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  September 19, 2013  
OCT Sun 29 Mon 30 Tues 01 Wed 02 Thurs 03 Fri 04 Sat 05

We hope you will join us for the Fall 2013 edition of the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair, which returns to Smorgasburg on Saturday, October 5 at the East River State Park in Williamsburg. This is going to be the biggest one yet, with 55 vendors, including 25 record labels, along with great record stores and the city's finest collectors offering lots of rare, unique and limited edition LPs, 7"s and cassettes, including lots of exclusives and specialty items. Dogfish Craft Brewed Ales will be back serving up their tried-and-true range of seasonal specials and year-round staples, while guest DJs spin throughout the event. So mark your calendar and make sure to swing by the Other Music table on your visit to the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair. Check the event's Facebook page for a list of participants and updates including the day's DJ line-up.

SMORGASBURG, EAST RIVER STATE PARK: 90 Kent Ave. at 7th St. Williamsburg, BKLYN
11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. | Free Entry

Forest Swords
Bill Callahan
Crystal Stilts
Jessy Lanza
John Foxx & the Belbury Circle
Pye Corner Audio
Nightmares on Wax
Kill Yourself Dancing (Various)
Nathan Salsburg
Eccentric Soul: The Forte Label

MX-80 Sound
Roky Erickson

Sufis (Now on CD)

Aphex Twin

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SEP Sun 22 Mon 23 Tues 24 Wed 25 Thurs 26 Fri 27 Sat 28

After dropping the excellent Olympia album earlier this summer, Austra makes a triumphant return to NYC with a concert at Webster Hall on Sunday, September 22. We're giving away one pair of tickets to the show, which sees them sharing a bill with offbeat electropoppers Diana, and to enter for a chance to win, just email tickets@othermusic.com.

WEBSTER HALL: 125 E. 11th St. Manhattan

SEP Sun 22 Mon 23 Tues 24 Wed 25 Thurs 26 Fri 27 Sat 28

The xx

Neko Case
Bowery Presents are offering our Update subscribers the chance to win a pair of tickets to one of these great upcoming shows at New York City's legendary Radio City Music Hall! The xx's concert this Monday, September 23, is sold out and if you didn't get tickets you still have a chance to catch it: just email giveaway@othermusic.com. Then, on Thursday, September 26, Neko Case hits the stage, performing in support of a great new album, with AC Newman opening. Email enter@othermusic.com for your chance to win tickets to see this great pairing. We'll notify winners for both shows this Friday.


RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL: 1260 Avenue of the Americas, NYC

SEP Sun 22 Mon 23 Tues 24 Wed 25 Thurs 26 Fri 27 Sat 28

Michael Morley, best known as guitarist and vocalist for New Zealand's Dead C., brings his long-running solo project, Gate, to Brooklyn and we're giving away one pair of tickets to catch the show at Union Pool, with Tom Carter and Samara Lubelski opening! Simply email tickets@othermusic.com to enter for a chance to win.

UNION POOL: 484 Union Ave. Williamsburg, BKLN

SEP/OCT Sun 29 Mon 30 Tues 01 Wed 02 Thurs 03 Fri 04 Sat 05

Australian rockers Jagwar Ma are taking their baggy, psychedelic dream pop on the road, and are making two stops in NYC in the coming weeks. We're pleased to be offering up a pair of tickets for both their Mercury Lounge gig on Monday, September 30, and their show at Glasslands on Tuesday, October 1. To enter for a chance to win, email contest@othermusic.com and make sure to list which particular show you'd like to attend. Each winner will also receive one free item from the band's merch table that night!

MERCURY LOUNGE: 217 E. Houston St. Manhattan
GLASSLANDS: 289 Kent Ave. Williamsburg, BKLN





$13.99 CD
$18.99 LP


(Tri Angle)

"Thor's Stone"
"Anneka's Battle"

On 2010's Dagger Paths EP, Matthew Barnes of Forest Swords created a cinematic world where dubstep, post-rock, R&B, instrumental hip-hop, ambience, and tribal percussion intersected into something that at the time was called witch house, but didn't sound like anything else grouped under that title. Now for his debut full-length on the Tri Angle label, Barnes heads down a similar path yet creates a more cohesive puzzle of mysterious assemblage. Barnes supposedly chose to mix the album outdoors, and no doubt there is a wide open aesthetic that gives the record a feeling of traveling, moving through time and space, across terrain and over seas -- real world shape shifting versus third eye introspection. Using what I imagine to be a barn full of instruments, hand drums, buckets, bass, guitars (as well as other stringed contraptions from around the globe), thumb pianos, keyboards, contact mics, and a sampler, Barnes has sculpted sound into dreamy collages of emotion and imagery.

