April 17, 2015

special announcement



Other Music: 15 E. 4th St. New York, NY

This Saturday, April 18, is Record Store Day, the annual celebration of independent record shops, vinyl, and passionate record collectors. It's a huge day for Other Music, and all the other great stores we love. We will be open from 10am-8pm with a huge stock of exclusive RSD titles on hand (no, we can't tell you what and how many, but there is a full listing of all the official releases here).

There will be some fun giveaways, including a pair of amazing special edition Dogfish Head Crosley portable turntables from our buddies (and official RSD beer sponsor) Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. To enter for your chance to win one of these record players, Tweet or Instagram something RSD-related while you're at Other Music on Saturday, be it the limited releases that you're picking up, or anything else that catches your attention at the store, and then tag your post with #RSD15, @dogfishbeer, and @othermusic (Twitter) or @other_music (Instagram).

And we are hosting three very special in-store performances throughout the day, from three incredible artists whose boundary-pushing visions remind us why we care so much about indie music in the first place:

75 Dollar Bill @ Noon
Featuring Che Chen and Rick Brown, 75 Dollar Bill takes the repetitive and trance-like desert blues of Moorish guitar music, and then blast and refract it through a distinctly American lens, combining the minimalism of Henry Flynt with the endless, loping riffs you hear in John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, or Junior Kimbrough. The duo's Wooden Bag LP is out now on Other Music Recording Co.

Matana Roberts @ 3 p.m.
No one today makes music like alto saxophonist and composer Matana Roberts. Her records are not only rich and immensely enjoyable, they are powerful reminders that there are still musicians with uncompromising vision and ambition. The excellent River Run Thee, Matana's third chapter in her ongoing 12-part Coin Coin series, was released earlier this year on Constellation.

Laraaji @ 5 p.m.
There's been a serious resurgence in the interest of new age music these past few years, in which we were most excited to re-discover a true pioneer, Laraaji. The Brian Eno-associated All Saints label recently began reissuing many of his highly sought-after records, not to mention the essential Celestial Music career retrospective. Inspired by Eastern mysticism, Laraaji explores ideas of "cosmic oneness" on his electronically modified zither, creating gorgeous and transcendent music while adding a sense of gritty experimentation to an otherwise dream-like musical palette.

in this week's update


Earl Sweatshirt
Lawrence English


The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Leslie Winer
Guided by Voices
Father John Misty

ticket giveaways



IFC Center: 323 Sixth Ave. NYC
Facebook Event Invite

Now playing at the IFC Center through Thursday, April 23, Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90) examines the early DIY punk scene in the nation's capital. It was a decade when seminal bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Government Issue, Scream, Void, Faith, Rites of Spring, Marginal Man, Fugazi, and others released their own records and booked their own shows -- without major record label constraints or mainstream media scrutiny. Starring Dave Grohl, Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye, Thurston Moore, Fred Armisen, J. Mascis, and J. Robbins, Salad Days features lots of rare footage and never-before-seen photographs, and is a seminal look at the indelible impression left by this vital music scene. Email for a chance to win a pair of passes to the 7:50 p.m. screening on Thursday, April 23.



Le Poisson Rouge: 158 Bleecker St. NYC

Led by Mary Timony, Ex Hex return to New York City next Thursday, April 23, to rock the sold-out crowd at (le) Poisson Rouge with their awesomely infectious, glam-kissed power pop! While the tickets are long gone, Other Music has one pair up for grabs -- email for your chance to win!


this week's update


Sensual yet unflinchingly dark, Akkord’s latest hits you in the face with deep wormhole-like structures that are as bleak as they are addictive. Combining last year’s scandalously overlooked HTH020 EP with remixes by such murky techno luminaries as Regis, Vatican Shadow, and the Haxan Cloak, this is a seriously twisted but beguiling listen.

 The former EP highlights the Manchester-based duo at their finest, combining deep yet skeletal dynamics with long, unresolved silences. “Greyscale,” with its ascetic, de-glazed sounds, commands gravity, its synth and drum breaks conjuring up late night post-industrial wastelands. Oozing, disintegrating, magnetic, Akkord decomposes familiar sounds and templates from UK hardcore and its subsequent offsprings (trip hop, drum & bass, garage, (post and post post) dubstep), to subsequently mold them into refreshingly new, yet clinical techno mutations.

