everything that gets in our way. This primal, carnal physicality translates into our emotional interactions as well, and he shows no mercy in his depictions of love, lust, and the confusion, elation, and fear that we all inevitably embrace in celebration of the body. The first thing that stands out on the record is Callinan's voice, a deep, dirty baritone that recalls the aforementioned Nick Cave circa his early years in the Birthday Party, a time during which Cave often explored similar themes with equal repulsion and fascination. Callinan's songs, though, are all topped off with a heaping portion of classic industrial and new romantic beat/synth texture, all snapping, pummeling rhythms, buzz-saw waveforms, and oscillating synth tones. While his live performances have become known for their confrontational and at times questionable behavior and content, on Embracism Callinan fully delivers the goods, with an excellent, surprising album that pulls no punches, bringing forth a set of songs that roll around in and relish their unease. While it's certainly not for everyone's ears, fans of the darker strains of minimal synth/wave, the esoteric works of Scott Walker, Ian Curtis' own atrocity exhibitions, and a smattering of GG Allin's grand guignol theatricalities should most definitely check this out. It's one of my favorite recent surprises and has really connected with me in ways that I wasn't expecting. [IQ]
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[JBr] James Bradley
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[JM] Josh Madell
[MM] Matthew Malone
[DM] Doug Mosurock
[JP] James Poole
[MS] Michael Stasiak
[NVT] Niels Van Tomme

- all of us at Other Music

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