Elements layer and loop over and around each other creating a ghostly, spirit-filled atmosphere throughout, and his guitar work is notably stronger, making for sparse yet intricate webs of sound. In the past I've described Forest Swords as a cross between a Morricone soundtrack and Burial, and Burial is still the closest comparison I hear, though perhaps if now produced by Steve Albini. Where Burial feels more high-def and polished, Forest Swords is of the earth, gritty and jagged; that said, both artists share a film-like approach to their tracks, and posses a strong sense of movement and space. Throughout the fifty minutes, worlds crumble, vegetation grows, humans shout and cry (both in joy and pain), tribes dance, sirens sing, warriors battle, and constellations illuminate the night. It may read like mere cut-n-paste, yet Barnes' skill at reassembling and blending live, programmed, and sampled elements has tightened into an organic flow that many beat bangers lack. Fans of assemblage music as varied as the Caretaker, Clams Casino, Eric Copeland or Ras G will find a new world to absorb themselves in. I've been waiting for this one for a while and it is far better than I could have expected, more of the same yes, but still quite fresh and different. [DG]





$18.99 LP


Dream River
(Drag City)

"The Sing"

Bill Callahan's been riding a career high these past few years; his last album, Apocalypse, has been widely hailed as one of his best records to date, and with his latest, that praise isn't likely to wane anytime soon, especially not from me. Callahan teased listeners prior to Dream River's release with an excellent 12" single that featured legitimate dub mixes of two of the album's tracks; that the idea sounded as wonderful on speakers as it looked absurd on paper speaks volumes of this record's masterful beauty.

The album, while retaining quite a few of Apocalypse's key players, moves his sound into new vistas, taking the psychedelic nyabinghi balladry of Dadawah's Peace and Love and transporting it into a sweat lodge in the wide open desert landscape of the Mojave. Gently percolating hand drums and softy skittering hi-hats propel these eight beautiful songs forward, and the guitar playing takes its cues more from Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp than it does BJ Cole or Chet Atkins; they squeal and cry like buzzards and gulls, gurgling in washes of chorus and tremolo effects. All of this is augmented by flute and softly moaning electric violin, with the arrangements coming together as arguably Callahan's finest hour. The album's relaxed, contemplative pace disguises a suite of songs that are some of the most emotionally poignant and dryly humorous of his career, at times matching the world weary wit of Lee Hazlewood; he dashes out one-liners and poetic observations with nonchalance and confidence, and all of the open space in the arrangements allows the music to breathe in a way that's miles away from the low-fi density of his early work.

In spite of all of this, Callahan holds a firm grip on these songs, and his confidence as a singer and performer is astonishing to hear throughout. He's come a long way from those early records in so many ways, and with Dream River, we're given proof that this new direction, should he choose to explore it further, is one that will bear much delicious fruit for listeners. This one gets my absolute highest recommendation, folks. [IQ]





$15.99 LP


Nature Noir
(Sacred Bones)

"Future Folklore"
"Worlds Gone Weird"

Album number three from, in my estimation, NYC's best guitar pop/indie/whatever you wanna call it band finds the cool detachment present in Crystal Stilts' demeanor seeping into the groundwater of their songs. Some would point to the autumnal snap in the air, others to "maturity" in their songcraft, even more to microdevelopments in their sound rather than the wholesale improvements across their blaring masterpiece In Love with Oblivion and companion EP, Radiant Door. Let's give the armchair quarterbacking a rest, though: they made Nature Noir because they wanted to; this is where they're at right now, comfortable with a sound less manic than its predecessors, but one that's a Swiss watch in terms of how they hit their targets. "I'm too tired, baby," croons Brad Hargett on "Star Crawl," sounding for all he's worth like Dean Wareham on Nyquil, the Galaxie 500 coming to a rest. This is the motif they carry throughout the record: stripping down, refocusing their rhythm, continuing to stare through the back of club walls as the coolest '60s throwback NYC's known in some time. "Future Folklore" shows up as their gnarliest and most rockin' track to date, riding the rails with the best of the Velvets, "Memory Room" croons and waltzes along like the Feelies in Something Wild, "Worlds Gone Weird" plays like the best song the Verlaines never recorded, the cautious title track coming in like a cross between the Left Banke and Richard Lloyd, and the glacial closer "Phases Forever" finds the band dissipating into the four winds. Truly beautiful stuff here from a group that only improves with each move. [DM]





$13.99 CD
$14.99 LP
$24.99 LTD LP

(Captured Tracks)

"No Shelter"

A couple of years ago, we wrote that Blouse's debut album was "...dreamy, dreary, and wistful...a perfect melding of Seventeen Seconds/Faith-era Cure and the hazy, yearning pop of Mazzy Star." After listening to Imperium on heavy rotation for the past couple of weeks, the 2013 rewrite of that sentence would be: "powerful, bold, and crackling with energy...a perfect melding of Seventeen Seconds/Faith-era Cure and the breathless, churning pop grandeur of Lush." On their second album for Captured Tracks, the Portland, Oregon band trades in their tales of neon nightlife and gauzy synthesizers for Fender Jazzmasters and a copy of the Creation Records documentary. No tone on the album sounds spindly or melancholy, and singer Charlie Hilton seems to beckon the listener down this fresh new path in the title track when she says, "Are you one of us/Are you one of us?"