The Haxan Cloak’s reworking of the entire EP into a 10-minute long sonic spectacle, which opens the second part of the disk, feels somewhat overwhelmingly bombastic in its exploitation of haunted atmospheres. The subsequent remix of “Typeface/Greyscale” by Vatican Shadow, however, immediately makes up for it with a metronomic exploration of irresistible dancefloor efficiency. All in all, the remixes convince in further excavating the austere sound world of Akkord, but it’s on the first half, which contains the original EP, that we find the duo reaching visceral and kinetic peaks. [NVT]

$15.99 CD

I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt
(Tan Cressida / Columbia)

With his unmistakable flow and woozy productions, Earl Sweatshirt has always been my favorite amongst the Odd Future crew's myriad rappers. An early contender for one of the year's best hip-hop releases, his latest, I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside, is introverted and psychedelic, and even with the album's relatively short playing time and lack of predictable vocal hooks, Earl comes across at his most confident. From the submerged guitars in "Mantra" to the haunting piano intro in "DNA," he successfully crafts his loose and laid-back beats to create a dark and concealed sonic space in which his verses find a strong foundation to stand out. A well-known Odd Future production aesthetic, the slightly offbeat drums and jazzy chords are continuously evident as building blocks for tracks like "AM // Radio" and "Huey." The lead single, "'Grief," is perhaps the record's most memorable moment, both vocally and instrumentally. Earl's flow in the track is slower than his norm while not losing any swagger as his crystal-clear articulation cuts through the hazy, filtered-out ambiance, with stark halftime drums holding everything together. All in all, Earl Sweatshirt's third full-length is arguably one of the strongest releases yet from the Odd Future collective; while only in his early 20s, he has developed a uniquely hypnotic, whimsical skill in both his flow and productions, and it comes to full fruition here. [HW]

$14.99 CD


Gabrielle Herbst (a/k/a GABI) is an up-and-coming avant-pop musician whose vocal training at Bard College and time spent performing with Joan Tower, Zeena Parkins and Marina Rosenfeld has led to her surprisingly sprawling first album, Sympathy, via Daniel Lopatin's Software label. Herbst's main sound palette is definitely electro-acoustic and "chamber" minded, with the best moments stretching into large ensemble percussive swells à la Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians ("Mud"). But much of the record feels like a direct tribute to Bjork, with Herbst's singing taking up huge amounts of space and then retracting into short, considered, timid croaks while surrounded by lush strings and emotional landscapes. Opening suite "Koo Koo/Da Void" is contemplative, slow and dark, while the flip side incorporates screeching string instruments and monolithic timpani. The vibe is bleak and drone-laden, with many of the songs blending into each other and approximating some sort of moody fever dream that can't help but remind me of Mica Levi's brilliant score for Under the Skin. Much of the album relies on the unwavering intense quality of Herbst's voice, and whether looped, layered, or plainly sung, Sympathy is testament to GABI's unique potential. [RN]

$27.99 2LP

The Peregrine

Reissuing the long out of print 2011 Experimedia LP on his own Room40 label, The Perigrine finds Brisbane-based sonic agitator Lawrence English paying homage to J.A. Baker’s eponymous novel. Whereas the book explores the landscape of the British Isles through intensely detailed accounts of nature and wildlife, English sets forth to explore the relationship between these comprehensive descriptions and his own evocative soundscapes. Consisting of the composer’s signature layered drones, the record opens with encrusted vocals and soaring organ in “October 1 – The Hunting Life,” flowing over the course of its concise 35 minutes towards the ominous and mysterious sounds of closer “April 4 – And He Sleeps.” Whereas last year’s Wilderness of Mirrors presented a culmination of Lawrence English’s artistic prowess, The Perigrine finds him operating in a more understated mode. Exploring the places in between his signature distortion-heavy surfaces and occasional eruptions of harmony and tone, the record is testament to English’s bravura and singular musical vision. [NVT]

$17.99 CD

back in stock

Freedom Tower (No Wave Dance Party 2015)
(Mom + Pop)

Over the years many critics have tried to write the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion off as one dimensional, but they are dead wrong. The amount of different influences and styles that the band pulls from is staggering, and trying to pretend otherwise will only prove your own limited frame of reference. Early rock 'n' roll, soul, funk, hip-hop, rockabilly, punk rock, experimental noise... the Blues Explosion go deep and we're all better off for it.

