Other Music New Release Update
April 19, 2000

In This Week's Update :

Elliot Smith
Built to Spill live
Beta Bodega Coalition
Section 25 overview
Philip Jeck
SFT (Simon Fisher Turner)
NY Art Quartet reissue
Matthew Shipp Quartet
Apples in Stereo
Daniel Johnston live
Hefner singles collection
Voices In My Lunchbox comp.
The Makers
Sigur Ros EP
Ursula 1000
Broadcast--domestic, on Tommy Boy!

Featured New Releases :

ELLIOT SMITH " Figure 8" (Dreamworks) CD $14.99
'Son of Sam', 'Junk Bond Traders'...on the basis of these song titles
alone, Elliot Smith would appear to be interested in cataloging the signal
low points of our former millenium's concluding decades. Though upon hearing
the music, one is led to believe he also has an interest in mining these
same decade's respective FM (and AM) pop legacies for a framework
pleasureable enough to ballast any incisive commentary. 'Everything Reminds
Me of Her' is no frills: just him and a supple guitar; 'Everything Means
Nothing to Me' conversely, outlines a more studio-bound strategy:
embellishing a perfectly simple vocal refrain until it somehow manages to
sound fully captivating. There's a vague Californian vibe to the production
here, too. This new chapter in Smith's discography doesn't add any plot
twists, but it definitely makes one want to keep on reading. [DHo]

BUILT TO SPILL "Live" (Warner Bros.) CD $14.99
Built To Spill's first live album manages to do what all live records set
out to: to not only capture the essence of the live experience, but to
freeze the best one possible in time. Here, they accomplish this by
cherry-picking songs from a number of concerts, drawn from producer Phil
Ek's board tapes. They even reproduce the pacing of their live show in the
patchwork, including two typical 10- to 15-minute jams and a number of
covers: here, the Halo Benders, Love As Laughter, and Crazy Horse. [MC]

[V/A] "Beta Bodega Coalition: The Psychological Operations in Guerilla
Warfare" (Rice and Beans) CD $14.99

It's interesting to watch politics creep into one of the most abstract and
detached musical forms to surface yet, and here, it starts. Beta Bodega
Coalition's newest compilation takes the involvement of the U.S. (and the
C.I.A. in particular) with El Salvador's recent tragic history as a theme.
Of course, violent manipulation (of computers) has never been something
that Beta Bodega's artistes have shied away from, and they reveal
themselves here in an angry mood. Their tense, dodging electro convulsions
cut, chop and slice through your ears, the sharp sounds in quick succession
form tracks that, while they might be meant for the dance floor, by the
time you got there you'd have lost too much blood to move. Recommended.
With V8 & La Mano Fria, Takeshi Muto, Goem, Jake Mandell, :leekon, Otto von
Schirach, Atlajala, and more. Track listings aren't labeled, you have to
guess who is who. [RE]

SECTION 25 "Always Now" (Factory/LTM, UK) CD $19.99
SECTION 25 "The Key of Dreams" (Factory/LTM, UK) CD $19.99

RealAudio "Always"  :
RealAudio "The Key" :
These albums have been key staples of my post-punk collection for many
years, but have remained criminally obscure. Section 25 endure the
misfortune of being forever trapped betwixt time and zeitgeist, sandwiched
between theory and execution, and frozen in the midst of art and label
politics. Encouraged by Ian Curtis and Joy Division manager Rob Gretton,
Section 25 (comprised of brothers Larry and Vin Cassidy and Paul Wiggin),
entered the studio in autumn 1979 and cut tracks that would become their
debut single for Factory Records -- critically, it was not well received.
Along with the expected Joy Division comparisons, Section 25 were lambasted
for sonic similarities to Public Image Limited's then-new dub-heavy sound,
despite the fact that these tracks were recorded two months earlier than
"Metal Box"! Undaunted, the band set about recording the follow-up with the
legendary Martin Hannett, who understood the inherent ambiance of their
live performances and effectively translated them in the studio. In the
meantime, Curtis had taken his own life and the attentions of his stunned
record label were diverted toward the Cult of Ian. Subsequently, Factory
passed on the brilliant "Charnal Ground/Haunted" single and farmed the
tracks out to their tiny European satellite, Brussels-based Factory Benelux
(their next single would suffer the same fate). "Always Now", an elastic
and fluid powerhouse of an album, was recorded in February 1981 with
Hannett at the knobs. As James Neiss' liner notes for the 1991 CD issue
state: "Always Now" was "roughly one-third improvised, its spacey,
acid-psych atmospherics make better sound-sense today than they did back in
shorthaired 1981..." The sound was closer to a genius hybrid of classic
Pink Floyd and Can, but no one wanted to notice. "The Key Of Dreams,"
released a mere 9 months later, further confounded the punters.
Self-produced and extracted from over 5 hours of improvisational jamming
and songs refined by continuous touring, the album manages to be both
psychedelic and industrial at the same time, with hints at what would later
become known as electro. A remarkable achievement that was destined to be
unappreciated. Listen to the incredible 15-minute quasi-raga 'Sutra' and
marvel at what might have been. Much like early Durutti Column, The Pop
Group or 23 Skidoo, the influence of Section 25 resonates far beyond their
lifespan. Both reissues add all contemporaneous single and compilation
tracks and clock in at well over 70 minutes. [JG]
"Always Now"
"The Key of Dreams"