On "1000 Years," Hilton's take on a classically-trained Nico or a shoegazing Francoise Hardy is reinforced by sparkling acoustic guitars that conjure the smoky apparitions of the House of Love and Ride. With "No Shelter," bassist Patrick Adams strikes a canny balance between sinister rumble and the kind of sleek groove that propelled every song on the first Stone Roses album. When "Happy Days" kicks off with a warbled, Kevin Shields-inspired chord, I imagined shards of damaged m b v vinyl falling into the pressing machine while it stamped out the Blouse acetate. Snippets of a blasted folk aesthetic can also be heard on the album's quietest cut, "Capote," which sounds like a song that, in an alternate universe, Broadcast would be playing right now. I was charmed but not bowled over by this band's debut, but I'll be gushing about Imperium for the foreseeable future. [MS]

Special edition LP is limited to 400 copies, pressed on black and white marble vinyl, with 3D-textured letter press imprint on art board, and comes with a tour poster, lyric sheet, and printed inner sleeve.





$18.99 LP


Pull My Hair Back

"Against the Wall"

Following Cooly G and Laurel Halo, Jessy Lanza joins the Hyperdub label and offers a subdued and satisfying record of beats, bass, and vocals. The album, Pull My Hair Back, was co-written/produced by Jeremy "Junior Boys" Greenspan, and is a sexy journey into minimal electronic pop and R&B. An admitted fan of '80s boogie vocalists like Patrice Rushen, as well as '90s girl groups like SWV, Lanza channels their sweet, sexy, and subtle phrasing and textures into her own brand of modern electronic quiet storm. Greenspan and Lanza began working together following her appearance on Junior Boys' It's All True, and their partnership seems like a great fit. Classically trained, Lanza showcases an accomplished sense of restraint throughout the album, applying her learned phrasing and technique as she samples, loops, and groups her vocals into a late-night, dubby tapestry; her singing feels both old and new, and grounded and ethereal. While her vocals are at times hazy and smeared in warm, clean delay and reverb effects, the production never gets in the way and the live aspect of the human voice is retained. Her vocal styling is sparse and open-ended, and Lanza also handles drum programming, adding a hip-hop swing to the songs, and some nicely rich synth-chord progressions. A strong love of smooth melody and vibe plays at the forefront, while solid production and musicianship set the sensual backdrop.

The power of Pull My Hair Back could probably be attributed to the less-is-more formula, much like the xx or INC., yet Lanza offers a fuller landscape of minimalism, embracing the bedroom as much as dance floor. She moves swiftly and effortlessly from R&B to house, or disco to pop, with nice arpeggiated synths, soft bass thumps, tasteful electronic textures, and understated vocals. It's a wonderfully engulfing listen where fond memories of the past inform and update the present with a fresh use of restraint without sacrificing groove. Although there are lots of great singles, every time I put this on I end up playing the whole album through; these days that says a lot. Pull Back My Hair is a relaxed yet engaging record that fits almost any mood and definitely comes recommended. Fans of the above mentioned, producer/vocalist combos like Metro Area/Kelley Polar, Maurice Fulton/Kathy Diamond, Julio Bashmore/Jessie Ware...or if you just need a come down album after Disclosure's Settle, let this be your next play. [DG]





$13.99 CD
$18.99 LP

(Smalltown Supersound)

"Invisible Signs"

We've been closely following Alexis Georgopoulos' Arp project since his 2007 debut release, In Light, which revealed him as a master of intimate and beguiling electronic textures that harkened back to the very best of 1970s kosmische music, while still being utterly contemporary. That album's follow-up continued on a similar trajectory, save the final track that perhaps signaled the completely new direction he'd forge on this astonishingly great new record. But before we get to the album at hand, we would be remiss not to also point out what was one of 2010's best and most undeniably beautiful releases, a collaborative LP on RVNG Intl. between Arp and Anthony Moore, the excellent British minimalist composer, for it's with that record that I have a feeling the inspiration for the radical shift we find on More began to germinate, as Moore was initially a "contemporary composer" who veered off into a very avant-pop direction, which in some sense is exactly what has happened here.