Freedom Tower is a love/hate letter to NYC, the city where anything is possible and yet becoming less probable every day. Multiple mentions of New York City landmarks and institutions are all over this record. And speaking of NYC institutions, while I don't see it mentioned that much I tend to think of the Blues Explosion as a no wave band along the lines of the Contortions. I guess the group does too, as right beneath the title on the cover it reads: "No Wave Dance Party 2015." Sure enough, that pretty much hits the nail right on the head, as this record is equal parts funky groove and abrasive noise. In fact, the band are funkier here than they've been on any of their albums since Orange, with drummer Russell Simmons continuing to be the perfect foundation for guitarists Judah Bauer and Spencer to get into a groove or go spastically artistic over top of.

Spencer's vocals are deep and reverbed as you might expect, but he's also not above squawking like a parrot if needed as he does during "Do the Get Down," and this is also the second Blues Explosion record in a row where he tells folks to get off the stage. It may be harsh criticism from one of the most energetic entertainers of our time, but if you've seen the Blues Explosion live you know that he can absolutely back it up.

All of this brings me to my final point. The Blues Explosion are entering their 25th year as a band soon and the level of quality they have maintained over the last two-and-a-half decades is staggering; Freedom Tower is another classic that's overflowing with all of the qualities that made you love JSBX in the first place. [DMa]

$13.99 CD
$19.99 LP

(Superior Viaduct)

I've written about poet, producer, supermodel, and artist Leslie Winer many times in Updates past, so I'll just start this off by saying: This is, arguably, my favorite album of all time. Yes, you read that correctly. OF ALL TIME. Witch, the first (and for many years, only) album by Winer, has one hell of a story, in which it predates the Bristol Wild Bunch's deep dub fusion of urban delights, yet sits on a record company shelf for a few years (save for a few white label promos) while an ugly Frankensteined beast called trip-hop either enhances or destroys coffee shop and hookah lounge vibes for the next 10-odd years, depending upon your viewpoint.

Winer's album was, and still remains, in a world entirely of its own, though -- it's unfair for critics and historians to simply stick her in a corner as the grandmother of trip-hop, because who the fuck wants that albatross tied to their neck? Recorded in the late 1980s, at a time when the world seemed to be teetering on the brink of collapse, where empty promises of brighter futures kept leading to more bombed-out, burned-down housing projects, the war on drugs fired its first warning shots into not just the inner cities, but also the quiet whispers of suburbia, and popular culture saw its first major uprising of urban youth cultures from across the globe begin to assemble in secret meetings behind dilapidated closed doors. Witch takes Winer's still startling, still barbed and sadly still relevant commentary on war, gender, sexual politics, and drugs, and splices it into a cut-up collage of cubist beats, dub reggae basslines (often played by Public Image Ltd's Jah Wobble), heartland rock'n'roll and blues samples, and some dancehall soundsystem frippery. The end result eerily foreshadows '90s masterworks like Blue Lines and Maxinquaye, but in truth has more in common with Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. While the production is dense, oblique, and innovative, it's Winer's singular voice that is the glue holding it all together; her nicotine-stained whispers register like punches to the gut, her recollections of a life escaping the confines of Massachusetts for the greater metropolitan wilderness even more startling when you realize that by the time she was a young adult, she'd already been friend and assistant to William S. Burroughs, and one of the fashion industry's first "supermodels."

Witch is still powerful and relevant today because all of the issues and struggles that Winer chronicles throughout remain unresolved, unconquered, unchanged. It's an album that speaks in a language all its own, and though dialects have been recognized and adapted by numerous artists today, Witch remains -- in my opinion -- one of the defining documents of a human coming to terms with living in the unmalleable skeletons of the city AND the body. Someone REALLY wanted me to (trust me... you don't), so I'll go back to my original sentiment: This is my all-time favorite album, and it's not only the first time that it's seen any sort of official physical reissue in America, but it's also the first time Winer's had any degree of direct involvement with the album's rerelease. Highest. Possible. Recommendation. [IQ]

$19.99 LP

Bee Thousand

Guided by Voices' 1994 lo-fi masterpiece Bee Thousand is finally back in print on vinyl. Newly re-mastered by John Golden and housed in a gatefold sleeve that features a never-before-published collage from Robert Pollard, GBV classics like "Hot Freaks," "Gold Star for Robot Boy" and "I Am a Scientist" sound better than ever. No doubt you wore yours out way back when Bill Clinton was still president, so now's your chance for a fresh copy of one of indie rock's most essential albums!