SECTION 25 "From the Hip" (LTM, UK) CD $19.99
Following the Martin Hannett production period (see above), Section 25
wandered into the light as if waking from a long sleep. Said Vin Cassidy:
"We didn't enjoy playing all that heavy moody stuff any more." Adding Jenny
Ross on vocals and keyboards, they set up a sweet, early synth pop sound of
long, held notes sparkling with simple, Young Marble Giants-ish guitar,
artificial horns landing like exclamation points, and a more agile version
of the same structural repetition they used on the previous albums.
Produced this time by Bernard Sumner and the band themselves, they
exaggerated the contrast between the warm guitars and voices and the
development of a groundbreaking synthetic sound from the Roland TR303 that,
by 1985, had blossomed into full-blown serious electro, drifting closer and
closer to the dancefloor and becoming proto-acid house -- the same sound
which came to worldwide recognition soon after when it emerged from the
American midwest. This CD reissue gathers in the LP of "From The Hip" with
a number of 12" singles and remixes. A document of an uncommon confluence
of concurrent sounds: house to synth-pop to electro to indie-pop. [RE]

PHILIP JECK "Vinyl Coda I-III" (Intermedium, Germany) 2xCD $16.99
Jeck's newest CD documents a series of installations in misc. galleries
throughout Germany. All three long pieces involve large quantities of
turntables (no numbers given here, but he's been known to use as many as
180) playing old vinyl he's manipulated with spots of glue and a scalpel at
speeds from 16 to 78 rpm. On 'Vinyl Coda I' he obtains unearthly,
contemplative rotations of ticks, loose distant bells, squeaky chains,
uneven rumblings, orchestral tune-ups: all the layers piling up into a
thick beautiful mass. 'Vinyl Coda III' uses different textures than he
usually does, cut and re-cut bits of applause and whistling that eventually
sound like the patter of violent rain or grains spilling from a chute. This
turns into a strange jaunty looping melody of tones, steam train, deeply
buried animal noises and piano. 'Vinyl Coda II' is a little more
industrial, with words cropping up here and there, with more isolated notes
and aural phrases. For a modern vinyl manipulator, I think he surpasses
Marclay in depth, and has a broader range of sound than Brinkmann.
Outstanding. [RE]

SFT "Oh Venus" (Mute, UK) CD $24.99
This album by SFT (Simon Fisher Turner) came out in the middle of last
year. Not really being on the ball, I listened to it only recently. Oh. My.
SFT, always the innovator, made this -- his first solo one in 4 years with
boxloads of old tapes of his own and DATs from Aki Onda, Ryoji Ikeda,
Pascal Gabriel, Otomo Yoshihide and Bruce Gilbert. Though there are no
drums anywhere on this CD (and nominal bass), the whole thing pulses
with the accumulated energy of the taped material, including sound-
spaces of his live concerts from 1972 (!) to 1997. The songs themselves
come from German singer U-she, who writes just enough lyrics and melody
to call these whirling balls of string and foil songs, and, along with SFT,
sings a few. A deeply mesmerizing record that can only be compared,
really, to SFTs last album, "Schwarma", the weirder work of Bjork, and in
my opinion, some of Eno's best albums, like "Another Green World" and
"Before and After Science", only with more modern sounds. High praise,
but I mean it. Wow. [RE]

NEW YORK ART QUARTET "s/t" (ESP Disk/Calibre, Germany) CD $14.99
More of a four-headed apparition than a quartet, Roswell Rudd (trombone),
John Tchicai (Alto), Lewis Worrell (double bass), and Milford Graves
(percussion) -- with recitation by Leroi Jones (nee Amiri Baraka) -- were
something akin to rain. They seemed to snatch their sounds out of vapor,
only to evaporate as quickly as they took shape. The group recorded three
albums during their brief existence (1964-65), and this date for ESP-disk
is the only one available on CD. It also happens to be their best. Roswell
Rudd and Milford Graves are in particularly incomparable form here, the
former speaking in tongues through his trombone, the latter punctuating
Rudd's telling with vivid color and ghostly dexterity. The NYAQ proved a
stepping stone for all of its principals, but rarely (ever?) would any of
them match the spiritual synergy of this ESP session. That is, until the
NYAQ gathered last summer for a stunning 35th anniversary show (a
document of the NYAQ reunion is available on the DIW label). But no
matter, their subsequent achievements, NYAQ is one of the most deeply
probing and expressive titles in the ESP jazz catalogue, and absolutely
essential addition to your jazz home library. [MH]