On More, Georgopoulos has largely ditched the introspective and percolating instrumental melodies in order to create a timeless and majorly ambitious experimental pop album that has as much to do with classic LPs like John Cale's Vintage Violence and Paris 1919, or the first two Brian Eno solo albums, as anything else going on presently. It's no mean feat to pull off, which is why hardly anyone ever attempts it, and which makes this record easily one of the most refreshing I've been privy to hear all year. There are still electronic textures to be found, sometimes as interludes, but more often they've been married or accented to this almost epically baroque sonic architecture that makes his new, direct songwriting and singing endlessly rewarding to explore. He doesn't entirely abandon his minimal bona fides, however, as one of the centerpieces of More is a driving six-plus-minute piece dedicated to Charlemagne Palestine that seems to marry interlocking and generative melodic piano patterns to the string section from Lou Reed's Street Hassle. It sounds so glorious you never want it to end. On other songs, it's as if warbly and weirdly phased guitars have been grafted onto some long lost outtake from Duncan Browne's Give Me Take You. When it comes down to it, I often feel jaded by songs lately and if nothing else, this album makes the case that you can still connect the past and future in surprising and affecting ways, and I truly can't recommend it highly enough. [MK]





$13.99 CD



"Cool Song No.2"

MGMT's new record finds the duo getting weirder and much darker than even their previous Congratulations. While that album seemed like a bit of a knee-jerk about-face from the pop stardom they'd received after "Kids" sent the youth brigade into a frenzy toward their debut, their eponymous third full-length, in all honesty, feels more like a true statement of intent from the band. There's a greater focus on texture and otherworldly ambience throughout, as synthesizers oscillate, belch, and whirr with abandon, anchored by the massive clatter and stomp of drums both skinned and programmed. Over the course of the album's 45-minute runtime, the group channels a curious yet engrossing form of proggy space-age pop; the results sound somewhat like taking Portishead's Third to a 1950s teenage beach party hosted by Annette Funicello. Some detractors may balk at what at first seems like a dearth of pop hooks, but after a few listens, these songs reveal themselves to be just as catchy as anything off of Congratulations, albeit in a more subdued manner. Producer Dave Fridmann helps the band focus the impact of these dense arrangements, only to then have the songs stretch out into widescreen shots of star-spangled night skies. The group has stated in interviews that what they wanted with this album was to write songs that could be expanded upon and extended into trance-inducing cyclical mantras; that's happening quite a bit here, and their Syd Barrett-meets-Silver Apples approach to pop throughout retains their charming oddity whilst moving them forward into some new vistas previously unexplored. It definitely pushes listeners still hanging on for another "Kids" out of the room, but those of you who enjoyed Congratulations (which this writer personally finds to be a stellar and much more superlative album than the debut) will find much to love here. It's a great, fun slice of psychedelic pop seldom made in contemporary circles these days, and it brings to mind the witty abandon mastered by a group like Sparks, whose attention to both lyrical and sonic detail have made them a hugely influential cult behemoth. While it's obviously way too early to give such a title to MGMT, this is a wonderful sign that their talents are still being sharpened, and that we've got more greatness to come from these two. [IQ]

Purchase CD or LP format of MGMT's new album from Other Music and you'll be automatically entered into a drawing for a limited, individually numbered LP test pressing.





$13.99 CD
$17.99 LP


Defend Yourself
(Joyful Noise)

"Defend yr Self"

Sebadoh's new album, Defend Yourself, featuring veteran members Lou Barlow and Jason Lowenstein and newish drummmer Bob D'Amico, uses their prime-era home studio recording approach and chameleon-like genre-hopping to good effect. Classic bittersweet Barlow songs are found in the resigned "I Will," "Let It Out" and "Love You Here," as well as the indie rock hoedown of "State of Mine." Though never quite achieving the intimacy of their earliest four-track cassette recordings, they are also offset by a punchy and almost heavy song approach found on some tunes, like the choppy and tumultuous folk-core of Lowenstein's "Defend Yourself" and the wonderfully cathartic math-pop of "Once." Maybe it's the (way) improved drums from D'Amico on this record that gives the tracks a bigger "Umph!" overall? (Bob Fay wasn't the most impressive drummer, after all.) Some songs even bear resemblance riff-wise, tone-wise and general rock-wise to classic Touch and Go bands, and I kept imagining the teetering heaviness of groups like Unwound, Jawbox and even Girls Vs. Boys, but all with that welcome dose of Sebadoh dirt, grime and playfulness. I even hear a bit of the similar heavy/clean tone of Tar in some places! Oh well, this is all coincidence, I'm sure, as these guys have never been afraid of getting dirty in the past and have frankly done right by going a tad heavier as they actually can do it well, and this bit of weight manages to add the fresh perspective needed to spice up a new Sebadoh album as well as set it apart from the panty-waist indie rock landscape of today. [SM]

Email contest@othermusic.com to enter for a chance to win a Sebadoh prize pack which includes: a special 10" EP, a copy of Defend Yourself on red vinyl with a bonus 7", and a signed poster! (Entrants must be local to New York City and able to pick up the prize in person at Other Music.)