$19.99 LP+MP3

lp back in stock

I Love You, Honeybear
(Sub Pop)

It's usually the breakup album where things get messy. Truths are told, souls get bared, stories are straightened, names called out. From song to song, the troubadour is at turns apologetic or indignant, sobbing, "It was all my fault!" or screaming, "Glad to be rid of you!" The breakup album is the broken mirror and the spilled wine, the calamitous extinguishing of the flame. But on I Love You, Honeybear, J. Tillman posits that falling into love is far messier and more chaotic than falling out of it. This loose and sweeping record is a celebration and chronicle of his wife, filmmaker Emma Elizabeth Tillman: their initial attraction, their marriage, their arguments, their telepathy, their sex life, their private notes to each other, their discord and, ultimately, their harmony. It's a surprisingly naked record for Tillman, whose Father John Misty persona as a drifting, enigmatic playboy dominated 2012's Fear Fun, often overshadowing any real emotion in the songs. On that album, Tillman's hip swiveling, Most-Interesting-Man-in-the-World routine gave his literary lyrics and stately, orchestrated pop arrangements a theatrical quality. Onstage and in spirit, the tales of Laurel Canyon debauchery and hangover guilt recalled early Scott Walker in its melodrama and Serge Gainsbourg in its frank sexuality, down to the pencil-thin suits and unbuttoned collars.

Love hasn't softened Tillman, exactly, but "husband" is a frame that he finally feels comfortable fitting into. During the album's title track, on top of a dramatic honky-tonk shuffle that swells into a bombastic orgy of strings, he perfectly espouses how insane it feels to be consumed by love while the world around you seemingly flushes itself away. He doesn't throw his earthy voice as much on this record, delivering pointed and direct lyrics like "Everything is doomed and nothing will be spared/But I love you honeybear" with confidence instead of bravado. It's also perfectly in keeping with Tillman's wry sense of humor to compose a song about communicating through FaceTime or Skype ("True Affection") with simple drum machines, Rototom samples, and clicky-clacky, squiggly throwback cyber-sounds. At his most self-reflective, Tillman also proves that he can entertainingly wrestle with his public persona as a festival-friendly, swaggering sex symbol on "Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow." I resisted this dude for so long, but Fear Fun caught me pleasantly by surprise a year ago with its invocations of Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson, and especially Smash Records-era Scott Walker. I Love You, Honeybear carries over the strings and orchestral tinsel from his previous album, but dials them back a bit, and dials up the honest emotion, in a move that reflects the discarding of a few of his public masks. [MS]

$12.99 CD ON SALE
$19.99 2LP

also available

Edge of the Sun

$15.99 CD

Cosmic Michael

$27.99 LP

The Air Conditioned Nightmare
(Sub Pop)

$13.99 CD
$16.99 LP+MP3

(Erased Tapes)

$15.99 CD
$24.99 LP

The Birth of Rock and Roll

$45.00 BOOK

These Things

$54.99 5CD+MP3 BOX SET


$13.99 CD
$18.99 LP+MP3

Interstate 8
(Glacial Pace)

$21.99 LP+MP3

Building Nothing Out of Something
(Glacial Pace)

$21.99 LP+MP3

Secret Life
(Last Gang)

$11.99 CD

Dandelion Albums & BBC Recordings Collection (Cherry Red)

$31.99 4CD BOXSET

Bad Moon Rising

$17.99 LP+MP3

All Dressed for Tomorrow

$21.99 LP

¡Chicas! Spanish Singers Volume 2 1963-1978 (Vampisoul)

$28.99 2LP

Walks for Motorists
(Thrill Jockey)

$16.99 CD

No Pier Pressure

$13.99 CD
$16.99 DELUXE CD

the big picture