MATTHEW SHIPP QUARTET "Pastoral Composure" (Thirsty Ear/Blue Series) CD $14.99
Retirement did not last long for Matthew Shipp, and his return to recording
is marked by his most melodic and accessible album to date. Joined by
powerhouse bassist William Parker, soulful trumpeter Roy Campbell Jr., and
newcomer Gerald Cleaver on drums, Shipp's new album is a gorgeous
collection of melancholy tunes, graceful playing and beautiful interplay.
Starting off with Cleaver's rumbling drums, the mood is set the moment that
Shipp's hands touch the keys. Campbell's impassioned horn sections augment
Shipp's moody, contemplative playing, and set this album apart from
previous work. "Pastoral Composure" further defines the Shipp sound: a
sound that relies more on emotion and melody than most of his free-banging
counterparts. It's also Shipp's first release on his own imprint, The Blue
Series, with several releases from other artists to follow later this year. [PW]

APPLES IN STEREO " The Discovery of a World Inside the Moone" (SpinArt) CD $14.99
The latest outing from Apples in Stereo is their bounciest and most
orchestral album yet. Though they don't stray far from their earlier work,
they do expand upon their already effective formula by adding more layers
of organs, horns, strings, and fuzz guitar than their previous albums. The
Apples take their cues from the classic '60s pop sound -- but even with
this referential (and reverential) approach, the Apples are not doing a
second-rate knock-off. While they're still following in the leviathan
footsteps of Brian Wilson, they're brushed lightly by the influence of Sly
and the Family Stone (especially on 'The Bird That You Can't See '--
RealAudio track above) and, according to singer/lead songwriter
Robert Schneider, Led Zeppelin (which is pretty hard to hear). While this
album doesn't offer up any surprises, it's still charged and full of pep, a
very nice summertime pop album. [PW]

DANIEL JOHNSTON "Why Me?" (Trikont, Germany) CD $13.99
Let the debate resume, because the alt-world's favorite musical mental
patient is back with his first new release in six years. Is he being
exploited, or is his artistic self-expression therapeutically beneficial?
Nobody's mind will be changed by this live set of 22 songs, recorded last
summer in Berlin, and handsomely packaged with a great big booklet full of
notes, drawings and pictures. Johnston, heavier, greyer, but just as
fragile-voiced as ever, begins at the grand piano, switches to guitar, then
goes back to the piano, and not only manages not to fall apart (although a
scary episode after a technical glitch is edited out,) but performs with
charm, vigor, and -- can it be? -- a touch of confidence (although he ends
by saying "next time, I promise, I'll do a better show.") The silly and the
touching are here in abundance, and come together in such numbers as the
show's highlight, a version of 'Live And Let Die,' in which the
Daniel-ized lyrics render the originals bloodied like a Mad Magazine parody
(RealAudio above). God's still in the house, there's still plenty of
frustrated love, and all the tunes pretty much still sound the same (except
maybe for the one that sounds like Springsteen's 'Pink Cadillac.') But a
generation of poseurs hasn't even come close to duplicating the strength of
his passionate, utterly idiosyncratic vision. Laugh at him if you like, only he
ain't laughing. "You can't break a broken heart." Amen, Daniel. [AL]

CRABSTICK "Discoverooster" (555, UK) LP $11.99
Crabstick, who included the Cannanes' David Nichols, his brother Mike, and
kiwi Danny Butt (later of NZ noise groups Rain and Flies Inside the Sun),
released their one album ("Stud or Houseboy") on the now-defunct American
label Feel Good All Over around 1989. Their tense, Antipodean sound landed
somewhere between the zinging pop of the Cannanes and the hearty bashing of
the Clean, yet had a full-blown neurosis further head-whacked by random
drum chaos, wavery trills of guitar feedback and vocals that usually didn't
follow the music at all, yet somehow fit. Add self-deprecating,
slice-of-daily-life lyrics and ordinary bitterness, and the combination
gelled. It's very odd to me to hear such a time capsule of the period, one
which sums up Australian lo-fi pop succinctly, and though it was recorded
in 1991, this is it's first airing. Yay for a coming second wave,
especially if it'll unearth treasures like this. [RE]