$12.99 CD
$16.99 10"


Empty Avenues
(Ghost Box)

"Empty Avenues"

The newest release on Ghost Box is a surprising collaboration over a year in the making that fuses together both past and present into some of the best future pop you're bound to hear all year. Jim Jupp of Belbury Poly and Jon Brooks of the Advisory Circle have teamed up with none other than John Foxx, a hugely influential songwriter whose aesthetics have proven to be a massive influence on the Ghost Box universe. Their six-track EP, Empty Avenues, is a stunning slice of analogue retro-futurism that deftly moves Brooks and Jupp's pastoral melodic synthesis into Foxx's vision of a desolate urban landscape. It's without question the most overtly "pop" release Ghost Box has put out; while the label has flirted with these concepts via their Study Series of 7" singles, it is on this EP that the trio most successfully focus and craft that vision into something that fits perfectly into the respective creative visions of both Foxx's Metamatic universe and the Ghost Box world.

Foxx's vocals sound absolutely fantastic here, tapping into themes and moods he first established back on classic tracks like "Underpass" and "Metal Beat," and the duo's music proves up for the challenge of vividly personifying his future noir landscapes. Rather than feeling like out-of-place country boys lost in the big city, they instead take their approach and focus its strengths upon neon hues and gently percolating and pulsating rhythms, placing Foxx in more contemplative shadowed corners than his recent works with the Maths have displayed. I'll be honest in saying that I've been eagerly anticipating this EP for months now, and it does NOT disappoint; it delivers upon all parties' strengths, bringing forth everything that one loves about everyone's respective solo work, while creating something wholly unique, as though removing one factor from the triumvirate would throw the music wholly out of balance. These five songs are beautiful and sleek, and as an added bonus, there's a wonderful remix of the title track by Pye Corner Audio, who pushes Foxx into his own soundworld of pumping, kinetic arpeggiated apocalypse. Empty Avenues is one of 2013's most surprising and welcome releases, high on my list of the year's best singles and EPs; don't sleep on this one, folks... It's a stunner. [IQ]





$19.99 12"

Conical Space

We've also got this limited edition 12" picture disc by Pye Corner Audio, already out of print and unlikely to see restock. Released in celebration of the Dekorder label's tenth anniversary, Conical Space features two new tracks by the Head Technician that see him take his trademark sound and push it into epic vistas. The title cut is a massive 13-minute beast that begins as a droning invocation for deeply belching and bubbling synth chords, which slowly finds a pulse about five minutes in; the buildup and evolution of the track is steady and quite beautiful, slowly adding elements to its wardrobe until a vaguely industrial beat is collected and the production becomes a swirling vortex of intertwining arpeggiations and clattering beats. It's the most overtly Blade Runner sounding track PCA's ever released, and it's all the better for it. "Dusk Veiled" plays like a coda to the massive movements of Conical Space; it's in fact a bit more propulsive, and sounds as though it could be right at home on his stellar Sleep Games album on Ghost Box. As I mentioned earlier, these 12"s are already out of print, and we're not likely to see them again, so if you're a fan, grab this without hesitation; it's a somewhat different but no less thrilling addition to PCA's catalogue, and deserves to be pumped at the loudest volume possible. [IQ]





$17.99 CD
$24.99 LPx2


Films & Windows

"In Patagonia"

After some forays into leftfield territory with John Roberts' Fences album and our pal Queens' End Times, Dial has stepped confidently back into the dance arena with Lawrence's anticipated new full-length album. Named after a recent group show at the Peter Kersten (a/k/a Lawrence) and David Lieske-run Mathew Gallery located in Berlin, Films & Windows is decidedly dance-focused, but in a very specific Lawrence kind of way. Sounds remain sensitive and on the melodic and sweet side, but are tempered by a ramped-up funk and a more concentrated, relentless and cracking groove that seems almost as equally informed by hip-hop as by Detroit -- check out "Creator (Final Call)" and the title cut. Perhaps it's been Kersten's busy DJ and live appearance schedule in Europe as well as Japan that has him laying down more groove-oriented tracks, but its important to point out that these aren't simply "heavier" sounding beats or faster tempos. The secret in this collection of cuts lies in their very quietly incessant and shifting nature, with even the very few breakdowns that occur simply being "gear shifts" rather than true breaks. A prime example would be "Marlen," with its squiggling acid loop, cracking snare and soul-searching synth clouds. Another very different example would be the gorgeous and ethereal "Kurama" (previously released on vinyl via Pampa), with its deep, deep pinpoint-throb bass kick, its shaker hi-hat sound and its equally melancholic, cascading synth. These tracks climb insistently and give continuous energy, in that Dial way, with a gentle hand and a bit of heart. [BL]







Feelin' Good

"Now Is the Time"
"Give Thx"

Warp Records could be seen as one of the forefathers of the modern electronica world, and Nightmares on Wax is part of their formative DNA. George Evelyn and Co.'s debut single, "Dexterous," was Warp's second release ever (WAP2) in 1989, and while the world of underground beats is a fast-moving and ever-changing landscape, Nightmares on Wax's downtempo instrumental hip-hop grooves have remained on global mix tapes for the last 25 years due to consistent and unrivaled quality that is fantastically rare on this scene. NOW's seventh full-length, aptly titled Feelin' Good, is nothing really new, but it's a great album of sunny dub, deep funk, classic soul and hip-hop influenced good times that both honors the project's legacy and pushes things forward, bringing in a healthy dose of Caribbean rhythms and toasting to the mix, lot's of deep bass and skittery percussion along with fat organ groves and warm keyboard melodies. Lately it seems the cutting-edge artists are reveling in swampy darkness, but with Feelin' Good, Nightmares on Wax make a strong case for sunshine. [JM]





$22.99 LPx2


Kill Yourself Dancing
(Still Music)

"Electric Baile" Master Plan
"Razz-Matazz" Razz Feat. Matt Warren & Ralphi Rosario

In Oceans of Sound, his 1995 book on ambient and electronic music, David Toop suggestively re-examines Frankie Knuckles' dictum that "house music is disco's revenge." Tracing the origins of two early acid house classics, Sleezy D's "Acid Tracks" and Larry Heard's "Washing Machine," Toop offsets the way Knuckles' statement has become a widely perpetuated commonplace, showing how these tracks combine analog programming with unexpected inspirations such as early Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin on the one hand and Genesis and Rush on the other. Although it's undoubtedly true that an important lineage of house music erupted as a reaction to the often-violent denunciation of disco in the US and its consecutive re-appropriation and machine-like spicing up in the black, predominantly gay clubs of Chicago, it's also part of a much larger story. On his revelatory new compilation, Kill Yourself Dancing, Still Music label head Jerome Derradji furthers his reputation as a pragmatic house historian, excavating the history of Chicago's Sunset Records Inc. label. Like last year's excellent 122 BPM: The Birth of House Music, which traced the story of the very first house recordings long before legendary labels such as Trax and D.J. International were established, Kill Yourself Dancing highlights an equally overlooked history from the perspective of an influential group of mostly Latino originators.

Operating from Chicago's North Side, producers Matt Warren, Ralphi Rosario, and Miguel Garcia joined forces with Sunset Mobile Disco to establish Sunset Records, injecting the signature Chicago sound with salsa, industrial, and new wave influences. The music is joyous and energetic, with opening track "Kill Yourself Dancing" becoming a motto for the entire label's output, for a large part respectfully remastered here. With extensive liner notes, as well as reproductions of lost photographs and artifacts, the attention to depth and detail is impressive. The recordings showcase a huge amount of talent scouted by Sunset Records, ranging from Boom Boom & Masterplan's electro anthem "Face the Music" to White Knight's deep and acidic "Acid Dub." Kill Yourself Dancing is a direct precursor to Bang the Box, a survey of Matt Warren's other label from around the same time, AKA Dance Music, which will come out later this fall. As the history of house music becomes more layered, further documented, and constantly re-contextualized, we are left with the sheer power of incredible music that bypasses stereotypical divisions of musical taste along racial or cultural lines. Shelved until now, this outstanding compilation will leave you ready to dance the night away until the early hours. As its title implies, it might seriously KILL you! [NVT]





$12.99 CD
$13.99 LP


Hard for to Win and Can't Be Won
(No Quarter)

"First Field Path"
"To Welcome the Travelers Home"

My god, what a breath of fresh air. Simply put, this is some of the very finest instrumental guitar music being made today. Salsburg is as attuned to the generative and restorative folk-streams as nearly anyone I know, between his longtime work for the Alan Lomax archive, or shepherding archival collections of recordings for singular albums I'm sure you already own for his Drag City imprint Twos and Fews, as well as Mississippi Records and Tompkins Square. He even kindly graces us with a review for our Update here and there. But make no mistake, the words of praise in this write-up are deeply felt, as deeply felt as the playing and melodies you'll find spread across the contents of this album. There's such a casual virtuosity on display here, with what at first sounds so easy-breezy and deceptively simple just sneaking up on you with remarkable, understated skill. That virtue is never more apparent than on the title track, which spends a lazy couple of minutes setting a nice carefree mood before launching into an intricate, deftly finger-picked sequence that is utterly mesmerizing. A consummate craftsman, these songs are as roughhewn, yet delicately filigreed, as some ancient Japanese clay pot. His guitar work squares the British Isle patterning of players like Archie Fisher and Nic Jones, with the down home laid-backness of his native Kentucky, and goddamn if it isn't just about the most listenable music you can imagine. I can't imagine not needing this in your life. [MK]





$17.99 CD
$22.99 LPx2


Eccentric Soul: The Forte Label
(Numero Group)