HEFNER "Boxing Hefner" (Too Pure/Beggars Banquet) CD $13.99
Twelve songs, the majority from Hefner's now OOP singles. Solid Britpop,
Hefner's songs revel (or wallow!) in a simple angst, about girls and ethics
and those without, about vices, about British adolescence. It's very
obvious that Hefner love the Go-Betweens, and "Boxing Hefner" balances that
with big, angular song structures, the odd Little Richard guitar lick here
and there, small anxieties like the Violent Femmes AND Belle and Sebastian,
and a Jonathan Richman cover thrown in as an anomaly. The songs here are
much simpler than their more orchestral albums, and the best are so
stripped down that it's nearly cringeworthy (in a good, chilling way) how
they lay out bare emotion. British new wave lives. Includes two unreleased
songs and one exclusive to this American release. [RE]

[V/A] "Voices In My Lunchbox" (Plug Research/~scape, UK) CD $14.99
Plug Research's 12" series 'Voices In My Lunchbox' is an attempt to
"gather... favorite artists from all corners of the world in the interest
of exploring new possibilities in vocal music." This rather broad agenda
translates into a reasonably diverse group of tracks. The artists in this
"veritable Baedeker of today's 'tuneful electronics' landscape" have a
particularly broad notion of what constitutes "vocal music": there are
patches of full-out singing, but more often, the voices are minimal,
sometimes as little as a stutter or two buried in the mix. It's library
techno, with sounds ranging from the clicky to the blorpy, Herbert's
jolliness to Patrick Pulsinger's dour funk. Standouts include opera diva
Carmen Tejada's first collaboration with her son John ("the shooting star
of tech house"), and Potuznik & Bauer's deconstruction of girls-of-the-
moment Chicks On Speed. There are also contributions by Phoenecia,
Kit Clayton, and various un- to semi-knowns, 13 tracks in all. [AL]

THE MAKERS "Rock Star God" (Sub Pop) CD/LP $13.99/$11.99
Following a very familiar Jon Spencer Blues Explosion/Rolling
Stones/Aerosmith model, the Makers amass an album of pure American (okay, I
know about the Stones) ROKK. Though singer Michael Shelley's (no, not the
power pop guy) mysteriously-accented vocals and the band's fake python and
leopard wardrobe couldn't scream "poseur" any louder, they actually do what
they set out to extremely well. Songs have rock-star lyrics that document
the hard street life of Seattle, massed all-band vocals, jive-talking
backup singers and hair-gel, as well as nice touches like a clarinet
following the guitar chord changes like a puppy, _Shaft_-style funky bits,
and accents of shredding violin. With a bigger marketing push, and if MTV
liked rock at all any more, they might have been the next Black Crowes
(only more punk). This is NOT a bad thing. [RE]
LP  /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09878704871&refer_url=email

THUNDERBALL "Ambassadors of Style" (ESL) CD/LP $14.99/$16.99
The Eighteenth Street Lounge crew have always held the European music
market in high esteem, perhaps too high. Style mavens all, here, Thunderball
(a Washington DC duo) mixed all their favorite sounds into one record. So
girl-next-door diva vocals nestle amidst jungle beats, '60s references,
'70s references, soundtrack references, videogame noise, dub, and even
their own toaster. Prancing '80s anime-music keyboards steady hyper beats
and deep, echoing bass and woodwinds. A strange record, one which has
the dancefloor in its sights, yet it's a little hapless, coalescing into a whole
a little less frequently than I think they would have wanted. [RE]
LP  /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=79510300201&refer_url=email

SIGUR ROS "Ny Batteri" (Fat Cat, UK) CD/12" $13.99/$13.99
The long-delayed EP from this popular Icelandic band is now out on Fat Cat.
LP  /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502454510406&refer_url=email

URSULA 100 "Shake EP" (18th Street Lounge) 12" (No Longer Available)
Brand new vinyl-only EP from Brooklyn-based producer Alex Gimeno. We
haven't had a chance to spin this one yet, but expect more vintage
exotica and lounge samples mixed with funky breaks. Knowing the
usually limited availability of ESL vinyl (and the popularity of Ursula 1000
among our customers), who knows how long this one will last.

Now Available Domestically:

BROADCAST "Noise Made By People" (Tommy Boy/Warp) CD $14.99
Broadcast allow electronica to be breathtakingly accessible by using
traditional rock instruments and pop music techniques. This album combines
simple melodies with tape loops, the beats sparse but snappy--and their
layered orchestrations and electronics, though retro, sound achingly new.
Plus Trish Keenan's crisp vocals ride majestically atop futuristic melodies
full of chimes and bells. Quite possibly the album of the year -- at least
that's the consensus around here. Now get the CD at a domestic price!

This newsletter's contributors: Marisa Cerio [MC], Robin Edgerton [RE],
Lisa Garrett [LG], Jeff Gibson [JG], Matt Hanks [MH], Dan Hougland [DHo],
Andrew Leigh [AL], and Phil Waldorf [PW].

Thanks for reading.

-all of us at Other Music

15 E. 4th Street
New York, NY 10003