"I'm Gonna Get You" The Tear Drops
"I've Lived the Life" Marva W. Taylor

Ellis Taylor's Forte label was mostly known for its association with his wife, the late Marva Whitney, a singer with James Brown's entourage in the 1960s. Brown also produced and helped write many of Whitney's solo singles, some of which were modest R&B hits at the time. Today, Whitney's music has become popular fodder for sample artists, and her raw, brash style of singing is cited as an early example of funk. But as the latest superb installment from the Numero Group's Eccentric Soul series demonstrates, the Kansas City, Kansas-based Forte imprint had much more going for it than the estimable Whitney. Taylor brought some fine talent to the label and wasn't afraid to push the boundaries of R&B, with elements of girl group, doo-wop, jazzy instrumentals and pop making their way into many of these 28 tracks (only 21 on the CD -- that may be a first). The opener is my favorite: Gene Williams' "Don't Let Your Love Fade Away," a warm, Philly-soul-inspired anthem with a powerful "I love youuuuuu" chorus. Mostly, though, we get loads of funk, from Lee Harris' sprightly "I'm Gonna Get Your Thing" to the Fabulous Rhythm Makers' infectious "Mini, Mini Afro Twist" to the organ-drenched "The Hen Part 1." Whitney's four tracks here (two as Marva Taylor) include her greatest single for the label, the saucy "Daddy Don't Know About My Sugar Bear," the political "I've Lived the Life," and the reggae-inspired "Fun in My Life." Some of the songs are a bit strange; why Lee Harris' "Lookin' Good" features a steady stream of beeps puzzles -- but why quibble. Once again, the Numero Group has performed a major service here, uncovering a wealth of wonderful music from a long-forgotten label, showing us that there was plenty of great R&B outside Motown. [JBr]





$16.99 LP


Hard Attack
(Superior Viaduct)

"Man on the Move"
"You're Not Alone"

Public-service expanded reissue of one of the most out-there outfits to ever emerge from the American Midwest, MX-80 Sound. Originally hailing from Bloomington, Indiana (from a scene that somehow included them, the Gizmos AND and young John Cougar Mellencamp), these guys ran down a weird one, combining the scattershot dexterity of jazz/improvisation and progressive rock against the attitude and metallic shrang of proto-punk -- heady stuff for the early-to-mid 1970s unto which these jagged, endlessly twisted songs were birthed, and made all the more defiant by the deadpan, smart-assed delivery of vocalist Rich Stim. Island Records quickly snatched up the band after their first EP, and released their debut album, Hard Attack, in 1977 amid the press onslaught on punk and its fallout, and the nascent new wave movement. However, label chief Chris Blackwell didn't like their music, so the record was only issued in the UK and small European territories, leaving the band to sit out the rest of the decade before moving to San Francisco and signing to Ralph Records, home of the Residents. This shrouded the legacy of Hard Attack as some sort of unreported failure, but in fact this is one of those lost sort of art-rock records that'll turn your head around and stab you when you're not looking, vis a vis high intelligence, and mercenary, vicious musicianship. Rest assured that the non-rock elements are outpaced by wiry guitars and breakneck rhythms, though elements like sax and poetry creep in. None of that outpaces the attitude dripping from Hard Attack, though; there's very little that sounds as organized and spun out at the same time in this particular fashion, save the other MX-80 records (which Superior Viaduct is also in the process of reissuing). A remastered vinyl edition of this reissue came out over the summer, but the CD version includes a bonus disc with a whopping 19 unreleased live and studio tracks, making this a must for fans. Truly wild, intellectual music like this is hard to come by, so get on it while it's still with us. [DM]




Don't Slander Me


Gremlins Have Pictures

Don't Slander Me
(Light in the Attic)

"Starry Eyes"

Gremlins Have Pictures
(Light in the Attic)


Last week we featured Light in the Attic's essential re-release of Roky Erickson's 1981 opus, The Evil One, and now we have the other two pieces of their long-overdue reissue series of one of the post powerful and influential voices in rock and roll. Don't Slander Me and Gremlins Have Pictures both originally came out in 1986 on the Pink Dust label, a garage/psych imprint whose worldview included plenty of retro garage acts for whom the 13th Floor Elevators were clearly massively important, as well as some young innovators like the Flaming Lips. As such, it's unsurprising that Don't Slander Me features Roky in more of a classic garage punk mode (as opposed to the psychedelic hard rock sounds he explored on The Evil One), and while overall these tracks don't burn quite as hot as on his previous LP, several all-time Roky classics made their first and best appearances here, like the in-your-face attitude of album-opener "Don't Slander Me," the chilling "Bermuda," the Buddy Holly-esque "You Drive Me Crazy," and what is probably Roky's most-covered (and most heartbreaking) song of all time, the love-struck power-pop gem, "Starry Eyes." It's Roky's most diverse LP (read: more than just monsters), and delivered the last set of new material fans would hear from him for quite some time.

Gremlins Have Pictures is sort of an odds and sods collection of live recordings and outtakes, including tracks culled from his earliest solo performances and various studio sessions from the late '70s and early '80s, but it's anything but throwaway stuff. The sound quality is great, especially on this remastered version, and while these are all essentially outtakes, any fan of Roky does truly need this album -- it shows classics like "Night of the Vampire" and "Cold Night for Alligators" in their original forms, with intense and beautiful vocal performances and a powerful band, scrubbing away most of the classic rock heft and production we heard on Stu Cook's sessions. Plus, definitive versions of iconic originals like "The Interpreter," the Neil Young-like strum of "Anthem (I Promise)," the venomous "John Lawman," "Sweet Honey Pie," and Roky's take on the Velvet Underground's "Heroin," all essential in every way. Overall the album shows the more fragile side of Roky's music when he was still in his prime, and it's beautiful stuff -- ounce for ounce nothing really compares to The Evil One, but taken together these three LPs cement Roky Erickson's place as not just one of the best voices in rock, but a complex and original songwriter and performer on (or well above) par with just about any of his peers of the era. [JM]





$34.99 LPx4



"Fentiger (Clark Remix)" Nathan Fake
"Braid of Voices (Clark Remix)"

Feast/Beast is a deluxe overview of remix work made both by and for Clark; mostly comprised of remixes this English producer has made for artists like Amon Tobin, Kuedo, Massive Attack, Depeche Mode, and Nils Frahm (amongst many others), the set also features remixes of Clark's own productions by artists like Bibio and Nathan Fake. With over two hours of music to absorb, Feast/Beast certainly lives up to its title not only in sheer quantity, but thankfully via its solid quality as well.





$18.99 LP+MP3

Ski Mask

"Wave Forms"
"Hushed Tones"

Ski Mask, the fifth album by indie oddballs Islands, is a vivid blend of rich falsetto vocal harmonies, bright and upbeat chords, and an offbeat sense of winking pop cynicsm. Frontman Nick Thorburn continues to refine the ever-evolving sound of his tongue-in-cheek pop symphonies, giving these songs rougher edges while still retaining their sunshine-soaked hearts. He takes elements of all Islands records that have come before, creating in a sense a career coda that focuses upon many of his strengths as a songwriter while lyrically shining light on the history of his journeys in the band, peaks, valleys, warts and all.








"I'll Come to See You"
"Gotta Get Away"

Now on CD. Nashville band the Sufis came from seemingly out of nowhere last year with a brief but promising debut that hinted at and occasionally flirted with the same psychedelic pop greatness of young upstarts like Tame Impala and White Fence, but still seemed a bit unformed. They have very swiftly remedied that with their excellent sophomore album, Inventions, which overflows with bright, sharp hooks, a sweet, summery vibe, and a lovely throwback sound that winks in the directions of Village Green/Face to Face-era Kinks, a bit of Syd Barrett-era Floyd, and the baroque pop of American groups like the Cyrkle and the Left Banke. These songs are built around fluttering clusters of harpsichord melodies, thick organ drones, and shuffling, clattering drum and tambourine beats. It possesses an unpretentious, ramshackle charm that hasn't been so successfully deployed in contemporary psyche pop since the fledgling days of the Elephant 6 collective or the Paisley Underground of the 1980s, and special mention must be made of Calvin Laporte's vocals, which shine throughout with a more pronounced confidence and assertion. All in all, it makes for one of my favorite rock/pop albums of the year, and I say without hesitation that it's an absolute must-own if you're a fan of classic psyche/garage pop sounds. Absolute highest recommendation on this one, folks! [IQ]





$26.99 LP

Auralgraphic Entertainment

"Program Ten Song/Sunday Morning Song/The User"
"Program Eleven Song/Going for a Ride"

An all-time favorite amongst our staff and customers, this cult classic is back in print on vinyl, with remastered sound, original artwork and a repro of the original insert. Originally created by Bill Holt in 1973, this heady album features two lengthy tracks, weaving folky, Lennon-esque psych-pop through long, trippy, film-like audio collages. When we reviewed an earlier CD pressing back in 2000, we described Dreamies as "...getting one long song made up of vague and sunny psychedelic melodies, shot through with fragments of political speech, weather patterns, television snippets and electronic textures. Playing with sound in a fun way, they'll often turn sounds on their head so you're not sure what is what. A rare abstract concept album, it remains extremely friendly and listenable all the way though, in two 25-minute songs that NEVER get dull." If you can't get enough of the Beatles' "Revolution 9" or Brainticket's Cottonwood Hill, then you need Dreamies.





$14.99 CD


Selected Ambient Works 85-92


The watershed Selected Ambient Works 85-92 is finally back in print on double LP, remastered and housed with original artwork. There was nothing like it when released back in 1992 and 21 years later, Richard D. James' first studio full-length under his Aphex Twin moniker continues to influence ambient techno/electronica -- undoubtedly his masterpiece.

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[JBr] James Bradley
[DG] Daniel Givens
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[MK] Michael Klausman
[BL] Bobby Lee
[JM] Josh Madell
[DM] Doug Mosurock
[SM] Scott Mou
[MS] Michael Stasiak
[NVT] Niels Van Tomme

- all of us at Other Music

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